The newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” hit screens this past weekend to mixed reviews.
The film finds our superhero bug (Paul Rudd) trying to make up for lost time with his daughter, Cassie Lang, played by Kathryn Newton, while he navigates life as a semi-retired Avenger. Of course, things go awry and Ant-Man, the Wasp, Cassie, Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym are sent into the Quantum Realm.
There, they meet Kang the Conqueror, a being with seemingly unparalleled power over the Quantum realm, who wants Ant-Man for his own evil purposes. Jonathan Majors is incredible as Kang. He raises the bar for villains as he’s able to make Kang this larger-than-life figure – who ends up seeming way too powerful within the context of the story.
Rudd, as always, is great as Ant-Man. He’s funny and likable. He clearly cares about his daughter above all else, and he’s willing to do anything to keep her and his family safe. Ant-Man has more potential than being the little guy, though, and I really wish they gave him the chance to show that in this movie.
After the controversy surrounding the re-casting of Cassie, with Kathryn Newton in place of Emma Fuhrmann, I was skeptical of how she would fit in with Rudd. Personally, I thought Newton was great, and I hope she was fairly compensated for all that running she had to do throughout the film. Honestly, why was she always moving? I don’t know if I remember a single shot where she was standing still. Let her stay still for a second.
Along with the recasting, the movie was in the headlines for Evangeline Lily’s anti-vaccination posts (which seemed to be a trend with a few other Marvel actors), but I don’t think this impacted the movie in any significant way since it managed to come out so early in the year.
Of course, reviews on the movie have been mixed, as most other MCU films that don’t include the original Avengers are. I liked the movie for what it was. It had the corny Marvel writing we’re used to, a plot that felt like it was ripped out of a “Star Wars” movie and women with wigs that have the ability to withstand combat without a single hair coming out of place. The computer-generated imagery wasn’t the worst, and I was honestly kind of impressed with the inhabitants of the Quantum realm.
One thing I did notice about this was the attempt at addressing colonialism within the film, with Kang being the perpetrator of this, but doing so in an iffy way by taking inspiration from indigenous cultures. In the people that Ant-Man and his family meet while in the realm, a majority of their designs seem to mimic indigenous cultures in one way or another, which can be seen most notably in the character of the warrior Jentorra.
Coming off of such an incredible film like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” it felt like a joke to sit there and watch Ant-Man and his daughter run around in high-top Converse and make suggestive jokes every five minutes.
I think it tries a little too hard to emulate the goofy nature of other films like “Thor: Ragnarok,” and because of this, misses the mark on creating a new foundational villain following the elimination of Thanos at the end of the “Infinity” saga.
That being said, I did enjoy the movie. I just think that if you’re trying to usher in a whole new era to arguably the most well-known franchise in the world, you need to have an extremely strong movie to hold up the rest of the story. It’s a little bit too fun to be taken seriously, and the goofy nature of Ant-man’s character doesn’t hold up as well against the severity of Kang’s nefarious plans.