We have been inundated with productions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, both on the big screen and via Disney+. Phase 4 featured a great array of new superheroes and some familiar faces whose adventures are not over after the fight against Thanos. One of these heroes that we definitely want to see more of is Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, who after two successful solo films with Quantumania will get a third part to shape the trilogy. In the meantime, we have also seen Scott Lang (Ant-Man) in the Avengers films, establishing himself as a regular force within the MCU.
Not surprisingly, it is precisely Ant-Man who gets the honor of properly introducing the big bad guy of the coming years. After all, in Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania we get to know Jonathan Majors his Kang the Conqueror, who we are going to see a lot more of in the next few years.
This is a spoiler-free review of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Hugely important to the MCU
So Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania is hugely important to the future of the MCU. Whereas in the first few Phases we slowly worked towards a big fight against Thanos, in Phases 4, 5 and 6 we see how our favorite superheroes battle an even bigger threat: Kang. Having previously briefly seen “He Who Remains” in Marvel’s Studios Loki as one of Kang’s variants, in Quantumania we have to see a version of the villain that is considered a hugely dangerous variant.
Right at the beginning of the film it is made clear that this Kang is dangerous, as this is told to the viewer from beginning to end. In doing so, the director unfortunately only forgot to show this. Kang serves most of the film as a sort of mysterious figure that the entire Quantum Realm fears, but once we see Kang in action, he doesn’t feel as powerful as the rumors suggest. Because of this, not only does Kang lack impact as a villain, the entire film feels somewhat watered down. I expected Kang to make short work of our heroes with great simplicity, but a big difference in strength was not apparent. The concept of “show don’t tell” was momentarily forgotten when writing the script, so you mostly hear how strong Kang is, rather than seeing it.
A trap that could not be avoided
In the process, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fell into a trap that was hard to avoid because of the film’s setup. Almost right at the beginning of the film, the heroes are already headed to the Quantum Realm, where they will subsequently remain for the vast majority of the film. Initially, I was very happy with the choice, but after the film progressed further, it also proved to have negative consequences. After all, the Quantum Realm is a big CGI feast, which could not be otherwise, but as a result you end up paying attention only to the CGI, which is not always used to its best advantage. The film is made almost entirely on computer, with only our heroes as “real” objects. I can well imagine that many viewers who pay attention to this will be irritated by the overuse of CGI.
On the other hand, I did enjoy the new characters, areas, weapons and battles in the Quantum Realm immensely. There are some very funny characters in the film that made me laugh quite a few times. This includes a starring role for Bill Murray, who plays his role very strongly. The world building of the Quantum Realm is very strongly set up and I would like to see some more of that. I got the idea that Disney had used its acquisition of Lucasfilm to steal some of the ideas from Star Wars, with alien-like creatures ingesting strange potions and foods and all the hilarious moments that ensued. Add to that the fact that you will still see battles with some sort of spaceships and, very briefly, you could say that you have been watching a Star Wars movie, but with Ant-Man in the Quantum Realm.
The potential is there
All in all, I am once again left with the feeling that there is enormous potential in this story within the MCU, but that it is not yet being achieved. As with Dr. Strange in the MultiVerse of Madness and also Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel seems to be playing it a little too safe. I want to see us have a ruthless bad guy again, one that really shows to be evil, but it’s clear by now that Marvel is afraid to do this. The ideas that are set up in the film always manage to excite me, but the final execution just doesn’t manage to strike the right chord. I am still very curious about the further course of the upcoming Phases of the MCU, because if the film has done anything, it has made me curious about how strong Kang can really be.
Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania leans too much on the use of CGI to bring the Quantum Realm to life, but does manage to present a successful new world. The Quantum Realm has funny characters and mythical creatures that I would like to see more often, but preferably with less CGI. Given Kang’s weak exhibition towards our heroes, he and therefore the film lacks some impact. This film was supposed to be the great catalyst for the years to come, but it failed in that, in my opinion. I saw a cool adventure in an interesting world, had a few good laughs and am curious about Kang’s real strength, but I am not yet surprised or overwhelmed by this move into the MCU.