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‘Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania’ – A Popcorn Movie With a 5-Star Villain

4 Minute Read
Feb 16 2023

Quantumania is another fun two hours with Marvel’s heroes. Some laughs, familiar faces, and a stellar performance by one particular star.

The MCU’s first Phase 5 movie has been met with some pretty dismal reviews ahead of its Friday theatrical release. Some complaints are warranted, but the movie isn’t without its fun moments.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Kang, the Movie

There’s undoubtedly a lot of talent in this movie, and though Hollywood veterans Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas are written for some low-impact action, Pfeiffer ultimately shows up to remind us all that she is, and always will be, the comic book movie G.O.A.T. The choice for her character to move a hefty portion of the plot along was a good one, even if the plot itself is just “meh”.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

But the real star of the movie is without a doubt, Jonathan Majors. This man is acting for the gods – his nuanced shift between this performance as Kang and his appearance in the Loki season 1 finale is impressive. Majors is positively breathtaking. I would watch him butter toast on a big screen for two hours and leave the theater profoundly moved.

And finally, for those hoping that the newest Ant-Man yarn packs the laughs, there are a few shining moments. Fortunately, the charm of Paul Rudd is apparently an endless wellspring, so the movie has that going for it. Plus we finally meet a live-action M.O.D.O.K., and no spoilers, but he was a good plot choice (even if, like other characters, he’s underdeveloped.)

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Manage Your Expectations, People

This is a mid-phase MCU movie. What does that mean? Phase 5 will have to do a lot of the legwork in connecting the introductory movies of Phase 4 and the major climactic battles coming up in Phase 6. The second part of a narrative trilogy always has to do that kind of heavy lifting while still telling a story within that story that has its own flow. This movie certainly struggles with that.

During the slumps, I found myself comforted by the fact that I’m personally one movie closer to getting the Young Avengers team I’ve wanted since Phase 1. So nothing is truly in vain.

Cassie Lang brings my MCU Young Avengers count to 6 (or 7 if Kamala joins the team,) courtesy of Marvel Studios

Visually, the movie is a lot. Viewers with light sensitivities or bad experiences with hallucinogens will likely find themselves overwhelmed. At times it has a 3D-art screensaver vibe, which is, again, a lot. Quantumania is also heavy on CGI. But honestly, are you expecting a movie about a fictional “quantum realm” to be filmed on location?

Missed Opportunities in Quantumania

If you’ve got Marvel fatigue, wait for this one to come out on streaming to keep yourself from ticket-price bitterness. There’s a lot of flimsy MCU science happening here. Some of (or possibly all) of the movie’s reappearing characters are phoning it in and Bill Murray’s cameo falls flat in the charm department. His character isn’t spectacularly written, and reports of Bill Murray actually not being that great a guy have tarnished his previous likeability.


Courtesy of Marvel Studios

In fact, several background characters are introduced for what feels like Phase 6 end-battle cameos. Most of them aren’t even minimally fleshed out, making it harder for the audience to become attached to the struggles of this fictional world. Shoutout to William Jackson Harper for his small but delightful portrayal as a local telepath. I still think he should have been Reed Richards.

It’s hard to bargain when it comes to these missed characterization opportunities. I love a good Marvel popcorn movie as much as the next 9-year-old stuck in an adult’s body, but building these characters would have made the movie too long.

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