Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Peyton Reed

Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Kathryn Newton, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonathan Majors, Bill Murray, Corey Stoll, David Dastmalchian, Katy M O’Brian, William Jackson Harper, Randall Park.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, uno sguardo ravvicinato a Kang ...

This is the third film in the Antman series from Marvel, but it also serves as an introduction to Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

In the years since the events of Avengers: Endgame, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), the former burglar now known as the small superhero Antman, has been settling back into life in San Francisco with his wife Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and his rebellious daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton, from tv series Big Little Lies, etc). He has written a best-selling book about his adventures as part of the Avengers team that defeated Thanos. But despite his fame, he is still often mistaken for another key superhero – Spiderman.  

During a family dinner with Hope and her family – her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas, from Wall Street, etc) and his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer, from Dangerous Minds, etc) – Cassie reveals that she has been working on a device that can send signals into the quantum realm, a mysterious world beneath the earth. Janet, who has had dealings with the quantum realm in the past, realises the danger of the device but before she can shut it off the entire family is sucked into the other dimension. Separated, they find themselves caught up in the battle to save this strange other world from Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors, from Lovecraft Country, etc), who has been banished into the realm in an attempt to put an end to his desire to conquer the universe. The family also needs to find a way to reconnect and eventually escape back to their world. 

Among the many diverse characters Scott and his family encounter are Lord Krylar (a typically dry and droll Bill Murray), a former rebel who shares a history with Janet; freedom fighter Jentorra (Katy M O’Brian, from Z Nation, etc); Veb (voiced by David Dastmalchian, from Dune, etc), a transparent gooey blob; and Corey Stoll, who reprises his role as Darren Cross (aka Yellowjacket, the villain of the first Antman film) but here he has mutated into a disembodied head known as a MODOK (an acronym for a Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing). 

Peyton Reed, who has helmed the previous two instalments of the Antman saga, returns to the director’s chair, and he is familiar with the characters and the tone of the material. But his direction this time around seems a little uneven. Antman And The Wasp: Quantumania has been nicely shot by cinematographer Bill Pope (Baby Driver, etc). The special effects are superb though as they create this strange diverse world and its various creatures, including walking and talking broccoli, a transparent gooey blob and other visual wonders that are vaguely reminiscent of Strange World, the recent animated family friendly film from Disney.  

Rudd, playing Antman for the fifth time, has a genial and self-deprecating style that suits his character and his presence is one of the best things about this underwhelming adventure. Majors brings a hint of menace to his role as Kang the Conqueror, who is destined to play a major role in Phase 5 of the MCU, bringing about chaos and wreaking havoc on the Avengers. The film wastes the talents of Douglas, who looks uncomfortable and a little bored at times, and Pfeiffer. Newton has a feisty presence as Cassie and the prickly relationship she has with Lang gives the film its emotional heft. 

Antman And The Wasp: Quantumania is also symptomatic of much that is increasingly wrong with the Marvel brand now, especially given its current fascination with multiverses and other strange worlds. The film is overloaded with special effects and green screen work to the detriment of coherent plotting. And audiences need to have seen many of the other Marvel products, tv series and spinoffs to understand some of the characters and plot developments. The story, from writer Jeff Loveness (tv series Rick And Morty, etc), is a bit messy and complicated, although it is laced with lots of touches of goofy comic book like humour. And it seems as though he has watched Star Wars a few too many times. Audiences will be able to identify many of the cinematic influences and references that have shaped the visual aesthetic of the film. 

Antman And The Wasp: Quantumania is an underwhelming introduction to Phase 5 of the extended MCU. This is easily one of the lesser films in the Marvel canon, and shows that the studio is beginning to suffer from a creative burnout. 


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