Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania has finally been released in cinemas, and could this be the movie that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been in desperate need of? It’s no secret that Marvel’s Phase 4 has been rather lacklustre.
The likes of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, Black Widow, Thor: Love And Thunder, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Eternals and even Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have been, in my mind, C to B tier Marvel movies.
They have been enjoyable, and there were good moments in most of these movies. But, in the end, they all left something of a bitter taste in my mouth, and I’ve been wondering whether Marvel Studios might be in trouble.
They’re certainly in what I might call a ‘creative slump’, and even though I wouldn’t say that Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania isn’t the perfect comic book movie by any stretch of the imagination, I can safely say that it’s a step in the right direction.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is a step in the right direction for the MCU
I won’t get into the plot of this movie too much. All I will say is that the first 20 to 30 minutes of this movie are just a precursor to getting the film’s main characters (Scott and Cassie Lang, Hope, Hank and Janet) into the Quantum Realm.
Once there in there, they learn that Janet hasn’t been all that forthcoming with what happened to her whilst she was stuck in the Quantum Realm. Turns out she was something of a freedom fighter in there and was trying to help the creatures and people in this realm to get freedom from Jonathan Majors’ Kang The Conqueror.
She also helped Kang to fix his special ship that can travel through the Multiverse. However, she ends up destroying its energy core once she learns who and what Kang really is: a monster who’s destroyed countless worlds.
So, that’s as much of the film’s plot I’m willing to give you here, and it’s probably already way too much for most people. Now, what I want to talk about is what I loved about this movie most of all: its heart.
So much heart in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania
Paul Rudd is back as Scott Lang, and he’s one of the most interesting characters in the MCU in my opinion. Why, you ask? I think it has to do with the fact that Scott’s just a normal guy who loves his family and just wants to protect them.
He’s also become famous without really asking to be, and he’s often confused for Spider-Man, which is a little detail that I love also about the character. He’s not nasty about this. He just smiles and takes it all in his stride.
Scott’s also a very funny guy. There’s a lot of Paul Rudd’s own character in Scott, and I’ve always been a fan of Paul’s ever since I watched him play Mike in Friends’ final few seasons. He’s also not aged a day since then! Seriously, the guy just doesn’t age and looks better now than he did back then! I think he must be an alien or has made a deal with the Devil, or he’s the real-life Dorian Gray.
He’s a funny guy who quips a lot, but for some reason, when Paul Rudd does it, it’s not annoying, whereas, with other MCU characters – such as Thor, especially in Thor: Love And Thunder – it’s starting to get a bit irritating.
The other thing I like about Scott’s character in this movie is the fact that he really loves his daughter, Cassie, and is doing his utmost to make up for lost time with her. Cassie, now played by Kathryn Newton (the character’s been played by a bunch of different actors in the MCU), is also an interesting character in her own right.
She’s very smart (like almost every character in the MCU, apart from Scott), and she’s desperate to help people. She’s a lot like her dad in many ways, but also very different. Scott wants to help people, but he’s also more realistic and will put his friends and family first.
Cassie is a bit too quick to help complete strangers, whereas Scott’s first priority is the safety of his daughter. I like that dymanic between the two characters, and it ends up showing that the two of them have very heroic and human qualities.
Kang and Janet are terrific
The other aspect of this movie that I really adored was the fact that it has a great villain in Jonathan Majors’ Kang The Conqueror. The MCU has struggled over the years with its villains.
There hasn’t been a genuinely good Marvel villain since Thanos, and even he wasn’t the best comic book movie villain we’ve ever seen. There’s something about Majors’ take on Kang that I think is very promising for the future of the MCU.
You might not know this, but there are going to be many different versions of Kang in the MCU over the next few years, and this will really allow Majors to flex his acting muscles (maybe also flex his actual muscles also, which really are something to behold).
His Kang in this movie is seemingly empathetic in some parts of the film, but then he also shows how much of a monster he really is. He’s killed so many people, and yet, he’s also seemingly willing to help people who’ve helped him.
He’s something of an enigma and you can never quite work out what his motivations are, but I was hooked every time he was on-screen. I was desperate to know more about his villain, and it seems as though we’re going to be getting a lot of Kang in the next phases of the MCU.
There’s there’s Michelle Pfieffer’s Janet Van Dyme. She’s not really been present in the MCU much until now, and this movie is really her time to shine. She’s just very cool in this movie, and we learn a lot more about her character.
