The Ant-Man films used to be small scale adventures about the average everday man taking on petty business owners and criminals. In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania however, this has flipped to make the titular character a part of a grander narrative of cosmic proportions. This mismatch doesn’t suit the character, nor the MCU franchise as a whole particularly well especially with it being the beginning of Phase 5. What does stand out in the new film is the introduction of this saga’s Thanos in the form of Jonathan Majors’ Kang, who delivers an imposing and intimidating presence that sets the stage for a multiverse conflict to come.
Ant-Man and the Wasp find themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that pushes them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.
Despite there being opportunity for character arcs and growth among our heroes, none of this is realized within the film making it bland and forgettable. Scott Lang has missed out on 5 years with his daughter Cassie, who feels a tad bit of abandonment and rebelliousness as a result. What the film tries to explore through this relationship is quickly whisked away for uninteresting and CGI effects that make jokes every other minute. Hope and Hank Pym are not in the movie as much as you would think which is shocking seeing as the Wasp is a titular character. Janet Van Dyne definitively gets a lot more to do this time around, particularly in flashbacks that reveal her time in the Quantum Realm. However the build up to it is forced and the culmination of her encounter in Kang is fairly predictable albeit very well acted out by both Michelle Pfeifer and Jonathan Majors.
Kang is the star of this movie, he steals the show. When he is on screen, it feels like an entirely different movie. Kang is imposing, intimidating, menacing, manaical, methodical, intriguing, and everything Marvel needs to gain more audience moving forward. He is an excellent villain that feels rich with complexities and sets the stage for more grander conflicts to come. When he is in a scene, all of the jokes and incessant humor grinds to a halt as they let Majors take center stage. The MCU needed to reveal their grander plan for everything, and while we get a taste of it, Kang shows that we are heading in a positive direction.
However, I wish he was in a better movie than Quantumania. It is unfortunate that the only redeeming quality about the film is Majors’ as Kang. Everything else surrounding him is uninteresting and instantly forgettable. The journey through the Quantum Realm feels bland and empty despite their being a growing civilization underneath the modern world. We encounter side characters that are merely just exposition dumps or transitional pieces into the next scene. The entire “plot” of Quantumania boils down to them just journeying around in the Quantum Realm with no real purpose or aim to what they are doing. It seems like this movie was made solely to introduce Kang, but they didn’t have any other compelling ideas beyond that.
Maybe that’s because Ant-Man isn’t supposed to be a grander than life MCU adventure. What made the first Ant-Man film so great and memorable was its small scale and witty humor to balance things out. The heist element has been thrown out for more galactical adventures that provide conflicting tones. This tonal clash then makes the film come off as boring and forgettable rather than something that is progressing the overall narrative forward. Phase 5 needed something more than this, but sadly it comes off as a faint whimper.
The reason to watch this movie would be for Jonathan Majors Kang, but given the direction the post-credits scene set things up, it may not even be necessary to watch this film. I cannot recommend that you see this one in theaters, nor would I strongly think you need to watch it on Disney+. It’ll be interesting to see if this movie ends up tying in well with the rest of our Multiverse Saga, but for now it remains a highly forgettable and disappointing foray for Marvel.