Despite being riddled with plot holes and being reliant on a barrage of tropes that have been around since time immemorial, the threequel to Ant-Man is ambitious and significantly superior to the forgettable second film
Last Updated: 10.23 AM, Feb 17, 2023
Story: Scott Lang and his loved ones are transported to the Quantum Realm after his daughter Cassie’s experiment goes awry. Janet is not very forthcoming about the realm, despite spending half her life trapped in it, to the frustration of Hank and Hope. The group realise that there is another civilisation within the realm which is ruled by a tyrant named Kang.
Review: The overhaul the Ant-Man franchise has undergone from its first film in 2015 to its third film in 2023 is hard to miss. The 2015 film is essentially a comedy heist-thriller packaged as a superhero film. And to its credit, it is well-written and thoroughly engaging. It is also among the few films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in which the overindulgence in humour does not give the impression that it has been shoehorned into the narrative. Edgar Wright’s influence on the script is certainly evident in the 2015 film, while his absence is conspicuous in the 2018 sequel Ant-Man and The Wasp, which is arguably one of the most forgettable superhero films ever made.
The early reviews of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania appears to indicate that the film is a significant downgrade to Ant-Man and the Wasp. The only aspect that has noticeably been downgraded from the second film is the trademark MCU humour. It is certainly not devoid of humour, in fact, there are moments sprinkled in even during the climactic battle scenes — it simply wouldn’t be an MCU film without the cheesiness. However, the film’s relatively more ambitious story and world-building deserve credit, even though it appears to have been repurposed from Star Wars.
The plot holes in the film are jarring at times and could affect one’s immersion in the story. But considering that the MCU and the films and TV shows that followed the events of the ‘Thanos snap’ are built on one giant plot hole, these minor discrepancies can be ignored. In fact, the narrative is surprisingly brisk and the two-hour runtime is packed with action, drama, and emotion. But the biggest surprise is how the visuals are not plagued by the typically jaded colours often seen in MCU productions. Despite being heavy on VFX and CGI, the film offers relatively crisp cinematography.
The themes and tropes incorporated in the film are noticeably inspired by the lore of Star Wars. The Empire versus the Rebellion arc is far too evident in Kang’s empire and its conflict with the local revolutionaries. The film even features stormtrooper-like soldiers who commit war crimes in the name of Kang. Furthermore, the similarities between Kang and Darth Vader are also hard to ignore — a terrifying ‘force of nature’ who is almost unstoppable. There is even a scene that almost mirrors a defiant Kino Loy’s (Andy Serkis) iconic speech in the critically acclaimed Star Wars series Andor, where Loy rallies the prisoners in Narkia 5 to rise against their oppressors. However, the scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania lacks the same gravitas and nuance as the one in Andor but nevertheless works well for the film.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne and Jonathan Majors as Kang deliver stand-out performances in the film. And it is evident why Kevin Feige and the other Marvel bosses decided to cast Majors as the next main antagonist to replace Josh Brolin’s Thanos. Majors is able to bring out an aura of mystery and danger around Kang that not many actors could have pulled off. While Kathryn Newton, who replaced Emma Fuhrmann as Cassie Lang for the film, slips into her role with relative ease, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the titular heroes are surprisingly under-utilised, as is Michael Douglas as Hank Pym.
Verdict: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is an ambitious film, but its primary purpose is to serve as the gateway towards Marvel Phases 5 & 6. Despite being riddled with plot holes and being reliant on a barrage of tropes that have been around since time immemorial, the threequel to Ant-Man is ambitious and significantly superior to the forgettable second film.