Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the third film in the Ant-Man series of films and the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Peyton Reed and released this past weekend to mixed reviews. So this brings up the question: does this film pull its weight like an ant or disappoint like the sting of a wasp?
The plot of the film revolves around the main cast of the Ant-Man films getting trapped in the quantum realm. It is a pretty standard and basic Marvel plot that follows the Marvel formula to a T, but perhaps the unique characters will be able to carry the story to new heights. Sadly, that isn’t the case as the characters don’t have much to offer. Despite being likable and charismatic, Paul Rudd is not given much to work with this time around playing Scott Lang.
Scott’s progression as a character is rushed, and feels like there are a few story beats missing that could justify his character arc that were likely cut from the theatrical cut due to time. The writers try to emphasize his relationship with his daughter, Cassie, as a central element of the story, but their conflict with one another is not given enough time to have any impact beyond the bare
minimum. The supporting characters fare even worse, as they aren’t developed much beyond one or two basic character traits. The only truly compelling character in the film is Kang the Conqueror, brilliantly played by Jonathan Majors, who is trying to escape the quantum realm so that he can take over the multiverse. While Majors elevates the quality of the film through his
performance, his dramatic acting chops clash tonally with the rest of the movie. Which is trying desperately to be a direct-to-streaming family comedy instead of an action blockbuster theatrical release.
While the characters and story are rushed and half-baked, the visual effects were given more love and seem to be where the filmmakers put most of their effort. When the film is showing off vast vistas and unique concepts in the quantum realm, their creativity and inventiveness shine the most. However, this is contrasted whenever the film shows real people interacting with the CGI environments, which more resembles the Spy Kids films from the
early-2000s than the recent Star Wars films they are so clearly trying to pay homage to. Despite emphasizing effects over story, the effects themselves are not consistent enough to be a selling point like in something like Avatar: The Way of Water.
At the end of the day, Marvel fans and critics are right in saying that this film did not do what the studio had promised in taking the MCU in a bold, new direction. The uncompelling story and characters as well as inconsistent visual effect quality are enough for me to recommend skipping the theatrical release and waiting for the film to stream on Disney+; which is probably where it should have been released, to begin with. Unfortunately, we did not get to live in the
multiverse where this film was worth the $17.00 I paid to watch it.