Quantumania does what it needs to and nothing more

Photo by: Charlie Martin

Rating: 2/5

Much like the insects its heroes are named after, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania only exists to serve its hive, and has little merit on its own.

The movie follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and the rest of the Ant-Man family as they accidentally trap themselves in the subatomic Quantum Realm, with their only way out through Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). 

It’s unclear what the point of this story is. There’s this theme of fighting injustice even when it doesn’t affect you: Scott’s daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is arrested for stopping cops from targeting homeless people, and there’s tension between her and her father about doing what’s right versus what’s safe. This is seen again when they’re in the Quantum Realm, with Cassie insisting that they help the resistance rebel against Kang while Scott wants to find the rest of their family. 

However, this doesn’t really lead to anything. Scott never fights for something that doesn’t affect him; while he does end up helping the rebels, this is largely due to his own stakes in the fight. We see it somewhat with Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her interactions with Kang, but given that she wasn’t involved in Scott and Cassie’s debate, it still feels like there’s something missing to this theme.

However, from an external point of view it’s pretty obvious what the point of the story is: to set up Kang as the big villain for the next phase of the MCU. Those who have watched the Loki series may already be familiar with this character, but this film shows his plans for the future. It’s hard to say how well it does this — given that these films don’t exist yet — however, it does feel like that’s all Quantumania is here to do.

The writing is better than many other recent Marvel products, but it’s still full of cliches and hackneyed comedy. Janet is especially frustrating, as she withholds important information from her family until the story requires her to share it. A lot of the charm in this film comes from the actors — if it wasn’t Paul Rudd saying these lines, I’m sure viewers would hate Scott. 

Another issue with the writing is how it dampens the action. Throughout the movie, Kang and his minions are shown to be ruthless killers, with Kang himself vapourizing numerous rebels effortlessly. Yet whenever they fight a major character, this proficiency goes out the window. There are times when the villains are explicitly trying to kill the heroes, yet when the opportunity presents itself they don’t take the kill shot. It weakens these scenes’ tension when it’s clear the heroes should have died several times over already.

That said, there is some fun action in this movie. The Ant-Man movies have traditionally made good use of their heroes’ size-changing powers, and Quantumania is no different. Even beyond these powers, there’s one scene which uses Kang’s fixation on timelines to really put the “ant” in “Ant-Man”. 

Overall, Quantumania is a crucial part of the MCU’s story, but doesn’t offer much on its own. It’s not a painful watch by any means, and those who are interested in the upcoming Avengers films should check it out — though I wouldn’t blame you for reading a plot summary instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *