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Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Review: Filler Marvel Episode

February 17, 2023 13:45 IST

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania falls short of the signature Marvel magic, says Mayur Sanap.

The 31st film in the rapidly expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe is here and it culminates the beloved Ant-Man series featuring the size-shifting hero played by the very charming Paul Rudd.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the middling follow-up to very likeable Ant-Man (2015) and its decent enough sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).

This new film has exciting things going for it compared to its predecessors, but it barely remembers what made its hero so special in the first place.


Truth be told, the Marvel brand has faced a massive quality hit with their inconsistent projects.

I really miss MCU films where the focus was on making a character-driven story with just enough nudge on what's to come.

But after Avengers: Endgame (2019), things have fundamentally changed.

The relentless idea of the multiverse has taken over the euphoric joy of watching our favourite superheroes on screen. Now, all we have is more sequel fodder with the pressure of a multi-billion-dollar franchise hanging over them.

What's the fun in that?

Quantumania follows Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man (Rudd), now a successful author, living happily with his partner Hope AKA Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Hope's parents Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Scott's tech-smart daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton).

Thanks to Cassie's device, the family gets unintentionally transported to the quantum realm, a dangerous place where Janet spent years and holds dark secrets about its power-mad ruler Kang (Jonathan Majors).

With the majority of the film taking place in the quantum realm, Quantumania is VFX-heavy.

Many of the strange inhabitants of this world accompany the stakes in the film by either going against our heroes or aiding them to save the day. But as visually wondrous as Quantumania is, the story that drives the film forward isn't as cogent as it should be.

Director Peyton Reed and Screenwriter Jeff Loveness seem to have put all of their effort into building the gaudy quantum realm instead of working around dramatic urgency or conflict.

We have a family dynamic as the emotional crux of the film, but we don't feel invested in their camaraderie with each other.

The tone of the film is primarily similar to Disney's Strange World (2022) with its candy-coloured sets and wacky premise, but this film is inadequate on the material that would keep us emotionally hooked to the story.

The main plot focuses so much on Janet and Kang that Scott leaves little impact as the film's titular hero.

It is worse for Hope/Wasp who is reduced to a sidekick.

We keep seeing that Scott and Hope make for a great team together, but the chemistry between the actors is incredibly dull, and it's not a compelling character relationship.

Thankfully, Jonathan Majors utilises every inch of this opportunity to give us a menacing and captivating villain.

Kathryn Newton plays the obligatory teen aide, which I guess is now standard in the MCU (Remember America Chavez in Doctor Strange 2 or Riri Williams in Wakanda Forever?).

She might have been interesting, but she's here as a mere plot device and has no real personality.

The runtime comes in at only two hours, and I wish it was longer to flesh out a lot of its characters and themes because the quantum realm is a lot to take in.

We hear so much about Kang's strong empire, but we don't get any real sense of that.

A character named M.O.D.O.K is introduced, whose acronym suggests that he kills the victims but none of that comes about.

A lot of things happen at breakneck speed and quickly resolve without consequence.

MCU's humour is definitely among its strong selling points, but the facetious tone used feels pointless and undermines any sense of real danger.

Despite Kang's formidable presence, the stakes are never quite high for Ant-Man.

Many scenes play out like this: Baddie shows up, Ant-Man throws some witty comment, Cassie is told to stand down, then there's a fight. Or some variation on that theme.

Only Michelle Pfeiffer gets a fine character arc and she is delightful to watch as the feisty Janet.

All downsides aside, you can never second-guess the production value of a Marvel film and as usual, the set-pieces are spectacular.

There are some really cool moments involving Scott meeting his other selves, or sizing up during the crucial fight.

The CGI may be jarring in the beginning, but it gets better as the film moves forward.

Overall, Quantumania is not an utter letdown, but falls short of the signature Marvel magic that makes their films an entertaining and compelling affair.

The well liked Ant-Man franchise deserved more than just being a filler episode for what's to unfold in the phase five of MCU.

If the two post-credit snippets are anything to go by, the Multiverse Saga finally has a definite direction to follow. And with Kang at its centre, hope things get real interesting from here on.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review Rediff Rating: