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.