Film Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (dir. by Peyton Reed)

I once read somewhere that in joining Marvel Comics, you could never get started writing or drawing any of the top tier characters like Spider-Man or any of the X-Men. Instead, you were left to work with some of the lesser known (or less famous) characters like the The Fantastic Four, Moon Knight or Namor and then work your way up to the big wigs. I don’t know if that’s true, but after having completed both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the MCU feels like it’s in the same position for me. Most of the S and A-Tier level heroes and villains were used in some way. Even their B-Class characters are in play (like who was the Multitude of Madness‘ Black Bolt, anyway?), so all they really have left are characters only the deepest comic fans know. It might be great for the movie fans who are just learning about them all (like myself, who primarily danced in the Spider-Man circles), but I wonder about the comic book fans and whether it’s all still holding up for them.

All that aside, it’s still better than getting a reboot of the same two or three heroes we keep getting over at DC – though they are learning. I’ll give Disney/Marvel credit for the attempt. I’m still waiting for DC to give either Green Arrow a try on film or Green Lantern another chance.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (or just Quantumania) finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) enjoying his life after the events of Avengers: Endgame. He’s a best selling author now, a welcome change from being unknown in Avengers: Endgame. He has a wonderful family in Hope Van Dyne (Evangelline Lilly), along with her parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) & Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). If only his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton, taking over for Endgame‘s Emma Fuhrmann) wasn’t getting into trouble all the time, things might just be perfect.

Cassie explains to Scott that with her free time, she’s been studying the Quantum Realm and managed to create a device that can track objects within it. At hearing this, Janet balks and demands Cassie shut down the device. This leads to a malfunction that pulls the entire family in to the Quantum Realm. The realm is full of life, much like the alternate dimensions that Doctor Strange has travelled. There is also a great evil dwelling in Kang (Jonathan Majors, Creed III), who hopes to escape. Can the family find a way back home, while dodging the threats that lie within?

The acting in Quantumania is fine. We’re introduced to some interesting supporting characters with William Jackson Harper (Midsommar) and Katy O’Brian’s (Syfy’s ZNation) performances. We’re also reunited with some familiar faces. Paul Rudd is charming and funny as always, as is Evangelline Lilly. Although we won’t get to know how Emma Fuhrmann would have done as Cassie this time, Kathryn Newton’s good here. It’s Marvel, I get it. Recasts can and do happen. We could argue that we’re a bit out of touch with this new casting, butCassie is given a lot to do in this installment, which really brings her full circle with some of the conversations she had with Scott, pre-Blip and all.

They all take a bit of a back seat to Michelle Pfeiffer, however. Janet Van Dyne is tight-lipped about the Quantum Realm, and Pfeiffer carries her experience there flawlessly. Her character is scared at the thought of returning, but once she arrives, Janet has layers of secrets that peel back. She and Kang were the most interesting characters of the group. There’s almost a covert agent quality to Janet, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a backstory of more of her adventures. An animated Adventures of The Wasp in the Quantum Realm, Disney?

And then there’s Jonathan Majors. You can’t have a good hero without a good villain, and his portrayal of Kang is scary. Anyone who watched Da 5 Bloods, The Harder They Fall or HBO’s Lovecraft Country knows that Majors can easily shift between quiet and reserved to explosive. He’s also physical enough to back his character’s words. I’m not entirely convinced of Kang’s motives for doing what he’s doing, but Majors’ presence is definitely felt when he’s in a scene.

Quantumania is basically 2010’s Tron: Legacy with a fresh coat of paint. Family gets pulled into another realm. Said realm is ruled by a major villain who wishes to spread their evil outside of the realm. Family must find a way to escape realm, yet ensure that the villain doesn’t get out as well. Quantumania‘s execution of the plan is far better than Tron‘s and I found myself truly worrying about the fates of the Lang/Van Dyne family in some of the scenes. I have to give a bit of kudos to whoever had the idea to have “the little guy” in Ant-Man be the first to square off with such a villain like Kang. For me, the end result was the opposite of watching the Hulk’s first interaction with Thanos. Back then, audiences may have thought that if the Hulk was dispatched so easily, what would that say for everyone else? In Quantumania, Scott and Hope give it their all, despite only really having their wits, fists, family & science. It was a bit more rewarding for me. There’s also something of a heist element to Quantumania, but it’s unfortunately weaker than the first two films. I would have loved to see a plan/info gathering/execution chapter to it all, but it never gets there.

Musically speaking, it’s nice to have Christophe Beck back on board for another installment. He’s taken the Ant-Man theme to new heights and the music throughout fits the film well. While there aren’t any standout songs like “Anthropodie” on the last film, the score overall turns a simple heist theme into an epic fight of good vs. evil.

Although the 3D in the film is nice, it’s not really required. For me, the effect faded after a while, only to resurface in key sequences. That could be mostly my fault for sitting in the front row, or perhaps the Avatar films have spoiled me. There’s a lot of CGI at work with the Quantum Zone, and I thought they did okay with it, for the most part. There’s nothing to complain about. Then again, we’ve kind of seen it before in every other multiverse story leading up to this.

Overall, Quantumania is a fun ride into the Quantum Zone. We’re given a chance to see Janet Van Dyne shine in her element. Every member of the entire Ant-Man family has something to offer (even Michael Douglas, who is smooth with the one liners), and it wasn’t particularly bad, as third films go.

Marvel releases the Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania Trailer!

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope (Evangeline Lilly), Cassie (Kathryn Newton, Detective Pikachu) and the Pyms (Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas) are back for another adventure. This time, it appears they’re all pulled into the Quantum Zone and meet some strange creatures, one of which is the variant of Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors, The Harder They Fall). Peyton Reed returns as well to direct the film, which also includes Bill Murray and Samuel L. Jackson.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be released next year.

