Film Review: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ (2023)

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Stars: Paul Rudd, Jonathan Majors, Evangeline Lilly
Director: Peyton Reed
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International

“You’re an interesting man, Scott Lang.”

Ageless Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang in an Ant-Man sequel which touches on the concept of time not existing… How appropriate.

In the present time, Scott Lang has leaned towards and embraced his new-found celebrity personality, more than superhero saviour as Ant-Man. Having written and published his memoirs,  Scott is now pimping and exploiting his heroic experiences of yesteryear, all while the lines between Scott Lang the character and Paul Rudd the actor feel completely blurred.

After bailing out his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), a trip to the Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Michele Pfeiffer respectively) residence ensues, but turns to complete disaster once a connection to the Quantum Realm is established when a device, built by Cassie, is activated much to the dismay of Janet. Subsequently, the family of Scott, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Cassie, Hank and Janet all face the Jumanji treatment of being sucked into another world of mystery, chaos, where time doesn’t exist as we know it, but also lives a daunting presence: Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror.

At the heart of the third Ant-Man is the relationship between Scott and Cassie. In attempts at being wholesome, their father-daughter relationship transcends between love-hate and superheroes teaming up. Though the depiction is well intended, there is an unwanted blanketing nature that the relationship is hollow or false. Likewise, there are attempts to parallel the mother-daughter relationship between Janet and Hope, but that too presents bitter falseness. However, on a postive note, Pfeiffer’s performance is one of the best aspects of this film.   

In boasting such a power subtitle with Quantumania, the natural expectation is to experience some of the WILDest, potentially, inverted shit possible within the Quantum Realm. This latest MCU instalment had the potential to be a spectacle like none other, though unfortunately, this was an opportunity avoided with ease. Perhaps with everything major to have occurred before, be it from the battles with Thanos over two films or the recent delve into the Multiverse, the potential in-depth exploration of the Quantum Realm just didn’t possess any weight in the vision of this sequel. And sadly, the lack of spectacle parallels to perfection the lack of much interest within the film throughout. For what looks like an exciting film, there is not much excitement present. The best of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is whenever Kang has screen time.

Justifiably, instead, much of the spectacle is geared and built up towards Kang. Johnathan Majors, of course, excels in his new MCU role. He is fully equipped with mystique and power. Sadly, however, Kang as both a spectacle and character, is betrayed late on when the film draws to a close. The hope is that Kang is much more successful as a character in the long term throughout Phase Five, than in the short term in this one film.

Ultimately, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has the role of legitimising Ant-Man as a superhero, but only truly in the Quantum Realm. Back home on Earth, Scott Lang is a joker. This feels like the first film to take Ant-Man seriously, but is also the weakest Ant-Man film. The MCU currently finds itself in a rut of mediocrity and rapid criticism. The humiliation is rising and the quality is diminishing. For an MCU film which is, supposedly, there to suggest what’s to come over the next few years, things are not looking good.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania can now be watched in UK cinemas.

2.5 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Fair Use

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