Note: This review contains spoilers
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) is the third Ant-Man movie and the 31st entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’d give a synopsis, but it’s the 31st movie in the franchise – I expect you’re either all onboard the Marvel train and already familiar with the story or completely tuning out everything Marvel by now.
With that said, this film also serves as the official launch of Phase 5 in the MCU. Director Peyton Reed introduces us to the next big villain the Avengers will have to face in the next big crossover film – Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors, a time-travelling tyrant who destroys worlds and timelines.
I didn’t enjoy this third standalone Ant-Man film as much as I would have liked to, and I thought it fumbled on a couple of things.
First of all, there were no character arcs. Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) didn’t change from the beginning of the movie to the end. He didn’t learn anything. He didn’t grow. He’s the same character by the end of the film. His family was put in danger (accidentally sucked into the quantum realm), so he went and saved them. The end. Hope Van Dyne aka Wasp (Evangline Lilly) barely got a b-plot. She was just along for the ride and fought a few bad guys.
Even the trailers for the movie presented better character arcs. The trailers alluded to Ant-Man trying to become a better dad to Cassie, trying to make up for lost time after Thanos snapped him away for five years in Avengers: Infinity War. The actual movie didn’t attempt any of these developments. Ant-Man physically saved his daughter and that was that.
I can’t think of any other MCU film where there was no character progression whatsoever. This has to be a first.
Secondly, the movie takes place entirely in the quantum realm. The background is a distractingly-obvious greenscreen for 95% of the movie. What used to be a fun quirk about the Ant-Man films is him shrinking or enlarging everyday objects (example – him throwing a car-sized Hello Kitty candy dispenser at a bad guy on a motorcycle in the second film). He couldn’t do that in this movie because he was in the quantum realm the whole time. Size became irrelevant. Everything fun about the Ant-Man gimmick couldn’t be brought into this movie. It felt like a cheap space adventure more so than an Ant-Man movie experience.
Thirdly and lastly, Kang the Conqueror wasn’t threatening in the slightest. The next Avengers movie will be titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and now I’m feeling nervous about that movie. They’re going to reuse Kang (or rather, variants of him from other timelines) who Ant-Man easily defeated, and he’s supposed to pose a believable threat to the full Avengers lineup? He barely posed a believable threat to Ant-Man.
There’s a big gap that Marvel will have to fill to convince me that Kang is a villain to take seriously.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) was a weak launch to Phase 5. In fact, I found it weaker than anything we got in Phase 4.
It’s the weakest Ant-Man film in the trilogy, and it’s not at all a better movie than what some fans consider to be the MCU’s weakest, such as Eternals and Thor: Love & Thunder. I much prefer those over this one.
I think I finally found my least favourite Marvel movie.
In his youth Alvin loved watching movies and would find himself spending his lunch money and allowance at the box office. He loved the Matrix and the X-Men films, and somewhere along the way, he discovered a love for horror movies — Hereditary, Midsommar and Mother! being his favourites. He now holds a professional writing diploma, a couple of journalism degrees, and likes to spend his free time reviewing movies on IMDB and for various magazines. @alvinwct