Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will get unhealthy opinions
Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, alongside Johnathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania.
Are the little heroes from Disney’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania enough to take on the newest – and worst – villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Not quite.
Peyton Reed’s previous Ant-Man installments offered the MCU a larger-than-life glimpse into what it means to be a hero. The small stakes romp were welcome excursions away from the apocalyptic stakes of the broader franchise and offered a light-hearted counterbalance to the larger threats to the universe.
related investment news
However, the demands of Disney‘s Marvel Machine called out to Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his partner the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly).
Kang the Conqueror enters.
Played by Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors, Kang is the MCU’s next overarching villain and is expected to remain a looming threat throughout the Multiverse saga, spanning planned phases four, five and six of the franchise. He was introduced in the Disney+ show “Loki”.
Critics praised Majors’ performance in the film, as the actor was able to bring gravity to the role and exude the kind of menace that made the previous big bad Thanos (Josh Brolin) such a compelling and menacing villain. However, Kang’s larger-than-life presence overshadowed the quirky and charming narrative that fans of Ant-Man side quests have come to expect, critics say. (Majors will also appear as an antagonist in next month’s Creed III.)
“Majors is certainly terrifying and compelling, but Kang seems an ill-fitting antagonist for a standalone Ant-Man film, and the result is a ‘Quantumania’ that tries to be too many things,” wrote Lindsey Bahr in her review of the film for Associated Press.
“Quantumania” is at its best when it keeps things “light and fun,” Bahr said.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania from Marvel Studios.
That sentiment was echoed by numerous other reviewers, as the latest Marvel film became one of only two of the 31 films released as part of the MCU to earn a Rotten Tomatoes “Rotten” score.
Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania was rated 53% lazy out of 148 reviews as of Wednesday afternoon. The only other film from the MCU to slip below the 60% fresh threshold was 2021’s Eternals, which ultimately received a 47% rating.
Quantumania follows Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, and Hope Van Dyne, aka the Wasp, after their family is sucked into the subatomic Quantum Realm. There they face off against Kang, a dimension-hopping tyrant trying to escape the realm after being banished there for his rampages through time and space.
Here’s what critics thought of the film ahead of its Friday release:
“Michael Pena’s absence should have been a warning,” Kristy Puchko wrote in her review of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania for Mashable. “The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown so massively and all-encompassing that it’s not enough for an Ant-Man movie to be an Ant-Man movie.”
What fans are instead treated to is a “chaotic, pathetically unfunny mess that has forgotten why its hero was so much fun.”
Puchko laments that both Ant-Man and the Wasp were all but relegated to sidekicks in their own film, while Kang and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) take — and excel in — the spotlight. (Michael Douglas also reprises his role as Dr. Hank Pym.)
The film itself is anything but easy. Puchko compared the dark action scenes to those seen in the final season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, blurry, grim and disjointed.
“But when the lights come on, you might wish they weren’t,” she said, noting that the Quantum Realm, a place of endless possibility, was envisioned as “a hybrid of ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Strange’ world.” “, slime and those magic eye posters that we had to squint to understand.”
“In the end, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ is like a mixed bag with its clumsy clash of influences, star power, CGI that’s often rubbery or downright ugly, and an intricate storyline that should have a connection to Excedrin media project for kids made out of paper mache, glitter and rotten ground beef,” she said.
Read Mashable’s full review.
Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire
Majors like Kang “don’t disappoint,” Kate Erbland said in her review of “Quantumania” for IndieWire.
“He towers over ‘Quantumania’ and its little ant friends with genuine pathos, pain and fear, although the most studied MCU scholars will likely be confused as to what exactly his Kang the Conqueror wants and, uh, is,” she wrote. “But cramming Kang from Majors against Scott Lang from Rudd [and family] … as they dart and zip through a tiny “Star Wars” influenced world not only feels disorienting; it can feel downright mean.”
Erbland calls Kang “impressive” and notes that Majors’ powerful performance cements the character as “the MCU’s scariest villain yet.”
Majors has signed on for at least two other MCU films, but won’t officially return until Phase Six.
Read IndieWire’s full review.
Charlotte O’Sullivan, Evening Standard
“The first part of Phase 5 of the MCU comes with a lot of baggage,” wrote Charlotte O’Sullivan in her review of the film for the Evening Standard.
The film is not only the third standalone Ant-Man flick, but also has the great appeal of bringing Kang to the big screen.
“Sometimes the weight of all that responsibility makes ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ … buckle at the knees,” O’Sullivan wrote.
Still, the film has heart, she said. Scott Lang’s crippling desire to take care of his daughter and protect his family is the driving force behind the film, which hosts a solid cast.
“If you can ignore the intricate plot – unfortunately not uncommon in the increasingly complex Marvel Cinematic Universe – you’ll have a blast with these characters,” she wrote.
Read the full Evening Standard review.
Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania.
Hoai-Tran Bui, inverse
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has the unenviable task of completing “an already dispersed MCU” and introducing the franchise’s next big evil, Hoai-Tran Bui said in her review of the film for Inverse.
“Ultimately, ‘Quantumania’ does both just mediocre. But in doing so, he commits the worst sin a film can commit: it’s boring,” she said.
The biggest problem with the film, according to Bui, is that “Quantumania” is not a film, but a building block for the future of the MCU.
“There are three films vying for screen time in ‘Quantumania’ – Scott and Cassie’s father-daughter story, Janet van Dyne’s suppressed guilt about Kang’s origins, the Quantum Empire’s long struggle to overthrow the tyrannical Kang – but they’re all set by the MCU overshadowed by it all,” she wrote.
“Marvel movies have long been less like movies and more like feature-length commercials for the Next Thing, and ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ is sadly the best embodiment of that,” added Bui. “The result is an uncooked, over-the-top action film that feels like a shadow of better, mushy adventure shows before it.”
The film’s cluttered plot could have been forgiven “if it could have lived up to the absurd humor of the first two films,” Bui wrote.
Read Inverse’s full review.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.