I was a bit nervous walking into the theatre this past weekend for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” because the movie kicks off Phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This phase shift follows an emotional ending to the previous one set by “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
I try to ignore the scores set by critics before I see a movie because I feel that their job, in most cases, is to find any negatives they can and capitalize on them. But, when I saw that the critic score for this film was sitting under 50% on Rotten Tomatoes; I was legitimately scared of such a highly anticipated movie.
Man, how inaccurate most of those scores were.
The film follows Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, AKA Ant-Man, after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and gives insight into what seems to be a very egocentric life. After a brief update on his life, he finds himself sucked into the Quantum Realm with The Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly, his daughter Cassie, portrayed by Katheryn Newtwon and a slew of other characters.
It’s no surprise then, that this film mainly takes place in the Quantum Realm, a dangerous microworld that’s been seen in previous MCU films. This time though, audiences get to experience a whole new aspect of the realm with the introduction of civilizations. The realm goes from being viewed as a trap hole that only very few can get out of, to a brand new territory.
While meeting and greeting newly discovered creatures, Ant-Man and the rest of the group learn of a terrifying being that everyone fears: The Conqueror. Thus introducing the next big bad, Kang the Conqueror.
The Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors, takes over the screen here on out.
Majors gave one of the best performances in his second appearance as Kang, the first coming from the ending of the first season in “Loki” on Disney + where he is labeled as “He Who Remains,” a different variant. It seems that this time he is not simply shooting off one-liner jokes, instead, he is there to take over the universe with force and brutality.
The potential in this character goes above and beyond Thanos, the previous Avengers-level threat because of how purely evil Kang is. Thanos was broken in the sense that his reasoning could be justified for causing change within the universe, but his solution of having a mass genocide cannot. In contrast, Kang simply wants to just take over anything in his path just because he can.It’s the other little things that make him so menacing, like when he tells Scott that he knows how everything ends, or how he’s killed multiple Avengers in different universes.
When establishing the next big challenge, there was no better way to go about it. At one point in the film, he warns Ant-Man – while Ant-Man is trying to kill him – that even if he was killed, a bigger threat would come.
Every time Kang was shown on screen he immediately changed the tone. Marvel made the right choice with casting Majors in the role.
The performance by Michelle Pfieffer as Janet Van Dyne is also one to note. Her character arc in this movie is important because she has spent much time in the realm.
Along the way, audiences meet a variety of different creatures that exist in this world. There were times when I felt as if I was watching a movie set in the “Star Wars” realm instead. The visuals were beautiful and the CGI is not as flawed as it was in the past couple of the MCU’s projects.
Although there were triumphs, there were some minor things I didn’t necessarily like that were included in the film.
The reintroduction of Modok played by Corey Stoll was the most frustrating to me. We find out that the character is basically the reincarnation of Darren Cross, the main villain from the first Ant-Man film in 2015. He seemed very one-dimensional, considering he’s a murder machine for Kang. I wish he wasn’t included in some of the bigger fighting sequences. He was solely a comedic addition, and seeing him be involved in serious spots felt very unnecessary.
I also just wish there was more time spent on the family dynamic, especially between Ant-Man and Cassie. We only see their somewhat-complicated relationship at the beginning of the movie, and I think the film would be stronger if we were to gain a couple of extra minutes examining this side of the story.
But unlike what I read from other critics, those flaws don’t destroy the movie because of how minuscule they are.
I made sure to stay through the credits and guessed correctly that the film ends with both mid-credit and post-credit scenes. I’d recommend staying for them. They give crucial insight into upcoming projects.
Overall, it’s a movie that gets the job done with how much weight it had on its shoulders. Introducing the next big villain while trying to set up the next chain of projects was the main priority. More importantly, the ending gets the audience thinking about the direction of the MCU, and it will make fans eager for what’s to come. I am not sure what the critics’ problems are with a uniquely crafted story. “Quantumania” is a thrilling two-hour journey that combines comedy, adventure and high stakes into one. The future of the MCU looks brighter.
The Bohm Theater, located in the heart of the downtown strip of Albion, will have showings of “Quantumania” this weekend with a 6:30 p.m. time slot for Friday and Saturday, followed by a 2:30 p.m. showing on Sunday.