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Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fifth chapter is off to a bad start! This new Ant-Man & the Wasp tale might have noble intentions but fails to impress!

Genre: Action / Adventure /Comedy / Sci-Fi

Director: Peyton Reed

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton, Katy O’Brian, William Jackson Harper, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas & Bill Murray.

Run Time: 124 min.

US Release: 17 February 2023

UK Release: 17 February 2023

German Release: 15 February 2023

It is Sunday, which means “Superhero” time! Marvel’s Phase Five kicked off this February with the third Ant-Man flick and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the stumbling Phase Four, nor did the trailers for Quantumania convince me, I was still holding hope for the first instalment of this new chapter. Well, the joke is on me because this new MCU phase continues the lacklustre, as well as uncreative storytelling, paired with mediocre visual effects from overworked VFX company employees. So, get ready to jump with me into my review for Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania.

When Scott, Hope, Cassie, Hank, and Janet are involuntarily sucked into the Quantum Realm, they soon find themselves surrounded by strange new creatures. None of them are as threatening as Kang the Conqueror, however, who proves to be a threat to the multiverse.

Apart from the effects, one of the biggest issues this comic book adaptation has is the screenplay, which is a real mixed bag! This is Jeff Loveness’ debut film writing, previously having worked on scripts for TV specials, just like a few Rick & Morty episodes, which absolutely shows! In all honesty, I don’t understand why a novice has been given two important movies of this magnitude, as it is too much to handle.

The plot is overstuffed, needing to balance five protagonists, exploring a whole new world, setting up a new villain plus narrative for future instalments. The end result is that this Marvel flick feels once again like expensive, flashy, filler. There are conflicting tonal mismatches, jumping from goofy fun to overly serious. The pacing is off, rushing through the introductory arc, then slowing down to introduce audiences to the Quantum Realm, just to inexplicably speed through the final act again. My biggest gripe, though, is how it ends; setting up a string of punching-bag villains for our heroes to fight, using the multiverse as an excuse.

That said, the script does have its positives. For one, I like how it focuses on family, given that the lead hero is a loving father. This sets up some interesting internal conflicts, which our hero needs to overcome, especially once the main villain comes into play. The shift in atmosphere, when Kang appears on screen, is a welcomed one. Moving away from the usual MCU comedic tone, viewers are met with an actual threatening presence.

Unfortunately, the story is shoved back every so and so, into the Marvel template, which is especially true when it comes to dialogue. Loveness, who is until now known for having scripted comedy for the small screen, serves up a dish of childish, immature humour, containing high-school-level jokes, as well as conversations.

Jonathan Majors' embodiment of Kang is brilliant! The actor sends out vibes of cold, calculated menace. The few flashbacks that show Kang using his advanced technology, look almost like black magic. His controlled demeanour, able to switch from friendly, to dead serious in a second, proves that this villain is a high-level threat. It also shows the versatility of Majors’ acting range. That said, the character itself isn’t done any justice, especially with the unfulfilling final climax.

Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man. He is still mostly likeable, yet comes off a little pretentious and hypocritical. It is somewhat understandable, though, as he fully embraced his role as a family man, trying to catch up on lost time with his now teenage daughter. His relationship with Hope is as stable as it can get. In short, he finally found his footing in life, thus he is afraid to take further risks as he does not want to lose anything of what he built.

Paul Rudd has solid chemistry with Kathryn Newton, who plays Lang’s daughter Cassie, however, his scenes with Evangeline Lilly are wanky. Gone is the electrifying magnetism from the first movie, making them not believable as a couple anymore.

Talking about Evangeline Lilly, she got side-benched. Apart from assisting her mother or Scott, Hope has very little to do. Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym, who has even less to do. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet van Dyne is used for exposition dumps, yet does not answer questions fulfilling, leaving some jarring plot holes.

Finally, I want to talk about the representation of M.O.D.O.K. or better said lack off. Just as with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, the villain here is not the baddy from the comics! In fact, the way the character was handled is an absolute injustice, spitting on the work of Stan Lee!

Camera-wise, it looks like a generic MCU picture, with fast cuts during action segments and long panoramic shots. The colour palette uses a lot of strong violets, golds, reds, oranges, as well as yellows. What is interesting is that it shifts from a happy saturated hue to a darker shade, once Kang is introduced.

The picture is brimming with visual plus computer effects. This is mostly because it plays in the fictional Quantum Realm, which does look like an updated setting of Spy Kids 3D, or Sharkboy & Lava Girl - both directed by Robert Rodriguez. Yes, some of the world-building does look astonishing, but a lot of the effects or CGI characters do look unpolished, even unfinished. The bigger issue is that, because the world is completely virtual, the actors do stick out like a sore thumb.

The musical score is as with many MCU flicks, epic and grand. Christophe Beck’s orchestral composition contains strong sci-fi notes with slumbering, menacing foreboding.


Verdict: I am starting to get tired of the MCU! I was hoping for Phase Five to start with a course correction, yet here we are! Generally, I do believe that Jeff Loveness was the wrong person to script the narrative, given his inexperience. The screenplay contains more negatives than positives, which maybe someone with a larger repertoire could have saved. As it stands, the story is riddled with unanswered questions and plot holes, unbalanced screen time for the main cast, pacing issues, just like tonal inconsistencies. The family aspect is cute, Jonathan Majors feels like a manipulative villain, who could pose a real threat to the world, and Paul Rudd is still likeable enough as the hero. Unfortunately, Evangeline Lilly gets sidelined, Michael Douglas has nothing to do at all, leaving Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet van Dyne to be used as an exposition dump character. The effects are passable at best, the music is engaging. Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania is a mediocre filler. A 5.5 out of 10.

Have you already seen the newest Marvel film? What did you think of it? Are you as fatigued by the MCU as I am? Leave a comment below & thank you for reading!

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