Video: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is helmed by Peyton Reed, who directed the previous two Ant-Man films. Unfortunately, Quantumania starts off on a seemingly promising note, but then completely spirals out of control becoming absurd, unrelatable, and honestly one of the worst Marvel films I’ve seen in a long time.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) are separated from Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), her mom Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and the creator of the original Ant-Man suit, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in the Quantum realm, a world that is microscopic. The film showcases our characters trying to locate one another and return to the human world, Janet’s unspoken past within the Quantum realm, and an ultimate showdown against an iconic comic book villain Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors)

The beginning of the film had some intrigue. Scott is now a respected author. Cassie is picked up by Scott and Hope from a police station and is reprimanded for shrinking a police car down to the size of a toy car in the name of justice. The argumentative relationship between Scott and his daughter continues when Scott learns that Cassie has been studying the Quantum realm and Paul Rudd does an excellent job at showing a desire to show an interest in his daughter’s hobbies but at the same time wants to tell her she shouldn’t be doing so she can stay safe. Additionally, the film becomes suspenseful when Janet (who spent 30 years in the Quantum Realm) forcefully shuts down everything Cassie is working on, saying she should not be making any form of communication with the Quantum realm. At this point, I thought the film had some good going for it– you naturally wonder why in the world Janet doesn’t want anyone to study this universe (she was there for such a long time so what does she know that we don’t?) and Scott’s paternal protection for his daughter is admirable. Unfortunately the film quickly becomes convoluted and unengaging after this quite decent setup.

Our characters are separated in the Quantum realm as previously mentioned (once again Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie are separated from Hope, Janet, and Hank) and so you have two back-and-forth missions that these different characters are focused on. When this happens in film, oftentimes you have one story that is more engaging than the other, where you think to yourselves, “When are we going to get back to these more interesting characters?!” Unfortunately, neither set of characters had much intrigue to build off the first act that was set up fairly decently. 

With Scott and Cassie, we are focused on the people of this world and with Hope, Janet, and Hank the focus is on Janet’s past and her connection to Jonathan Majors’s character, Kang. Janet spends a chunk of time telling Hope and Hank (and the audience) what happened between her and Kang during the time she was in the Quantum realm (and it’s all non-interestingly spoon-fed to the audience). The theme of Justice can be seen once again in the Quantum realm where Scott simply wants to focus on returning to Earth but Cassie reasons that they should stay and help the people of this realm, explaining, “Just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening!”. That theme would’ve been a great one if it could have been executed with more of an engaging punch but the film is more concerned with cycling through all of its ridiculous plot that does not have much to hold its viewer in suspense, effectively produce laughs, or offer any sort of a creative plot that captures the attention of its audience. I am not going to lie; I started to doze off 3-4 times. I made it to the end but I was tremendously bored for the middle acts, trying so hard to stay laser-focused on what was happening and that wouldn’t have been the case had the film had more of an engaging story. 

There is a character that has got to be the worst-looking CGI character I’ve ever seen in a Marvel film. Corey Stoll reprises his role from the franchise as Darren Cross who was banished to the Quantum realm and mutated into this silly sinister villain with an oversized head known as MODOK. Albeit, the character design from the comics does look a bit ridiculous. If you Google MODAK you’ll understand what I am saying. However, it’s just a regular human looking giant head moving around. If you look at a picture of this character from the comics you’ll notice the head does not have many flesh-tones and it seems like they got lazy with effects, designing an unfinished-looking character. The tones should have been desaturated and non-human looking but instead just looks like a head with little alteration. It was laughably embarrassing. 

Finally, Kang the Conqueror who according to my Marvel friends is supposed to be this big villain, does not appear to be astronomically different from any ordinary Marvel villain. I will admit that we do get to see what a terrible evil this character is capable of and perhaps when we see him in future films, he will make more of a dent as a big primary villain. But from my perspective, I thought, “Is this supposed to be the new Thanos?” 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is just about Thor: Love and Thunder bad and I highly recommend skipping it.

Final Verdict:After a promising 1st act that featured some relatable family conflict, the film falls apart by dividing our characters up in a contrived and inconsequential realm that had absent thrills and jokes that didn’t land.