Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is in a good place, his newly published book on his Avenger exploits rejuvenating goodwill for him in his San Francisco neighborhood.  But his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) thinks he’s coasting on his laurels instead of helping people while her recent arrest at a peaceful protest has him in denial about his little girl growing up.  Granddad Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is all too happy to mentor, though, but while her subatomic telescope into the Quantum Realm is impressive, the signal it sends is exploited to suck the whole family along with Hank’s ants back to the place Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) is terrified of returning to in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

Laura's Review: B

Director Peyton Reed ("Down with Love," "Ant-Man") returns to his corner of the MCU, this time to kick off Phase 5 and the villain, Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors, containing multitudes), who dominates the Multiverse.  Reed and writers Jack Kirby ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever") and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live's’ Jeff Loveness maintain the humor that defines this subseries and while the film is laden with a new purpose and a new world that marks this one something like the extended Lang family visits Disney’s “Strange World” by way of “Star Wars,” it is more entertaining than its predecessor (“Ant-Man and the Wasp”). 

While Hope Van Dyne (aka Wasp, Evangeline Lily) and her dad are along for the ride, the story dynamics are mainly between Scott and his daughter and Janet and Kang, one of many secrets she’s kept from her family about her decades caught in the Quantum Realm.  The film actually begins with a flashback that shows Janet on her homestead in the Realm, complete with horse-like creatures with snail heads, being attacked by creatures that fragment into two.  She’s suddenly assisted by a stranger who claims to have crash-landed, but as we will learn, his seeming benign nature will be unmasked when she gets a glimpse of his brain while fixing his neuro-kinetic ship and sacrifices everything to keep him stranded.

Hope and her parents are separated from Scott and Cassie, each group going off on separate adventures but both learning that the name Janet is recognized everywhere and for very different reasons.  Scott and Cassie cause trouble for the QR’s Jentorra (Katy M. O'Brian) by drawing Kang’s interest in the form of his stormtrooper-like soldiers and his hunting killing machine M.O.D.O.K. (Corey Stoll), none other than Darren Cross (aka Yellowjacket) now looking like evil Humpty Dumpty.  Hank is in for a surprise by the insinuations of Janet’s ‘old friend’ Krylar (Bill Murray), but she’s in for more of a shock to learn he’s switched allegiances.  The ensuing bar fight will be amusingly capped off when Hope pulls a fast one enlarging an appetizer.  Of course, they’ll all be reunited, including Hank’s ants, for a climactic MCU battle royale, Cassie’s heroic instincts now as great an asset as her smart-assery (‘It’s never too late not to be a dick.’) 

There were umpteen special effects houses employed on this film and the Quantum Realm is more organic than one might expect, boasting all manner of fauna and flora.  One of the film’s best new creatures is Veb (voice of David Dastmalchian), two eyes on pink stalks inside a glass dome fascinated by the fact that humans have ‘holes’ and the seeming shape spec for Jentorra’s spaceships.  But while the effects are notable, so too is the end of Rudd’s claim to never-aging fame, the actor now appearing recognizably middle-aged.

Robin's Review: C+

reviously, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and her family opened a tunnel to the Quantum Realm to find Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) long lost wife, Janet (Michel Pfeiffer). Now, Lang and company go back to the Realm for new adventures, including doing battle with Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

This latest entry into the Marvel Comics Universe marks the jump-off point for phase 5 of the MCU. (Whatever that means.) To me, “Quantumania” is just a continuation of the “Marvel thing” that began with “Thor” and “Iron Man.” Since then, there have been, I am guessing, dozens of entries into that universe and the result is one of diminishing returns.

There is a mechanical nuts and bolts purpose to this “further adventures of Ant-Man and his friends.” But, there is a lack of artistry and story in favor of bombastic F/X, lots of flashing lights and a whole bundle of monsters, Quantum People fighting for their existence and a bad Bad Guy named Kang.

Of course, the adventurers – Scott, Hope, Hank and Janet – must fight for their lives (sort of, though I never felt they were in any real danger of being perished). Peyton Reed returns to direct his third installment of the Ant-Man saga and it seems that Scott’s amiable good nature that made the character so likable is now overshadowed by the noise of the F/X. Story does not seem to matter anymore in the MCU.

Usually, when I have to sit through yet another Marvel movie, I can expect a couple of things. There is a 20 or so minute finale that throws the kitchen sink at you in an F/X extravaganza, 10 minutes of credits and one or two under the credits stingers. But, there is a difference with “Quantumania.” The expected bombastic ending is over thirty minutes long and is only that – bombastic.

At best, the Ant-Man entries should really be about 90 minutes long, have more humor and less kitchen sink being thrown at me. I can tell the MCU creators are running out of ideas. There is one scene when our stalwart heroes enter a bar in the Quantum Realm and it felt, suspiciously, like a similar scene from the first “Star Wars” movie but with a bigger budget.

Disney's Marvel Studios releases "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" in theaters on 2/17/23.