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‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania’—Honey, I shrunk the story

<p>Featured Image from koimoi</p>

Featured Image from koimoi

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.

Kevin Feige and his gang of misfits over at Marvel Studios have once again released a new entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time with a third entry in the Ant-Man series that began in 2015. The trilogy, led by Paul Rudd has included some of the funniest moments that the MCU has to offer, but Quantumania leaves a lot to be desired.

Peyton Reed brought some of the most memorable parts of the MCU to the big screen with the first Ant-Man and even some points from 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, but his third time around leaves many believing that he fell flat. From the lackluster storytelling to the off-putting character design, Quantumania leaves quite a sour strange taste in a viewer’s mouth for what is supposed to be the beginning of a new phase in the MCU. 

Looking out for the little guys

Paul Rudd as the titular Ant-Man is nothing short of great here, being a great comic relief throughout the entire ride, but also taking a stab at the more emotional parts, such as the battle near the end of the climax. Rudd is not only joined by the other titular character, the Wasp (Evangeline Lily), but also by Cassie Lane, this time played by Kathryn Newtone last saw both of these characters in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, although Cassie received a recast between the films. Returning from Ant-Man and the Wasp, we also have Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas playing Janet Van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym.

Image from the New Yorker

Quantumania has included one of the best villain performances in the MCU with Jonathan Majors portraying Kang the Conqueror. Some might remember seeing Majors portray a similarly styled character in the Disney+ series, Loki, but this film makes sure to let you know that these characters are completely different. Unlike He Who Remains, the character Majors portrayed in Loki, Kang is ruthless and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, no matter how many lives must be taken in the process. 

At the same time, one of the worst villains is introduced with Corey Stoll playing M.O.D.O.K., who is possibly the most obnoxious villain in the entire MCU. Some might remember that Stoll played Yellowjacket (aka Darren Cross) in the first Ant-Man, a character that we initially chalked up to being killed off at the end of that installment. Stoll actually reprises the same character, but this time bringing a more quippy side of the man than what we initially saw in the first film. The giant CGI face that we see attached to the floating body immediately reminded me of George Lopez’s character, Mr. Electric, from The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. That, paired with the not-so-witty dialogue, makes Darren one of the most annoying characters in the entire MCU, both verbally and visually. 

The growing pains

Marvel movies, for the most part, look pretty good in the CGI department, and this one is no different. Almost every scene in the quantum realm (equating to about 90% of the entire movie) is pure eye candy. The beautiful backgrounds pulsating with every color of the rainbow is something that I’ve been wanting to see Marvel do more of outside of the Doctor Strange films, and thankfully, we’ve gotten it here. Other than the settings, however, the CGI still doesn’t hold up as well as it should. M.O.D.O.K.’s face in particular literally looks as if they stretched an image of Corey Stoll’s face on a giant golden body and called it a day. Even one of the major fight scenes, where Cassie and Scott are both giant, looks a little bit fishy. For being made by Disney, one of the richest companies on the entire planet, there is really no excuse why any movie they make should have questionable CGI, especially riding off the back of the new Avatar film. 

Image from The Catholic Review

Although the overall plot accompanying the film is nothing to write home about, there are a couple of scenes that I think are some of the best to come out of the MCU, such as the scene showing how Michelle Pfeiffer’s character met Kang. That section was genuinely great, and I think that more of the modern MCU movies could use more scenes like that. 

Cassie’s arc about helping the residents of the quantum realm, however, just seems like an afterthought. Some amazing actors are brought back from other Marvel projects to play some of the characters from the quantum realm (including the great David Dastmalchian, but even that is not enough to save what is undoubtedly one of the laziest attempts at a film that Marvel has made in a long time. Even the lack of Michael Peña’s fan-favorite character, Luis, is felt throughout the entire film. I feel as though his inclusion would show another side of what is happening in the world of this film outside of just the quantum realm. The film surely had some great moments, but some points made me question what the writers, along with the rest of the staff over at Marvel Studios, were even thinking.


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koimoi, NewYorker, CatholicReview

Contact Conor Butler with comments at cmbutler@bsu.edu