Marvel Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
dir Peyton Reed
scr Jeff Loveness
prd Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard
with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Bill Murray, William Jackson Harper, Katy M O'Brian, Mike Wood, Randall Park
release US/UK 17.Feb.23
23/UK Marvel 2h05

majors pfeiffer douglas
See also:
Ant-Man 2015 Ant-Man and the Wasp 2018

Is it streaming?

rudd, newton and lilly
Less overtly comical than Ant-Man's earlier adventures, this cartoonish movie dives deeper into violent Marvel-style mayhem. Director Peyton Reed seems a bit lost in the overwhelmingly fantastical environment, which is animated with first-rate effects. And all of this makes the plot feel both murky and corny, while the action is less than convincing. Still, the cast is on fine form, finding moments of emotion alongside the snarky relationship humour.
Just as life settles into a routine after the Blip, Scott (Rudd) is propelled into the quantum realm along with his wife Hope (Lilly), daughter Cassie (Newton) and Hope's scientist parents Janet and Hank (Pfeiffer and Douglas). In this micro-universe, they run into various offbeat figures that Janet knew from her decades stranded here. This includes Kang (Majors), a master time manipulator who was imprisoned here and has now created a fearsome empire. The question is whether Scott and his family can keep Kang from using their technology to escape and wreak havoc on humanity.
Marvel fans will enjoy the lively pace and character-based gags, but the film also hews closely to the formula, with silly-suited characters diving into periodic action scenes, leading to an epically violent clash. Reed's snappy direction is terrific when centred on the people, but fights are tricky to follow. And the digital environment undermines the heroes' unique insect-sized characteristics, because proportions are blurred in a place that's surreal and nonsensical.

As always, Rudd has enough charm to keep us gripped no matter what's going on around him, and his banter with each character is terrific, anchored by an enjoyably tetchy father-daughter camaraderie with Newton's sharp-witted Cassie. Lilly has her moments to shine, but kind of fades into the plot's background; Pfeiffer and Douglas have more integral roles this time, and have fun with the craziness. Stoll is hilarious in a silly, scene-stealing character reprisal, while Murray gets a witty expanded cameo and side characters played by Harper and O'Brian provide some texture.

That said, this film belongs to Majors, who adds a soulful quality to Kang that makes us look forward to his ongoing role in this cinematic universe (fans will love a stylish post-credits sting, although the mid-credits scene is a mess). Kang's conflicted motivations and perspective add something haunting to the franchise, raising thoughts about mortality and morality. So even if the script fails to even remotely grapple with this, at least the movie leaves us with something to ponder until the next episode.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 14.Feb.23

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© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall