“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” Review

Story posted February 20, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by Logan M. Sharp.

Ant-Man has shrunk again!

Marvel Studios’ latest installment, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” marks the beginning of Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the second part of the “Multiverse Saga.”

Currently, it is the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and serves as the final movie in the Ant-Man trilogy. 

The movie follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in the aftermath of “Avengers: Endgame,” relishing in some newfound fame because of his efforts in assisting the Avengers to save the universe.

However, his daughter, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), creates a device that sends the cast of characters spiraling into the depths of the Quantum Realm, ruled by the maniacal Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

Kang, trapped within this hidden microscopic universe, uses Ant-Man's tech as a method to escape with his empire and resume destroying timelines across the Multiverse.

One aspect of the film that comes into question is the overall direction of the film. As with most Marvel flicks, the director’s vision is put to the side in favor of the typical “Marvel formula,” and this continues once more with “Quantumania.”

Some directors, however, are fortunate enough to remain distinct, which is probably why James Gunn and the Russo Brothers are now widely renowned and respected. However, it is doubtful that anybody will remember who directed “Thor: The Dark World.”

Peyton Reed is at least remembered enough as the “guy who directed the Ant-Man movies,” but whatever vision he might have had for this installment was potentially sidetracked by studio interference.

Without revealing the climax of the film for the sake of spoilers, the overall ending of the movie seems tacked on due to reshoots and lacks any real repercussions for the future of the MCU.

The fate of Scott Lang/Ant-Man in particular is questionable and should have been left with a darker twist ending, but because this ending was potentially removed during reshoots, the stakes of follow-up Marvel products are now diminished.

Reed should have fought for his original darker ending, and the film now reaps the consequences of a diminished outcome.

Not to mention, the familiar “Marvel cheap jokes” continue to undermine certain moments of the film when a serious tone is required.

For example, the character of M.O.D.O.K. was treated as a joke, instead of embracing the mad killing machine that he is.

Another aspect of this movie, that is typical of Marvel Studios films, is the special effects.

In this entry, which like most Marvel movies, there is an over-emphasis on computer-generated-imagery, which here, ranges from decidedly average to terrible.

Specifically with M.O.D.O.K., the special effects to animate Corey Stoll’s face appear strangely horrific and look like a Photoshop-stretched version of terrible video game graphics.

There are also many instances of shots where actors are way too obviously inserted via green screen.

Not every use of CGI is necessarily terrible, but when theatrically released movies look like they were exported from a cheap iPad, the overall usage of such a technique comes into question.

Overall, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is underwhelming for the beginning of Marvel Phase 5.

Granted, this installment is better than any film based on a Marvel property from last year, especially “Morbius,” which was a mediocre farce at best.

“Quantumania” is supposed to set up the events for future installments such as “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Secret Wars,” but the stakes now feel considerably lower than they should due to a rather “wrong ending.”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has also been largely enjoyable in its tenure as well, but due to an overexposure of low-quality Marvel products from the past few years (except for the widely acclaimed “Spider-Man: No Way Home”), it’s time to except that the best days of Marvel are now behind us, instead of ahead.

Perhaps the MCU should retire and hang up its own cape within the next couple of years, because a future of diminishing returns is no way to continue and honor an epic franchise.

In a way, the MCU really has shrunk to microscopic proportions.

Rating: 2/5

Logan M. Sharp is a third-year student majoring in film production. To contact him, email lxs5590@psu.edu