Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review – The Big and the Small of It
The Conqueror has finally come to conquer
After 7 years, the Ant-Man trilogy finally comes to its conclusion in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, with an installment that finally nails what the character should’ve been about all along, as the brand has finally found something that makes it feel exciting yet heartfelt: family. Unfortunately, despite its improvements, the movie has some glaring flaws, which sadly take away from the overall experience.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania focuses on the blended family of the Pym-Van Dyne trio and the Lang duo as they get sucked into the Quantum Realm. Quickly after their arrival, they find a subatomic universe that is struggling against the oppressive force of Kang the Conqueror, with Janet Van Dyne’s buried life in the realm coming to the surface.
The Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel’s focus on the bonds and strength of family is, without a doubt, the true shining star of the movie, as it gives this corner of the universe a unique aspect that the other Marvel movies don’t have. Seeing the different generations of Ant-Man and Wasp working together was exhilarating, especially for those who have been waiting to see characters like Janet in action since the movies were first announced. It’s really hard to put into words how awesome it is to see characters like Hope, Hank, and Janet finally work together in tandem with Scott and Cassie, showcasing that the family can operate as their own little superhero team.
Even with boasting this large main cast, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also gives plenty of time to all of the characters, with every lead cast member getting their moment in the sun. Janet, who is the original Wasp and is portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, in particular, gets a lot to do and is undoubtedly one of the strongest parts of the movie. Not only is she given some of the movie’s best lines, but she is also given a ton of awesome badass moments reminiscent of her time as Catwoman in the 90s, proving she hasn’t lost a step when it comes to performing in action scenes.
Speaking of the Wasp, the new one that is, Evangeline Lilly comes across much more likable this time around. So far, her character always felt shortchanged in her MCU appearances, especially given how she was such an important character in Marvel Comics. While Quantumania may not be perfect, and she could have had a bit more screen time, this movie is undoubtedly the step in the right direction that the character needed, giving her much more time to showcase her hardened yet quirky personality.
Another big focus of Quantumania, and sadly a much more negative one, is on world-building the Quantum Realm in the MCU. While there are some nice elements here, like the lovable Veb, it just isn’t compelling enough to warrant the amount of screen time it is given.
The residents of the Quantum Realm that are introduced in the movie are bland and don’t provide anything fresh and interesting, as the designs feel oddly reminiscent of Star Wars – like we were somehow back on Tatooine yet again. Every time there was a scene that focused on building out the Quantum Realm, I found myself wanting to get back to the meat of the story and not waste my time focused on a universe that is entirely bland story-wise.
Thankfully the movie’s VFX is, for the most part, pretty strong; it is incredibly easy to get lost in the action of the Quantum Realm as the place is quite mesmerizing visually. So, if the film is going to spend so much time on the uninteresting politics of the micro-universe, at least it’s nice to look at. Also, seeing how Marvel’s VFX has been under a ton of scrutiny lately, it is nice to see an installment deliver the impressive visuals that fans deserve.
Sadly, there is one part of Quantumania where the VFX fails, and that is with the character of M.O.D.O.K. The humor with the giant floating head character, or more accurately described as attempted humor, is absolutely ridiculous and did not translate well to live action. Both his dialogue and the VFX that were used for his character were not funny or appealing in the slightest, and this is coming from someone who was excited to see what the MCU was going to do with the unusual villain.
For M.O.D.O.K. to have worked, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania needed to go full-on goofy and embrace the absurd with the character. Instead, they blinked, making the character feel wholly wasted and out of place.
When it comes to the titular character, played by Paul Rudd, he is still just as charming as ever, delivering plenty of the same quips you know and love. Interestingly enough, the most compelling part about his character in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania isn’t his jokes but a focus on the more serious side of things. Scott starts out with his usual “all fun and games” persona, but once his daughter is in real danger, thanks to Kang, he means business.
This obviously makes for a much more grounded and serious focus for the film, especially when compared to the other two films in the trilogy. While fans who are sick of quip-heavy films may be thrilled by this, it’s still a bit jarring to see such a drastic change in tone for the movies.
In large part, the lacking of humor is because this is the movie where audiences officially meet the often serious Kang the Conqueror in the MCU after he somewhat appeared in Loki Season One. Simply put, Kang is absolutely as terrifying as he is in the comics, with Jonathan Majors expertly delivering the calm yet incredibly bitter and angry villain, serving as an excellent follow-up to Thanos.
If Majors’ performance here is any indication of what fans can expect from Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, viewers are in for an absolute delight. Really the only bad thing about his character is how ridiculously inept his soldiers are. They’re honestly about as useful as stormtroopers or the mud-men from Suicide Squad (2016).
The other two lead characters, Michael Douglas’ Hank and Kathryn Newton’s Cassie, also deliver, with each being given a lot of screen time and delivering likable performances, outshined by their co-stars wherever they get a chance. This, unfortunately, reinforces the problem with how much time the movie spends world-building when that time would’ve been better spent on giving Hank and Cassie more time to shine.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania may have its share of problems, namely in its focus on the Quantum Realm, but it still manages to be a fun and essential viewing to the MCU. In the lead-up to the movie, Marvel Studios made it no secret just how important it is going forward with the Multiverse Saga in particular, which it absolutely is. There are two end credits scenes here, both extremely important to check out and bound to get fans excited for what’s to come, especially for those who know their comics.
Phase 5 of the MCU officially begins when Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases exclusively in theaters on Feb. 17, 2023.
Our Verdict: Recommended
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