Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

There currently seems to be a backlash against Marvel and its cinematic universe. Reading the reviews of their latest and 31st movie, you would be led to believe that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is an absolute disaster. It’s not. It might not be up there with Avengers: Endgame, which seems to be the height of their collection. It isn’t perfect by a long shot, and plenty could have been improved, but it’s far from terrible. In fact, if you just took it as a piece of cinema, it’s fun and has enough that works for you to be entertained.

Life is good for Scott Lang. He’s written a book. He has a happy family and has reconnected with his daughter, Cassie, who has become just as fascinated with science as everyone else around her father. She has created a communication link with the Quantum Realm, the land where her grandmother, Janet Van Dyke, was trapped for years. When showing the family, something goes wrong; the group is transported into the Realm, where they find Kang, a man Janet knows is a danger and needs the family to escape.

The original Ant-Man had problems. With original director Edgar Wright leaving the process due to creative differences and being replayed by Payton Reed, it had touches of Wright’s touches. It was a messy, enjoyable ride, showing Scott Lang, the petty thief who is the chance to redeem himself by becoming Ant-Man had plenty of opportunities for Scott to face modern life and his surroundings as he shrunk to the size of an ant. The second film, Ant-Man and the Wasp, had flashes of the same, but the trouble with that second movie was the plot. It lacked a strong story. This time, most of the film takes place in the Quantum Realm, so it is very CGI heavy, something that Marvel has struggled with recently, with below-par special effects.

The effects are better than past attempts, but they still seem problematic with moments where you can see the join, as they say. In one scene where Scott multiplies in a world of probability, you can see slightly around the edges. The script, by Jeff Loveness, a TV writer producing his first feature, is quite clunky, with far too much exposition and not enough character development. The relationship between Scott and Cassie doesn’t go anywhere, and Hope Van Dyke, the Wasp, is given little to do but react and is pushed to the side.

Where the film does succeed is that it is never dull, and while it looks like a trippy version of Star Wars, it zips along at an incredible speed, and some of the creations in the Realm are very creative. A blob creature obsessed with holes is a blast, while this universe is brimming with the invention where sometimes what is front and centre is not where you should be looking. It also has some laugh-out-loud moments that were something definitely missing from Thor: Love and Thunder, which, frankly, was a disaster.

It also introduces us to a new villain who will follow throughout this MCU phase. Kang is a man who has enormous power and who can control time and space as he travels through the multiverse, a realm that Marvel set up during Phase 4 of their universe. Phase 5 and 6 will be linked with this new supervillain across cinema and Disney + TV shows, culminating with two new Avengers movies in 2025 and 2026.

The film is saved by a charismatic cast, even if they are adequately serviced by a decent script. Paul Rudd has enough screen presence to say very little and still be likeable. He handles comedy so well that even the daffiest lines are amusing. Evangeline Lilly is given little to do here apart from reacting and standing ready to fight, which is a shame considering this has her character of The Wasp in the title. Screen legends Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer seem to be enjoying the nonsense, even though Douglas admits he hasn’t a clue and has said you’d want it more if you were stoned. There is a brief appearance from Bill Murray and the return of Corey Stoll from the original movie as MADOK, a creature who will give you nightmares. Kathryn Newton, so good in the horror comedy, Freaky, does fail to ignite as Cassie and is the weakest new character in the series.

However, the real star of the piece is Jonathan Majors as Kang. He is superb and introduces a quiet menace to his character that will send shivers up the spine. He gives his creation flesh, a performance that promises so much in the future. Majors is a star in the making, considering we see him next week as the new adversary in Creed III. So it will be exciting to watch this actor grow in front of us over the next few years.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is flawed and, if placed in line with previous MCU movies, is mid-table. It’s not a total monstrous disaster; as blockbusters go, it delivers enough to satisfy. Just go in with an open mind and make your own mind up. You may find yourself enjoying it.

3 out of 5

Director: Payton Reed

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Bill Murray, Corey Stoll, Katy O’Brian

Written by; Jeff Loveness and (based on the Marvel comic) Jack Kirby

Running Time: 125 mins

Cert: 12A

Release date: 17th February 2023


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