“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” kicks off Phase V of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and one of its biggest threats in the form of Kang the Conqueror. If you need to get caught up prior to this release then watch the “Loki” series on Disney+, the previous “Ant-Man” movies, and if you really want to be ‘extreme’ the last two Avengers movies (Infinity War and Endgame) as well.
This story opens with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang finally getting some modicum of respect after his last outing as an Avenger. However, after being away during the blip, he still has issues with trying to be a good father figure to Cassie (Kathryn Newton) who is showing how brilliant and independent she is under the tutelage of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). As the family settles in to celebrate Lang’s success as an author, he also finds that he has to address some family issues. In the process of dealing with his daughter’s creativity and inventiveness, Scott and family are thrust into an adventure of the unknown.
One of the things I enjoyed about this movie is that similar to other Marvel films, the writers manage to find ways to take lesser-known characters from the comics and give them significant roles to move the overarching plot along in the larger MCU. Paul Rudd’s performance as Lang really makes you want to ‘look out for the small guy’ literally and figuratively. Even though most of us will typically enjoy stories of the major Avengers, this movie as a huge setup for things to come and a lot of major pivotal points are explained here. Movies like these really shows how important these characters are. Most importantly, Michelle Pfeiffer’s role as Janet van Dyne is one to pay attention to. The first act of the movie has mostly to do with her involvement of events in the quantum realm, the secrets that she hides and the ramifications of her actions.
As always, we get introduced to a few lesser characters who also impact the movie. One is Quaz played by William Jackson Harper, who plays a telepath, and then there is the appearance of a certain actor which elicited an audible gasp from the audience.
Jonathan Majors really did the most with his screen time as Kang. I almost felt that this was his warmup before “Creed III” drops. You will know what I mean when you see it. Like most of the villains portrayed in the MCU, Kang is not a villain for the sake of being a villain. Kang has his reasons for doing what he does and he, more or less, is as big of a threat to the universe as Thanos was. While we got an introduction in the Loki series, we find out what his motivation here and things starts to make sense.
Visually, the movie was stunning and in many ways it out-Star Wars’ed, Star Wars, if that makes any sense. At the same time, it’s also its weakness. While the visuals stunning at times, it still felt very…cut and paste Marvel. It’s very hard to put a finger on it but there is a sameness to other movies we have seen before such as “Guardians of the Galaxy”, the last 2 Avengers movies and so on. The Quantum Realm at times felt a little less organic than what it could be and that’s probably why it felt so “samey” to other worlds seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not that it severely takes away from this movie, but it feels like after one has seen enough Marvel movies, the worlds visited in any realm starts to look a bit alike.
Another issue I had, is that at times, the story took too much time helping other characters really get into their roles. Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp at some points just gets under-utilized but for the moments she needed to count, she did. I felt the same with Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym who comes up big when you needed him. These storyline drags are typical Marvel formula, but the buildup to the endgame was worthwhile. On the plus side, there was good enough balance of when things needed to be taken seriously and when a dose of comedy was needed to break those serious moments up.
The big question that some of you may have is, “Should I sit through the end credits?” Why do you even ask? You know you do! And yes, there are TWO of them.
FINAL GRADE: B-