Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp – Quantumania

Well, that was stupid.

Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, is living life since the end of the Infinity War. But his peaceful post-hero life is going to end when his daughter creates a transmitter to the quantum realm, a realm Hank Pym’s wife fears more than anything else. Before you can say “where is Michael Peña?” they are sucked into a portal into an alien world ruled by a tyrant.

Directed by Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, the third outing for Scott Lang groups him up with his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) Hope, aka The Wasp (Evangeline Lily) and Janet, Hank’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) as they descend into the quantum realm. A chaotic otherworld where entire civilizations live “beneath our own”.
Remember when the first Ant-Man film was praised for being “grounded”? With the second film following suit, mostly. Quantumania has zero chill, zero brakes, and zero charm.

The best analogy for the film is this: it is like being with a very young child as they go through their toy box, making up a story with toys from totally different franchises and brands, sizes and designs. Basically what Andy does at the start of Toy Story.

Genuinely, this is probably the first headache-inducing Marvel movie.

Ant-Man Quantumania still
Yep, that background is definitely real

The premise, from what is understood, is that this quantum realm is home to an incredibly dangerous individual; Kang the Conqueror. Someone only Janet has had history with, and someone who can destroy entire timelines. Unfortunately, Ant-Man is the hero to meet this Thanos-class threat.
For an introduction to a substantial villain… it is pretty awful. Not for actor Jonathan Majors, he is great in the part with the material given to him… But for everything else. The editing is shambolic, the characterization is flat, the dialogue is in service to the plot and little else, the world is a dizzying mess of visuals, like someone vomited up The Phantom Menace all over Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets. The sets, when they weren’t entirely CGI, felt like Star Trek television show sets; lifeless and uninteresting.

Paul Rudd feels massively out of place in his own movie, but not for being upstaged like Benedict Cumberbatch was, but for… the contrivance of it all. It makes you ask absurd questions that a better written screenplay would have had you ignore. Like: Why are there some people in this weird world of jelly-monsters and robots with lightbulb heads that look just like humans? It doesn’t slow down, and if it does slow down, it is edited so badly that you forget it had slowed down. Scenes end before they actually end, all the time, in this movie.

Jonathan Majors in Quantumania
Jonathan Majors wonders if he can still get out the MCU (this caption aged well, didn’t it?)

Expectations were low going to see this film, but they were still met. Marvel and Disney need to pump the brakes or do something otherwise they will haemorrhage even more audience members. Why exactly they thought a petty thief would convincingly fight an army of Stormtroopers faceless soldiers and a time- and space-warping tyrant with any believability… Oh wait, they also made a villain literally everyone forget about from the first Ant-Man movie into a giant floating head with baby limbs sprouting out of it. They were clearly very high on something when they wrote this.

I think I’m done with Marvel movies. If this is their introduction to a new Big Bad, the reveal of the major story going forward, it doesn’t feel like they care anymore. Which is genuinely quite sad.

1.5 stars out of 5

Additional Marshmallows: Yes, Thor: Love and Thunder was better.

Additional, additional marshmallows: How can an Ant-Man film with Paul Rudd not have any funny lines or moments at all?

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