Press "Enter" to skip to content

Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Directed by: Peyton Reed

Premise: The third Ant-Man film. In the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is coasting on superhero fame. Ant-Man and his entire family are transported into the Quantum Realm with no way back.

What Works: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is mostly set in the Quantum Realm and the movie has some creative production design. The filmmakers embrace the inherently goofy conceit of the Ant-Man character and of comic books. There are some strange supporting characters in Quantumania such a sentient gelatinous blob and these touches lighten the tone and give the film some humor.  Quantumania primarily exists to introduce Kang the Conqueror played by Jonathan Majors. This is an adequate introduction and Majors is well cast in the role. He’s convincingly threatening without restoring to camp and Kang possesses an interesting moral ambiguity.

What Doesn’t: While Quantumania successfully introduces Kang the Conqueror, it doesn’t do much else. This entire movie is filler. Quantumania sets up characters who will payoff several installments from now but the filmmakers do nothing with the present story. Quantumania begins by returning to Scott Lang and finds him coasting on his post-Avengers fame. His life has plateaued. The moviemakers acknowledge that Ant-Man doesn’t have a purpose anymore but that issue is never developed into anything substantial. Lang’s daughter (Kathryn Newton) has gotten into some legal trouble and it’s revealed that various members of the extended family have been keeping secrets from each other but none of these story threads are followed through. Even the reveal that Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) had a relationship with Lord Krylar (Bill Murray) during the decades she was trapped in the Quantum Realm comes to nothing. The film introduces a variety of supporting characters but no one has any personality or purpose. It’s all generic. Quantumania is a Marvel superhero film that’s just going through the motions. It’s very obviously influenced by Thor: Ragnarok and The Guardians of the Galaxy but Quantumania is a weak knockoff of what Taika Waititi and James Gunn did so well. The film doesn’t make internal sense. The entire family is unexpectedly sucked into the Quantum Realm and Ant-Man, the Wasp, and their daughter are wearing their superhero suits for no particular reason. Newton’s character sends a signal into the Quantum Realm but it’s unclear how Kang would know it was them and how he would transport them into this other world. Worst is the ending which has the potential for gravitas and heroism and then undoes any hint of sacrifice or stakes. The conclusion makes plain that this whole film has accomplished nothing and filmmakers play it off as though it’s cute to have wasted the audience’s time.  

Bottom Line: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania follows Thor: Love and Thunder and (to a lesser extent) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in demonstrating that Marvel’s classic roster of superheroes have run their course. This film only exists as a potboiler between Avengers team-up movies.

Episode: #940 (March 12, 2023)