"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been juggling a slew of different heroes and setting up different storylines throughout Phase 4 of their massive cinematic project, with some films met with massive critical and fan praise and others dismissed as some of the worst films in the MCU. In their first film in Phase 5, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania", the Marvel writers and executives are gearing up to introduce the new main antagonist, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), while also returning to the fan-favorite Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd. While there are some familiar aspects from the first two films found here and it is a fun time in the theater, it sort of serves more as a set-up film, rather than the previous two Ant-Man films we have received.
Scott Lang is basking in the glow of being a major Avenger and his help to save the world from Thanos and his minions at the end of "Avengers: Endgame". He wrote a book, has appeared at numerous charities and events, and so much more. He is also loving the life he has set up for himself, dating Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who is also known as Wasp. He is also dealing with the reality that his daughter is now all grown up, missing out on five years of her life due to him being lost in the Quantum Realm.
When his daughter, Cassandra (Kathryn Newton), has been dabbling in the art of the Quantum Realm and seeing how it is constructed, she starts to send a signal to the tiny reality, hoping someone will pick up. What she doesn't realize is that there are much darker forces down in the Quantum Realm, which Hope's mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) didn't disclose to them when she came back in the second film of the trilogy. They are then all sucked into the Quantum Realm by Kang, who is looking for his one-way ticket out of there after being exiled. It is now up to all of them, including Hank (Michael Douglas) from the previous two films, to find their way out of there and save their own universe from this powerful being.
This is definitely the most serious and dark film in the entire trilogy. The Ant-Man films have been perceived as being the comedic relief after a major Avengers film, which director Peyton Reed has realized and wanted to change that for his films. However, I don't think I necessarily like how they threw these characters into a very serious and dark landscape. I mean, you have Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, who already proved to have great comedic chemistry throughout both of the previous two films, and split them up for most of this one. It really doesn't make much sense to me.
However, they are able to set up really nice chemistry between Rudd and Newton, who are fantastic together on the screen. The film sort of splits up the characters, with Rudd and Newton together and the rest of the family together somewhere else in the Realm. I think the chemistry of the characters with one another are able to progress this film along nicely, and allows them to have fun together on the screen.
However, there is no doubt that the standout here is Majors as Kang. Not only is he menacing throughout the entire film, but he gives this character a cold and heartless feel that easily sends shivers down the spine of the viewer. He commands the screen with so much power and grace that he just practically oozes charisma and self-confidence. He was briefly set up in the season finale of "Loki", but this movie full lets him run with what he has.
This movie does bounce around quite a bit, and the storytelling is clunky in a few aspects. I think they could have definitely cleaned up the storytelling a bit more and have a much tighter screenplay. There are definitely times where this movie moved at a very slow pace, and it lost some of the momentum that it was setting up. At the same time, I think some of the big moments that should have hit really hard sort of just fizzled out and didn't do much for the viewer.
There is one interesting character here, which you will know exactly what I'm talking about when he is introduced. I think there was so much hype for him to be in this film, and I'm not sure if the movie ruined it or simply played it for comedic effect. Many people will not like this addition, especially since he is such a major character in the comics and Marvel lore, but I honestly dug what they did with him and his overarching character arc that plays out throughout the film.
They really did set up what is going to play out through the next two phases of the MCU, and I'm honestly very excited to see where they go with it. Kang is going to be a massive power that the Avengers will have to team up to stop, and they set him up very well in this film. While it may not have been the best Ant-Man film and seems more like a set-up rather than a film to conclude a trilogy, I still think this movie was a lot of fun and the viewers will definitely have a good time watching it.
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