Movie Review – Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania needed a banana for scale, or perhaps some orange slices. Either way, the size and scope of this movie is as tone-deaf as the scene where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) hug one another in Giant-Man mode. We know they’re supposed to be large because of their distorted footsteps, but everything in the frame doesn’t give the perspective that they’re giants.
This movie’s biggest hurdle to clear was introducing Kang the Conqueror, which Jonathan Majors plays very well. However, much like the size and scope issue I mentioned above, the power levels between characters fluctuates heavily. Kang reveals that he’s killed several Avengers (including a version of Thor), yet there’s a discrepancy between that information when Kang struggles in his fight with Scott. The mid-credits sequence introduces the Council of Kang, which unfortunately doesn’t seem nearly as imposing once we’ve seen “The Conqueror” taken down so easily mere moments before.
Just as frustrating is what’s on the line for these characters. The short answer is nothing. The third act has a natural stopping point, which could have seen a couple of key characters trapped in the Quantum Realm, yet this movie chooses to resolve this issue a little too quickly and neatly. The ending also had an opportunity to add a level of some concern in which Scott asks himself whether he’s doomed everyone. He ponders the thought for a second before dismissing the threat by assuring himself that everything is probably fine. Considering how he handles that question; you got to wonder how serious he takes threats to the world and Multiverse.
Really, the strength of Quantumania are the visuals. Everything leading up to Kang’s stronghold: the costumes (Kang’s costume is out of this world), the creatures, and the world design are nothing short of spectacular. Star Wars wishes that they could vibe this level of an alien-looking world and denizens. Unfortunately, once the third act starts, the movie turns into a CGI fest. The design of M.O.D.O.K. has been a divisive point amongst the fanbase, but I thought it was fine. The problem with the character, for me, was in how much he was played for laughs. In last year’s X-Men issue #8, Gerry Duggan has a standalone story featuring the killing organism showing how much of a threat the character can be alongside his oddness. Here, he’s just the butt of the jokes.
The two tropes in this movie that are the most annoying are 1.) how long it took the movie before anyone said Kang’s name, and 2.) how everyone reminded us that Janet was in the Quantum Realm for 30 years, so there’s literally a lifetime of material that writers can conveniently insert. That said, Michelle Pfeiffer is committed to the role and even makes exposition dumps a pleasant experience. Sadly, Evangeline Lilly has drawn the short straw again. She’s not given much to do other than just reacting to everyone around her. M.O.D.O.K. said it best, “Hope, you changed your hair.”
Majors had a commanding presence, and the character could have been more menacing if we saw him in a more proactive role. Unfortunately, he will probably be recast at this point, which is another argument fo0 just how trivial the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania really are.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is available on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD now.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511
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