Pfieffer is a legend, and I think the movies writer, Jeff Loveness and its director, Payton Reed, really wanted to give the actor and the character some space to breath and really strut her stuff in this movie, which is a very good thing.
Star Wars meets the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
There were many people claiming that the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies were the MCU’s take on Star Wars, but I don’t think that’s quite right. I actually think that Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania has a lot more in common with George Lucas’ movies than James Gunn’s Marvel movies did.
I can tell that Reed and Loveness have been inspired by Lucas’ work, but I also think that they were inspired by the Flash Gordon movie that inspired Lucas to make the Star Wars films in the first place.
I also see a lot of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy in this movie. There are some characters and some of the designs that feel like they are taken out of Douglas Adams’ work. Once they’re in the Quantum Realm, it really feels like you could be in one of the many comic books and novels that Adams wrote and created.
There’s a ship, for instance, that’s alive in this movie, and it looks a lot like some of the ships in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy comics. Maybe that’s one of the main reasons why I enjoyed the movie so much.
Ultimately, Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania was a lot of fun. However, I couldn’t help but think that the movie was held back by some of the MCU’s restrictions. I enjoyed the movie’s plot, but it was rather formulaic. I liked some of the designs and visuals, especially towards the end, but I have to say that there is some pretty poor CGI in this movie.
The Quantum Realm felt a bit empty – bare-bones
There are also scenes in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania that you can tell are all filmed in from of a green screen. The set design looked a bit too minimal in some instances, and we now live in a post-Avatar: The Way Of Water world. I just felt like the Quantum Realm was more of a ‘green screen’ backdrop here and you never really got to see how expansive it’s supposed to be.
And, I can’t talk about this movie without mentioning Corey Stoll’s MODOK. I loved the idea, and there were some funny moments with the character, but I don’t think he worked in this movie at all.
First off, I don’t think the character works in live-action. He looked very, very ugly and it kind of took me out of the movie every time he was on-screen. I also think that some hardcore Marvel Comics fans are going to be very upset by this movie’s take on the classic villain.
I liked the idea and I thought it was a valient attempt at bringing MODOK into the MCU, but it didn’t quite work for me. Maybe it was just the character design that I didn’t like. I cant’ quite put my finger on it.
All of these issues held the movie back for me, and even though I’d argue that this is the best film that Marvel has made in a while, and is definitely the best Ant-Man movie ever made, I still left the cinema just wanting a bit more from the film.
The MCU needs to offer us something different
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I can’t help but think that Marvel Studios is doing the same thing over and over again, and it’s starting to get a bit dull. They keep on making the same mistakes also. I’ve noticed a lot of poor CGI in recent Marvel films for instance, and given these movies’ budgets, they should be completely flawless.
I think that the issue is that they are oversaturating the market with these movies and they are taking enough time making them as good as they possibly can be. There are mistakes slipping through the cracks and corners are being cut.
It’s such a shame because I know that so much hard work has gone into making these movies. I really had a good time with it, and I loved the fact that it was giving me echoes of Star Wars, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and some of the best stuff from the Rick And Morty series (Jeff Loveness was also a writer on that show and you can really tell that he was at the heart of some of the show’s best moments).
However, I was also very aware of Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’s mistakes and its limitations. I think that Marvel needs to start thinking outside of the box for its future movies and offer viewers something different. We can still have the mainstream Marvel movies. Maybe release one of those a year, but then also give viewers a movie that offers us something different. Something a bit more original. Maybe they need to start exploring different genres?
I’m not in charge of Marvel Studios, and I have no track-record in making movies that make over $1 billion, so what do I know. But, I am a moviegoer and a fan of Marvel movies, comics and comic book movies in general.
I think that it’s time that Kevin Feige and co. start thinking about what they can do to change things up a bit, and Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is a step in the right direction, but it’s only a tiny baby step. They need to make a leap forward with their next movies.
What do you make of this review? Have you seen Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania yet at the cinema? If so, what did you make of the new MCU movie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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- Jonathan Majors' Kang performance
- Loveable Paul Rudd
- Scott and Cassie's relationship
- So much heart
- Action-packed final set piece
- Star Wars/Hitchhiker's vibes
- More ants!
- Poor CGI
- The Quantum Realm felt empty
- Limited by Marvel's movie formula
- Lacklustre opening 20 minutes