The newest marvel movie goes big on jokes, but small on everything else
When we compare superhero movies with other types of cinema, the former usually takes itself less seriously. However, sometimes constantly cracking comedic one-liners at the audience goes a bit too far. Case in point? Ant-man: Quantumania.
A continuation of the Ant-Man saga, this movie follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), his daughter Cassandra (Kathryn Newton), his girlfriend Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and her parents Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) as they explore the Quantum Realm, a strange world filled with even stranger creatures. As is the custom in sci-fi, this world is only accessible through overly complicated scientific devices that only the main characters know how to use.
Quantumania is the first movie in the MCU’s Phase 5, the group of Marvel movies coming out in 2023-2024, so there were a lot of hopes riding on it. Although it fell short of expectations, it had a few redeeming qualities. First, the new major villain in this phase, Kang the Conqueror (Johnathan Majors), is just as intimidating as his predecessor in the Marvel franchise, Thanos. He has all the makings of a classic supervillain: an enigmatic backstory, a misguided desire to rid the universe of its imperfections and terrifying powers that make the main characters doubt they can defeat him. In addition to all of these traits, Majors does an excellent job of portraying such a villain; his ability to switch from calm to furious in a split second makes him a convincing new antagonist.
As a whole, the acting in Quantumania is one of the few redeeming qualities. Paul Rudd’s ability to balance the serious and the comedic is a relief in a movie where the latter too often dominates. Michelle Pfieffer also shines as Janet Van Dyne, who was stuck in the Quantum Realm for 30 years before escaping, only to re-enter it once again with her family. Pfieffer expertly depicts both Janet’s trauma from her time while stranded and her determination to get herself and her family out of the Quantum Realm once and for all.
Outside of the main characters, though, most characters are limited to comic relief for an audience already bored by the predictably perilous plot. Every problem our heroes encounter, they ultimately have no problem defeating. Quantumania falls into the trap of allowing the heroes to be invincible, to never suffer defeat, and it is part of what makes it unenjoyable to watch.
The setting, despite its vibrant colors and odd beings, adds to the boredom. As mentioned earlier, the Quantum realm contains a wide variety of Star-Wars-esque creatures, all of which look outlandish, but play little to no role in the story. The only purpose they serve is to make cheap jokes with their gimmicky alien abilities, or reveal some redeeming trait in a more important character.
The special effects and CGI, a trademark of the Marvel franchise, are also lackluster. Given that the Quantum realm, with its many fantastical elements, has to be made entirely out of CGI, it often fails to blend the actors with the background behind them. The most egregious example of this is the right-hand man to Kang, known as M.O.D.O.K. Before his appearance in Quantumania, M.O.D.O.K. was a force to be reckoned with, as indicated by his odd acronym of a name: Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. Now, he has been reduced to a giant, ugly CGI face at which the other characters can hurl their punches and insults whenever the writers decide to heap on some more comic relief. Ironically, he is as shallow and uninspired of a person as the rest of them; he just barely happens to be more unlikeable.
Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a predictable superhero flick from start to finish. It is chock full of cliché jokes, storylines, and events that culminate in a mediocre ending. If you enjoy the action and fight scenes of superhero movies, give this one a try. If not, however, you will most likely be disappointed.
Gabe Prevots. Hi, I'm Gabe (he/him), a senior at Montgomery Blair High School and the features editor of SCO. I enjoy biking, walking my dog and correcting minor mistakes in my stories. If you find any, let me know! More »