Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania
BY JOSEPH MOORE, STAFF WRITER
Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania released February 17, 2023, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Kathryn Newton. It is the first release in Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which is currently in the midst of its Multiverse Saga storytelling initiative. It is also the third film in the Ant-Man trilogy.
The film set out to be a fun, family, sci-fi adventure with gigantic stakes for the MCU’s future. Ultimately, it is more Ant-Man on a bigger stage, which meets expectations more than it succeeds them.
The core of this film is the family dynamic between Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and the rest of the Ant-family. Each family member serves their own role in the story but Scott’s daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeifer), the original Wasp, stand out the most.
Cassie, who was a young child in the first two films, is now old enough to get her own super suit and figure out her place in that crazy world. And Janet serves as the guide through the Quantum realm due to her entrapment there for 30 years.
Cassie’s arc in the film is the beating heart of the story as she tries to come into her own as a hero. She sees people hurting and in need after the Blip from Avengers: Endgame, but her dad doesn’t see a big bad guy and thinks he is no longer needed as a hero anymore.
This arc is full of untapped potential but ends up being very surface-level, in favor of setting up the film’s villain, Kang.
Janet Van Dyne’s guiding role in the story warns the audience about the film’s villain, Kang (Jonathan Majors), an exiled, multiversal traveler who has been trapped in the Quantum Realm. Pfeifer’s character is given a lot of exposition-heavy dialogue which doesn’t leave much room for her performance to stand out from the material she’s delivering.
The standout performance of the film belongs to Jonathan Majors, with his sophomore outing as Kang in the Multiverse Saga. Major’s performance captivates the audience every time he steps on the screen. His presence brings a threatening gravitas as he calmly delivers lines of dialogue that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Major’s performance sets him up to deliver an all-time villainous performance as Kang and his many variants in the rest of the Multiverse Saga. Simultaneously, his performance also hammers home the lack of stakes and priorities for the Ant-family when it comes to success in saving the day.
Major’s performance can only go so far as to elevate the sci-fi adventure story. The CGI environments and faceless minions in the film does not elevate the action of the story in any meaningful ways. The comedy throughout the film will have varying mileage on audience members, with Corey Stoll’s return as Darren Cross, now known as M.O.D.O.K, playing a huge impact on it.
The film is a fun chapter in the ongoing saga of the MCU. Jonathan Majors continues to prove that his presence in the Multiverse Saga has a chance to dethrone Thanos as the number one MCU villain. And Paul Rudd and the rest of the Ant-family turn out enjoyable performances that are entertaining to watch.
While the film’s serviceable story and engaging performances work with the film’s shorter run time for an enjoyable watch, the story’s indecisiveness will leave many scratching their heads about the future of the franchise going forward.