Even if you’re just a casual Marvel fan, you’re likely familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s six phases. Back in 2008, Iron Man was the first film to kick off Phase One, with Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) as the final movie of The Infinity Saga. MCU entered the Multiverse Saga in Phase Four and it’s definitely a mixed bag for me, with Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being its lowest points. I have to say that once MCU goes all multiverse-crazy, the movies get zanier and more outlandish. Now we’re officially in Phase Five with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
The first Ant-Man movie was a pleasant surprise for me and the personal side of the story of Scott Lang is funny and charming. The second movie Ant-Man and the Wasp which introduced Evangeline Lily as Hope van Dyne and Michelle Pfeiffer as her mother Janet got more complicated but it’s still a lot of fun. Peyton Reed did a great job with the first two movies and he’s back at the helm once again with a script from Jeff Loveness. I noticed that the first two Ant-Man movies had multiple writers, including Paul Rudd himself credited, but this time it’s just Loveness whose main credit is Rick and Morty and he’s never written a feature script before. Well, Loveness sure had his work cut out for him given the expectations to deliver a bigger and even more complex movie that delves even deeper into the multiverse.
The movie ties into Janet’s storyline in the second film when she was trapped in the Quantum realm for 3 decades. The eternally luminous Michelle Pfeiffer is always watchable, and she gets to kick some @$$ here. Then the movie switches to earth where Scott Lang is enjoying life as a celebrity. He’s hailed as a hero for saving the world with fellow Avengers and he’s even written a book about it! Rudd is such a likable guy that I’d be up for seeing a movie about Scott Lang instead of his heroic alter ego.
One thing I miss in this movie is Scott’s goofy buddies Luis, Kurt, and Dave, played by Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian and T.I. respectively. Instead, we’re introduced to Kathryn Newton as Cassie, Scott’s now-grown-up daughter. Newton is fine but she looks a lot like Amber Heard that it got a bit distracting.
In any case, Scott’s relationship with Cassie is supposed to provide the emotional core of the movie but it feels artificial somehow, and the father-daughter storyline has been done in a much better way in other films. The romance between Scott and Hope is still going strong but we rarely see them together here, pretty much all the human relationships are buried beneath all of the chaotic hullabaloos of the Quantum realm. When the whole Lang family ends up being transported to this dimension, the biggest question they all have is why did Janet keep Kang a secret all this time?? The movie never answers this question, in fact, it seems like all the busyness is a ploy to sidestep that giant plot hole.
Visually speaking, it’s definitely not my favorite in the MCU. The set pieces of the Microverse have a deliberate psychedelic look to them, at times it’s a mix between TRON and Star Wars, especially the latter with all the weird-looking creatures in the cantina. The myriad of the underworld population varies greatly in shapes and sizes, from the transparent jelly blob, a creature with a humanoid body and a lamp head, to someone who looks like Xena the Warrior Princess. I have to say some of the character designs are ugly, especially the moving ‘buildings’ that look like inflatable balloon tube man thing-y.
Speaking of wisecracks, the Ant-Man movies have been one of the funniest MCU movies and I do still enjoy Scott’s self-deprecating humor. Apart from that though, most of the jokes don’t land well and some are downright cringe-inducing and in poor taste, i.e. the ‘jokes’ about how many holes a human being has is just plain gross. It might be ok in an animated science-fiction sitcom but it’s just so juvenile to have a place in the MCU.
Don’t even get me started about MODOK. That thing might be cool in the comics but it’s just too strange and revolting in this movie. Poor Corey Stoll is reduced to such a weird killing machine, he’s practically the Jar Jar Binks of the MCU to me now. There’s also a notable cameo of a famous actor who’s reportedly been a douche to his co-stars, so his flamboyant wisecracking is not at all funny or amusing.
Performance-wise, the clear MVPs are Pfeiffer and Jonathan Majors as the new all-powerful big baddie. Majors has a strong screen presence and gravitas but it’s as if he’s in his own universe if you will. He’s menacing but somehow detached from the worlds he’s supposedly conquered and his motivations aren’t very clear compared to say, Thanos, even with his extremely warped logic. I read that Kevin Feige said Major’s Kang the Conqueror got the highest test screening scores in the MCU villain (beating Thanos and Loki). That’s all well and good, if only the script were on-par with the actors’ performances.
The movie is only 2 hours and 5 minutes long but it felt like it went on forever. It’s as if time is being stretched out in the Quantum realm. One character made a quip, ‘It’s never over’ which ironically seems to be referring to the endless, mind-numbing chase/fight/battle sequences involving humans & Quantum people/creatures alike. While most superhero movies reserve the most bombastic CGI-heavy action scenes to the finale in the 3rd act, Quantumania spreads them out so the movie is in constant frenetic action mode.
Overall, Quantumania is lackluster and quite exhausting to sit through that makes me think Marvel’s glory days might be behind us. Honestly, I’m really not looking forward to the rest of Phase Five.
Have you seen Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? What do you think?
14 thoughts on “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2022) Review”
I’m going to see this tonight. I’m looking forward to Kang, but do not have high hopes for the rest of the movie based on reviews.
Kang is still one of the few highlights so hopefully he won’t disappoint you! But yeah, set your expectations way low.
I have zero interest in this film even though I enjoyed the first two Ant-Man films. The visual looks like something from a video game and I’m still in super hero fatigue. I think it’s time for Marvel to slow a bit. Disney is smart by slowing down releasing Star Wars films, so they need to do the same with Marvel.
That’s it Ted!! You hit the nail right on the head, it does look like a video game with garish colors. Yeah honestly I’m completely Marvel-ed out now, not sure I’ll be tuning in to LOKI S2 even tho I LOVE Hiddleston in that role.
Exact same score I gave it. Pretty disappointing. And it’s not so much that it’s a terrible movie. It’s just so unremarkable. It doesn’t feel at all special nor does it move the MCU forward in a meaningful way. I’m about MCU’d out.
Hey Keith! Yeah disappointing indeed, I feel like Marvel is in a rut nowadays in the Multiverse, seems that their old formula is losing its luster. Yep, I’m Marvel-ed out too, which makes me curious if the DCEU shakeup might make me care for DC films now the way I used to for MCU.
None of you have good taste, the movie was good and on par with the other antman movies, the lack luster shows have been weak, ms marvel, she hulk, and also Wauconda forever was “lack luster” antman was far better
To each is own. I just prefer the MCU movies that actually go somewhere and do interesting things with their characters. I didn’t feel this movie did either.
Agreed, Keith! The filmmakers seem to have forgotten what made the first two movies worked. I for one am SO OVER the whole multiverse craze.
I just saw the film and while I did enjoy it. There were some serious issues as I too was like where’s Luis, Kirk, and Dave? I missed those guys. They made the first 2 films fun as well with the 2nd one being my favorite of the three. I thought Bill Murray’s appearance was a total waste of time as it didn’t really do anything. The lack of humor really jarred me as I also thought there wasn’t enough urgency with the stakes. I did like the visuals as well as the cast with Michelle Pfieffer and Jonathan Majors being the stand outs in the film.
So we’re pretty much in agreement then as I too miss those three guy friends of Scott Lang and I didn’t care for Bill Murray’s appearance. I do love Pfeiffer and Majors and their quiet scenes together are the highlight for me.
There’s elements in the film that I did like which was enough to give it a recommendation of sorts but there were many things in the film that was frustrating. I wrote a lot in my review of the film as it wasn’t just underwhelming but really weak.
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