Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) Review

Always Room To Grow For The Little Guy

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Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Brutalist Review Style (Version 2)

Time to shrink again! No, this is not Honey I Shrunk The Kids…but a similar premise. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania saw Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, along with Hank Pym, Janet Van Dyne and Cassie Lang, return to the big screen to explore the wonders of the mysterious Quantum Realm. The Quantum Realm was first introduced back in Ant-Man and the Wasp and then lightly touched on in Avengers: Endgameto do the classic time heist scene.

Riding high on the fame of helping save the world with the Avengers, we find Scott in a quieter time catching up with his family life – especially since he was trapped for a while in the Quantum Realm during the Blip. This film got off to a fast start, delving even deeper into the Quantum Realm as the Ant family is sucked into it, encountering the many creatures and inhabitants that reside within.

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(L-R): Michael Douglas/Hank Pym, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

As shown in trailers, the biggest threat introduced in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors)—who was first introduced as The One Who Remains in the Loki series. As a quick recap, the events in Lokiwere shown to set off a chain of events, causing multiple versions of The One Who Remains to fracture and split himself. The Ant family quickly learned what wonders and dangers the Quantum Realm held.

“…Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania really put Majors’ Kang the Conqueror on a pedestal.”

The theme of family and doing what needed to be done to protect it has been at the forefront of the Ant-Man films—still not as hard as the Fast and the Furious saga. While the Van Dynes/Pym family had their own superhero/tech family issues, Scott was always just an average joe guy who turned to a life of B&E’s and petty crimes to provide for Cassie, and his then-wife. More so, the themes of parent and daughter have always been a staple. And Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania reiterated all of this.

As for the individual performances of the cast, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania really put Majors’ Kang the Conqueror on a pedestal. It was awesome that it took the whole first act to finally meet the villain, not too long, though. I found it was a bit more menacing or mysterious the way people talked about Kang, in name, and how much they were afraid of this character yet to be introduced.

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Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Eventually, we learn more about Kang’s past throughout the film. By the second act, we get Pfeiffer’s acting chops being solid when she explains more details about her time being trapped in the Quantum Realm. Even though Janet came back in the last Ant-Man movie, it did not give us a lot of Janet for us to understand her character in full—we focused more on the villain and establishing Hope as Wasp.

Another pivotal character in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania we got to see built up more was an older Cassie, now played by Kathryn Newton (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Big Little Lies). Again, Avengers: Endgame was the first time we met this older Cassie who was evidently not snapped away. Seeing more Cassie take on a more action-forward role with the Ant family was a mixed bag of hitting and missing for me. I loved the vibes she was matching with her father and Scott saying things we have all heard him say to younger Cassie. The final moments with her were what reeled me back in that this was a Disney-adjacent film because they did the whole cheesy speech to rally up the heroes.

“The locations within the Quantum Realm were very vivid and reminiscent of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor…”

The locations within the Quantum Realm were very vivid and reminiscent of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor—filled with colourful Quantum species, fauna and critters. I enjoyed the blend of practical sets and CGI simulations further in the backgrounds. The end of the film displayed Kang’s legions of soldiers, which looked like something straight from the Star Wars universe under the Emperor’s Galactic Empire stormtrooper armies.

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Then, the Ant family countered with a solution that reminded me of a war scene in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This was a scene that I really appreciated because it was a major callback to the origin story of the Ant-Man persona for both Hank and Scott.

So, where does Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fit in the MCU as a whole? Without going into any spoilers, we already know that the Kang Dynasty will be making their appearance in the next era of Marvel Studios films. How the Kangs will be more involved in the future of the MCU, this film set it up fairly clearly. I liked certain parts of what they introduced with Kang and his backstory; this was probably the most encapsulating essence of the film.

For a third time coming back to the titular insect character (not Spider-Man!), I was both disappointed and surprised by some of the story elements, and characters included. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania left a feeling of wanting more references and tie-ins from the previous Ant-Man movies.

I thought Peyton Reed weaved together an intriguing action-adventure movie but forgot some of the elements that made the Ant-Man films have their own DNA within this one. While there was a balance of emotional beats and comedic ones, I thought it tried to go in a different direction that was a little too far from home for the film series.

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(L-R): Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Kathryn Newton as Cassandra “Cassie” Lang in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

I want to believe there were some creative sacrifices with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania for the sake of introducing Kang and the Quantum Realm, but they stood as a small detriment to other nods the film could have had. Rudd’s Scott propelled the film’s heart against the emptiness of Majors’ darkness—making this a more memorable film than the last film in the series. Also, do not forget to stay for the two post-credit scenes as they tease two key details, setting more up for the future of the MCU.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE
Ridge Harripersad
Ridge Harripersad

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