Sometimes small things make a big impact, and in the case of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, that impact isn’t a positive one. The MCU launches into a brand new phase, and they clearly have large and ambitious plans. However, as they attempt to steady the ship and weather the storm post Infinity Saga, they’ve proven to be a hit and miss venture. If Quantumania is any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a long and arduous journey that goes even heavier on CGI, and much, much lighter on character and story.
I’m a staunch Ant-Man defender, standing firmly behind both prior films in the trilogy and appreciating Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as a highlight of the Avengers ensembles. His pivotal role in defeating Thanos and saving half of all life in the universe likely boosted his reputation with audiences, but still, I consider myself one of the biggest fans of this iteration of the character. Which makes Quantumania all the more disappointing.
Let’s start by saying there are a lot of talented people here doing a lot of solid work. Paul Rudd is a gift. His charisma and charm can elevate even the most mediocre of writing, and his comedic performance — both physically and vocally — are a shining light in a dark splotch on the MCU’s record. Kathryn Newton (Freaky) is a fantastic addition as Scott’s daughter Cassie. The constant recasting of the character is a bit jarring, but if this is where it lands and sticks, I’m happy with it. And then there’s Jonathan Majors as Kang, this saga’s answer to Thanos. He’s a powerhouse performer with a dominating presence; however, I have a feeling his part in Creed III is the role he’ll be remembered for when looking back on 2023.
Also Read: New Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Trailer Hints Scott Lang’s Impending Death
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania takes an interesting approach to telling its story, although there really isn’t much of a story to tell. There is no set up. No time dedicated to establishing a baseline or spending more than a moment with these characters in their real lives before thrusting them into the computer generated world of the Quantum Realm. This is where we spend nearly all of our time, and it’s not a visually pleasant experience, feeling more reminiscent of a Sharkboy and Lava Girl or Spy Kids setting than the MCU.
It’s a questionable choice by Marvel to dedicate an entire film to a world of CGI as fans are vocally calling for a return to form with more character and plot driven stories like Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel’s over use of CGI has been a critique for years; however, it’s the use of poorly executed CGI that has really made fans stand up and take notice recently, with the floating head from Thor: Love and Thunder and the third eye from Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness post credit sequence being the worst offenses. I’m here to tell you now, a specific character in Quantumania will make those moments look like digital mastery by comparison. That’s all I’ll say so as not to spoil anything, but you’ll know it when you see it, I guarantee it.
The film has its laughs. Many of the jokes land and many don’t, but I’ll admit that my theater was filled with a consistent chuckle and occasional belting laughter throughout. Quantumania does balance its action and humor far better than Love and Thunder, which hurled a barrage of non-stop juvenile humor at the screen and hoped some of it stuck. This is largely (or entirely) thanks to Rudd’s natural comedic chops and knack for perfect quip delivery, a trait that Robert Downey Jr. perfected, but Rudd comes close. Perhaps the film’s biggest fault is its lack of Michael Peña as Luis, Scott’s fast talking sidekick and fan favorite character.
Paul Rudd is a gift, Kathryn Newton is a strong addition and Jonathan Majors is rock solid.
Unfortunately, beyond this trio, #AntManAndTheWas #Quantumania has little going for it. Weak story, poor character development and atrocious dialogue. Lord help us for Phase 5. pic.twitter.com/OI8zhRYBWz
— Joshua Ryan (@MrMovieGuy86) February 14, 2023
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania certainly can’t be accused of being the same ole’ Marvel movie; it truly is incredibly different from any other entry in the shared universe. While I would love to mean that as a compliment, different isn’t always better, and Quantumania takes a skosh over two hours to prove that. It’s a bit of a jumbled Quantum-Mess that feels part Star Wars and part Rick and Morty, but always as much weaker versions. Homage can be a beautiful thing when utilized properly, and it can be a travesty when the homage becomes the film’s entire identity and it has nothing new to say. Will I be tuning in for the next entry in the MCU? Of course! I’m in too deep at this point, and despite his bumbled cinematic debut, I’m genuinely curious to see the evolution of Major’s Kang and how he stacks up against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
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