In Quantumania, the smallest (and Biggest) Avenger gets to take the first shot at the MCU’s newest big bad, Kang the Conqueror- How does he do?
After a troubled and divisive Phase 4, Marvel are in desperate need of a hit to begin phase 5. Not a financial hit, but a film that can win back the hearts and minds of some of the MCU’s most loyal followers who have partially lost faith. This leaves Antman and The Wasp Quantumania with a massive Ant Hill to climb. Even though phase four ended with the successful Wakanda Forever, that is still seen as an anomaly as most gathered to mourn Chadwick Boseman. The MCU desperately needs to get its mojo back, can Antman and his family deliver?
The moment I walked out of ‘Antman and The Wasp Quantumania’, the first question I was asked was ‘is it definitely worth seeing, is it a must-see?’ That’s a tricky question to answer as the MCU movies are all designed to be ‘must sees’ whether they are good film or not. The interconnected universe means that watching every film is necessary if you wish to have the full story. So, in that way, Yes- Antman and the Wasp Quantumania is a must-see movie.
Judged on its own merits, Quantumania is a fun entry into the MCU that manages to introduce us to a whole new world with diverse cultures, beings, creatures, and a large-scale battle with high stakes. Even with all these fantastic elements, the film unfortunately only manages to be just average.
Third films in trilogies are notoriously difficult to get right. Once we are familiar enough with a character, the only option is to scale up and go bigger and the third Antman movie has certainly taken that to heart. We are transported back to the Quantum realm where a universe and civilization exists within our own. From expansive cities to desert wastelands, weapons and advanced technology, land/air vehicles, bars, restaurants, and species with their own languages. It really is beautiful and an immersive marvel to behold.
The story goes like this-Antman Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), The Wasp ‘Hope’ (Evangeline Lilly) and her mum and dad Janet Van Dyne and Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeffer) all accidentally get sucked in the Quantum realm where they discover new friends, enemies and an existential threat to the universe. Now this was my first issue with the film. People have often questioned whether Kevin Feige is a genius who had all the MCU stories planned out or if he is making it up as he goes along. I think it’s safe he is making it up.
Michelle Phifer’s Janet Van Dyne spent 30yrs in this Quantum realm, knew all about its civilization and also about this pending threat and said nothing at all upon her escape? You could get away with not mentioning one person you met but a whole new universe? It just wasn’t believable. Consider also that Antman has visited this realm before (he escaped just in time to help with the final battle against Thanos). The film attempts to explain that away by saying Antman never went ‘deep enough’ but that just sounds like a paper-thin excuse.
The landscapes, vehicles and variety of alien beings really gave the film a grand impressive scope and left me with major ‘Star Wars’ vibes, in a positive way. Everyone seems to know Janet Van Dyne from her previous time there so while some are helpful, there are those who have unresolved issues with her. They travel across various parts of the landscape trying to find a way back to their own reality.
What are February’s other Most Wanted Movies? Find out here
What really surprised me was how much of the movie was Janet Van Dyne and Kang’s story. These two have a troubling history which is revealed in the film. Speaking of Kang, what did I make of the MCU’s latest big bad? Knowing very little about Kang the Conqueror (I only read DC comics as a kid), I went in with only the information I had gained from his appearance in the LOKI TV show on Disney Plus.
Jonathan Major’s casting was brilliant. He was sinister and physically menacing, he always felt dangerous and like a real threat. While I loved Jonathan Majors in the role, my issue is with the character himself. While Thanos was teased over several films before his final reveal. Kang has been pretty much revealed. Watching him already battling Antman and family reduced the fear factor. On top of that, he’s powers seem unclear to me.
One minute he seems able to freeze you in position with a click of his fingers and the next he has to physically fight you. I don’t understand his powers. Also, while previous villains had slightly more complex/theoretical ideologies for their actions, it seems with Kang we have gone back to the age-old villain trope ‘conquer the world’, I guess it’s in his name.
Paul Rudd as an actor reminds me very much of Ryan Reynolds, he is consistent. You know what you are going to get, and he always delivers a likable character with funny one liner. Having said that, not all the jokes and comical moments in the film landed but they hit more than they missed. I’ve heard some say that the comical tone and wise cracks didn’t mesh well with the threatening atmosphere they were trying to build around Kang. But personally, that didn’t bother me, it wasn’t that different to how Spiderman constantly makes wisecracks while battling baddies.
I’m not someone who becomes overly obsessed with visual effects but there are some which are so overused they become cheesy. There are a few of those here. Also, some of the ‘logic’ of the shrinking Pym technology seems to have been lost. To enter the Quantum realm, you must shrink down to your smallest possible size. But while in the Quantum realm, Antman is able to still shrink down and grow to ‘giant’ size. I appreciate it’s a fantasy comic book movie but there should still be consistency in powers and abilities.
Love Superhero Movies and tv Shows? See what both DC and Marvel have planned this year here
Despite the issues I had, I still enjoyed Antman and The Wasp Quantumania. It has lost some of the charm and character from the first movie but its big, bright, bold and took chances to expand Antman’s World beyond what we had already seen. I got lost in a different vibrant universe for a few hours and enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately, this will not be the movie to redeem the MCU’s reputation and bring back the love and its once unshakable position. That task now falls to the other two Phase 5 movies this year, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ and ‘The Marvels’. I’m hoping they fare better.
As for this movie, don’t listen to any lazy critic who tells you ‘Its trash’ because it’s certainly not. There are many layers between ‘fantastic’ and ‘terrible’ but people only pick on of those two for internet attention and ‘clicks’. I would completely recommend watching this film. It’s an average movie with several issues but still fun with its own zany identity and a lot to offer. Just go in openminded and with your expectations lowered
Antman and The Wasp Quantumania hits screens Worldwide on February 17th. Watch the Trailer here