Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review

For the MCU currently being in the “Multiverse Saga,” a lot of its stories post-Endgame haven’t really touched on the multiverse. Outside of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the first season of Loki, and the nostalgia of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the MCU really hasn’t touched on the multiverse much. That’s what made the latest adventure featuring Earth’s Tiniest Hero, Ant-Man, so pivotal because it not only is meant to feel like the actual start of the MCU’s next big chapter, but also introduces the Multiverse Saga’s main baddie, Kang the Conqueror. Unfortunately, Ant-Man and company’s big trek into the Quantum Realm is a total misfire.

After now being recognized as a certified Avenger, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is on a high like never before. He’s in a great relationship with Hope (Evangeline Lily), who is having her own success with her family reunited, and has a solid relationship with his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), who has her own trouble with the law. However, after Cassie creates a machine that sends signals to the Quantum Realm, it opens a wormhole that sends everyone there. There, everyone not only discovers a hidden universe filled with wild possibilities, but also a secret history that Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) has from her time there. Now, Scott must try to get him and his family home while dealing with a ruthless conqueror named Kang (Jonathan Majors) who has plans of his own for him.

Given that Quantumania was set to bring Ant-Man into the unknown of the Quantum Realm and delve into the multiverse, it had the potential to be a mind-bending sci-fi experience in the same way Multiverse of Madness was for magic. In terms of its world, it definitely hits a good imaginative level in making the Quantum realm a diverse landscape for sci-fi. The environments are just bursting with color and the different looking biomes really show the Quantum Realm as a hub-scape for the universe. There are clear Star Wars inspirations with the costume design and it’s pretty cool to see the different kind of creatures and human-like entities roaming the Quantum Realm.

Quantumania definitely goes to great lengths to make wandering the Quantum Realm for the first time an immersive journey, but it definitely could’ve stretched its imagination more in creating mind-bending visuals. Aside from one really rad sequence where Ant-Man deals with multiples of himself that actually builds towards a genuinely fulfilling moment for the character, there’s really nothing that Quantumania does to wow viewers. Frankly, the way that the film handles the multiverse is incredibly disappointing.

The biggest issue with the MCU’s handling of the multiverse so far is how they really haven’t done much with it. Multiverse of Madness should’ve been much more ambitious than what it was in terms of actually exploring other universes and doing more “show don’t tell” kind of storytelling with it. Quantumania suffers immensely from telling more than showing and it’s a big reason that the multiverse story the MCU is trying to develop doesn’t make a big impact here. Rather than feel like something big is building, Kang and his variants impacting the multiverse just feels like another underdeveloped plot thread in the MCU’s already overcrowded narrative. It lacks the depth and intrigue to really entice anyone to this big narrative and misses the mark in making Kang an intriguing villain.

At first, Kang shows a subtly to him that makes him more compelling and kind of a hidden threat. Janet’s story detailing her relationship with Kang after he crash lands in the Quantum Realm shows a side of Kang that seems kind of noble. However, it quickly becomes clear that he’s something much more monstrous and the turn he has to being this stoic general set on conquering everything in his path gives him this larger than life presence. If anything, Kang and the other variants seen in a post-credit scene show how wide Majors’ range is and that he’s the right person to bring a villain as ambitious as Kang to life. However, the eventual turn Kang has into being a screaming crybaby bad guy downgrades him greatly. His captivating persona diminishes once he just becomes a generic villain hellbent on destruction and the film struggles to establish Kang and the Kang Council as something more. They’re supposed to be THE big thing in the Multiverse Saga and they just don’t have that imposing impression.

When it comes to defining what the expectation are for the MCU going forward, Quantumania just doesn’t deliver, and it really isn’t a great Ant-Man movie either. None of the characters have an impactful arc and this doesn’t even feel like an Ant-Man movie in tone or character. With Scott’s thieving companions missing and the film being wholly consumed with exposition dumps/set-ups, it’s totally devoid of the humor that made the previous films fun. The jokes that are there mostly miss and it’s a shame how a third Ant-Man adventure is wasted on trying to set up a bigger plot that doesn’t work.

With the film mostly focused on the MCU’s future, Scott and his companions’ personal arcs basically get no depth or genuine purpose in this film. Hope is simply there to save Scott and do nothing else. Janet is there to give backstory that takes too long to get to and is painfully underwhelming when it’s finally disclosed. Cassie is incredibly generic even with her now having a suit of her own and her whole personality feels like it’s just there to possibly set up a Young Avengers in the future. Scott simply feels lost in this movie and there’s such wasted potential for his feelings about missing time with Cassie to be explored. It’s talked about a lot throughout the film, but there’s never any meaningful moment delving into Scott and Cassie’s relationship. The only one with any real personality is Hank (Michael Douglas) because his reactions are so relatable, but he’s such a small part of the film.

Worst of all is that Quantamania is such an unambitious film that makes easy choices instead of hard ones. Instead of challenging its characters in game-changing ways, it simply lets them off the hook. There’s an ending moment that defines this lack of ambition as it shows potential for a shocking and unexpected ending for Scott and Hope. If it stuck to its guns, the film could’ve changed the landscape of the MCU with who wouldn’t maybe be around to answer the call. But, instead, it just goes for a happily ever after ending that lacks real consequences and meaning.

Quantumania could’ve and should’ve been so much more than it tries to be, and its lack of vision and poor execution leaves the MCU’s future hanging in directionless state. It doesn’t do enough to establish the multiverse and Kang as THE thing MCU fans should be focused on and equally struggles to provide a fun Ant-Man adventure that fans can enjoy. It’s one of the most disappointing MCU entries post-Endgame and puts a damper on the MCU supposedly entering a new chapter.


Watch the Trailer Here:

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