By: Amanda Guarragi
After being in the game for over a decade, the Marvel universe continues to expand. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opens phase five, and there is a multiversal world to play with. Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) have studied the quantum realm with their very own technology, but it wasn’t until Janet got stuck there that she discovered a different way of living. She found out someone else was trapped with her, named Kang (Jonathan Majors), who wanted to return to where he came from. In this film, we learn that the quantum realm is the place outside of time and space where people are sent to or get trapped accidentally. Janet is the only one who knows the full extent of the quantum realm but doesn’t disclose this information to the rest of the family.
This third instalment to the Ant-Man franchise has some strong elements, but it ultimately suffers from the same overused formula. The humour, family dynamics and the relationship between Cassie (Kathryn Newton) and Scott (Paul Rudd) are the things that hold this film together. These key things are what make the Ant-Man franchise so special. They are the only family unit in the MCU that many have grown with. Rudd’s humour is also the main thing that sets his character apart from the rest of the films because it’s so different. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on the familiar for the film as a whole to work. For some reason, this felt like you were walking into the middle of a conversation, and no one was giving you enough information to make you understand why anything was happening.
They spent the majority of the film in the quantum realm but prolonged Janet telling Hank and Hope what had happened to her until halfway through the film. Scott and Cassie met people who lived in the quantum realm. But even then, everything felt a bit empty. There was dead air, which is the result of poor editing. And even empty conversations that went nowhere. There wasn’t enough story for a two-hour film because all they did was set up Kang. At this point, it’s no longer fun to sit through two hours of set-up to only wait another couple of years for the conclusion to happen. The story needs to be stronger in the film being presented to audiences. This is phase five, and the formula is no longer a formula, just repetition. The film suffers from uneven pacing and trying to add too much to push the characters forward again.
The film is at its strongest when it directly showcases Ant-Man’s talents through Scott and Hank. There are small scenes that go back to the roots of the character, and Peyton Reed knew how to ground him in the quantum realm. There are pieces of an Ant-Man film lost in the mix of this VFX fest in the quantum realm, and that’s why it can be considered a decent ending to his trilogy. The way the film ends makes it feel redundant because of what this means for the upcoming phase. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a film that shows audiences who Kang is, and that was the sole purpose of this film. And since the Young Avengers are slowly assembling, they needed to reintroduce Cassie Lang as Stature. Unfortunately, all the Ant-Man films have been used as either a palette cleanser or a starting point regarding the placement of the films. That has been the downfall of this trilogy, but I will always keep it close to my heart.