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Tuesday, March 28, 2023 — Houston, TX

Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania: Standard Marvel, Quality but Little Risk Taken

Photo courtesy Marvel Studios

By Saswat Pati     2/21/23 10:53pm

Rating: ★★★

If you’re a Marvel fan, “Quantumania'' is your standard MCU film. It's well-made, polished and has a good script — all the makings of a good superhero movie. While it hits all the traditional story beats that one would expect from a Marvel movie, its lack of creative risk taking, particularly in the third act, leaves much to be desired.

As the third film in the Ant-Man trilogy, “Quantumania” centers around Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his family as they are whisked into the subatomic Quantum Realm. There, they find that this realm is under the tyranny of Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a time traveling scientist who was banished to the Quantum Realm by an unknown entity in order to prevent his conquest of the multiverse. Our heroes’ aim is to escape the Quantum Realm while fleeing from Kang, who seeks out Scott for his own devices.

Though there are many moving pieces, the film was able to effectively develop its main ensemble so that audience members would feel invested in the heroes as they attempt to flee the Quantum Realm and Kang. Among these relationships, the standout is between Scott and his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton). The film takes a great deal of time to flesh out the growing pains between the two and Cassie’s resentment towards Scott for not training her to be a superhero.

Rudd and Newton do well to portray a complex father-daughter relationship; however, the acting highlight of this movie is Jonathan Majors as the villainous Kang the Conqueror. Majors is excellent, particularly in the 1st half, portraying Kang as a truly menacing villain. While other comic book villains are generally portrayed as unhinged or crude, Kang is portrayed as almost regal in his mannerisms. Additionally, while his motivations are not entirely revealed, we certainly feel a level of danger for our heroes because the dangers of Kang winning are made extremely clear from the start. 

While the film is strong overall, many of the choices made in the third act, though fine on their own, speak to the overall decline of the creative risk in modern day blockbusters. Though it seemed that the creatives behind “Quantumania” would dare to make the villain win as in “Avengers Infinity War,” eventually the film ends with the safe choice and Ant-Man and his family are able to escape the Quantum Realm.

Although it is not a bad ending by any means, I thought that the ending cheapened the potential of such a great villain and made it seem ridiculous that a character created to have so much power could be defeated in a very silly manner–he is ripped apart by a literal swarm of giant ants. It feels almost as if the creatives behind the camera were too afraid to make the controversial decision in having Kang be victorious. Though this film may be just the next stepping stone to the next piece of Marvel content, one would have hoped “Quantumania” could have been more than just an average Marvel movie.

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