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #26: The Maid (dir by Darin Scott)

(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June.  She’s trying to get it all done by July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)


The 26th film on my DVR was The Maid, which I recorded off of Lifetime on May 28th.

According to the imdb, The Maid is also known as A Housekeeper’s Revenge.  Regardless of which one you go with, both titles reveal this to be a Lifetime film.  That’s one thing that I always find interesting about Lifetime films — everyone always has a beautiful house and, naturally, everyone always has either a maid or a housekeeper.  I guess I find it interesting because very few of the people I know can afford to have a full-time maid, though I did once date this guy who was going to SMU where the school’s motto might as well be, “Our maid went to UT.”  When you get down to it, there are very few Lifetime films about poor people, unless the film is about somebody overcoming poverty so that they can go to Harvard or marry a professional athlete.

And I’m not complaining!  Lifetime is all about crowd-pleasing entertainment and, for the most part, we would all love to live in a big house with a great kitchen.  I know that most people would want to have a housekeeper or a maid.  Not me, though.  I like cleaning.

Anyway, in the case of this film, the maid is Colleen (Fay Masterson).  Colleen has just been hired to work for the Blackwell family!  Paul Blackwell (Lance Irwin) has just married a woman who is several years younger than him and, while they’re on their honeymoon, Paul’s angry, college student daughter, Laura (Kathryn Newton), has been left alone in the house with Colleen.  What could go wrong, right?

Well, a lot could go wrong.  If nothing went wrong, it would be a very boring movie.  Laura has had some trouble back at college.  Her boyfriend apparently got really possessive and then Laura started to receive threatening emails.  Even after returning home after her father’s wedding, strange things continue to happen.  Someone hacks into Laura’s Facerange (to use the Degrassi equivalent of Facebook) account and changes her password.  Someone is passing out flyers that announce that Laura’s a slut.  Her dog mysteriously disappears…

Could it be Laura’s ex or it could be … THE MAID!?

It turns out that Colleen has secrets of her own.  Her developmentally disabled son committed suicide, shortly after one of his high school classmates stood him up on a date.  Is it possible that Colleen is trying to destroy Laura?

Of course, it’s possible…

The Maid is pretty much a standard Lifetime film but that’s why I enjoyed it.  This is one of those totally over-the-top films where everyone is either bitter or crazy or both.  You won’t believe the plot for a second but you’ll be having so much fun with all the melodramatic twists and turns that it won’t matter.  Fay Masterson especially deserves a lot of credit for fully committing herself to playing the title character.  When she glares at the rich people that she’s planning on destroying, you never forget it.

And don’t worry,  It’s a made-for-TV movie so you know the dog’s going to be okay.



A Horror Quickie: Paranormal Activity 4 (dir by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost)

Paranormal Activity 4 is the first proper sequel to Paranormal Activity.  Whereas the second Paranormal Activity film showed events that were happening at the same time as the first film and the third film took place several years before the first one, Paranormal Activity 4 actually takes place several years after the conclusion of the first and second films.  It also makes an attempt to further expand the franchise’s mythology but, ultimately, this film just proves that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

In Paranormal Activity 4, Kathryn Newton plays Alex, a teenager who is suspicious of both her odd neighbor Katie (played by a returning Katie Featherston) and Katie’s creepy son, Robbie (Brady Allen).  When Katie is mysteriously taken ill, Alex’s family agrees to take in Robbie while Katie recovers.  As soon as Robbie movies in, all of the usual Paranormal Activity stuff starts happenings.  Doors are mysteriously slammed,  a chandelier falls from the ceiling to the floor and nearly crushes Alex, and Robbie befriends Alex’s adopted little brother, Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp).  Alex rightly suspects that Robbie is somehow involved with everything that’s happening but she can’t get her constantly bickering parents to listen to her.  So, she does the next best thing and she gets her geeky (but cute) boyfriend (played by the very likable Matt Shively) to set up every computer in the house with a webcam.  Soon, even more strange things are happening and the cameras are there to record all of it…

I saw Paranormal Activity 4 at a midnight screening with my best friend Evelyn and that’s probably the best way to see it, late at night when you’re less concerned about logic and surrounded by a bunch of people who are determined to make the film an interactive experience.  The worst thing you can do, while watching a Paranormal Activity film, is to start thinking about why nobody ever leaves the house or whether or not someone would actually keep filming while being chased by demonic spirits.  Instead, you just have to sit back and enjoy the silly experience for what it is.

When compared to the other films in the series, Paranormal Activity 4 is better than the first two entries but nowhere close to being as good as the third installment.  Kathryn Newton and Matt Shively are likable in the lead roles and there’s an adorable orange house cat who shows up at various points during the film.  (The cat may actually be the smartest character in the entire film because, whenever anything weird starts happening, she does the smart thing and leaves the room.)   Plus, the house in Paranormal Activity 4 is a really nice house.  Seriously, if not for the evil spirits and all that, I would love to live there.

Another year means another Paranormal Activity (or, as Evelyn put it when we saw this film, “Again with this?”).  Since these films all tend to have the same strengths and flaws and since they all tend to tell the same story, they can be difficult to review.  You can either enjoy these films for what they are or you can just throw your hands up in the air in frustration.   If you enjoyed the first three Paranormal Activities, you’ll enjoy the fourth.  If you spent the previous Paranormal Activity films wondering why everyone was so busy setting up video equipment (as opposed to just leaving the house), then Paranormal Activity 4 is not for you.