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Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania MOVIE REVIEW: zany, weighty, and giant-sized expansion of the MCU

Director: Peyton Reed, Actors: Paul Rudd, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonathan Majors, Evangeline Lilly, Kathryn Newton, Michael Douglas.



I’ll admit it, I did a bad thing. I read reviews of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania before seeing it for myself. As a result, I shuffled through the aisles of my theater and found my seat, ready for disappointment while surrounded by a menagerie of sugary delights with which to eat away my feelings. However, by the time the second post-credits scene faded to black (that’s right, stick around for it), I found myself with an empty box of Whoppers and a full sense of hope for the future of the MCU. Despite a Goliath-sized horde of scathing reviews — Glen Weldon’s review for NPR hit me particularly hard in the childhood — Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania introduces a new looming threat to the MCU while still managing to keep charisma, heart, and a genuine love for the genre at its forefront.



Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania picks up with a post-Endgame Scott Lang enjoying the fame his derring-do affords him, all while trying to make up for lost time with his daughter, Cassie. Meanwhile, the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp have allowed for the family reunion of Hank, Janet, and Hope, leading to a picturesque life for our heroes . . . until they get sucked into the Quantum Realm. Quantumania focuses heavily on Scott and Cassie’s relationship, which keeps the multiversal aspects of the story grounded. This film seeks to accomplish a lot. It wants to expand the MCU but also tell a story that rounds out Ant-Man as a character, two goals that go well accomplished. Scott’s overwhelmingly human qualities contrast Kang’s god-complex, thematically setting the stage for the coming phases.



How do you top Thanos? He obliterated half the universe and took on a full Avengers lineup with an army at his back, and we are expected to accept a bigger threat than that? Simple answer? Yes, but maybe not in the way you expect. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania introduces a new threat in the form of Kang the Conqueror. A standout of Quantumania, Kang’s character is tense and terrifying. He carries a silent power that tints every scene with an unpredictability. The threat Kang poses is presented in a unique way that subverted my expectations and racked me with excitement at the future of the character.



Though I practically skipped out of the theater, enjoyment plastered on my face, the negative reviews have their points. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hardly tries to escape the “MCU veneer” we’ve come to expect from these big budget affairs. Many scenes would have us believe that our stars are sharing the same space when a surreal uncanniness tells us otherwise. Alternating individual shots and an onslaught of CGI often give the impression that actors were filmed separately and spliced together into the same frame. Alongside these visual hiccups is the awkwardness of Hope Van Dyne’s reduced involvement in the story despite receiving top billing in the film’s title. Hope isn’t the only character who takes a narrative backseat either. Hank Pym is simplified to a single-faceted character while Scott’s ex-wife and friends are excluded almost entirely, streamlining the story a bit more than necessary; however, for the purposes of this film these changes somehow work — even if I’m still bitter about getting less of The Wasp.



Despite its shortcomings, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a fun and weighty entry to the MCU that revels in its camp but shines in its unabashed creativity. Watch it now at a theater near you!


Should you require some preliminary reading before trekking to your local theater, I highly recommend both Ant-Man: Ant-niversary and Kang The Conqueror: Only Myself Left To Conquer .


 

Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.

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