Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Movie Review
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Movie Review Metadata
At times, uneven and nonsensical, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania still manages to pack a lot of goofy fun into two hours.
Not everyone is a fan of the Ant-Man series which is a shame, because Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), ex-con turned Avenger, Survivor of The Blip and eternal optimist is such a nice guy. He’s more than okay with people knowing he’s an Avenger, even if they can’t remember which one. He’s reconnecting with his daughter Cassie (Katheryn Newton) who’s evolving into quite the chip off the old block, despite his best efforts. His girlfriend Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is head of an industry powerhouse, the Pym Van Dyne Foundation, dedicated to helping people adjust after the Blip and provide sustainable sources of food and energy using the Pym Particle. He’s helping Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) readjust to earth after 30 years in the Quantum Realm (it’s a whole thing) – and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to having his wife back. Scott’s book, Look Out for the Little Guy (Hyperion Ave, 2023) is doing surprisingly well. Everything is going great for Scott and he’s thrilled to live in the moment.
He knows it can’t last, and he’s right.
While showing off her quantum research to her family, Cassie receives an unexpected message from someone inside the Quantum Realm, and the family is then literally sucked into the Quantum Realm. Lost and separated from each other, Scott and Cassie encounter Quantum People, entities from all over the known and unknown universes on a rebel mission to bring down their oppressor. Meanwhile, Hank and Hope lean on Janet, who knows the Quantum Realm better than anyone, to help reunite everyone to get them home safely. Not everyone is happy to have Janet back, and those that are won’t be so willing to see her leave.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is heavily layered in story, characters, and, unavoidably, CGI. This isn’t just a double quest within a quest story, or any particular villain’s back story. We learn what Janet was up to for the 30 years she was gone, and it wasn’t herding alien cattle. She was the original Wasp, after all, and she did not let those espionage or fighting skills get rusty. What she did to survive and how she escapes made a story of legend and infamy, making her current journey home more difficult. Michelle Pfeiffer gives Janet a haunted and hunted determination that already makes up for the comically mawkish Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). While this is primarily a Janet story, Scott and Cassie aren’t completely forgotten as they align themselves with the hopeless and forgotten, you know, the Little Guy. Cassie comes into her own as a formidable helper, driven by the need to fight anyone’s oppressor, regardless of how big or powerful. Scott continues to grow into more than the guy that can get really big as a genuinely good-hearted man who just wants to get home, but isn’t above getting kidnapped to make it happen. The Quantum Realm itself is a gorgeous alien place and a lot of effort has gone to make sure it’s nothing like a familiar Earth, that helps in terms of creatures encountered and driving motivations.
And there’s the Big Bad of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and since he’s on the posters, it can be assumed that we know it’s Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), first encountered in Season 1 of Loki (Marvel Studios, 2022). This Kang is one of many, many variants, but this one, exiled to the Quantum Realm, insists he must get to save the universe from his variant selves. Since we already know that Kangs have a taste for destruction in the service of the Time Line, you can expect deadly armies, untrustworthy allies, and a deep crushing sadness that infuses everything he touches. I like Jonathan Majors as an inscrutable anti-villain, one who knows what’s coming and still tries to stop it, using less than noble methods. I don’t know if Marvel has it in them to create a standalone Kang movie, and I don’t know if I’d want to watch it, but I’d read a well-crafted novella read by Jonathan Majors.
As we move into the MCU Phase V, I think it’s safe to begin expecting a new kind of Marvel movie, one that focuses on rebuilding families (both blood and acquaintance) and the fearful anticipation of what’s to come. The MCU spent Phase IV showing a sprawling universe of known and unknown characters and at some point, they’re all going to have to come together to beat the crap out of each other. We’ve got a whole multiverse to sit down to, so let Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania be that appetizer.
There is one mid-credit and one post-credit scene, so if you need to relieve yourself of your large Cherry/Coke frozen drink, you’ll have time between the two.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) is rated PG-13 for mild swears, dismemberment, giant bugs, a giant head, exploding bodies, a disintegration ray, people getting beat up, and drinking the fluids of another creature without consent.