Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – An Underwhelming Introduction

Charlie von Peterffy ‘24 / Entertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania is entertaining, though it misses what its MCU predecessors had that made them memorable, touching, and fun; that is, there is no heart in the film’s direction, meaning in its humor, or depth in its exploration of the Quantum Realm’s settings and characters. It mainly suffers from a bloated script; most dialogue is two-dimensional, half-baked, and ineffective in comedic effect and character/story progression. In short, most of it isn’t very interesting, rendering much of the movie a visually poppy snooze fest. Despite the film’s otherwise intriguing premise, beautiful visuals, witty performances, and graceful intensity of Jonathan Majors’ take on Kang the Conqueror, the below-average dialogue seriously hampers the film’s value. However, there are a few things the film has to offer, such as a glorious spectacle, an enticing exploration of the Conqueror and his variants, and some pretty funny scenes here and there.

The story is conceptually engaging, though the execution could be better. The story is significant in spectacle, which comes through in many unique ways. Whether through exploration of the quantum realm universe or the deepening of the film’s central characters’ connection to space and time, the film boldly pushes a grand scope that––with good writing––would have been enticing and nuanced. But, unfortunately, the writing is simply trite. First, regardless of their performer’s on-screen strengths, none of the characters ever say anything realistic or plausible. There are some legitimately admirable scenes, especially when Kang is involved, but they are drowned out by the expository noise that is the rest of the movie. Second, none of the film’s subplots come together organically. They all meander in different directions, conveniently colliding only when the main storyline forces its hand. Nothing built amounts to anything. And finally, even the classic humorous tone stumbles from formula fatigue. There are tons of great jokes but a lot of unnecessary banter, which further waters down the film’s integrity and tonal consistency, making it monotonous to watch. 

Like previously mentioned, the cast is solid—everyone who returns does a great job, and the newcomers are also excellent. Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man) is as charming and ageless as ever, doing a fantastic job bringing the humor whenever necessary. Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet van Dyne) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) add depth to their characters, even where the writing is lacking. Evangeline Lily (Hope Pym/Wasp) is also solid but feels mostly sidelined, so her performance means relatively little. The most engaging role, however, is Jonathan Major’s Kang. Major is a phenomenal performer in modern Hollywood who has become well known for giving dedicated, attention-consumin g performances in his work. As Kang in Quantumania, he continues this trend, bringing the intimidating, terrifying, and incredibly resilient warlord to life. 

The rest of the characters, however, are bland. None of them change significantly by the film’s end. One could argue that Lang rediscovers his courage as he watches his daughter, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), find hers and is eventually forced to find it when Kang takes her. As the film progresses, Lang and Pym also rediscover the spark between them. However, the film’s simplistic direction and writing degrade these few meaningful character arcs. Their character arcs fizzle with no forward momentum, sharp dialogue, or general stakes.

Like most of its predecessors, the film returns the MCU visuals to great form after other entries’ noticeable lapses. As a result, everything looks and feels authentic, no matter how unreal. The colors shine, the monsters and new creatures feel like legitimate aliens, and most action scenes have solid choreography. This helps Quantumania gain some appeal, as its colorful trans-dimensional imagery and unique creatures establish satisfying visual thrills. 

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is one of Marvel’s lesser outings. It lacks the intelligence, consistency, character depth, and wit to achieve its large-scale goal of further opening the multiverse. However, it introduces Kang reasonably well, is amusing, and is visually appealing. Still, its squandered writing and inconsistent storytelling ultimately prevent it from being a memorable adventure in the MCU anthology. If you want to skip it, do not worry–-there is not much to miss.

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