Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review: Flawed Yet Fun

This film marks the end of MCU’s Phase 4 and it’s a mixed bag. And it’s visually stunning
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review: Flawed Yet Fun
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Jeff Loveness

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton 

There is a lot riding on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – from delivering on a satisfying conclusion to Marvel’s most consistent, but understated trilogy, to setting up the stakes for the upcoming multiverse saga. Flawed yet fun, much like its titular character, Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is most certainly a theatre watch, given its ambitious and gorgeous visuals.

At the beginning, we find ourselves in the middle of an exposition from Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) that takes a look at his life post Avengers: Endgame (2019). A lot has happened in the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU) since then, but all of that is water off a duck’s (or ant’s) back when it comes to Scott. He is in a good place. He has a book out, he’s still well in love with Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), they are using Pym particles to change the world for better. He is well-loved, he is happy, he has friends and most importantly, he has daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), who has grown up and aspires to do good too. What could go wrong? 

Directed by Peyton Reed, Quantumania’s first half is peppered with the humour that we’ve come to expect from MCU and specifically the Ant Man franchise. That’s all good, because it doesn’t feel as forced as it does in offerings like She-Hulk. However, when Cassie experiments with the quantum realm and the family, including Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (the stunning Michelle Pfeiffer) are dragged into this parallel universe by an unknown force, everything changes.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Scattered into two separate groups, the family has to make their way towards each other while battling a secret — it turns out to be one of many — that Janet has been hiding, about her time in this realm. The familial bond between the Langs, Pyms and Dynes remains the core of the film, along with a father’s love for his daughter. From there on, the movie shifts gears from being a comic book movie and a (sub)space opera to an epic war fantasy.

Within the quantum realm, we are treated to species, cameos and the world-building spectacle, powered by stunning computer-generated imagery, that we’ve come to associate with the MCU. Visually, this world is arguably more stunning than Avatar: The Way of the Water (2022). If you mean to watch the movie, watch it on the biggest screen possible instead of waiting for it to land on a streaming platform. William Jackson Harper as Quaz (the telepath), Corey Stoll returning as M.O.D.O.K. and David Dastmalchian (in a new cameo) as Veb stand out as supporting characters while Bill Murray as Lord Krylar is wasted for a few whoops of familiarity.

The man of the hour in Quantumania has to be Jonathan Majors’ Kang The Conqueror. While Majors is undoubtedly a powerful performer, his villain act lacked the depth of Josh Brolin’s Thanos. This may have more to do with the screenplay than Majors’ acting, but the effect is to give us a villain who unwittingly ends up reminding you of his predecessor. Kang ranges from being menacing to seemingly compassionate, and leans towards invoking empathy from the audience, without actually giving us any reason to do so.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Quantumania shines brightest when the focus is on Scott and his family, and weakens whenever it attempts to become an epic space opera (except the ants. Look out for that Chekhov's Gun). Of course there is some willing suspension of disbelief needed — especially with the “timey-wimey” stuff in the quantum realm – but hey, this is a comic book movie. Paul Rudd is in his finest form and viewers will be delighted with some of the nods to Captain America along the way.   

It may seem that Quantumania loses some of its soul by serving the multiverse saga set up for the MCU, which we saw happen with Iron Man 2 (2010). However, the film is still a great one-time, big-screen watch, powered in particular by Rudd and Michael Douglas’s performances. Ultimately, the film achieves what it has been tasked with — being a fun part of the MCU, which closes one phase and opens another.  

PS: Stick around for both the end credits’ scenes. 

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