Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Review
By Kevin Hoskinson
The Ant-Man movies have always felt like they existed in their own corner of the massive Marvel Universe. Even though he’s had his share of run-ins with fellow Avengers, the movies feel like self-contained stories. Even when The Quantum Realm comes into play to defeat Thanos in Avengers Endgame, there isn’t a need to know anything about it because the folks over at Marvel know how to work their way around an exposition dump. It could be argued that is why these movies work so well; because they are mostly lighthearted and fun, with no need to dive into the darker and more sinister consequences of the universe as a whole.
The biggest problem with Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is that it takes everything that makes the previous films fun and grounds it in reality with real repercussions. It introduces us to the real threat of the MCU going forward, Kang The Conqueror, a big bad who rivals the likes of Thanos, who has a thirst for blood, and, well, conquering things. It’s up to Ant-Man, The Wasp, and the entire Pym family to defeat him in The Quantum Realm before he can escape and cause chaos in the world above. Along for the ride is Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie, who, much like her dad, tends to get into trouble constantly. It’s her and Hank’s plan to communicate with the subatomic realm to begin with that forces them to get sucked in and start this bazaar journey in a world primarily unknown.
In full disclosure, I am a massive MCU fan. When people start to talk about “superhero fatigue,” I’m the first one to jump to their defense and give reasons why they all should exist. Much like horror, you can tell many types of stories with a superhero film. Thor gave us a story about Norse gods, Captain America: The Winter Soldier gave us an old-school spy thriller, and Guardians Of The Galaxy gave us a fun sci-fi comedy with an edge nobody expected. But there is a point for every fan where they completely understand the other side of the argument, and this film is a perfect example of that.
It’s been culminating over the past couple of years, but I finally see why people are dropping off the MCU train. In this newest film, nothing feels authentically Ant-Man and the Wasp except for The Quantum Realm. Once they are there, it dives into a world we have never really explored but still feels like we have been. About halfway through the movie, I looked at my wife and asked if this was the weirdest Star Wars movie she had ever seen or if it was just me. We were on the same page! This world, everything in this universe we were firmly planted in, was a psychedelic version of what George Lucas created all those years ago. And yes, in theory, that sounds like it could be cool, but trust me, it’s just as bland and uninventive as almost every single live-action Disney remake you have ever seen.
Even with all of that being said, it isn’t all bad. Since first seeing him on screen in The Last Black Man In San Francisco (seriously, go watch that!), I knew Johnathan Majors was going to be a star. He has endless amounts of charisma and charm, which in turn makes him all that much more terrifying as Kang The Conqueror. We got a tease with a version of him in the Disney+ series Loki, but we get to see what he is fully capable of here. He is going to run circles around the heroes of this world, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him. And then there is the incredible Michelle Pfeifer! Nothing particularly stands out about her performance here, but we need more of her because she is an icon and one of the greatest actors of our time. Everyone else is there doing their Marvel thing.
MCU has not started Phase 5 with a bang but with a “meh.” It’s a glorified commercial for what’s to come and doesn’t offer much else. We watched the first two films in preparation for this and were let down by the lack of heart and soul this had to offer. It’s not bad when franchises change things up and reach for something different, but this was designed by a committee and made to sell us on the future rather than the present. I’ve never been fond of the terms cash grab or uninspired, but that’s precisely what this is. Why Kevin Feige?? Why?!!
Well, at least we have Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 to look forward to this year. That should be good.. right??!!
Rating: TWO Pastrami Nations out of FIVE
Kevin Hoskinson is the Entertainment Editor at Pastrami Nation. A writer with a deep-seeded love for movies, comic books, television, and the paranormal, he is also the host of the Pastrami Nation Podcast and the Brick Therapy Podcast, which can be found on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and more. From humble beginnings working at the box office at his local movie theater, he’s worked his way to becoming a humble family man and professional bug exterminator. Growing up, he wanted to become an astronaut, a Ghostbuster, a dinosaur, and a Disney animator before he found his passion for writing as a teen. He studied film at Los Angeles Valley College with an emphasis on screenwriting and film criticism. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two kids. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter @Kevin_Hoskinson, and Instagram @kevinhoskinson.