‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Review

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“Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” Rating: 2/5

Phase 5 kicks off with one of Marvel’s smaller characters.

I’ve always enjoyed what Ant Man brings to the table, but having his own “larger” movie raises a few questions. Scott Lang is enjoying his newfound reputation as a hero. His daughter is struggling with crime (as he did), and he must intervene when she begins studying the Quantum Realm. But once a calculation goes wrong, they are drawn inside. This forces Scott and his family to deal with Kang, a conqueror with horrifying ambitions.

Positives

When seeing an MCU movie, I usually expect some entertainment value. “Quantumania” brings a certain amount of visual creativity and fun action sequences. Seeing Ant Man helm a leadership position and examine his family relationships was a nice touch. A family dynamic and emotional core always anchors a story with emotional stakes. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t capitalize on this enough.

The performances in the “Ant Man” franchise have always intrigued me. I’m impressed with the talent involved, which makes the journey these characters endure more interesting. Each lead performance was enjoyable. But the newcomer Jonathan Majors adds to this trend, turning in a compelling showing as Kang. I hope the MCU builds upon his character and finally gives fans a villain worth fearing.

Negatives

After the mixed reception of Phase 4, I was hoping Marvel would redeem themselves with better storytelling. But to my dismay…they rehash their old bag of tricks.

“Quantumania” indulges in the MCU trends that have started turning audiences away. The story doesn’t do much new. It relies on being a setup movie (as most MCU movies do). Unfortunately, “Ant Man” is being used as a plot device to push audience members to buy tickets to the next number of movies.

There is no love, no passion, and no reason to see this film unless audiences are all in on the MCU formula. All else will likely feel tired and burnt out by this point.

The film doubles down on the forced humor into sequences that should be serious, which cuts any tension being built. I was never nervous about the resolution because the trend of lighthearted conflict continues to purge this franchise. It is not funny nor necessary. I truly don’t understand why Marvel thinks this formula is effective.

The visuals feel rushed and fake. I’ll admit certain pieces of the production are cool, but for the most part, a green screen background is obvious.

The story has a strange blend of tones, where Kang is murdering groups of people in droves, but another character screams profanities and poorly executed jokes.

The low risk trend continues in this story, where cameos and short shock value take precedent over building a long-term story with stakes and intrigue. At this point, I don’t expect the MCU to deliver A+ storytelling, but this kind of material is just lazy. The term “cash grab” couldn’t be more fitting in this case. It’s just frustrating to see the MCU continue this downward spiral.

Conclusion

Instead of giving the MCU a fresh sense of optimism, “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” begins phase 5 with an uninteresting, tonally inconsistent opening. It is swamped with shoddy CGI and a low stakes story, something the MCU continues to struggle with.

I wish I could say Marvel has a chance at bouncing back. But alas, I think the MCU magic is likely gone. What a shame.

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