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Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors star in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA | (C) 2023 Marvel Studios

Pesticide is starting to take effect

The MCU has been around for more than a decade. If you’re not up-to-date with what’s what, who’s who, why’s why, and all kinds of linkages, than that’s on you. So, no need for the “obligatory” previously on… summary. Ant-Man being the lead-in phaser to a thread of adventures has always been kind of questionable to say the least – and why? Well, because isn’t Ant-Man an Avenger? Shouldn’t his series serve more as a lead-in, high stakes, spectacle (like other stand-alone titles) than a placeholder? I may be overthinking it, but at least that’s how I feel. But I’m only one person, what do I know, right? Even though they’ve been fun to watch, they never really carry weight. Not all stand-alone titles have been great, but boy do they carry weight in terms of scenarios and set-ups. Sadly, the third time’s not really a charm.

With all the wishy-wash stuff that’s gone on (including Disney+) post ENDGAME, we now have the return of Scott Lang (Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Lilly), as they continue their pesty adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp, alongside Janet van Dyne (Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Douglas). Oh, yeah, and Scott’s blip’d out brainiac (now teenage) daughter Cassie (Newton). Together, this Brady Bunchy-like family on Sci-Fi steroids find themselves entangled in the dreaded, don’t-ever-go-there, Quantum Realm. Yikes! Co-existing with odd, humanoid creatures and embarking on adventures that inevitably leads them to pushing beyond convoluted limits due to the new face of fear: Kang (Majors).

Honestly, I can’t say I loved or hated QUANTUMANIA. Reason being, because the 3rd installment takes us deeper into the Quantum Realm that’s been spoken about since 2015. We get to see this place and it feels like a mishmash of a world with all sorts of floating objects and characters (Murray) that resembles something out of Star Wars (for lack of a better comparison). I enjoyed it. We get a pretty lengthy on-screen, backstory from Pfeiffer, which I also enjoyed. She’s always a charm to watch. But the MVP for me was Majors. Since the leak of his character (teased in Loki), he was one of my anticipated characters in the MCU.

But the flipside of QUANTUMANIA is it’s scenery overload! In many ways, this installment is way too messy and overly ambitious. For one, it suffers from a script that doesn’t feel like there’s any heart or purpose. The plot presents its own “arc,” but in the end it didn’t really feel impactful. And with a cast of strong talent, it fails at making you feel anything for anyone, even when it runs on high stakes. I enjoyed these characters for who they are and the purpose they serve, but it’s flat – and for that, I feel bad of them, especially Majors (who has become one of my favorites these days). The drama is dull and the comedy is unfunny. In short, a blockbuster disappointment I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed no one reacted at anything. So much, no one even clapped when this film finished, which was awkward, because you always have that bunch that clap once end credits start to roll. Speaking of end credits, sure, stick around. There are two, but one in particular felt cringeworthy.

Has Marvel Studios lost its edge? Is the novelty over? Are and/or will they become a punchline? I don’t know. But something’s for sure, that blueprint they had that ran from ’08 – ’19 isn’t really the one they’re working on now. While I have enjoyed some, the last year or two all of the movies have felt like thought bubbles, rather than layred linked stories. Could be the whole multiverse approce? Who knows? But, it is what it is. I can’t say QUANTUMANIA will fail. As a movie it’ll do well. Marvel Studios will continue to do well. But now it seems like it’s riding a seesaw of quality material vs rushed projects (a la DC).


Genre: Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure, Comedy | Rated: PG-13 | Run Time: 2:05

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Kathryn Newton, Jonathan Majors, and Bill Murray

Directed by Peyton Reed

(C) 2023 Marvel Studios