Hey Marvel… are you okay?
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is continuing a trend that has plagued many of the Phase 4 releases, with too much going on, little to no focus, and main character journeys feeling secondary to the plot. Like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Quantumania is filled to the brim with a bunch of ideas, a lot of different characters, and seemingly no central focus whatsoever. The movie is billed as an Ant-Man and the Wasp movie, but you sure don’t see much of the Wasp, and Ant-Man doesn’t have much going on in it either. It most closely reminds me of Multiverse of Madness. There are some great scenes and fun moments, but Ant-Man sure doesn’t seem to be the one running the show, or having much go on beyond playing the second fiddle to what should be his movie? It’s not even necessarily an Avengers: Infinity War situation where you really get to feel for the new villain Kang. It’s kind of just a lot of things that happened. It wasn’t remarkable, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world either. It just was. That is a problem that has been consistent for over a year of MCU releases and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
This isn’t a great movie in the sense of being a cohesive story, but there were things that I did enjoy about it. The Quantum Realm world was very interesting, so interesting that I am more annoyed that we didn’t spend more time living and breathing in this place versus running from one scene to the next. There were some hilarious new characters and a rich world worth exploring. They just don’t do that. While Ant-Man doesn’t get to really do much or have a real journey of his own, it’s still the goofy as ever Paul Rudd. That Ant-Man franchise humor is still here, and it still makes things fun when so much plot-wise feels so rushed and empty. The Ant-Man family cast is still great, they just don’t have much to say or much of anything going on beyond Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne and Jonathan Majors’ Kang.
This is more a movie about the prior Wasp and Kang than anything else. That said, it doesn’t really work. Marvel has been hyping up the arrival of Kang for a while now, desperate to say they have their Thanos 2.0. Well maybe make him seem either more imposing or more interesting? As it stands Kang felt underwhelming as a threat? They even snuck in MODOK, which fits in so much better than Kang does in this story. MODOK is goofy, unhinged, and has a standing relationship with the majority of the main characters. Instead, he is a punchline more than anything which was a waste. This movie would have worked so much better if this was MODOK as the main villain, with Kang as more of a hidden-in-the-shadows-until-the-end type of character. Kang is supposed to represent a major threat, well he sure doesn’t feel like it by the end of this movie.
All of this is to say, the more I think about this movie the more I get annoyed with what could have been because what is here is such a hollow movie with moments that may be fun or cool but don’t mesh together into a cohesive experience. Lower your standards with this one folks, it’ll help you enjoy it more.
Trailer to Movie Rant:
Alright, sorry I have a bit more to say that doesn’t reflect the movie itself but Marvel’s deceptive marketing. Marvel, you positioned your trailers to make it seem like this movie had a FAR more interesting plot playing to Ant-Man’s very real loss of time with his daughter. That is a great idea, that is an idea that makes for a compelling movie, and that is not the movie you made. It’s one thing editing out a character or changing their look (for example the Hulk in the Infinity War trailer actually being Bruce Banner in the Hulk Buster Iron Man Armor). This was a completely different tactic that kind of gets me a bit fired up and disappointed that some trailer editor found a more interesting story to tell than the production team could with likely a whole lot more time to figure it out. Alright, rant over. Seriously Marvel, get your act together, you are heading down The Walking Dead’s irrelevant path and it’s sad.