Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania spoiler review – A swarm of failures

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Kang meets Scott for the first time

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WARNING: This review contains FULL SPOILERS for the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Make sure you’ve seen the movie in cinemas before you continue reading.

Ant-Man films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have always been part of their own little world. 2015’s Ant-Man was more of a comedic heist movie than a superhero movie. And its 2018 sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, was a gratifying follow-up with similar themes. This time, however, Marvel has thrown everything at Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – and not all of it works.

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Ant-Man’s daughter, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), has been secretly working on a communication device for the quantum realm – the universe “between space and time” that her grandmother, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), was trapped in for three decades. Naturally, everything goes wrong, and the entire family gets sucked into the quantum realm with no real way of escaping.

After being split up, the movie really begins – and so, too, do the problems. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Cassie are continually being warned about some evil overseer who conquered the quantum realm with an iron fist – but the pronoun game quickly gets boring. Kang is obliquely referred to as “he” and “him” for a full 30 minutes before anyone mentions his name. This is long after a flashback at the top of the movie had already introduced him (and despite the fact he was introduced back in the Disney Plus series Loki).

Soon enough, Scott and Kang meet, and it becomes obvious that the villain wants to get out of the quantum realm to exact his evil on Earth. Obviously, Scott can’t let that happen, so battles ensue, a heist (kind of) begins, and many, many empty threats are made.

Although Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is visually stimulating at many points, its plot is simultaneously bloated and paper thin. There is far too much going on. Dozens of new characters come and go – few of which are memorable – and cliched narrative threads plague the ever-plodding story. There are some shining points in the tiny epic (most notably, the swarm of technologically advanced ants) but, by that point, it is too little too late.

Perhaps the biggest offender throughout the picture was MODOK – the Mechanised Organism Designed Only for Killing. The grotesque character is quickly revealed to be Darren Cross from the first Ant-Man movie but deformed and saved by Kang with futuristic technology. His CGI look is not only jarring but completely ridiculous. It got to the point where, every time he was on screen, the cinema’s audience was laughing at him, not because of him. Furthermore, his inclusion felt like nothing more than an exaggerated callback to the first movie. The tying-up of a loose end that nobody cared to notice in the first place.

Sadly, MODOK was not the only wasted character in the movie. Cassie Lang is the young new Ant-Man successor in name only. Despite quickly establishing herself as a freedom fighter and an all-around good egg, she really doesn’t do much in the movie. Other than being the only reason Scott continued to get involved in the film’s antics, Cassie felt truly wasted. With no memorable dialogue or fight scenes, poor Kathryn Newton felt wasted.

On that note, however, the fight scenes in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are great fun. Between Scott and Wasp changing sizes to sucker-punch their foes, and Kang obliterating hordes of innocent people with terrifying death rays, the action (oddly enough for an Ant-Man movie) is where some of the movie’s strengths lie.

Speaking of Kang: Jonathan Majors is brilliant. He is harrowing as The Conquerer. Despite the dialogue and script around his reveal completely dropping the ball, Majors embodies a god-like being that will force everyone to his will. On-screen he is menacing, powerful, and genuinely scary. Fans will fall in love with Majors upon his first arrival – so it’s a shame he gets killed off so soon.

After the promotional campaign built Kang up to be such a daunting character, it feels absurd that he was thwarted so quickly – and by a horde of ants, no less (or, perhaps, this is the perfect way Ant-Man could defeat the worst enemy they’ve yet faced?) Either way, the post-credits scenes showed off the true power of Kang’s abilities.

The first post-credits scene introduced countless Kangs meeting up to discuss their next move – much like Rick and Morty’s Citadel of Ricks plot shtick. While it ultimately amounted to building a looming threat for the following movies, it was fantastic to see Majors create so many different characters in a rabid and feral manner. I cannot wait to see what he does with the next batch of Kang villains.

The second post-credits scene had people jumping from their seats. Yet another Kang variant was showcased, but this time it was a Victorian scientist named Victor Timely. Loki made a brief appearance alongside Owen Wilson’s Mobius, no doubt teasing the upcoming second season of Loki. Will Loki be the key to bringing Kang down once and for all? Probably, but we still have half a dozen movies to get through before we can even sniff Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which is due to hit cinemas in 2025.

Until then, while Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is mostly a “miss”, Kang’s unbelievable portrayal from Majors may make it worth it.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is in cinemas now.

Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp are available to watch on Disney Plus now. 

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