For the bulk of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s runtime, the MCU action flick succeeds as a low-stakes, modestly scaled adventure that offers a refreshing change of pace after Avengers: Infinity War got all gloomy on us. Nonetheless, this wasp has a sting in its rear end, and just when you think the whole affair has been wrapped up in the cheeriest of conclusions, that’s when the film launches its post-credits sneak attack that incorporates the events of Marvel’s previous release into the story with cruel abruptness.
The last-minute twist of Ant-Man and the Wasp offers a quick shift in fortunes for the film’s central cast, and it’s a maneuver that Peyton Reed seems particularly proud of. Speaking on the Empire Film Podcast, the director explained how he deliberately lulled viewers into a feeling of false security.
“There’s a lot of resolution, what we were calling internally the parade of resolutions. It’s intentionally very happy endings. Scott’s out on house arrest, he’s reuniting with Cassie. The guys’ company XCON, they landed the big deal, Karapetyan, and the company’s going to survive. Of course, Hank and Janet are reunited. All playing to the Partridge Family, ‘Come On Get Happy.’ Like, a very neat resolution and then really fun, colorful credit sequence.”
Of course, this being a Marvel movie, the commencement of the closing credits is never going to be the end of the story, and audiences who waited around for the traditional post-credits scenes were in for quite the surprise.
“Oh, where are they now? What’s happening in this tag?. They’re doing some type of quantum experiment, there’s Luis’s van — throwing all these things at the audience immediately to catch them off guard. Janet’s in street clothes and he’s in the Ant-Man suit, Hope’s handing him something, what are they doing? Something about Ghost? And then, bam, just punching the audience in the gut with it. It felt like a very Ant-Man and the Wasp way to deal with this gigantic, dramatic happening at the end of Infinity War.”
The gut-punch in question is the moment when Hank, Hope and Janet all turn into dust as a result of Thanos’ deadly finger-snap, leaving Scott stranded in the Quantum Realm. But before this unusually dark moment, Reed was sure to include a few clues as to how this cliffhanger could be resolved in next year’s Avengers 4 – and maybe a couple of red herrings, too.
“She mentions tardigrade fields, she mentions time vortexes as these warnings to Scott about what not to get involved in,” Reed said. “These things might prove valuable. They’re not just randomly spouted off in the moment. But, again, part of the fun of that was putting detail in there and throwing it out for the audience to guess which ones might be pertinent and which ones might not.”
You know, for the director of a movie that’s considered among the more light and breezy entries in the MCU, Reed sure likes playing some mean games with his audience. Ultimately, Ant-Man and the Wasp leaves us in suspense, and it looks like the unfortunate predicament faced by Scott and his newly dusted friends won’t be resolved until Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.