A subpar comeback
The latest instalment of Ant-Man takes a sci-fi turn that feels too generic
Along with popular franchises like Iron Man and Spider-Man, Ant-Man is one of my favourites of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe mainly because the stories are different and focus on family drama that is entertaining, lighthearted and never takes itself too seriously.
Paul Rudd, Kathryn Newton and Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania. (Photos: Disney Thailand)
But with the third film Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, which marks the beginning of Phase 5 of the MCU, there is a drastic change from the previous two instalments. The new film embraces a full-on fantasy world, sci-fi adventure and is packed with CGI. It also introduces the audience to a horde of new characters and a new supervillain, and although it sounds quite spectacular, there are problems with the script, an uninteresting plot and it seems to be nothing more than just a set-up for what's to come.
Everything has been going pretty good for Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame (2019). But now he's back with his grown-up daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton), his partner Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and his mentor, Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Scott is famous now showing up to events, he has his own book tour and is recognised on the streets. Everything seems golden until Cassie secretly invents a device that results in Scott and his company getting sucked back into the Quantum Realm once again. There, our heroes are stuck in this bizarre microscopic world populated by strange characters. In addition to the various creatures lurking about, there's also Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), the dimension-hopping time-travelling dominator of the multiverse. Once there, the plot of the movie is about Hank, Janet and Hope being separated, trying to find Scott and Cassie, while Kang looks for all of them. The plot for Janet's origin story is attached to the Quantum Realm and how it relates to her relationship with Kang in the first place. And from there we learn a bit about who he is and how he came to power.
As many of us know, Marvel Studios now belongs to Disney, the same company that owns Lucasfilm. So don't be surprised to go down into a quantum realm where you feel very familiar with the design as Disney is injecting its intellectual property here, especially Star Wars references. It looks like a vast intergalactic world filled with strange new creatures such as octopuses or broccoli-headed aliens, and giant stingrays that feel very Star Wars-like. There's even a local bar/restaurant with weird-looking musicians that are almost like an Oga's Cantina ripped off.
Jonathan Majors as the new supervillain Kang the Conqueror.
From the start, this movie feels empty with very slow progress filled with the same old flat jokes. The film takes too much time introducing old and new characters with nothing else going on. The first two Ant-Man movies were straightforward and full of laugh-out-loud comedy. However, Quantumania tries to dig deeper to make this a more sci-fi action film like Guardians Of The Galaxy, yet fails at making any emotional connections whether it be between Scott and his daughter Cassie, or Hope and her mother Janet. The film is a lot of things -- loud and supersized but little feels new, visually creative or interesting. It's very clunky. The plot is very repetitive, especially in the first two acts, where characters feel very generic and manufactured. The dialogue and the screenplay are some of the worst I've experienced recently from an MCU film. However, once Jonathan Majors's character Kang comes into the play during the third act, things get slightly more interesting. Kang, whose character is bolstered by an ominous performance from Majors, is set up to portray Darth Vader-plus-Thanos-level horror. And he is basically the highlight that keeps the story and the film interesting.
I don't know how the majority of people are going to react, but I can definitely say that Quantumania isn't going to be a movie for everyone. The film definitely felt like episode one and less of a stand-alone movie. So you may enjoy this more as an episode of something greater rather than its own film that concludes a trilogy.
- Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania
- Starring Paul Rudd, Jonathan Majors, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton
- Directed by Peyton Reed