It isn’t often that one gets the chance to diss a Marvel movie; they really know their business and always get it spot-on. But this is the second time that I am having to see one of the weakest Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings yet. The first was Eternals (if you don’t remember it, consider it a boon) and now it is Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania, which released in theatres on February 17.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is living the happy life after being reunited with daughter Cassie and love interest Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lily). He is an author and people now recognise him as ‘the other bug guy who becomes small then becomes big’. His relationship with Cassie is a little shaky, given that he had disappeared from her life for almost five years. Cassie, Hope and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) have been experimenting with the Quantum Realm without the knowledge of Scott and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Janet loses her mind when she realises that they have been sending signals to the Quantum Realm. Too late! They get sucked back into the Realm and come face to face with Janet’s past in the Quantum Realm and with MCU’s next big baddies — Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
If you think the Wasp in the title of the film refers to Hope, you are wrong. It refers to the original Wasp — Janet van Dyne — at least I hope so, since Hope was more like an extra in the film and therefore doesn’t justify being part of the movie title. But even a stellar Pfeiffer couldn’t save the day for the film, which moves Ant-Man from being a superhero who saves the day to a superhero who saves the world. And, doesn’t matter how many Pym Particles you throw at it, making the stakes bigger doesn’t always work and it certainly doesn’t for Ant-Man.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania happens mostly in the Quantum Realm which looks like a mix between Star Wars (there is even a cantina with alien-looking creatures hanging out) and Avatar (the flora and fauna in particular). Honestly, what is supposed to be a mind-bending place ‘where all concepts of time and space become irrelevant’ seems odd at best, though some of the creatures are endearing. There is none of the feelings of awe that was there with the Doctor Strange movies. The only scene that really stands out is the multiple Scotts in the probability sphere, but even that we have already seen in the Matrix.
The dad-humour that made the Ant-Man movies such a delight feels out of place in a situation when time and reality itself are under threat and the emotional heart of the film, the relationship between Scott and Cassie also feels under explored.
What Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania does get right is setting the stage for the Multiverse Saga’s big baddie Kang. And Jonathan Majors owns the show. We already had an inkling of what he was capable of with the version of Kang we saw in Loki, and he shows us that Marvel and we are in for a treat when it comes to the villain, the fight against whom will culminate with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. In fact, some of the best scenes in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania belong to Majors and Pfeiffer talking. The best, and the ones that had the audience cheering, are however the post-credit scenes which show us what we can expect in the future.
So, I guess, technically, it is a good movie as it plays its role well — that of a vehicle to launch Phase 5 of MCU and introduce the big bad Kang.