Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Review: The Conqueror Is Here
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is the beginning of Phase 5, and not only that, this film is the introduction to Kang The Conqueror. He is our next big-level threat after Thanos. This film was set up for the future of the MCU but also needed to be a standalone film. Did Quantumania accomplish this?
I came out of the theater enjoying the film but had issues. Some say this is one of the worst MCU films to date, but I can’t entirely agree with this opinion. Let’s start with some positives and work my way to the negatives.
It’s no surprise to anyone as Jonathan Majors as Kang was phenomenal. He was menacing and powerful, and his presence on screen was electrifying. Every scene he was in was a standout one, sometimes the dialogue wasn’t the best, but Jonathan gave it his all. I love how deep we went with Kang here because I expected to get some info about him, but not on the level we did. We find out why he is in the Quantum Realm and how he has altered it to his own “empire,” as he phrased it. Speaking briefly of the Quantum Realm, what a beautiful and mind-trippy place to be in. The visuals are gorgeous, and the variety of weird-looking characters we meet made me feel like I was watching Guardians Of The Galaxy.
The Volume, a new technology for filming, was used for Quantumania. It makes sense due to the majority of the film taking place in locations that would be impossible to film on location somewhere. At times I noticed the volume at work, but it wasn’t to the point where it took me out of the film. I felt immersed in this world as Peyton Reed, the director, wanted me to be. The Volume technology will be used more to help with the budget, and its use here was an intelligent decision.
Paul Rudd is always terrific as Scott Lang; you know he will bring his quirkiness and great comedic timing to each appearance in the MCU. He did great with this film’s more serious moments as well. Michelle Pfeiffer got a lot more screen time than I expected, but having her be more at the forefront of this story was interesting. Michelle’s “connection” to Kang was a film highlight because it added another layer to Kang’s story. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym was excellent; no surprise there, honestly.
Before diving into some of my mixed issues and negatives, the story in Quantumania is more significant than the previous Ant-Man films. At times it worked, as we are dealing with a higher threat than usual, but it also, at times, felt overwhelming. Peyton Reed, the director of all three Ant-Man films, wanted this final one in the trilogy to feel grander, more on the level of an Avengers film. He was right about it feeling bigger, but it also suffers because of it. I might not have felt that way if this film were longer, like two and a half hours. At times it felt like the audience was being rushed to locations, and we didn’t have time to take a break. I will probably watch this film again, but not for a bit.
Let’s talk about MODOK, a character we waited to see in the MCU for some time, and I am mixed with him. His design is spot on from the comics for the most part, but the way he was written felt underwhelming. Some funny moments with him, but I wanted the more menacing version of the character that we fans have been waiting to see. If the character had been written differently, I would have loved to see him be the villain of an Ant-Man film by himself. Maybe in the Multiverse somewhere, that did happen.
Evangeline Lilly, as Hope, was dealt a short straw here. Her hero’s name is in the film’s title, but she gets pushed to the sidelines most of the time. Hope does get some moments to shine here and there, but she mainly helps with the story, not being in the forefront like I expected. It feels like they had to keep the name Ant-Man and The Wasp in the title since they added her last time. Maybe they cut this film to lower her involvement, which I don’t know if they did, but that would suck if they did.
Kathryn Newton is our new Cassie Lang, and she was fine. Sometimes, it felt like she was reading the lines instead of acting. Then, on the other hand, she had some good moments with her lines. I’m honestly mixed about her, and this isn’t because of Marvel mishandling the recast of her role because they didn’t tell the previous Cassie from Endgame that she was being replaced. That whole situation irritated me, but I went into this film to see what Kathryn would bring to the role, and honestly, she didn’t bring anything new. I would like to see her in a potential Young Avengers film, but she needs to be written better.
Overall, I enjoyed this film despite its faults. The MCU isn’t perfect, but I hope we can get to a better stretch of releases from Marvel. It’s been mixed since Avengers: Endgame. I am excited to see where Kang appears next and where all our heroes here appear after this. I hope Marvel takes note that sometimes bigger doesn’t mean better. The first Ant-Man film was small-scale, but it was great.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is out in theaters now.