Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, along with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, explore the Quantum Realm, where they interact with strange creatures and embark on an adventure that goes beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.
After two films in the franchise from director Peyton Reed, he stated that he no longer wants the character of Ant-Man to be the palate cleanser following up The Avengers films. Even though both his previous films were well-received critically and financially worldwide, it’s difficult to blame the man. He did the hard work and now wants more. What’s great about the Ant-Man films is that they make you comfortable. They’re a huge sigh of relief with comedy infused in for a near guaranteed good time. However, Reed has big shoes to fill if he claims this third installment is on Avenger-level status. Quantumania is an entertaining film, but it may be clear that the director’s aspirations of quality ended up somewhere lost in the multiverse.
President Kevin Feige has also expressed in the past that he designed the MCU (The Marvel Cinematic Universe) in a way that the average non-comic book loving moviegoer will be able to comprehend the story without having seen every previous movie in the entire arc. While I do praise Quantumania for delivering something different and unique to the MCU, it’s questionable whether regular viewers will enjoy themselves. There may be clouds of confusion that fill their heads instead of enjoyment. That could be an invalid assessment, but it’s said with confidence. However, as a comic book nerd like myself, there was still plenty to leave a smile on my face.
The Ant-Man series is nothing short of funny. It always is, and that’s one of the best things about it. Sometimes we do need that light-heartedness without being too over the topic with random stupidity and that’s the lane that Ant-Man has carved out well in the MCU. While the entire supporting cast isn’t back this time around, due to ninety-five percent of the movie taking place in the Quantum realm, the film is still able to deliver the comedy that makes the overall franchise great. Especially during the first two acts of this film.
While it wasn’t as strong as the previous two films, I still found myself caring about the main cast, the Ant-Man family. Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton) takes on a more central role, and while I didn’t care for her disrespectful tone towards her father Scott (Paul Rudd), I still found it to be somewhat realistic. Just for a better dynamic between the two, I wish Paul’s character would’ve checked Cassie a bit more than he did in the film as a stricter parent. However, it was a great representation that being a parent isn’t easy. Hope (Evangeline Lilly) did take somewhat of a back seat this time around, which didn’t necessarily ruin the viewing experience, but it was noticeable and may turn others off if they loved her character. The chemistry was still great between Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). It was actually somewhat hilarious. If anything, there should’ve been more of it between the two.
When it comes to Jonathan Majors as Kang The Conqueror he’s the best in the film by far! This man is a true menace and his bite is as big as his bark. Everything about his character was top-tier. The design of the costume, the makeup on Majors’ face, and the utility of Kang The Conqueror’s powers and/or abilities were a dream come true on the big screen. Speaking of the big screen please see this movie on the biggest screen possible, due to the majority of the quantum realm shots being filmed with IMAX lenses. Kang is truly a top-notch villain in the MCU and is easily in the top 5 and maybe in the top 3. He’s just that great, and everything this character has to deliver in the future looks promising. During the action, he didn’t hesitate to let his enemies know just how dangerous he is and deliver pain and torture if necessary. To be afraid of him is an understatement. However, that is short-lived in a sense. While his character is fantastic it was frustrating to see him stand around toward the end of the film when his base is being attacked. Other than that, the man is flawless.
With the majority of this film taking place in the quantum realm, it’s very effects-heavy. There have been times when Marvel has missed the mark in the past trying to sell realistic imagery, but they don’t have that problem here. If anything, the studio did a fine job with the visuals which is fantastic with all the negative commentary that’s been floating around the internet about the day-to-day behind the scenes.
There are a few surprises that come into play as well, and they do their job of shocking the audience which is always great. It is also safe to say that the first two acts in the film are very strong, but the film starts to have problems during the third act. Cassie Lang appears to have some type of plot armor where she’s invincible. No matter what situation she’s in she has a very easy time escaping with little effort. This is extremely frustrating seeing that she doesn’t have much field experience, but time and time again she is able to squeeze out of nearly every situation with barely a scratch. It’s also disappointing that what makes Ant-Man so great is what hurt the film in the third act as well. That’s having to do with the unnecessary comedy during moments of battle and/or tension. I want to feel like things are taken seriously and that the characters we’re rooting for are in actual danger. When you throw jokes into the mix it takes the stakes away. Darren M.O.D.O.K (Corey Stoll) is a returning character in the franchise, and while his reintroduction into this film was funny, the character failed miserably in the third act being turned into a dumb dick joke. Why is this taking place in the middle of battle? Some of the Top MCU films don’t possess this random goofiness during their run. Save all the funny silly haha moments for the beginning or middle of the film, but not in the middle of a war. His acronym implies that he kills the victims but none of that was present in this film, unfortunately. Again, a great intro for the character, but a failed conclusion in the third act.
In addition to that, everything about Kang was great except his army. It was hyped up so much that he has built an unstoppable empire, but that wasn’t clear enough during the film. The character is what sells with or without his armor, but not his armada.
Quantumania is many things, and this film will for sure have mixed reactions. The runtime only comes in at two hours and five minutes, and I wish it was longer to flesh out a lot of its themes. The quantum realm is a lot to take in. That being said, it’s still a fun enjoyable film. Whether or not you like it can demonstrate where your expectations were before you began to watch. That’s with every film or tv show, but this time the director set a high bar that I don’t feel he was able to reach. Out of all of the Ant-Man films this one is my least favorite, but that’s mainly because the first two films were done so well. They’re both at least in the top 15 of the MCU, so beating that can be very difficult. Marvel sometimes goes over the top with their jokes during serious moments in their films, and that’s the anchor that holds this film down from being even better than what it is. That’s an easy fix for the future, but Marvel needs to realize how mature their audience is, and they don’t always need to err on the side of caution, because it can be detrimental.