Review | Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania | 2023
|Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.|
As the Marvel universe continues to expand, it somehow feels smaller on screen. Never has that felt more apparent than in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Ostensibly a film designed to open up the possibilities of the MCU and set up the central conflict of Phases 5 and 6, Quantumania is instead an interminable, soulless bore, spinning its wheels and sending its heroes off on a lifeless adventure that feels neither inspired or thrilling.
All of this is mainly in service to setting up a multi-film conflict, and as such Quantumania has no real personality of its own. The previous Ant-Man films have gotten by on being more comedy-oriented, so by saddling this franchise with this kind of apocalyptic conflict, the MCU has made a major miscalculation. It just doesn't work - there is little charm to be found here, and even the unusual cast of creatures feels lackluster and half-baked. This is clearly a movie that thinks itself far more clever than it is, substituting painfully normal "weirdness" for personality.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on a downward trajectory for quite some time, but what a miserable, soulless two hours this is. Everything about it is phony and flat from the start, visually unappealing and narratively aimless. It's disheartening to watch so many talented performers traipse through its lifeless green screened landscapes, knowing that there's still more of this yet to come in subsequent films (although likely without Majors, given the seriousness of his legal troubles and domestic abuse allegations). Between the vanishing returns and its banking on a now toxic star, one wonders if it's not time to throw in the towel and go back to square one on this entire depressing enterprise.