Paul Rudd returns bigger then ever in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Despite some flaws, the movie is an entertaining, visually stunning blockbuster.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has an impressive setup and a stellar cast to go with it. There are great action scenes and visual effects typical of the superhero genre. It has everything it needs to be a worthy beginning to Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is just one problem: the creators don’t seem to know how to utilise what they have.
When the first trailer dropped three months ago, it sent waves through the fanbase. After witnessing it, many fans eagerly awaited the return of Scott Lang, the man who can shrink and control ants. There was much anticipation when it was revealed that Lang would face Kang the Conqueror, the new Thanos of the MCU. Given the divided responses to more recent MCU films such as Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, it was understandable that with anticipation comes trepidation.
Paul Rudd gives a solid performance as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. Heroic, humorous, caring and affable, he is a dad and a superhero trying to find a relaxed balance. He is the one superhero that everyone can get behind. Even with the film having a more serious tone, Rudd still pulls it off.
Ant-Man has always stood out for its lighter tone than other MCU movies. The past two Ant-Man films are renowned for their lower stakes and more family-friendly atmosphere. However, while Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania maintains its comedic side, the stakes are much higher, with Scott Lang facing a foe unlike any other. A cosmic-level opponent who threatens everything Scott knows and holds dear.
Jonathan Majors kills it as the film’s antagonist. He debuted in the MCU as He Who Remains on Loki (2021). Introduced as the final villain, he died, but not before setting up what would happen after his demise. Fast forward two years, Majors returns as Kang the Conqueror, a variant counterpart of He Who Remains – the forewarned consequence. And he lives up to the hype, calm and intelligent. Manipulative and full of rage, a man who has destroyed numerous timelines and killed countless people. Majors delivers an incredible performance as the newest villain in the MCU. Despite knowing what he has done, Kang leaves people wanting to see more from him. Thankfully, we know that we will one day.
Michelle Pfeiffer does well as Janet van Dyne, Hope’s mother and Hank’s wife. Asides from being the first Wasp, not much about her is known about her. Given her lack of screen time in Ant-Man and the Wasp, giving her a more prominent role in the third instalment was a good choice. Thanks to her knowledge of Kang and the Quantum Realm, she serves as a great guide to the characters and audience. Pfeiffer’s acting ensures that she is the centre of attention in every scene she is in.
There are other great actors in the cast. Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas return as Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym, two characters who held great significance in the last two movies: Hope as the partner-in-crime and love interest and Hank as the mentor and support. They both were an integral part of the plot. In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, however, they don’t feel as necessary to the story. Hope and Hank don’t do beyond saving Scott and summoning a swarm of ants as part of the film’s final showdown.
Kathryn Newton stars as Scott’s daughter Cassie. Kathryn is the third actress to play the character across four different films. However, this time Cassie has something she didn’t have before: a suit of her own! While she has a more centralised role than Hope and Hank, much of her character feels underused in relation to how she could contribute to the plot. Hopefully, she will be given more opportunities in future MCU projects.
Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym aren’t the only characters to come across as underused. Bill Murray is cast as a Quantum Realm resident in a cameo performance. He doesn’t do much beyond serving as a plot point and hyping up Kang. There are a group of freedom fighters as well, but they have a similar problem. There needs to be more sustenance surrounding them to make them particularly memorable.
The film’s visual effects stood out. The creators took advantage of the fact that the majority of the story takes place in the Quantum Realm and it shows. It is a visually spectacular place that works well with Quantumania’s sequences to create many unique experiences.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is enjoyable. There are plenty of positives. Firstly, Major’s performance as Kang the Conqueror is the movie’s biggest strength and left audiences awaiting more from him in future MCU projects. Paul Rudd and Michelle Pfeiffer are great as well. The visual effects were good for the most part, working well with the action scenes. However, it gets dragged down by a misused plot that only explores some of what the film offers and a screenplay that doesn’t complement most of its characters nor use them to their fullest potential.
Check out the official trailer below:
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