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.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Review – An Incomprehensible Mess Kickstart the Next Phase of Marvel Cinematic Domination

Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), proved to be a rocky patch for the previously sensationalised franchise, starting with Black Widow (Cate Shortland) and WandaVision (Matt Shakman) and closing with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Kat Coiro, Anu Valia) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Ryan Coogler). General audiences started to feel alienated by the colossal number of films and television series to keep up with, and even the most die-hard fans were starting to feel burnt out by the constant output of, for lack of a better word, content. Now, to kick off 2023, Marvel begins Phase 5 of the MCU with threequel Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.

Following Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), along with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), Quantumania takes audiences to the depths of the Quantum Realm, where they meet bizarre creatures and explore a world beyond their beliefs. Here, they meet Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors who is shaping up to be the new big-bad of the MCU.

Written by Rick and Morty writer Jeff Loveness, Peyton Reed once again occupies the director’s seat on Quantumania and takes audiences on the dizzying journey at hand. While the film is filled with an all-star cast, it’s unfortunate that most seem to not care about the film they are in. Paul Rudd seems to be phoning in his performance as Scott Lang and Evangeline Lilly is hardly memorable in a film that boasts her character’s name in half its title. The two share little on screen chemistry as well, barely passing as friends, let alone sharing an apparent romantic relationship. Michael Douglas doesn’t appear to want to be in the film at all and newcomer Kathryn Newton is dedicated, but unfortunately falls rather flat. However, Michelle Pfeiffer is rather good in comparison and shares some of the film’s few engaging moments with its standout, Jonathan Majors.

Majors is the real star of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and one of its only redeeming factors. In a truly exciting scene with Kang and Ant-Man interacting in a prison cell of sorts, Majors proves to have been a great choice for the universe’s emerging villain. Unfortunately, the material he is given to work with does not provide much opportunity for Majors to properly showcase his talents.

The film’s screenplay feels as if leftover ideas from other Marvel properties were frankensteined together and spilled onto the screen. Uninteresting characters, poor pacing, and an over emphasis on the multiverse and its innerworkings, make for a rather exhausting experience, even for the most dedicated viewers. Large moments of the film cut between Scott and Cassie as they interact with various nomads of the Quantum Realm, and Hank, Hope and Janet as they attempt to strike a deal to find a way back home. However, the intertwining of these parallel stories hardly feels planned and the film jumps around during strange moments, which leads to a confusing and disengaging experience as the audience is ripped from an action set piece to a dining scene and then back again.

Add in the films incessant need for comic relief at inappropriate times, proven mostly by Corey Stoll’s character of MODOK, along with Reed’s choppy direction and the films collage of visual ideas and things don’t get much better. Chrisophe Beck’s score is an excitable one at times, with Kang’s Theme being a standout track scattered throughout the film. Yet, this is not enough to heighten the experience, which is a rather nauseous one at that.

There are a few interesting visual designs scattered throughout the film, with the reliance heavily on CGI to create the world of the Quantum Realm, however these are poorly executed and never live up to their potential. Bill Pope’s cinematography here is sadly reminiscent of the consistent visual mud of recent MCU entries. Despite attempting to create a visual vista through the film’s world, Quantumania is instead a painfully dull looking film and one that perhaps feels the most intangible of them all. Through every scene, it is very clear that the actors are on a green screen and one could perhaps assume that they were not even in the same room, at times.

Reed’s direction of action also leaves much to be desired, with almost all of it feeling like an incoherent blur. It often feels as though the film’s budget was spewed onto the screen through its visuals, quickly becoming an incomprehensible and unintelligible mess that really shows its wounds during the action scenes, which have no weight or sense of threat to them at all.

This all boils down to the studio blockbuster feel of the MCU that frequently feels as though it was directed and overseen by a committee rather than one creative vision. As the start of Phase 5, Quantumania is perhaps the film most hurt by this with a story that seemingly starts in the middle and lacks a true resolution, with little to be found in the characters and their respective journeys throughout the film. Barring Majors committed performance, this entry clearly sets up the future of Kang in the MCU, leading Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania to fall flat as a film, feeling even more like an episode of television than its own complete film. The MCU continues to prove itself to be completely interminable, with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania lacking a true conclusion, instead feeling like a two-hour trailer for the next two-hour trailer in the series.

Director: Peyton Reed

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors

Writer: Jeff Loveness, (based on characters created by Jack Kirby)

Blake Ison

My name is Blake Ison and I am a film fan based in Brisbane. I have no professional knowledge of the industry, but love discussing all things to do with the medium. I’m a nerd through and through, so I have a major soft spot for all things genre. Hope you enjoy my ramblings!

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