Ant-Man And The Wasp is Marvel's first major big budget movie release since the shock of Avengers: Infinity War at the end of April. The follow up to 2015's Ant-Man film closed out Marvel's Phase II. The hope from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Infinity War's cliffhanger coattails will be long enough for it to ride on, bringing in a far better set of reviews and higher box office numbers in the second installment. Now, the Ant-Man And The Wasp reviews are in, and the good news is the reviews are very positive.
The reviews for the original Ant-Man weren't shabby, either. It's Rotten Tomatoes rating was a solid 82 percent fresh, which would be great for most films. But in comparison to the other 19 movies the MCU has released, it's solidly in the bottom half, just above Iron Man 3.
But Ant-Man And The Wasp has a much higher rating coming out of the gate. With most of the major reviews in, it's sitting pretty. As of this writing clocks in at a 90 percent fresh rating, right between Captain America: Civil War (91 percent) and Captain America: Winter Soldier (89 percent). One of the major reasons cited by reviewers? This installment of Ant-Man feels like it's part of the greater whole the MCU is always selling fans on.
According to Variety’s review:
That each of these films is somehow ‘relevant’ to the greater MCU is a conceit that isn’t always borne out by what’s on-screen. Yet Ant-Man, by living in his own universe of wisecracking micro obsession, justifies his existence. Rudd’s performance has only gained in confidence (having a hit will do that for you). In ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp,’ he’s direct and witty and alive, as when he surveys Lilly’s Wasp and says to Hank, ‘Hold on, you gave her wings?’ There’s a prickly hint of ego coursing beneath the surface of Rudd’s presence. That’s what keeps him fresh.
Also, the size gag is apparently a huge plus. Vulture’s David Edelstein writes:
At one point, Ant Man Godzillas his way around San Francisco while the lab — now pint-sized — passes from hand to hand. (Recurring phrases: ‘Get the lab!’ and ‘I’ll get the lab!’) In a hilarious setpiece, Scott goes pint-sized himself and has to toddle around a middle school while the other characters offer him juice boxes and string cheese.”
Still, even with the good reviews, Ant-Man And The Wasp isn't expected to be a $100 million blockbuster. Long range box office estimates say the post-July 4 opening is expected to be in the $65–85 million range.
That's higher than what the original movie pulled in on opening weekend. Back in July of 2015, Ant-Man pulled in $57 million in its inaugural weekend. (Though fans should note it opened on July 17, a full two weeks after July 4, instead of the holiday weekend itself.) It was enough to conquer the rest of the mid-July offerings it was up against, on the way to a $180 million domestic gross.
According to Deadline, the film is also skewing young:
First choice for Ant-Man And The Wasp is tracking well with males under 25, followed by men 25+, then females under 25 with females 25+ the lowest. Ant-Man with its PG rating played younger next to is Marvel brethren as Disney positioned the movie toward families versus hardcore fanboys. On preview night, 52% of the audience was under 25, a figure that would segue by weekend’s end to 55% over 25, 58% men. We hear that the sequel’s unaided interest and definite interest are better than the first film.
That's good news for Ant-Man and his new sidekick. Hopefully, the good reviews won't find themselves shrunk by the time opening weekend is over.
Ant-Man And The Wasp opens nationwide on July 6, 2018.