The state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in shambles when you place all of your eggs of future success on the character of Ant-Man. But that is where we are.
Last year, Kevin Feige decided to abruptly end the MCU’s phase four with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and jump straight into phase five with the Multiverse Saga. Believe it or not, Disney hasn’t had an MCU film pass a billion dollars since the 2019 Avengers: Endgame albeit Spider-Man: No Way Home grossed almost $2 billion globally. However, that was a Sony Pictures production.
When they can’t rely on a co-promotion with Sony, the MCU has not captivated the minds of audiences since the end of the Thanos saga. It’s been almost four years since Thanos was defeated and we still haven’t established a new big bad villain for audiences to fear.
What Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania seeks to do is to create hype for the latest Avengers villain, Kang the Conqueror. Needless to say, this film needs to be a success in order to have any hope for the future.
With Feige already cutting back on Disney+ shows that have already been announced and produced, Disney hopes to press the reset button with Ant-Man: Quantumania.
The latest episode of the longest-running soap opera in cinematic history begins with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who has become a successful author in the aftermath of Endgame.
Despite his success, Scott is still having issues connecting to his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) who has become a social justice activist in San Francisco which has gotten her in trouble with the law. It turns out that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has been working with Cassie on a device that can make contact with the Quantum Realm.
Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) tries to shut off the device out of fear of who could hear the message but they get sucked into the Quantum Realm where they are put in the direct path of a dangerous individual from Janet’s past, Kang.
If you have seen one MCU film you’ve seen them all at this point, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania is more of the same. A phrase that has become popular for all the wrong reasons when associated with the MCU is ‘bait and switch.’
Despite this being the third Ant-Man movie of this 31-film franchise, the main focus in the first two acts is on Michelle Pfeiffer’s character Janet. While we can give Michelle Pfeiffer credit for looking much better at the age of 64 than Madonna looks at 64, the first half of this movie is unfocused due to the film’s determination to give audiences as little information as possible.
Audiences are given the cinematic equivalent of “Trust me bro” as Janet refuses to tell anyone what she is involved in. Janet’s backstory in the quantum realm is the main focus as Ant-Man is regulated to a secondary character in his own movie.
We have seen this marketing tactic too many times from Disney and most recently in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The film drags along without a story because it thinks they are building up tension for the reveal of Kang the Conqueror.
A lot of questions went into Jonathan Majors’s portrayal as Kang the Conqueror. Majors does a good job handling the serious demeanor of the character but whenever the film requires him to turn up the emotion, his betrayal comes off as more cartoonish.
After 31 films it’s pretty much impossible for the MCU to break its bad habits. Weeks ago there were rumors that Disney decided to reshoot multiple scenes including the ending of Ant Man: Quantumania because producers felt that the movie didn’t have enough of the signature MCU humor attached to it.
Because this film doesn’t give audiences the ability to clap when another Avenger appears like most MCU films do, moviegoers are stuck with out-of-place jokes, comedy bits that die on the vine, and enough blue screen to kill an elephant.
With the recurring joke regarding Baskin and Robbins, it is safe to say the ice cream store is the only real thing in this VFX heavy movie. Disney has been plagued with out-of-control spending on the production side of these films and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania looks like it cost no less than $250 million dollars to produce.
Speaking of things that are expensive and out of control, Ant-Man decides to embrace the politics of San Francisco in the worst way possible. Jeff Loveness, who has never written a feature film in his life, was awarded his own Marvel movie based on his background from the Jimmy Kimmel show and Rick and Morty.
The film is littered with face-slapping dialogue about wealth inequality, cost of living, and a knee-slapping line about how socialism actually isn’t that bad. In a proper country, you would have to prove that you have the ability to write a major motion picture BEFORE you were given the opportunity to do so.
Apparently, Disney has a hard-on for people who have written one half-assed episode of Rick and Morty (see Jessica Gao and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law).
Another trope of modern MCU films is character regression.
This is the third Ant-Man movie along with multiple appearances in the MCU and somehow Scott Lang is too busy with his newfound fame to spend enough time with his daughter, one of the major driving points of his character for the last seven years.
Because I doubt Jeff Loveness even watched an Ant-Man film before, once again Marvel takes us down the road of Scott trying to be a good role model for his daughter as if we haven’t already seen this several times before.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is what happens when you run out of good ideas. While it is difficult to tell what this film would have looked like had the ending not been left on the cutting room floor, the film is textbook Marvel, all hype, no payoff.
- Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang
- Kang the Conqueror as a threat
- Katy O'Brian as Jentorra
- Same tired MCU humor
- Poorly written story by unproven writer
- Ant-Man is a secondary character in his own film