Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
- Directed by: Peyton Reed
- Starring: Paul Rudd, Kathryn Newton, Jonathan Majors, Evangeline Lilly
- Action/Adventure | PG-13 | 2 hr 5 min
- Coming to Theaters February 17
Since the Infinity Saga ended, Marvel films have received a lot of heat for a perceived dip in quality. Some of that’s valid, but even so, each new film had bits of heart and ingenuity that showed through to varying, but still worthwhile, degrees. That is, until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which feels soulless in a way that’s extremely troubling for Marvel going forward.
Never has it felt so painfully obvious that actors are talking past one another in front of a green screen in Atlanta. Quantumania’s dialogue is extremely clunky, and it comes off very your-turn, my-turn sitcomic. When characters aren’t forcing out stilted lines, the Quantum Realm, a simultaneously overcooked and undercooked CGI mess, completely washes out any interesting set pieces.
Clearly, the film went for a Star Wars-esque cornucopia of creatures and culture, but it’s so clear that it borders on desperation. Too, unlike the best parts of a production like Star Wars, none of it feels tactile, and the parts that do stick out like a sore thumb.
Ironically, in a reversal of one Marvel’s long-running cinematic problems, Quantumania’s villains are its only saving grace. It’s truly a slog until M.O.D.O.K. (a campy, man-machine hybrid) comes along, and Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror is the only character in the entire film that feels somewhat lived in. That’s Majors’ magic, and it’s a shame no one came close to matching his intensity and buy-in.
Most disappointingly, the film completely misunderstands its title character, which used to be the best thing about Marvel. The first two Ant-Man films were fun heist movies with relatively low stakes that injected Paul Rudd’s charm and dad-energy into a little-known, quirky character. Quantumania ditches that almost entirely and stands as an over-serious, high stakes jumble of competing ideas and influences.
Marvel could have picked up any Avenger and plopped them in this film with almost no changes to the story, and that kind of widgetization of content is a huge issue. People come to these films to feel something, but that’s hard to do when the film apparently exists to check a box.
Reed Ripley is a local attorney with a flare for watching movies. You can find more reviews from Reed Ripley at Ripleysreviews.com