Fun action and adventure that doesn't lose track of the characters
Great throwbacks to the first Ant-Man
Still a characters-first series
A little too big picture
We're back to the whole "big picture" thing, huh?
With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, director Peyton Reed joins the esteemed ranks of being the only other director, after Jon Watts, to helm a complete trilogy of a single character. It also makes Ant-Man and the Wasp the first characters since Iron Man to receive a proper trilogy focused on them. (With James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy joining them soon.)
While the Ant-Man sub-franchise has been the most consistently light-hearted of the lot, with a significant objective being family-friendly fun, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania goes a little darker. Not only does it up the stakes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, it also cements Ant-Man and his family’s new position as some of the more senior heroes of the upcoming stories.
The strongest suit of Quantumania is easily the balance it strikes between maintaining the lightheartedness of the first two Ant-Man movies, and transitioning to this new darkness all while maintaining the focus on family. Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and newcomer Kathryn Newton’s charisma can be largely thanked for maintaining the family-friendliness, against Evangeline Lilly and Michelle Pfeiffer’s more gravitas-driven performances
It also helps that Reed’s consistent presence as the sole director of the Ant-Man films has allowed for organic growth for the characters despite the regular large-scale, universe-spanning events of the Avengers movies. The ramifications of the shared universe of storytelling have had effects, negative and positive, on most of the more individual character-focused films. Not even the Iron Man films, with Iron Man 2 having been a little over-stuffed with universe-building, could escape the weight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While it may have served the movie and characters better if Quantumania could have remained strictly small picture (heh, pun), the point of the movie comes through with the idea of the small guy going up against the biggest bad for the sake of the other small guys. And it works for the most part thanks to Jonathan Majors’ take on Kang The Conqueror.
Although a version of the character was introduced back in Loki season 1, that Kang was but a harkening of what was to come–no easy feat considering the amount of anticipation and fanfare that was built around the previous big bad: Thanos. But Majors’ pulls it off perfectly, portraying this iteration of the character with a far more explicit menace than his Loki counterpart. And there’s still much more to it but… let’s leave that to actually watching the movie.
Fundamentally, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a definite departure from its predecessors. But this is fitting given that it’s burdened with the glorious purpose of kicking-off Phase 5, as well as introducing the newest universe-threatening villain to anyone who may not have been keeping up with the Disney+ shows.
But, come whatever may, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a good start to a new phase and, if Majors’ performance(s) as Kang is any indication, we’re in for a pretty epic ride.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits the relatively big screens on 16th February!
P.S. Be sure to stay for TWO very key mid and post-credits scenes. And, maybe, consider re-watching the first Ant-Man.