Marvel bounces back with an Ant-Man adventure that entertains folks of all ages, not disappoint!
Marvel’s latest offering Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania is not your regular MCU flick which comes and goes without making its mark. Contrary to his size, Ant-Man is an important part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, without whom Avengers might not have been able to return from ‘the blip’. His latest adventure not only opens the door to the fifth Phase of MCU but also unleashes an antagonist who until now was not that huge, but who will eventually grow as big as Thanos in the coming years. And we know how that ended up for the Earth Mightiest Heroes, right?
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a regular guy who is often mistaken for Spider-Man, but thanks to his Ant-Man suit that former S.H.I.E.L.D scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) gave him, he is able to save the world and then write a book about it. He is dating Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who is Hank’s daughter and together they are a team to reckon with. However, when Scott’s teenage daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) reveals that she is able to send a signal into the quantum realm where Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) spent 29 years, Janet asks Cassie to shut down her before it’s too late. The happy family finds itself stuck in the Quantum realm where a power-mad Kang (Jonathan Majors) shares a history with Janet, and wouldn’t rest until he gets what he thinks is his.
Although MCU’s humor is definitely among this film’s strong selling points, it is to be remembered as Michelle Pfeiffer’s second coming as a superhero character. Thirty years back she showed the world how to play Catwoman and today she tells comic book fans that age is just a number. She has more action scenes in this movie than Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly who play her husband and daughter, and that’s what makes this film worth its money. In fact, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that she is the Wasp from the film’s title and not her daughter who inherited her suit.
As for the first part of the title – Ant-Man – Paul Rudd does his job effortlessly. He is still the regular guy who once worked at Baskin Robbins, who is mistaken for a more popular superhero and has to look after his daughter who grew up while he was stuck in the Quantum Realm, and if that makes him appear mature here, then that’s his character’s development. One must also mention Jonathan Majors for standing tall in front of an already-established Ant-Man and sending chills down the viewers’ spines without doing much action.
Kathryn Newton as Scott’s tech-savvy daughter and Bill Murray in a surprise cameo are also worth mentioning, as are the many trademark Marvel action moments and Marvel comic moments. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking sides with characters who aren’t relatable or available in most of the movie, but that’s how Ant-Man works. He isn’t visible much but packs a powerful punch, just like the film.
Although director Peyton Reed and screenwriter Jeff Loveness tried too hard to make this film noticeable, no one was more missed in this Ant-Man flick than the man who made the franchise entertaining – Michael Peña’s Luis. He might not be a superhero but he has power and that’s connecting with the audience via a flashback where everyone is talking in his style. He was part of the first two Ant-Man flicks but was unceremoniously dropped from this one, and that will hurt the franchise big time. Secondly, the return of Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka MODOK was a decision that should have been scrapped in the first draft because the CGI version reminded one of Krang the villain from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons. Had it been presented as a well-executed CGI character; it would have gone well with the audience but the special effects were awful, to say the least. Every time he appeared on the screen, you wanted him to disappear so that the viewers could spend quality time with the other cast members.
Talking of the other cast members, reducing Wasp, and Hank to side characters was a wrong move, especially when the former’s name is part of the film’s title. It would have been acceptable had the film been released before the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp because before that movie, Wasp wasn’t that big a superhero and neither was her father. However, since this film is the third flick in the franchise, not giving respect to two of the most important characters (three, if you count Luis) will dent the franchise big time.
Also, the film features ants in a limited appearance and despite their making a grand entry, they arrive very very late. And if you aren’t surprised by the mature attitude of Ant-Man, then you need to be surprised because what made him stand out was his ability to disarm the audience with humor, and his enemies with his quickly changing appearance. Instead, here he isn’t the little guy who does big things but is also a father looking out for his daughter and is anything but a simple charming guy next door type of person.
The Verdict 3.5/5
First of all, let me clear the confusion – Ant-Man is nowhere as bad as Eternals, in any universe! While the former stands out as the most needless Marvel flick (second only to Morbius), Quantamania is a complete family flick that targets people of all ages and delivers. It may not be as huge as The Avengers saga but since it introduces the next big Avengers villain to the audience, it has to be taken seriously. Critics and viewers who didn’t like the film should be asked what their reasons were for not liking the film, and if their answer is vague, then you don’t have to worry much.
The film had huge shoes to fill, especially since it was Ant-Man’s first outing after saving the world from Thanos. It had the difficult job of going into an already scattered MCU and then making sense of it, by introducing new characters, most notably Kang the Conqueror. At times it does get boring but that’s only for those who had not seen Loki where Kang made his first official appearance in the MCU. Why he is dangerous was explained in Tom Hiddleston’s series and once you are through it, it will all start making sense.
Considering it has come after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania is Knight Rider fast compared to the last MCU flick which spent most of the time doing nothing expect taking the audience underwater into a villain’s lair. Yes, it isn’t as visually exciting as The Avengers flick or the Civil Wars but it is a light diversion just like its predecessors. Watching Paul Rudd in action with Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Evangeline Lilly is a treat any time of the year, and watching them battle it out with someone who is more powerful than their combined might is fully satisfying.