Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, the latest entry in a very long line of interconnected Marvel films, definitely maintains the post-Endgame status quo of being entertaining without being extraordinary. This probably doesn’t surprise anyone at this point as most of the internet pretty much agrees that every film/show released since the Infinty Saga has felt rather average. In Quantumania we get to see our heroes do what they usually do, only in a new environment.. an environment, I might add, highly reminiscent of another major Disney sci-fi property, just darker in visual tone than James Cameron would have chosen. Where this film does actually succeed in helping to elevate the universe though is in finally introducing and establishing a villain that feels worthy of an “Avengers Assemble” level of threat for the future, albeit not in the most effective way possible. I believe that it would have been far more effective if they had threaded the post-credit scene concept a bit into the narrative of the actual film to help push the threat level into the red. Nevertheless, it’s going to prove troublesome for our heroes down the road.
Quantumania sees Scott Lang, Cassie Lang, Janet Van Dyne, Hope Van Dyne, and Hank Pym get sucked into the quantum realm when Cassie’s latest invention, designed to map the quantum realm, malfunctions. Once there we get to learn that Janet Van Dyne wasn’t alone all of those 30 years in the quantum realm and that there is actually a vast alienesque civilization down there with plenty of exotic lifeforms. Admittedly, at times, this civilization gives off strong vibes of a Star Wars like universe. Along with this eclectic array of beings, there is also a societal network which has been severely disrupted by an unwelcome and uninvited “guest.” It’s here that we get to see Janet’s family learn about her elusive 30 years in the quantum realm and watch as they all deal with the conflict that she was partially responsible for creating therein.
For all of those who have followed the MCU closely since its inception with Iron Man (2008), there really hasn’t felt like there is much in the way of genuinely high stakes lately for the MCU. Wanda Maximoff had proved herself to be the only real threat since Thanos. Sadly, that threat was neutralized relatively quickly within the overall narrative of the franchise. In Quantumania, Jonathan Majors takes up the torch and does an excellent job withhis portrayal of Kang. His stoic, calm and confident attitude regarding the charcters motivations make his presence truly menacing. He really makes the viewer feel like there is nothing that anyone can do to stop him from achieving his goals. Accompanied by Kang is his main enforcer M.O.D.O.K. Neither living being, nor machine, this henchman has a relatively interesting back story (details redacted for spoiler reasons) and proves to be a formidable foe for our heroes to deal with throughout most of the film. Sadly though, the most glaring issue with the entire film was the CGI used for M.O.D.O.K. when he wasn’t fully encased inside his mechanical suit. The actor performance was good, but the presentation left a lot to be desired. When it comes to the protaganists, one of the surprising joys of this film was watching Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) navigate the aftermath of having previously lived 30 years in the quantum realm. I wasn’t expecting the story to have such a heavy correlation to Janet Van Dyne, so it was strangely refreshing to essentially have a new centric focal point despite it being an Ant-Man & The Wasp film. We get to learn a lot more about what happened to her and how her actions had a direct impact on the world we now see. We also get to learn a lot more about who Scott Lang’s daughter has become over the years since the Endgame “blip” occurred. Cassie’s foray into real world activism via rebellion in the name of justice, coupled with her scientific work alongside Hope and Hank Pym, prove to incorporate rather nicely with the situation they find themselves facing in the quantum realm. Kathryn Newton fits in flawlessly with the rest of the cast during this otherworldly adventure. Lastly, the fun, yet fleeting cameo by Bill Murray as Krylar cannot be ignored. As a previous friend/colleague of Janet’s, he’s not in the film for very long, but it is always a treat to watch Bill Murray on screen. Michael Douglas, Paul Rudd, and Evangeline Lilly all live up to the established performances from the previous films and there is nothing really new or flawed to discuss with their performances in the film.
Overall, I put Ant-Man & The Wasp Quantumania amidst the best of the MCU content released after End Game. To add some context though, it is not a title I will be adding to my Blu-ray MCU collection. It is worth seeing. It is entertaining and visually intriguing enough to recommend for a big screen viewing in theatres. And, it does establish a significant piece of the future for the MCU. Aside from the M.O.D.O.K. character CGI, it is a consistently solid production whose storyline doesn’t drag. It lives up to its brand quality extremely well. With some laughs, some suspense, some great action sequences, and a solid villain, Quantumania shouldn’t be ignored. Most importantly, Kang will definitely return to wreak some serious havoc on the MCU… just not in any conventional way implied by that statement.