5th March 2023

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania review

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the latest MCU movie and first of Phase Five is here, and, unfortunately, it missed more than it hit
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania review
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Last week marked a big moment for Marvel fans, as Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally began, with the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Now, I will happily admit that I’m not the biggest Marvel fan in the world; I don’t love every film, but I do like the original Avengers movies, i.e. pre- Infinity War (2018) and Endgame (2019), and the origin movies like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange. But I thought I’d give Phase Five a shot. Sadly, it just didn’t hit the mark. Personally, I thought that, unless you’re a huge Ant-Man fan or a real lover of sci-fi movies, it just wasn’t a great film.

The movie opens with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) quoting from his book about his life as Ant-Man, and the audience gains an insight into his life as a parent to Cassie (Kathryn Newton) with Hope van Dyne, or Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). However, a family meal with the grandparents (Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer) sends them all into the Quantum Realm with new creatures and original Marvel Comics villain, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

It has contradictory reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with 49% on the Tomatometer and an 84% Audience Score. I’d have to agree with the Tomatometer on this honestly: it did lack “the spark of fun that elevated earlier adventures”. There were no moments of high tension or points where I felt any kind of concern for the characters. As aptly summarised by Esquire magazine, the film featured “weirdly blank performances… thunderingly dull fights” and a “nothingy plot”.

Credit is due to Rudd, who does play a likeable and entertaining Ant-Man – he was the only character who I thought was actually funny. This was not for a lack of trying though, as there were many attempts made at jokes. Yet, the one-liners didn’t land, and a lot of the jokes were more awkward and cringey than funny. Every Marvel film I’ve watched in cinema has had members of the audience at least chuckling at the one-liners, and I’ve definitely laughed out loud at the sarcastic and witty moments in Doctor Strange and Captain America, but at the Odeon there could have been tumbleweeds.

The stand-out performance for me was Majors as Kang. As The Guardian correctly identified, he was the film’s “main asset”: the “magnetic core of this incoherent effects-dump of a movie”. I thought he portrayed emotions I haven’t seen in Marvel villains for a long time. Majors’ acting was definitely the highlight of the movie for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in other Phase Five films that hopefully aren’t as much of a CGI circus.

It was also nice to have a villain from the original comics, as everything about Phase Five is so unprecedented. It is “a time of change and weirdness for the MCU” (Esquire) since introducing the concept of the multiverse and losing long-standing original characters. Following on from Endgame and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022, no one is entirely sure where they stand. Three of the biggest and most beloved Avengers have either been killed off or as good as, and the multiverse has opened up a whole new series of possibilities so there are almost no rules anymore.

I thought it would have been nice to have a few more references or crossovers to the Multiverse of Madness since the idea was spoken about so much. There were references to the original Avengers like Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man which were nice touches going into Phase Five.

Now, onto what I consider to be the biggest problem of the movie: the CGI. I will openly say that I’m not a massive sci-fi fan; I like the Marvel films, which resemble action movies with their fight scenes and car chases, which Quantumania was very much lacking in. You did, however, get overloaded with special effects, alien creatures, and the main characters incessantly opening and closing the visors of their super-suits. There were living buildings with tentacles, and creatures resembling everything from jelly to broccoli.

But while a lot of sci-fi movies have beautiful views of the mystical world the characters have found themselves in, the Quantum-Realm just looked weird and ugly. Unfortunately, the bombardment of CGI didn’t save the already “baffling and illogical” film from itself. There was, however, a well-choreographed fight scene at the very end of the movie which I greatly appreciated.

Finally, my last problem with the film is with the character of Cassie Lang. While I thought that Newton was fine as an actress, I struggled with her character. As mentioned, the MCU is moving on in more ways than one and so far, this has involved exploring the multiverse and assembling new characters. However, instead of creating brand new superheroes with their own unique abilities, all they’ve done is replicated original characters and, in most cases, made them female.

There’s a new Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Black Widow, Hulk, Doctor Strange-esque character, and now another Ant-Man/Wasp type of character. Somehow, she not only created her own super suit but she was also capable of fighting off villains, when I’m pretty sure she’s still in high school and never been trained by anyone, let alone an Avenger.

However, despite my lacklustre review, along with that of The Guardian and Esquire, the film has grossed $120 million at the box office at opening weekend which is the best return of any of the Ant-Man movies yet. Perhaps I’m just too much of an action fan to enjoy the weirdness of the Quantum Realm; maybe if you’re a massive lover of Scott Lang then you won’t find this film as dry as I did. Here’s hoping that the next Phase Five movies will be an improvement from this.



Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is available to watch in cinemas now. 

More Coverage

Jeanne Dielman at HOME review: The greatest film of all time?

The Mancunion evaluates whether Chantal Akerman’s 1975 film, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, is truly the best film of all time

MANIFF 2023: Everyday in Kaimuki

Everyday in Kaimuki screened at MANIFF23, some aspects of the film were enjoyable but ultimately, the film was underwhelming

¡Viva! 2023: La Casa entre los cactus

Carlota González-Adrio’s debut feature film is accompanied by a live Q&A for the 2023 ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival

Diversity and the long road ahead: The lack of female directors at the 2023 Academy Awards

It seems that once again the Academy Awards have let down female directors by failing to nominate a single one; here’s what we have to say about it.

Copyright © The Mancunion
Powered By Spotlight Studios

0161 275 2930  University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR