Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is entertaining…enough

Annabelle Bartz, Creative Editor

Released into theaters on February 17th, Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania divided audiences. Rotten Tomatoes received polarized reviews with 48% from critics and 83% from audiences. Critic, Joe Friar, “31 films deep in the MCU means there are bound to be a few duds. The barrage of overblown effects and a story devoid of emotion makes this entry a bottom dweller. The good news, Phase 5 can only get better.” On the complete opposite end of the spectrum a confirmed viewer of Quantumania wrote, “Excellent movie. I’m glad Marvel has a good cinematic direction.” Even with such different takes on the same movie, there is still plenty that sets this movie apart.

This is a quick summary of the movie, so spoiler alert from here on out. The movie catches up to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) after the events of End Game. Scott Lang is still dating Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily), Scott is taking care of his daughter Cassie Lang (Kathyrn Newton), and they are in close contact with Hank Pym (Micheal Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer), Hope’s parents. The plot starts when all five of them end up in the Quantum realm.

An immediate issue from the very start of the movie is the humor. The first two Ant-Man movies are some of the funniest in the Marvel universe. Scott has always been a loveable goofball in a group of characters that tend to be more serious and sarcastic. This movie leans into that idea in a way that isn’t as charming. A lot of the comedy is overdone and jokes that aren’t funny are repeated longer than they should be. Most of the sarcastic humor is still on point, but that is something Marvel has proven to be good at. The Ant-Man movies were largely a break from that, but unfortunately some of the only humor in this movie that lands is sarcasm. When a joke does land, it continues to repeat until it is more annoying than funny.

The loss of this humor is probably in part due to the loss of a lot of the best recurring characters. The comedic trio of ex-felons that were Scott’s business partners, Luis (Micheal Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), and Dave (T.I.), who had some of the best comedic moments in the first two Ant-Man movies, were nowhere to be found. Scott’s ex-wife, Maggie Lang (Judy Greer), and her new husband, Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), who had their own charm and comedy, were also missing. None of them were even given a reason to be gone and only Maggie Lang is mentioned. Meanwhile, they brought back the villain of the first movie, the Yellowjacket aka Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). He was not a particularly enjoyable villain, and he wasn’t the comedic relief the movie was hoping he would be nor was there any excitement to see the character again.

The long amount of time spent with Janet Van Dyne is something that sets the movie apart from the others. Unfortunately, Janet has changed completely from the last time we saw her on screen. At the end of the second movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, she was ready to share all about her time and how they could use the energy of the Quantum realm to help the enlarged human world. She even sends Scott to the Quantum realm at the end of the movie. Then, in one of the first conversations Janet has, she makes it clear she doesn’t want to talk about the Quantum realm and has shared nothing about her time there. Along with that is the fact that she is just an incredibly frustrating character to watch as she is constantly withholding information, telling her family to listen to her without explanation, and giving half truths. Scott also changed, but thankfully not as drastically. The biggest issue with the Scott shown in Quantumania is his disagreements with Cassie, who took up activism and ended up in jail at the start of the movie. Going back to the first movie, he spends a 5 year prison sentence for what is described as a “Robin Hood crime,” where he stole from the company he was working from for doing shady practices to get more money and returned it. The problem with this change in tune is there is absolutely no reason for it. This is a behavior that he has shown multiple times in the past and there is no reason shown for it to change. It is a change simply to create a conflict between him and his daughter.

One of the best parts of this movie is Kang the conqueror (Jonathan Majors). Introduced in the Disney Plus original show, Loki, Kang is going to be the overarching villain for phase five. His goal is to unify the multiverse, which honestly seems a lot like previous Marvel villains. There are echoes of Thanos and the mission of the Kree seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel. What makes Kang interesting is that there are hundreds of thousands of versions of him and they are all fighting for dominance. He also has an unclear set of abilities that will probably never be fully explained but are fun to watch. There is something to miss with Ant-Man not being in the real world. The CGI Quantum realm definitely suffers from the ongoing problem that Marvel is having with CGI (cough, cough, Multiverse of Madness, cough, cough). Although this movie is not all it could have been, it is entertaining enough and will be rewatched when someone wants to see the movies in timeline order.