This review is spoiler-free and will be as vague as possible.
When it comes to their Marvel properties, there’s this slightly morbid insistence by Disney to tie every teeny tiny detail of previous movies, television shows, and character arcs together in obsessive fashion. It’s becoming such an uncontrollable urge by the studio to engage in this behavior that the cause-and-effect is resulting in disasters like “Eternals,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and now, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
Trying too hard to force a non-story into the already lame Ant-Man mythology, the film reunites superhero partners Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) as Ant-Man and the Wasp. The pair find themselves thrust into the dangerous Quantum Realm along with Hope’s parents Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), along with Scott’s teenage daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton). As they explore the unusual terrain and alien society filled with strange creatures, Janet reveals that she didn’t quite tell the group everything about the three decades she spent trapped in the realm. Facing new dangers from supervillan Kang the Conquerer (Jonathan Majors), the family must unite to stop a worldwide disaster.
Very little about this project feels like a satisfying superhero movie and instead, it’s more like an assemblage of other (and far better) science fiction films. If not for the titanic budget and big-name stars, it could almost be mistaken for a Redbox “mockbuster” of “Star Wars,” “Mad Max,” “Avatar,” and “Godzilla” combined.
The film takes place extensively in the Quantum Realm, which provides an unsightly setting of muted, dark brown, washed-out visuals. It’s an ugly place, so who why would audiences want to spend time there? The Realm is a melting pot of exotic creatures and peculiar inhabitants that appear to have waltzed right out of the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine. They’re cool to look at I guess, but was the point to make the film more appealing to children, or was it Disney’s way of appeasing the animators by letting them have some fun?
The first third of the film seems like it’s Janet’s show, as she keeps bringing up the fact that she has all these secrets that she won’t spill to Hope and Hank (even though they’re all stuck in the Realm together). There’s no compelling mystery nor reveal. Screenwriter Jeff Loveness is grasping at straws to craft a somewhat cohesive story while also struggling to make it fit into the MCU mythology. At some point, I wish someone would just make a damn standalone Marvel superhero movie and quit worrying about who and what goes where and how.
The story is frequently erratic. There’s plenty of energetic CGI action, but there also some moments that play like a touching family drama, some that create an anti-climatic post-apocalyptic narrative, and lots of failed attempts at comic relief. The film also has recurring (and awkward) socially conscious messaging that doesn’t entirely feel out of place, but it is aggressive (there’s even a direct mention of socialism by one of the characters, which will really aggravate already-angry conservatives).
The screenplay is peppered with dreadful one-liners like “it’s never too late to stop being a dick!” and “ants don’t give up!” I really, really wish I was joking about this.
The remainder of the movie features a lot of talk about time, the desire to get home, and — Marvel fans, you know what’s coming — the multiverse! It’s that one little word that means endless movies, endless stories, and endless money. It’s also the easy way to guarantee that all of these films in the canon always have a cop-out to lazily excuse away any inconsistencies (not that many of us could keep up or remember anyway).
Another major problem with the film is that it can only chug along on Rudd’s likeability (and the cast’s talent) for so long. It’s barely tolerable until Kang shows up, but he’s a wickedly delicious character portrayed by a terrific actor (it’s a real shame that this had to be the film for Majors’ MCU debut). In fact, the entire cast deserves better. Despite all of them turning in strong performances, they still feel mostly wasted here.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” lacks the memorable spectacle that most superhero films need in order to succeed. There’s no massively rousing, crowd-pleasing moment, and it’s one of the more unremarkable entries in the MCU.
By: Louisa Moore
Nobody cares what you think. You’re a critic
But I’m also a Marvel fan, and the movie is massively disappointing. On the other hand, I very much am interested what YOU think about the movie. I hope you’ll come back and share your thoughts once you’ve seen it.
For the past three years, there has been an overabundance of disappointment in more ways than just picking the movie industry. I’m a fan of science fiction and fantasy. Marvel films are in those categories. I like to be entertained and enjoy a movie and have even started watching movies and streaming series outside my wheelhouse. I know you’re a critic and are paid to present your personal opinion regarding what you’ve viewed. But most critics have been doing their jobs for so long becoming complacent that eventually, they become mechanically analytical in their process. Marvel has a better working recipe for making their movies and I always look forward to seeing them. DC has a few that are all right but are struggling to catch up, yet I still watch them nonetheless. Everyone, including yourself, has a right to express their opinion, paid or not, but I know even before I see Ant-Man and the Wasp Quamtumania that I’ll enjoy it based on the character’s previous movies and series and that even as a passive Marvel fan I’ll not have any expectations.
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Thank you for the reply! Please, please come back after you’ve seen the movie and tell me how much you enjoyed it.