Spoilers ahead for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
Right off the bat, one thing that “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has going for it is Kang. He’s undoubtedly the best villain in the MCU since Thanos, and Jonathan Majors is a great actor that we’ll be glad to have around for a long time. It’s encouraging to see his character get a strong start, as we expect he’ll be causing all sorts of trouble to every superhero he encounters along the way. He’s killed plenty of Avengers throughout the multiverse, after all. But that’s where the positivity ends.
Granted, I’d say the first act is actually pretty good. Seeing Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) adapt to life post-Blip is just boatloads of fun, right from the get-go with his little internal monologue-turned-bestselling novel. All’s right in the world of Ant-Men, with current Ant-Man and the Wasp Lang and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) joined by former heroes Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Then finally we meet the almost-grown Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), Scott’s daughter and the newest heroine with a bug suit. It did seem like Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas had very minimal screen time in this one, focusing more on Rudd, Newton, and Pfeiffer. Personally, I thought we’d see more of The Wasp since her name is in the title, but maybe it could still count for Pfeiffer.
Sadly, things start to get a little too weird after they spend some time in the Quantum Realm, a subatomic universe introduced in past “Ant-Man” installments but greatly expanded upon here. The world-building is impressive for sure, and quite visually stunning at that, but bears a strong resemblance to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest disaster of a film, “Strange World.”
The plot and villain arc also drew immediate comparisons in my mind to 2010’s “TRON: Legacy,” in that Kang and Clu are nearly the same villain, ruling over an oppressed group of native inhabitants. Both aim to escape the world in which they’re trapped into our world and those beyond, yet can only do so with the assistance of the main protagonist.
I think another part of the problem is Ant-Man should never have been the focus of three movies. He’s not Batman or Spider-Man, his superpower is essentially a suit that makes him shrink or grow exponentially, as well as communicate with ants. That’s not the kind of superhero that most kids would aspire to be. Ant-Man is far more suited for the supporting character role as he was in “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” But his solo endeavours, although fun, are not anything special. I’m always waiting for a more compelling hero to show up somewhere, and they never come.
I think fans of Marvel comics may enjoy “Quantumania” more than most, since it provides a litany of references to characters and storylines from the entire spectrum of Marvel comic books. But the average moviegoer or those who subside only on the MCU will most likely be disappointed. As I said, it’s fun at times, but it’s also very trippy and seems to be tailor-made specifically for those hardcore Marvel fans.
Again, Kang is a great villain, and I cant wait until he gets a better movie to show how just how formidable he can be. It’s unfortunate that his first adversaries are the Ant-Man clan, he deserves to be squaring off against the The Avengers as a whole, or even just the main players like Iron Man or Captain America. Being defeated by Ant-Man is not a great look for the man who’s supposed to be the most dangerous and feared being in the multiverse.
As with all Marvel movies, there are some end credits scenes, and we get two this time. First up is a mid-credits scene, which fans of the comics will get the most out of. The second is post-credits, and will likely be more relevant to most viewers. Specifically, it targets those who’ve watched a certain Disney+ series which already featured one variant of Kang. In the scene, we meet a couple familiar characters from the series, which may be setting up another season as well.
All in all, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is better than most of Phase Four, but that really isn’t saying much. The weak story and lack of audience care for Ant-Man and his insect compatriots severely weaken the film. As with nearly all of Phase Four, there’s little to no rewatch value, I simply have no interest in watching this movie again, and doubt most viewers will either. Not a very good start for Phase Five of the MCU, if you ask me. And as the one poised to be the franchise’s next major villain, Kang deserved both a better film to introduce him, and far more respect/fear from the characters. Ant-Man and The Wasp are always welcome to be in any Avengers movies that come out, but hopefully this is the last Ant-Man movie that I have to endure.
I give “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” a 6/10.