Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, along with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, explore the Quantum Realm, where they interact with strange creatures and embark on an adventure that goes beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.
THE GOOD STUFF
Jonathan Majors- Perhaps we’ve overlooked just how big the shoes were to fill the role of Thanos. As time has passed since 2009, Thanos has been widely regarded to be one of the greater movie villains to come along in the last couple of decades at least. Perhaps we overlooked how much the next phase of the MCU depends on its lead villain feeling just as indomitable as Thanos did.
As it turns out, the character of Kang is exactly that, and also.. not at all, really. It would have been a mistake on the part of the MCU to present Kang in a similar fashion, and it would have been a mistake for Majors to play him in the same kind of unambiguous way. This is a performance that is much different than the performance Majors had in the season finale of the first season of Loki. Is this villain on the level of Thanos yet? No. But you can tell it’s building up to be something special as time goes along. Majors is the very best part about this film.
Michelle Pfeiffer- In Ant-Man 2, Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t have a lot of stuff to do. She was just an ancillary character for the most part outside of the first act, and she was reacting to a lot of stuff that was going on. Here, she is a focal point of the story. We’re living in a time where Pfeiffer might be considered to be underappreciated at what she does, and her performance here makes me wonder why she’s not in more stuff. Her scenes with Majors stand out a great deal; their dynamic is a big part as to why his performance is so good, honestly.
That cameo appearance- Without getting too spoilery, I will just say that there’s a cameo appearance from one of the most underrated character actors in the game today. And no, I’m not talking about Bill Murray (even though his cameo was pretty nice). I love what they did with this character, and it was very satisfying to see this person in the movie to close out his character in a proper way.
Ant-Man (The good stuff)- Common conversations about the characters in the MCU have always found Ant-Man to be a joke compared to his Avengers counterparts. His powers are very rinky-dink compared to most of them, outside of the fact that he can turn himself into a giant. I can only assume that there was a point to not make that the case anymore. To make it seem as if Ant-Man could really hold himself in fisticuffs with literally any other Avenger when they haven’t been presenting that to be the case at all this far into the MCU.
Scott Lang is, dare I say, the most badass he’s been presented as thus far. This is indeed the movie you can bring up whenever somebody says that Ant-Man is a joke of an avenger.
THE BAD STUFF
ANT-man (The bad stuff)- The problem with trying to make Ant-Man into a badass… Is that you have to put the clamps on the comedic nature of the character. This is such a serious iteration of the character that it seems to be a waste of the talents of Paul Rudd. As time passes, it becomes clearer to me that the first Ant-Man movie was a pretty good origin story MCU-wise and better than most of the Avengers origin stories that have been presented just by making it as much of a comedy as it was anything else.
Outside of the first and last scenes of this movie, nothing’s really funny anymore. There’s nothing unique to Ant-Man if you take the comedy out, and that’s exactly what they did to this character.
THE UGLY STUFF
The Wasp- As soon as this movie was over, I actually went back and looked up the title once again to see if the title actually said Ant-Man 3, or just Ant-Man in Quantumania, or something like that. But no, the Wasp’s name is in the film’s title, and yet there’s absolutely nothing for her to do.
It’s just bizarre to see the Wasp fighting, reacting to other characters’ decision-making, and then doing a whole bunch of nothing. This movie makes the really bizarre decision to separate Ant-Man and the Wasp for the vast majority of the f****** film, and when they come together, it’s in a humongous action set piece, and they barely have any meaningful dialogue together.
We, in fact, see so much more of Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie in the film that I’m kind of wondering why Kathryn Newton wasn’t billed above Evangeline Lilly.
I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this film. Although it does stand to be an appropriate introduction to The 5th phase of the MCU by introducing bigger ideas than almost anything we saw in the entirety of Phase 4, this might be the weakest ANT-MAN film to date and the very definition of a mid-level MCU film.
People like to talk about the pattern of the common MCU movie, how the ones that aren’t “meant to be special” whatsoever tend to follow certain beats and have their third acts end in some kind of terribly CGI’d kind of way. Although this movie gets a lot of stuff right, the idiosyncrasies of the character and the comedic feel of the Ant-Man series are largely absent. And that is a real shame.
ANT-MAN & THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA is in theaters now.