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Soundtrack review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (Christophe Beck – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (Christophe Beck – 2018)

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters Scott Lang / Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne / Wasp. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man, and the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Peyton Reed, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, as well as Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari. It stars Rudd as Lang and Evangeline Lilly as Van Dyne, alongside Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, the titular pair work with Hank Pym to retrieve Janet van Dyne from the quantum realm. Christophe Beck returned to write the score.

Beck’s “Ant-Man” theme is one of my favourites from the MCU; so fresh, so smooth, so catchy, so perfectly fit for the tone of the movie and for this character. The opening motif seems as if taken from a different movie, an MCU movie of course, but a broader, more epic one, as “It ain’t over till the Wasp Lady stings” begins with a minute of doom before the horns usher us into the good old, eternal 70s and 80 spy movie sound, with an electric guitar twist. Having grown up on those movie and being such a huge James Bond fan, this sound is right up my alley and I can almost see the over the top boat and car chases and the cartoonish villains. The “Prologue” switches the tone to dramatic and keeps it deeply rooted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that somehow, through all the different composers (not counting Henry Jackman), has been forged in the past 10 years. This is epic, dramatic level stuff that makes me think of “Infinity war”. This is not what I came here for though as “Ant-Man” is supposed to be different so three cues in I am a bit confused.

The main theme finally sneaks in in “World’s greatest grandma” both in its regular version and in a weird 8-bit rendition which is as silly as it’s entertaining. It’s still only a little reminder of what this character is about as the tone returns to regular dark and ominous MCU at the very next cue. It’s not that I am not enjoying the sound but we get enough of it in the other Marvel movies and And-Man was supposed to be different. The movie is light, the movie is fun and I keep waiting to hear that in the music as well. I am giddy when the horns and percussion blast in my ears like in “Wings & blasters”.

Even the stronger parts of this score, like the wonderful orchestral gems “Cautious as a hurricane” and “Windshield wipeout” have the weight and that dark shadow of MCU on them. Make no mistake, Christophe Beck’s music is good and manages to conquer me and make me bop my head and be involved in this score, not just not the way I thought I was going to be. “And-Man and the Wasp” is on the better side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe scores but still, it’s the dark, themeless sound we’ve been accustomed to and you either enjoy it or you hate it; there is barely anything in the score to make Ant-Man as a character and the lighter, more fun tone of the movie stand out. It seems that he too has been swallowed by the over seriousness of the rest of the scores.

Cue rating: 72 / 100

Highlights:
It Ain’t Over Till the Wasp Lady Stings
Cautious as a Hurricane

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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