By Jack McLaughlin
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and it still comes as a surprise that even this far into the franchise the entries can still be a letdown.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is enjoying the life of a celebrity after being recognized as one of the Avengers that was responsible for reversing the catastrophic events brought by Thanos a few years prior.
His daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is living life in-and-out of jail while also working with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) on technology that can contact the quantum realm. Their device malfunctions and it causes everyone in the family to be split up in this unknown world to fight for a way out.
While exploring the new realm, Scott is forced to help Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) to save not only himself but Cassie as well.
With a premise as intriguing as that, especially compared to the previous two “Ant-Man” movies, it’s disappointing to see this film fall so short in many aspects.
The saving graces of this film are Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors. Rudd has always been a fantastic addition to the MCU, and his performance here is consistent with what viewers expect from him.
Kang was introduced in the TV series “Loki,” and although Majors’ performance is excellent here it’s hard to believe he is being set up to be the next major villain for the heroes to face off against.
There is still a lot to look forward to with Kang in future installments, but it is disappointing that he has yet to be properly established to make the audience perceive him as a genuine threat.
With the only good aspects now out of the way, the rest of “Quantumania” is severely disappointing.
The side characters established in previous movies, especially Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym have significantly limited screen time in this installment which is hard to believe considering their significance in the previous films.
Hope has been reduced from the co-star position with Scott to a hero that’s sidelined unless absolutely needed. Most of the action doesn’t include her, and when it does it’s mostly forgettable compared to the rest.
Hank is even worse. His character devolved from the smart and snarky mentor of Scott to a character whose only purpose is to say some of the worst dialogue in the entire movie.
Janet (Michelle Pfieffer) was set up in the last “Ant-Man” movie to be a significant player for installments such as this one. Her character in this movie has some interesting moments, but it never goes far enough to make the audience care as much as they were probably expecting to.
But the most distracting aspect of this film is the visual effects. The entire setting of the quantum realm looks incredibly bland and uninspired, but nothing compares to the effects for the character M.O.D.O.K.
The character, played by Corey Stoll, looks laughably bad. So bad in fact that in the theater I was in, each of his appearances were met with an audience cackling at how distracting he looked.
His role as a side villain is reduced to a non-threatening joke, which would have worked if his character was actually funny.
This film aims to be more light-hearted and comedic, with sudden spurts of a darker tone layered throughout in a weak attempt to build tension.
The tense moments were the best. Kang’s scenes with Scott and Janet were the most interesting, developing each character in an intriguing way that never goes far enough.
From a franchise that has come a long way like the MCU, it’s becoming more frustrating to see most of the content being made for it now be more and more disappointing.
It’s becoming more apparent now that the MCU is starting to struggle with the amount of content they’re putting out each year. While there are still good movies here and there, “Quantumania” is a sign that doing the bare minimum won’t cut it anymore.
C- : A rough start to Phase 5