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REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp- Quantumania: Phase 5 starts with a whimper

By Santiago Brion | February 27, 2023

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is the first Marvel movie of 2023, the 30th movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third Ant-Man movie. The movie takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” with hero Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, a former thief who goes by Ant-Man. The character is putting out a book called “Look out for the Little Guy”, which you can buy in real life this September.

When Scott’s teenage daughter, Cassie, studies the quantum realm, a portal opens, sucking Scott, Hope van Dyne, and her parents, Hank Pym and Janet Dyne into the realm. It is being ruled by one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe, Kang the Conqueror, a dangerous villain who destroys timelines.

Expectations for the movie were high since it has been some time since Paul Rudd’s ageless features graced the screen after appearing in Endgame and Ant-Man the Wasp (2018). Quantumania didn’t exactly deliver on its risky premise.

Jonathan Majors’ Kang was the absolute highlight of the movie. The film also teased what was to come in Phase 5, including the crossover movies, “Avengers: Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars.” Majors portrayed a menacing character even with the amount of screentime given and terrible dialogue.

Another highlight was Michelle Pfieffer’s Janet van Dyne, who lived in the quantum realm for 30 years. A stand-out moment is when she meets Kang for the first time. At first, he seemed to be another guy trapped in the realm but when his ship is repaired, she learns who he really is.

Paul Rudd is a capable comedic actor who can charm his way into any script and he certainly does what he can with the material given. The opening sequence where he’s praised by San Francisco citizens, with the “Welcome Back Kotter” theme playing, is what I think to be one of Paul Rudd’s memorable pop culture moments.

One aspect of the movie that does not work at all is the CGI. The quantum realm fails to be visually interesting, with bland creatures and no backstory into how the realm was formed in the first place. The choreography is at least decent, even though many of them are green scene sequences.

For a movie with “Ant-Man and the Wasp” title, Hope’s Wasp character doesn’t have that much to do. There are moments where she didn’t do anything that stood out, like her kitchen fight sequence from Ant-Man 2.

The Quantum People also didn’t bring anything of value into the film at all. One of the “supporting” characters was Bill Murray’s character, Lord Krylar, who appeared once and was never seen or mentioned again. William Jackson Harper of “The Good Place” fame played Quaz, a telepath, and wasn’t given enough character depth and was only there to bring comedic relief which never lands.

As a whole, the movie doesn’t really feel like an Ant-Man movie. The first movie of the trilogy was a grounded and campy heist movie with a well-known Marvel comic book character. I would’ve liked to see this movie go back to its original roots instead of it being a CGI slock fest.

Marvel has had a track record of hiring TV writers to help with the film scripts, and “Rick and Morty” screenwriter, Jeff Loveness helped with Quantumania– there’s a reason why television writers create stories meant for television rather than movies.

What makes this movie even more disappointing is that it doesn’t even feel like the start of a new phase. Phase 1 started with Iron Man, Phase 2 started with Iron Man 3, Phase 3 started with Captain America: Civil War and Phase 4 started with the long-awaited first Marvel Disney+ series, WandaVision, all of which started with a bang.

As a whole, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a misfire of a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie while also blessing Marvel fans with the first film debut of Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror. A movie that had a lot of promises and big plans for what’s to come, it suffers from bad dialogue, lame jokes and terrible CGI.

I give this movie a 5.5/10

You can see Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania at Regal Crossgates and Regal Colonie Center


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