Home » Now Playing » Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania

About thirty minutes into ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA there were two things that really stood out to me. One, Paul Rudd may very well be the most likable movie star of all time. The ease in which he commands the screen is unparalleled, and he genuinely makes you feel as if you are watching a friend. He is ageless and hilarious, elevating any and all material simply by speaking.  

The other thought I had, and it was one that came to me frequently throughout the latest MCU adventure was, “Man, AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER was really good.”

Unfortunately for the MCU, and really any action extravaganza coming our way over the next couple of years, this comparison is inevitable. The visuals James Cameron delivered in THE WAY OF WATER were so far superior to virtually anything we have ever seen before, that when you place it next to similar projects, it’s not even a competition.  And, given the fact that most of QUANTUMANIA is spent in a CGI world, the comparisons are even more glaring. 

Scott Lang (Rudd) is living his best life. Sure, he disappeared for five years when Thanos snapped his fingers, but for the most part, things worked out. He may have missed a large chunk of his daughter Cassie’s (Kathryn Newton) life, but he did pretty much save the world, so it wasn’t all bad. He has a great relationship with Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), he doesn’t have to pay for coffee, folks get excited to see him on the street, he has become a published author, and he even gets asked to take pictures with people’s dogs on a regular basis.  

Speaking of Cassie, much like her father, she has a bit of a rebellious streak. She is not afraid to thumb her nose at authority, but also is longing to come to the aid of those who need assistance. Turns out, she is a genius to boot. She has invented a device that will allow her to send a signal back and forth to the quantum realm, which will then allow her to map out the entire environment. While Scott, Hope, and Hank van Dyne (Michael Douglas) are beyond impressed with her invention, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) is a little less stoked. She had spent 30 years trapped in the realm before being saved in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP and she wasn’t exactly forthcoming with what it was like down there. Hope had spent time trying to learn what happened, but Janet never wanted to talk about it.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Mom probably should have been a little more open with her daughter, because after initiating the signal, the whole crew is sucked down into the quantum realm. Filled with unique creatures and trippy landscapes, it’s a place that looks pretty amazing but still can’t hold a candle to Pandora. Though I thought of the effects of AVATAR, the setting and characters reminded me a lot more of another franchise. I wasn’t alone in this, as my 13 year-old daughter leaned in at one point and said “This is giving me serious STAR WARS vibes.” It was an astute observation, and one that permeated throughout the production. 

Scott and Cassie get separated from Hope, Hank, and Janet, and the two different factions realize they must find one another if they ever hope to get home. Janet, who knows her way around the realm and is in a constant state of panic, tries to use her decades of residency to her benefit, but dangers seem to lurk around every corner.  Meanwhile, Scott and Cassie are largely unaware of the dangers they face, and meet a group of rebels who seem menacing at first, but are in actuality wacky side characters whom we are going to grow to love. 

Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Overseeing the quantum realm is the new Thanos. His name is Kang the Conqueror and as played by Jonathon Majors, he is a formidable foe. There’s a lot going on with his backstory and motivations, and while I could dive deep into it here, what you need to know is that he is shockingly powerful and will gleefully destroy universes, galaxies, and even timelines in the multi-verse if the mood strikes him. Majors instantly becomes an excellent addition to the MCU, and with a subdued fury (until it’s not) commands every scene that he is a part of.  

Despite the best efforts of the entire cast, QUANTUMANIA never develops into the movie that it could have been. The visuals are eye catching but also don’t have the same natural feel of AVATAR. Not quite as clunky as they were in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE MULTI-VERSE OF MADNESS, but still, felt video-gamey and animated. There are sequences and scenes that are cut short and choppy, leading to moments where I was pretty sure that content had been cut along the way that was supposed to be there, but it’s as if director Peyton Reed ran out of time to patch the holes. That’s not to say that the latest ANT-MAN AND THE WASP isn’t entertaining, because there are enjoyable moments throughout. There are plenty of laughs, as to be expected, and Majors and Newton are excellent additions to the MCU. The thing is, whereas each installment of the Marvel Universe used to be an event, there are now so many entries with so many different characters and timelines, that it’s starting to lose its luster. The film earned over $100 million in its opening weekend, so audiences are still engaged, but at the same time, the MCU is going to need to evolve to stay relevant in the post WAY OF WATER world.


Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Now playing in theaters.

Brian Miller