Director: Scott Cooper
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, Katy O’Brian, William Jackson Harper, Bill Murray, Michelle Pfeiffer, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas
Run Time: 124 mins
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the third entry in the series and the film to kickstart the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 5. Both Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp rank among Marvel’s very best – refreshingly frothy palette cleansers from some of Marvel’s heavier films bursting with energy and heart. Director Peyton Reed is once again in the director’s chair and this sequel picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has become a successful memoirist and lives happily with Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). His relationship with his political activist daughter Cassie (now played Kathryn Newton replacing Abby Ryder Fortson and Emma Fuhrmann) is strained. When the trio visit each other, along with Hope’s parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), Cassie reveals she’s been working on a device that can establish contact with the Quantum Realm, a subatomic universe where space and time don’t exist. During her demonstration, things go awry and the quintet are sucked into the Quantum Realm where they face Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania performs a very different function to its predecessors in that it is not the palette cleanser to other Marvel entries. Instead, it needs to introduce Kang, the big bad for Marvel’s foreseeable future. Unfortunately, compared to its predecessors, the film is disappointing but it’s still a perfectly serviceable entry.
Starting with the positives, the cast are excellent and the chemistry shared between Lang and his daughter is admirable, although not as heartfelt as in previous films. Paul Rudd effortlessly carries the film and although Lily and Douglas’ characters don’t receive a lot of development, they still make enough of an impression. Although a brief performance, Bill Murray’s performance is fun and William Jackson Harper is great as the telepath Quaz.
Jonathan Majors is by far and away the standout as Kang, a cool and calculated villain with oodles of charisma and intelligence. Provided the films he features in are of high quality, Kang will undoubtedly prove to be a Marvel big-bad as effective as Josh Brolin’s Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Outside of the fun performances, the film unfortunately has an episodic quality to it, akin to watching a Saturday morning television show. Moving the story away from Earth to the Quantum Realm also lowers the film’s quality. The first two films excelled with their innovative action sequences and their manipulation of size and spectacle, whereas this disappointingly doesn’t. Most distractingly, the Quantum Realm is not well-realised. There is an unnerving amount of CGI and the film is visually drab. Even the score by Christophe Beck isn’t particularly memorable and Bill Pope’s cinematography is surprisingly anonymous considering his filmography, likely drowned out by the distracting CGI.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is far from Marvel’s best and suffers from poor visual effects and the filmmakers neglecting to play to the character’s strengths. Still, it’s not as poor as some have made it out to be and it’s worth watching for Majors’ charismatic performance alone. While Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is fun in the moment, it’s ultimately sadly rather disposable.