Thursday, February 16, 2023

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania


Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) life has changed a lot for the better since the Blip. He has since written a book and is now just busy giving public readings and signing people’s copies. Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is not doing bad either, what with heading her own company and advocating for sustainable living through Pym Particles. If anything, it is his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) who seems to be getting a lot of jail time for protesting on behalf of people displaced by the Blip. However, she is well-loved by her adoptive grandparents, especially Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who helps her explore the Quantum Realm remotely. When she demonstrates a beacon that serves as a map of the Quantum Realm, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) suddenly gets irate and it doesn’t take long before they are all sucked into the Quantum Realm where they face a man called Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a multiversal executioner of timelines exiled there for a good reason, now threatening to break free.

The Star Wars comparisons are not unfounded given the ride they give us in this new world that wasn’t really fully explored. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, we all know that Janet got trapped there for three decades, but all we hear are stories and what we see are glimpses. In Avengers” Endgame, the realm served as an integral plot device but they never expounded on it at all. Because of that, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quntumaniais left to explain everything in the two films’ wake, and it can be a bit overwhelming.

Add Avatar to the list of comparable audio-visual experiences because of all the requisite and rather rushed world-building. Since the plot is also used as an introduction to Kang as the new universal MCU threat, he is also allocated more screen time. Jane being the anchor to the realm, being the character that knows it the most, also means that this can be considered as her delayed origin story. In the end, we just don’t end up getting more Scott and Cassie Lang, which is a shame because it’s that father-daughter dynamic that really shone brightly in the first two movies.

Perhaps we are just expecting more because this is also supposed to be Cassie as Stature’s introduction to the MCU as well, right? There is just too much going on and our attention is hijacked by all the Quantum World shenanigans and all the scientific mumbo jumbo that comes with it. It’s good that there are entertaining characters that we get to meet such as the likes of Veb, a slime-like creature voiced by David Dastmalchian whose obsession with holes is just a whole new vibe.

It Is amusing to find out that the actor was in the previous two movies but in a different role. He and Luis are sorely missed to be honest, but with most of the scenes taking place in the Quantum Realm, there’s just no room left for them. Carey Stoll also returns as a repurposed M.O.D.O.K. The transition to this character makes sense from an MCU perspective but will surely piss off his comic fans. Marvel is just so guilty of this practice now, having done the same to Taskmaster in Black Widow.

Over all, the film is also littered with silly jokes but not as full of it as Thor: Love and Thunder. Perhaps this is also the reason why Kang’s threat is taken more seriously, because the stakes are made clear and you can see that the characters are serious about it. Kang the Conqueror’s ending seems too abrupt, though, and feels more like making a statement that he can be beaten by an Avenger or a team up of several of them given the right circumstances. Looking at it from this perspective gives the mid-credits teaser a whole new meaning and we also get a general idea about how this will play out in Kang Dynasty.

As a standalone Ant-Man film to conclude the threequel, this feels a little underwhelming. In comparison to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which also introduced a new character but made sure to give homage to its predecessor, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania just got lost in the new overarching multiversal slant that all films moving forward must also adhere to. And since there’s no promise of Scott Lang coming back, this felt like a really half-baked and rushed goodbye.

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