Composer Christophe Beck’s (Ant-Man, Edge of Tomorrow, Good Kill) soundtrack for Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp opens with a bombastic reprise of the Ant-Man theme from the original soundtrack, “It Ain’t Over Till the Wasp Lady Stings”. Upbeat and quirky, it sets the tone nicely and is reminiscent of something from the 70s, seeming like it would fit nicely as the opening theme to some sun-drenched TV series, all fast cars, fast boats and gunfights.
The tone then shifts to the more traditionally dramatic “Prologue”, beginning with wistful, hopeful strings, before the more sweeping heroic strings and brass make an appearance, ending on something more ominous. There is a whole lot crammed into a single track.
“Ghost in the Machine” is something altogether more futuristic; an almost electrical hum, a constant undertone throughout this short little track. On to “World’s Greatest Grandma”, the Ant-Man theme makes a return with the synth adding an almost 80s feel to it that wouldn’t be out of place in a video game.
“A Little Nudge” is a sharp turn back to the more portentous. This is a track for nefarious doings, hidden laboratories and illicit dealings before those familiar triumphant strings and brass reappear.
The Ant-Man theme features in the next track “Feds” and from there we move to “Ava’s Story” – whatever the story is, it leaves you with the impression that it didn’t end terribly well as it is in parts menacing, moody and melancholy.
“Utmost Ghost” returns to the harsh, discordant sounds from track three once again with its sharp brass and percussion with an almost wailing electric sound beneath it and a pulsing, pounding bass drum.
Passing over the decent (if forgettable) tracks 10 and 11 arrives at “Misdirection”, another version of the main theme but played on piano this time before building into one of the more stern and martial tracks. Parts of “Quantum Leap” are reminiscent of the soundtrack to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where the Enterprise has entered the cloud and discovered the ship within.
“I Shrink, Therefore I Am” is a welcome return to the funky, jazzy themes from earlier in the soundtrack and is followed by “Partners”, which is all soft wind and strings. You can picture them sitting together, reaching some sort of understanding that they need to work together. It suggests that this is a part of the film where our heroes are at their lowest point.
“Windshield Wipeout” follows next and from moves onto “Hot Wheels” where the electric guitar makes a re-appearance. This track certainly wouldn’t be out of place in a Guitar Hero game or the like. The very short and quirky “San Fransisco Giant” is definitely the next standout track. It opens with a very odd combination of brass, discordant strings and wailing synth suggesting something is not right, perhaps even a little psychedelic?
“Ghost = Toast” would fit an epic confrontation between the heroes and villain, but ultimately it is sort-of, just kinda ‘there’. It’s a lovely orchestral track, but nothing really makes it stand out compared to the rest of the album.
“Reduce Yourself”, on the other hand, is a track that deserves to be played loudly, preferably through headphones, as that discordant wail makes a welcome return along with thundering percussion. The piano version of the main theme returns in “Anthropodie” building triumphantly to the end; the synths mixing perfectly with the snarling horns. A great track to end the main soundtrack on.
The final track is something of an oddity. “Baba Yaga Lullaby” is what it sounds like: a spoken lullaby. The odd thing is that in the folktales, Baba Yaga is a woman. So we can only assume that when they talk about Baba Yaga being male, they’re referring to the one and only John Wick. Confirmed – John Wick/Ant-Man universe are the same!
All in all, a somewhat uneven offering for the latest Marvel movie; quirky, bombastic and dramatic, often all in the space of one track. That said, it is still an entertaining listen and stands on its own outside of the confines of the film, which is always the mark of a strong soundtrack.