“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” goes too big


“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” is the first film in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Ian Lloyd, Staff Writer

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is the first film in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It positioned itself as a huge event that would further develop the main antagonist of the MCU for the remaining saga: Kang the Conqueror. This also serves as the third “Ant-Man” film, a series that has stayed relatively isolated from the rest of the cinematic universe. 

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is riding high off the fame of being an Avenger that saved the world, but when his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) sends a signal into the unknown Quantum Realm, he and his family are pulled into a whole new universe. When the party is split up, lost in this new world ruled by the powerful Kang the Conqueror (Johnathan Majors), they need to reunite and stop the threat so they can return home.

The Ant-Man movies have always been smaller-scale adventures within the grand scope of Marvel’s cinematic universe. The first was a quaint heist film that had a rocky development due to Director Edgar Wright leaving the project and Director Peyton Reed filling in the role right before filming began. It left us with a functional film that manages to be a fun action/comedy despite its issues. 

“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” heavily features Kang the Conquerer, the main antagonist of the “Multiverse Saga.” (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

The second film, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” is a much better film, with a firmer footing for the creative team to expand on the elements that worked previously while leaving out all the flaws. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a wonderfully self-contained story that harkens back to the golden age of comics with its grounded cast of characters and touching themes of parenthood and family.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” takes the opposite approach. It takes the cast into a bigger scope, a whole new universe that rests in between the atoms of our world. It fully introduces us to Kang and spends a significant portion of the runtime developing his backstory and motivation. This increase in scope essentially ruins what made the earlier films special.

While every Marvel film contains jokes (or at least attempts to be funny even if the quips fall flat), the Ant-Man films have always been comedic to their core. With hilarious performances from Michael Peña and Randall Park, as well as their lighter tone, these films are more consistently funny than most of the other MCU films.

“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” has inventive set pieces, but the majority of the film lacks the soul of the previous “Ant-Man” movies. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

However, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has a much darker tone with significantly fewer jokes. Most of the film deals with silly concepts, but to create a compelling villain that will be the main focus of the entire franchise, they kept the tone grim. It results in a boring script that refuses to have fun with the ideas at play.

Even with its bad pacing, stilted writing and hollow plot, this film still manages to be visually inventive in a lot of interesting ways. While some locations still look like CGI soup, others showcase some fantastic art direction that is directly inspired by the wonderfully weird works of Jack Kirby from the early days of Marvel Comics. Some legitimately breathtaking sequences utilize the setting of this unpredictable realm to its fullest.

The problem with the MCU is the format itself. Every piece needs to be connected in some way. While this makes for a unique form of blockbuster storytelling in which plot lines and characters have already been set up, there is hardly ever a sense of completeness to these films. 

“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” has ambitious visuals that harken back to the classic works of Marvel Comics artist, Jack Kirby. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

The themes and character arcs become muddy when a film spends a significant chunk of time introducing characters that won’t even be important yet. They’ll star in their own movie or show later on, which will then have even more character introductions. It’s a never-ending cycle that never gives the viewer finality or closure.

This is all to say, the MCU films I adore the most are the ones that feel the most detached from the main plot threads. Films like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Iron Man 3” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are more enjoyable because they have satisfying plots where the characters actually grow and become better people. They work on their own accord without needing to be invested in the entire franchise, as well as providing rip-roaring good times that triumph over the majority of the lukewarm entries in the MCU.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is a perfectly functional film, but it pales in comparison to the previous films. It tries its best to go bigger and seem like a more important part of the wider universe, but in doing so, it robs itself of what made the early “Ant-Man” films fun. It might be an important watch for those of you who are still engaged with this universe, but it is quite a boring slog to get through. If you’re still on the fence, I recommend saving your money and giving “Ant-Man and the Wasp” another watch instead. 

Do you like “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.