Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Director: Peyton Reed

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, Katy O’Brian, William Jackson Harper, Bill Murray, Michelle Pfeiffer, Corey Stoll, and Michael Douglas

Review: I think it’s time to admit something. I might just be a Marvel fanboy after all. Because 13 years and 30+ movies in, I don’t think they’ve made a bad movie yet. Even this one, which is very divisive so far, I don’t understand the hate for at all. Personally, I’d easily rank this in the upper half of their output. While a lot of people left shrugging or down right hating on it, I personally loved the experience. I had the biggest grin on my face the entire time and would’ve been shocked to hear of the mixed reception if I hadn’t already known about it going in.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, the best thing this movie has going for it is Jonathan Majors’ Kang. This is our first real introduction to (evil) Kang and what an introduction it is. I will admit that this is a weird movie to meet him. After all, Ant-Man movies have never had the highest of stakes. And, honestly, throwing him into a place where he doesn’t have control of time and then never properly explaining how nerfed he is may have been the wrong choice. But. There is something about this man’s presence that scares the shit out of me. The way he delivers his lines, talking about past conquests or threatening Scott, makes me believe he is capable of truly terrible things. And, even without his signature power, the threat he presented to these characters was very real. He lays down some of the most vicious beatdowns we’ve seen on this PG-13 side of the Marvel multiverse. You can say all you want about the ending (no spoilers), but Kang still very much feels like a very real threat to me. I think he’s going to easily be on par with Thanos when everything is said and done. And I absolutely cannot wait to see it all unfold. I think we’re in for something special in these next two phases.

Now, the rest of the movie. The best way I can explain the plot of Quantumania is “imagine a couple MCU characters got sucked into Star Wars” because that’s exactly what this feels like. Our characters our brought into a mythical battle between good and evil that’s been raging without them for years. There’s a larger than life villain in his ivory towers with a henchman designed specifically to be the best killing machine around, who mostly keeps his face hidden, and an army of indistinguishable troops. Meanwhile, there is an underground rebellion underdogs led by a character who would feel right at home in Rogue One band of misfits. There are droids. There’s a cantina. Prison breaks. And, ultimately, the ending even feels like a mashup of a couple different classic Star Wars endings. I got Clone Wars vibes early and that feeling never wore off. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I like Star Wars. I’ve dreamt of a crossover (that deep down I know is a bad idea) for years. It’s just odd exactly how similar this was to that iconic saga.

And, of course, there are the characters we’ve all come to know and love at this point, back and better than ever. Honestly, this may be Paul Rudd’s best performance in the MCU so far. He’s given more to do than just be comic relief guy, which is definitely cool. It feels like every other character has had this dramatic, life altering arc and Scott’s just been goofball Scott. Seeing how he reacts when his family is put on the line, especially Cassie, humanized him more than any of his other outings of the past 8 years. Oh, and speaking of Cassie. We’ve got our second recast of the franchise, but I honestly didn’t mind much because Kathryn Newton does a phenomenal job here. It’s cool to see her developing into a more interesting character than just ”Scott’s daughter” as she trains to be a hero of own. Cassie’s got quite the history in the comics. She’s a character I’ve been a fan of for years and I’m excited to see what Newton brings to the role in the future. (Please just green light a Young Avengers movie already, Kevin.) Hank Pam gets more of a chance to shine here too, actually showing off his brilliance and badassery. But, honestly, the biggest improvement was in Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet, because she was actually given something to do for once. Her tense, scared reaction to Kang set the table for everything else that followed. I honestly wasn’t a big fan of Janet’s in the last movie, but she won me over here. And, lastly, MODOK. Now, I can’t say a lot because pretty much everything about this character is a spoiler. But, wow, he is so much fun. I had a smile on my face the entire time he was on screen. I really, really enjoyed this take.

As you can probably tell, I loved Quantumania. I really do not understand where the criticism is coming from. I thought it was a fun sci-fi adventure flick with characters we already know facing off a truly incredible, frightening villain. I thought it did a fantastic job of telling a relatively self contained story while also setting up several projects worth of stories. Seriously, I don’t get it at all. But, then again, it seems like I’ve been on the outside looking in for most MCU projects lately. But, I’m not going to fret about it too much. I’m going to just keep loving me some Marvel, especially if they make movies of this quality. And I have a feeling Phases 5 and 6 will be exactly that.

TL;DR: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a fun, semi-derivative sci-fi adventure, but Kang absolutely rules.

Score: 9/10 (Amazing)

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