Ushering in Phase 5 of the MCU, Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania had so much potential. This movie was enjoyable to watch, but it could have been so much better. The movie overall was a little bit flat, and underwhelming, and I don’t mean that in an extreme way, but in enough of a way for me to leave the theater slightly disappointed. While there were many enjoyable aspects of the movie, there were several issues including a lack of focus on Antman, and the Wasp, the pacing, and the Quantum Realm itself.
Antman and the Wasp
After a brief introduction of Janet and Kang in the Quantum Realm a long time ago, we do get a monologue from Antman (Scott Lang) talking about his life since the events of Endgame, and he mentions the Wasp (Hope Van Dyne), and what she has been up to. Unfortunately, once we enter the Quantum Realm, the two characters whose names are in the title were seemingly pushed aside to feed the narrative of Kang and his relationship with Janet Van Dyne when she was stuck in the Quantum Realm. I don’t think it could have been easy by any means to avoid this issue since Kang is being introduced as the ultimate villain, and Janet knew him, and worked with him in the Quantum Realm. Having said that, they could have given Antman and the Wasp larger roles.
The Runtime and Pacing
Even with a two hour and five minute runtime, it felt like this movie was rushed. It was like we were moving on from one plot point to the next as quickly as possible with no time to really enjoy the movie. We were almost just checking boxes for what needed to be done. However, that’s not to say that there wasn’t any fun or intrigue, but these elements weren’t fully developed. The previous two installments of the Antman franchise were both nearly two hours and seemed to work fine, but I think this one could have benefited from about 30 more minutes of quality screen time.
More so then Scott’s friends, there needed to be more scenes focused on Antman. It felt like there was a large focus on Janet, but it made sense, and it seems like it would have been fine if there was more for Scott to do. For one thing, specifically Scott’s relationship to the Quantum Realm and its people could have been more developed. The freedom fighters that Scott and Cassie meet in the Quantum Realm seem interesting enough, but we never get to see Scott make much of a connection with them. The movie also could have benefited from Scott creating a connection with the Quantum Realm itself. It was good however to see Scott’s relationship with his daughter, and I think they worked really well together.
Some of the Quantum Realm was visually stunning, but it largely felt like the actors were just walking in front of a green screen. The setting is always important, but especially in a movie like this. The Quantum Realm is a whole entire universe waiting to be explored. We’ve seen glimpses of it in previous movies and this movie was the Realm’s time to shine. Unfortunately, it barely did. Some of it was visually striking, but it could have been way better. The world that we live in has some strange landscapes in nature, and it might have been nice to see the Quantum Realm use a mix of CGI and those magnificent real world shapes and colors.
Kang and his Plot to Escape
For the most part, Kang was everything I was looking forward to. Johnathan Majors delivered a captivating and ominous performance. And I did enjoy Kang’s feud with Janet Van Dyne. The flashbacks were great, and it felt like they had a history of friendship that turned bitter. Although, it would have been nice to have more of that, but that might only further detract from Antman and the Wasp.
The way it was set up for Kang to be “imprisoned” in the Quantum Realm because of Janet seemed reasonable enough, but possibly could have been developed more. However, at this point, after one view, I don’t have any sort of solution for that. It does seem like Kang could have taken the Pym Particles from Scott and sent his soldiers to go and fix the power core of his time ship, but I might be missing something.
My only real complaint about Kang was that he was defeated a little too easily. Apparently, Kang’s only weakness is that he won’t kill ants. Now I understand that giant ants are going to be super strong and tough to kill, but if I remember right, Kang was only shielding himself. He had no problem blasting away as many freedom fighters as possible, but when it came to the ants, he didn’t fight back. This is was a little disappointing, however, I did like Hank discovering and leading the army of the ants.
Where were Scott’s friends Luis, Dave, and Kurt? I’m kidding about the subtitle here, but I’m not kidding about including these characters. It does make sense that none of them would be there to get pulled into the Quantum Realm, but I think it would have provided a fun side story for them to try and rescue them or something along those lines. I also think that having Luis in the Quantum Realm could have been a lot of fun. Of course then we might be worried about Kang making an example out of him, but Luis, especially brings a unique quality to these movies. It feels like there is an empty spot without Scott’s friends/coworkers. Their relationship was always part of the charm of the Antman movies.
To Sum it Up
I don’t have much to say about MODOK. I know that many people have strong opinions about how he was portrayed, and the Spy Kids comparison is hilarious, but I have just never seen the need to take that character seriously. Also, I do think Kathryn Newton did a good job as the newcomer playing Cassie Lang, and there wasn’t an acting performance that I don’t think I didn’t enjoy.
Anyway, though. It does set up a lot of potential for the future of the MCU, but I hoped it would have been better. I am still looking forward to seeing more of these characters in future projects, and I hope that if there is an Avengers team included in the upcoming Captain America: New World Order movie that Antman and the Wasp will be there.