I never really expected all that much from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Ant-Man movies. The first two films were pretty low-key affairs, with the first one essentially being a heist film while the second one didn’t have the entire planet in crisis. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, on the other hand, definitely has higher stakes as the miniature Marvel hero has to take on Kang the Conqueror. This is a very big departure from the previous relatively small-stakes missions he takes on all by his lonesome. Does this overall change work? Well, I’ve just seen Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and I can say it works… mostly. Kinda.
With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania not being released to all territories in the world yet, it’s only fair that this review be a SPOILER FREE review. So, yeah. No major plot points will be revealed here.
Anyway, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (I’ll just call the movie Quantumania from now on) takes place some time after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Ant-Man/Scott Lang is now enjoying a little bit of fame and has even written a book about his adventures as Ant-Man. He and his daughter, Cassie Lang, now spend a lot of bonding time with the Pym family, which includes fiancee Hope Van Dyne, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Unfortunately, Cassie has created a device that allows them to remotely map out the Quantum Realm and the device sucks them into the Quantum Realm. Now, this new family has to find a way back to the regular world while also having to deal with a manevolent tyrant, Kang the Conqueror.
There is a lot to like in Quantumania and the first thing I’d like to mention is the chemistry between the main characters. You’re supposed to buy that Scott, Cassie, Hope, Hank and Janet have formed a very strong connection with each other and I was sold on that idea. All of the main heroes do a good job of acting like they’re family as they bicker with each other but you can tell they still care for each other underneath. They all pull off convincing performances when they’re together.
A lot of this is because the actors are all excellent performers. Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer do show remarkable chemistry between each other. I am a bit disappointed that it does seem like Wasp and Hank Pym take more of a backseat in Quantumania. In fact, I’m genuinely surprised as the Wasp is in the title of the movie. However, it’s in service of sharing a lot of screentime with Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne, someone who’s lived in the Quantum Realm for ages. She does pull off a fantastic performance as someone who’s returned to a place she would rather forget but knows she had to trudge on for her family to make it out the other end.
Among all the heroes, the standouts would have to be Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Kathryn Newton. Paul Rudd still plays Ant-Man/Scott Lang with a type of everyman charm. I guess that’s because Paul Rudd does seem to be like that in real life so it’s not much of stretch. But it does help make his character as endearing as possible. Kathryn Newton may be new at playing Cassie Lang but she does a fantastic job in the role. It certainly helps that there’s a goofy father-daughter relationship between her and Scott Lang that works really well. As their relationship is kind of the emotional center of the film, I’m glad it worked out exceptionally.
However, the real standout in Quantumania is Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, the central villain of the film. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t all that impressed with Jonathan Majors when he played the Kang variant He Who Remains in Loki. He most certainly redeemed himself here! His version of Kang the Conqueror, being with almost god-like power, is really menacing and scary. He may seem calm and cool underneath but you can just sense all the rage and anger just bubbling underneath. Marvel movies has had a shortage of really good villains but Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror is one of the exceptions.
I also generally did like all of the world building done here. The Quantum Realm is supposed to be an alien looking place and, while they do feel a little “generically alien” at times, they do put a lot of effort making it feel just strange enough. The worlds they do show off do feel remarkably lived in, making it feel like the world has been living in the Quantum Realm all these years just under our noses. I actually do feel like the writers of Quantumania looked at Star Wars, another Disney property, and decided to ape a lot of elements from that intellectual property.
While I do like the worlds they’ve built, I can’t say the same for the characters they introduce from the Quantum Realm. Most of them don’t really do that much and most of them actually have very little screentime. I honestly forgot their names! Then again, I can’t for the life of me recall Michael Pena’s character’s name from the other two Ant-Man films so there’s that. Still, at the very least, they could’ve tried to make them more interesting so I could get invested in what happens to them.
The overall story of Quantumania is fine as it’s all told in a very nice pace. However, the story itself feels a little disjointed as times. A big reason why is the tone shifts several times throughout the film’s 124-minute runtime. It’s like they took the ideas of three different sci-fi films and rewrote things to make them into one cohesive story. It’s still understandable but it does bounce around the place quite a bit.
I also found issues with some of the action scenes. The special effects is done really well here so the giant CGI filled battles actually look really good. No PlayStation 2 looking plastic fights as seen in the first Black Panther here! The effect of Ant-Man, the Wasp and even Cassie shrinking down quickly is pretty solid as well. The massive setpiece battles do look good as the camera pans out and you can see what happening. It’s when the fights are more primitive and they just throw punches and kicks is when things get wonky. The camera zooms in so close and there are quick cuts galore. There’s even a little shaky cam thrown in for good measure! I just wish they took the time and care to do some legit fight sequences here that didn’t induce a migraine.
But the worst thing about Quantumania, in my opinion, of course, is the humor. Complaining about the abundance of jokes in a Marvel movie seems like a moot point. It’s kind of Marvel’s thing to add lighthearted moments in their films. However, most of the so-called humorous moments are out of place and clashes with what’s happening on screen. Not only that, a lot of the jokes are simply unfunny! I would be more accepting to the inappropriate placement of jokes if they actually were funny. A lot of them just didn’t work so they stood out a lot more and some even felt like in bad taste.
Overall, however, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is enjoyable enough but does feel a little forgettable. Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors’ performances are definitely highlights in a film filled with engaging performances. The story is fun and entertaining but a little tonally weird. I did enjoy watching and I will say go give it a watch. But you don’t have to go rush out right at this very moment to see it. It’s good but not that good.
Have you seen Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!