It is usually very unlike me to start off a review on a negative note but I have to admit that I have suffered ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Fatigue’ and I totally skipped the majority of movies in Phase Four except for Spider-Man: No Way Home. On top of that, I have also not bothered watching any of the Disney+ series because it feels like there is just too much to follow or play catch-up.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love good comic book/superhero movies, but at this point, I think I just want something self-contained instead of being part of a shared universe where if I missed a TV series or movie I might not understand what the heck is going on.
This is especially true for Ant-Man. I actually really enjoyed the first movie but by the time the second movie came about, I was hit with that fatigue and skipped out on watching Ant-Man and the Wasp, so I was quite lost regarding Scott Lang’s personal story arc in Avengers: Endgame.
Admittedly, I was a bit worried that I would feel that same sense of “What the heck is going on?” when I sat down to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Quantumania). If you are in the same colony as me and skipped most of Phase Four and TV series, let me just put your worries to rest as Quantumania is a fun, family-friendly and wholesome movie that you can enjoy even without prior knowledge of what happened in most of the movies released in 2021 and 2022.
Quantumania begins right after the events of Avengers: Endgame where Scott Lang a.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hope Pym a.k.a. Wasp (Evangeline Lily) are living ‘normal’ lives instead of being superheroes. Scott has settled into complacency and revels in his new-found fame as one of the Avengers and a best-selling author. Hope, on the other hand, runs the Pym van Dyne Foundation, which uses the Pym Particles to make the world a better place.
While the main “stars” of the show are supposed to be Scott and Hope, a lot of focus is also placed on Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), who after a certain event all five of the main characters are transported to the Quantum Realm, where Janet was trapped in for 30 years. They then discover that there are civilizations and living beings in this weird new “world”, which Janet never told them about.
The majority of the film’s runtime takes place in the Quantum Realm and it was fun getting to see some really strange organisms and humanoid creatures living alongside more human-looking beings. As soon as the quintet’s adventure begins in the Quantum Realm, it was hard for me not to draw parallels to Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty series. Travelling to a strange new location? Check. Meeting strange and quirky alien beings? Check. An evil villain plotting to wreak havoc? Check. Finally, a group of heroes using unconventional methods to take down said villain? Check. The only thing missing was a whiney teenager and crass geezer.
Unlike said adult-animated series, Quantumania is, of course, a lot more streamlined and you don’t really get any curveballs thrown at you. In other words, it is a little predictable. However, I would say that the movie is still a lot of fun due to how the events play out, the chemistry and the comedic timing of all the actors involved. Of course, the malevolent Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) is really the character most moviegoers will be talking about at the end of the movie.
As to be expected from Disney and Marvel, they have yet another incredibly captivating villain on their hands and this is in no small part due to Majors’ acting chops. Throughout the movie, Kang goes through a litany of emotions and moods, each one delivered with aplomb by Majors. As he is set on a course to be the final boss, I am sure many fans will be captivated by his screen presence and left wondering about how he will torment our beloved heroes next.
The only major (pun intended) problem I have with Kang though is just how easily he is defeated in this movie. I mean, Ant-Man and Wasp aren’t the most physically imposing or powerful characters in the MCU, and yet the way he loses to them and has his plans thwarted is just, quite anti-climactic. It is an unconventional and somewhat funny way to go out but, this is Kang we are talking about.
On the other end of the spectrum, the secondary villain MODOK’s presence feels extremely ham-fisted and will undoubtedly upset the comic purists when it comes to his origin story. I understand it is fan service but it is not necessarily the good kind, a bit like Frank Grillo’s Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War. At the end of the day, MODOK’s entire arc is quite unnecessary and maybe would have been better if he was introduced in another movie with a bigger and more menacing role.
Finally, while the overall presentation and computer-generated imagery (CGI) look great as we have all come to expect from an MCU movie especially when you get a view of the city in the Quantum Realm, there are certain moments that might disorient viewers due to flashing imagery and fast-paced spinning. Then there are also certain action scenes that are very choppy with some unneeded ‘shaky cam’ thrown into the mix.
All in all, I really enjoyed Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, even without knowing much of what happened in Phase Four. There is just the right amount of action, emotional weight, humour and tension. It is a nice way to kickstart Phase Five of the MCU and it could be what helps me and maybe a few of you out there to get over the fatigue to once again, be excited about what is to come for the MCU.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
A very family-friendly and fun movie that amps up the anticipation on how Kang will bring his brand of havoc to the MCU.