Whatever you may think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the ability to tell a good story with amazing special effects and spectacular costumes is first and foremost an essential part of the process. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA is the third installment in “The Ant-Man” movies, which have been consistently about family. Director Peyton Reed, who helmed all three movies to date, is dedicated to keeping this dynamic.
The film begins with Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) hanging out in his hometown of San Francisco with his paramour, Hope Van Dyne/ The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), his daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton) and Hope’s parents, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Cassie and Hank have been experimenting, much to Janet’s dismay, which leads to a very unexpected trip to the Quantum Realm for all of them.
This incredible and enormous subatomic world presents multiple challenges for the Super Heroes and their companions as they navigate their new surroundings. The Quantum Realm is full of weird and wonderful creatures, and especially dangerous inhabitants. The most treacherous is Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a master of time who seeks to destroy everything --- and everyone --- in his way.
The screenplay by Jeff Loveness is overloaded with action and some solid humor --- and most importantly --- it doesn’t overstay its welcome at two hours and five minutes. Occasionally there is a lull in the action, specifically Janet’s encounter with her old friend, Lord Krylar (Bill Murray), now the governor of Axia. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA could have managed without that scene, which implies there was something more between them --- and only serves to irritate Hank.
But overall, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA is an entertaining outing for the fans of Ant-Man and Rudd. Lang’s jocular attitude and clear love for his daughter endear him to the masses, and of course everyone loves Paul Rudd. He and Newton share a warm and believable chemistry as father and daughter, playing off one another splendidly.
It's fun to see Pfeiffer and Douglas together again and their relationship with Lilly is engaging. Other cast members include Katy O’Brian as Jentorra, the leader of the Freedom Fighters, Corey Stoll as M.O.D.O.K and David Dastmalchian voices Veb, a charming blob obsessed with holes. Majors is sufficiently terrifying as Kang the Conqueror, the villain we are destined to see again.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA boasts some unfathomable effects, one in particular which I won’t mention so as not to spoil the fun. Add in the unusual and arresting score by Christophe Beck and this “Ant-Man” installment is good enough.
Opinion: Mild See It Now!
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA is a showcase for visual effects and that’s about it. The many scenes with Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) go on forever. Take away the special/visual effects and there are mere minutes of script remaining, including Paul Rudd’s trademark humor of which there is precious little.
Although it’s nice to see veterans again like Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas, plus the addition of Bill Murray in this film, it’s not enough to proffer a recommendation. Richard Roberts does deserve plaudits for some extraordinary set designs.
Marvel Universe fans will flock to this two-hour output of what amounts to a boring movie experience and probably love every minute of it. But the novelty of Rudd’s character changing into ant-size form is no longer novel. This looks like another franchise that has worn out its welcome.
Opinion: Wait for VOD