Quantumania aims big but ends up being just another run-of-mill, albeit entertaining, CGI infested superhero film.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) are pulled into the Quantum Realm with their family and must save the populace from the villainous Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) while figuring out how to get back home. While the story is a bit silly in parts with some absurd looking characters (*cough M.O.D.O.K. *cough*), it was entertaining enough as far as superhero popcorn flicks go and delivered pretty much what I expected (minus Michael Peña) from an Ant-Man movie.

Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man, is living a pretty chilled life in San Francisco as a successful memoirist with his girlfriend Hope van Dyne, AKA Wasp and their teenage daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton). When he’s not busting his daughter out of jail for being an activist he’s giving book readings to his fans and enjoying the hospitality from local vendors grateful to him (and the Avengers, of course) for helping save the world from Thanos. Thanks, Spider-Man!

After Cassie demonstrates her latest invention to her family that sends a signal into the Quantum Realm, something from the Quantum Realm pulls them all into a world that Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) didn’t think was possible to exist and a history that Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) has been keeping from her family.

Upon landing in the Quantum Realm the family is separated with Scott and Cassie finding themselves as guests amongst a group of rebels led by Jentorra (Katy O’Brian) while Hope, Hank and Janet find themselves in Janet’s old stomping ground where she re-connects with old associates from when she was trapped in the Quantum Realm previously.

It doesn’t take long for the family to learn they’re being hunted by Kang the Conqueror – a scientist from the future – who needs their technology in order to escape the Quantum Realm and continue his mission of mass destruction and genocide across the galaxy. Once again, the fate of Earth and now the Quantum Realm falls into the hands of our smallest heroes.

If you’ve seen the previous two Ant-Man movies then you already know what you’re going to get with regard to the action, adventure and comedy. Except this time around the comedy is sorely missing Michael Peña, who hilariously played Luis in the previous two Ant-Man films. Even though Paul Rudd is being Paul Rudd again, he still delivers the Ant-Man goods with his light-hearted comedy persona mixed with some extra responsibility now that his character has a teenage daughter helping him save the world. Even though he doesn’t have Peña to compliment his comedic performance, Rudd is still able to carry the comedy along with his other co-stars.

A hero is nothing without having an interesting villain and Jonathan Majors definitely brings a new tone to the Ant-Man films with his portrayal of Kang the Conqueror. While Paul Rudd along with his co-stars Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathryn Newton play fairly light-hearted characters who feel quite two-dimensional as far as how they are portrayed in the films, Majors brings a presence that is at odds to the rest of the cast.

His voice is calm, soothing but dangerous. His mannerisms are subtle but have deadly consequences. There is something about him that exudes sophistication, infinite wisdom/experience and seriousness that puts him at odds with the vibe of the rest of the film. His character is an outsider to the Quantum Realm so maybe that’s the point.

In any case, Majors’ Kang is a villain who feels like he’s too big and too serious for this movie when you weigh him against the rest of the characters/cast and the overall tone of the story. We already know he’s destined to become the MCU’s next big baddie, so maybe that’s by design.

Peyton Reed (Ant-Man and the Wasp) returns as director and despite the ambitious scope of creating an entire world completely through CGI (much like Avatar), this feels like familiar territory. The jokes are there but aren’t as funny as previous films. The action is there but doesn’t seem as creative as the first time you saw Ant-Man shrink and grow big in creative fight sequences. This story is set nearly entirely in a new world we’ve never experienced before but it feels like any other CGI world we’ve seen in other movies – sorry but Avatar did it better.

I don’t really expect much from Marvel films because they are after all just superhero stories, however nothing in this film really surprised me (except for the exclusion of Michael Peña) or made it feel more or less special than other Marvel films. It basically feels like this is just a way to introduce Marvel’s new major villain and to showcase the artistic talents of the artists who created a lot of weird looking Quantum Realm aliens.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania plays big with its CGI visuals to create another universe but at the end of the day just feels like another run-of-the mill superhero film designed purely to advance us to the next one. There’s nothing majorly wrong with this third Ant-Man movie, but there’s nothing that special, either. Maybe I have superhero movie fatigue. In any case this is still entertaining enough to watch on the big screen and enjoy the spectacle, which we totally will because we know the Marvel films are all linked – oh those clever bastards.

  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Release Date: February 17, 2023
  • Distributor: Disney

Originally published on February 24, 2023 at https://www.popzara.com/movies/movie-reviews/ant-man-and-the-wasp-quantumania-2023/