February 13th, 2023
MOVIE: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA
STARRING: PAUL RUDD, JONATHAN MAJORS, MICHELLE PFEIFFER, KATHRYN NEWTON, EVANGELINE LILLY, MICHAEL DOUGLAS
DIRECTED BY: PEYTON REED
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
At this point, the complaints, and issues that one might take with the Marvel superhero movies are just a part of the reality. CGI-green screen settings and storylines so large it’s impossible for the human mind to fear any of the stakes, that’s just how these movies go. And to be quite honest, I’m not exactly sure what will get it out of that groove, but there might be a clog in the middle of the pack. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits right in the center of recent Marvel content. It’s adventurous and energetic. It’s also hollow and not separating itself from others. In many ways, it’s a standard installment into the MCU, elevated by great work from Jonathan Majors, and enough heroics to make Quantumania an intergalactic escape.
On one hand, this Ant-Man is achieving what Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder failed to do. On the other, it’s also not very Ant-Man-like. We catch up with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his circle of super friends. He’s happy and finally an Avenger recognized by others. He’s grown closer to Hope Van Dyne aka The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), and now connecting with her mom Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and scientist father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). What’s new now is that his daughter Kassie (Kathryn Newton) is getting involved with all the high-tech super gadgets. She’s found a way to map out the Quantum realm, but when a signal reaches out, a mysterious force sucks them into the zone between universes. In this realm, they are approached by a man named Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a man that can mess with time and space, and will destroy anyone who threatens his plans.
From the onset, Quantumania is more relatable to an episode of Star Trek than any other MCU installments. Once we arrive in the Quantum realm the universe expands, filled with creatures with glowing heads, spaceships that have tentacles for controls, and liquids consumed to understand alien languages. The direction from Peyton Reed, along with the screenplay from Jeff Loveness, allows us to study the terrain, which looks like glowing spores of mushrooms mixed with glittering goop, and still keeps the energy moving. The action gracefully shifts to be about Kang and his space henchmen tracking down Scott and crew. It’s the story itself that has the jet propulsion, a bit too much exposition at times, but a blend of humor and alien shootouts keeps the excitement high.
The negative side is just how these movies are made. It’s weird to see Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, two actors with great bravado, delivering dialogue against green screen backdrops. Something about it feels quite anti-cinema. But you hold that up to the Shakespearean delivery of Majors— portraying the role of Kang in a tragic and callously evil way– and it seems like Quantumania knows exactly what it’s trying to be. It’s taking us to another world and letting Ant-Man be a hero for once.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ultimately feels like a bigger stakes adventure– something typically reserved for all the Avengers– but it’s also cool to see Rudd get his chance to flex beyond the caper hijinx. It’s middle of the road Marvel universe building. It’s another installment and leading up to more installments. That’s just what these movies are now. Some will hate that. Some will enjoy it just fine. I’m certainly excited for more Jonathan Majors. All we have is time when it comes to the MCU.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA IS IN THEATERS FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17TH, 2023.
Written by: Leo Brady