The critics must be crazy. Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania isn’t nearly as bad as we were led to believe, even if it is far from the top echelons of the MCU. Not only does the film set up Marvel’s Phase 5 stakes and our new supervillain—the multiverse-hopping, super-powerful Kang, played wonderfully by Jonathan Majors—it’s also often very funny and charming, thanks in no small part to Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang.
Still, according to Rotten Tomatoes the majority of critics did not like the movie. Audiences, on the other hand, have given it reasonably high marks. Nobody thinks this is the best Marvel movie ever or some kind of masterpiece, but moviegoers have definitely been kinder than reviewers this time around:
Only Eternals has scored this low with critics, though that also scored lower with audiences. (I enjoyed the film just fine but thought it was easily a half-hour too long!) For me, Ant-Man 3 is fresh, but not too fresh. This isn’t one I’ll be telling everyone to go see, but it’s also not one I’ll be telling people to skip, either. It’s a mixed bag, good and bad. Let’s start with . . . .
As I noted above, Jonathan Majors does a wonderful job as the new supervillain Kang (no spoilers about his role in the film and coming films beyond that, don’t worry). Majors is a phenomenal actor and he brings real depth to the supervillain, and even some surprising vulnerability. He’s scary but also a bit relatable, and if the producers of this film had been a little smarter, they would have doubled down on his story, fleshing out his interactions with both Scott and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Beyond the awesomeness of Kang, I really loved all the bits with Ant-Man himself. I think the second and third films in this trilogy have suffered a bit from not focusing on Ant-Man enough, and making his story too serious. All the humorous bits with Scott and his family and even some of his rivals in the Quantum Realm were really great, and I laughed out loud more than once. A film more focused on Ant-Man and Kang would have really nailed it, especially if they’d played on the contrast between the two. Tonally that might be tricky but I think it could have worked.
I also really liked Mondok and his final scene was pretty hilarious. Some of the action scenes were pretty fun as well, though nothing really stood out. Some trippy Quantum Realm CGI bits (one involving a rapidly duplicating Scott Lang) were more creative and engaging than the fight scenes.
So, other than Hope Van Dyne’s haircut, what else didn’t work in this film? Well, the title for one thing! Ant-Man and the Wasp makes absolutely no sense here. That was a fine title for the second film, which focused a ton on the Wasp—but she’s a side-character at best here, and putting her character in the title is just bizarre. Call it Ant-Man 3 or Ant-Man and Kang or Ant-Man 3: The Rise Of Kang or something. Then there’s ‘Quantumania’ which is hard to say, to read, to spell, and just makes the movie title way too long. At least Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was a little catchy (if still a bit long-winded).
Plot-wise, the Quantum Realm was a bit goofy to me. Why are there people who look just like humans on earth in a sub-atomic universe smaller than an atom? At least just have alien-looking beings down there. That the whole thing devolves into a boring, generic battle between the good guys and Kang and his legions just seems lazy at this point. Oh, okay cool, the Quantum Realm just has guns and spaceships like anywhere else. How creative!
Really, there was no need to make Kang a conqueror of the Quantum Realm at all. He could have just been stuck there, and they get sucked in and have to deal with him. No ridiculously weak robot guards. No rebel leaders. None of that nonsense. Sure, we would have lost Bill Murray’s Lord Krylar and that would be a shame, but overall this setting just never clicked for me. (Kylar could have been an alien voiced by Murray).
Also, honestly, it felt a lot more like Star Wars than Marvel! And that final battle felt way too much like Rise Of Skywalker, when they just phone the rebellion and thousands of ships show up all at the same time to join the fight.
Still, the CGI was pretty cool and the Quantum Realm’s otherworldly beings were neat. If we’d just had fireball aliens and massive purple glow-whales and aliens riding on stingray-like ships that would have been fine.
In the end, the Quantum Realm is both overdrawn and under-cooked. We saw a lot of it and got a cursory glimpse of numerous characters that lived there, and an entire rebellion overthrowing a terrible dictator, but it was all surface level and ultimately felt a little hollow and generic.
Ultimately, I was able to enjoy Ant-Man 3 regardless of these complaints. Maybe I just went in with low enough expectations and the movie was charming enough to make its flaws bearable. Meanwhile, the combo of Kang and Lang (heh) was enough to win me over. There are many better films out there, but for some fun escapism and a good introduction to the Phase 5 villain and story-arc, it’s definitely worth a watch. The MCU can, and should, do better, but for a Sunday-fun day popcorn movie it could be much worse.
This is another film where focusing a bit more on the script, cutting down the run-time by 20 minutes, and not relying so heavily on big battle scenes would have made for a better movie and a better final score. But this is still better than I was expecting so don’t let a lousy Rotten Tomatoes aggregate keep you away.
Here’s my video review:
Score: 6.5 / 10
TL;DR: Ant-Man 3 is a fun if predictable superhero movie that gets a few big things wrong, but bounces back on the strength of its leads, with both Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors knocking it out of the park.
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#AntMan #Pretty #Good