- Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton
- Written by
- Jack Kirby ( creator), Jeff Loveness ( screenplay)
- Directed by
- Peyton Reed
- Run Time
- 2h 5min
- Release Date
- February 17th, 2023
It’s already an incredible feat that we are now seeing the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some would argue the films have not been up to par since Avengers: Endgame. And I would mostly agree, I mean how do you follow something that epic? What Marvel has shown us is that you don’t. But that hasn’t stopped the train moving in both film and now, television. This is also the 4th Marvel character to make it to a 3rd film in their series with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. I have seen some early reviews compare this latest installment to Star Wars. After having seen it now, I am inclined to agree. Only not in the same way I think the others do.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has survived the battle against Thanos and has become a minor celebrity in a major way. He gets free coffee, high-fives by kids with Ant-Man backpacks, and has written a book about his life as an Avenger. Meanwhile his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is causing all kinds of trouble while trying to do good deeds for her community. She is encouraged by Scott’s new family consisting of Hope (Evengeline Lilly), Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) as Cassie is using her rebellious spirit to create a beacon that reaches into the Quantum Realm. When Janet realizes this and tries to stop her a portal opens, pulling them all into the Realm. They of course are separated and as Hank and Hope try to figure out what has Janet is so afraid of being back in a place she lived for 30 years, Scott and Cassie find out that it’s not a what, but a who. Kang the Conquerer (Jonathan Majors).
In this film, Scott virtually does nothing but react to everything and everyone around him. He does very little to propel the story forward with his actions. Its all just reactions. Even with his limited role in Endgame (of which I still consider him the MVP of that film), he advanced the story through his actions. Here, he just lets it happen and does pretty much what you would expect, and not as a father would, but as a stock character in a fairly simplistic narrative would. Cassie is constantly shifting from angsty teen to every other teen you see in every other movie starring an almost-angsty teen. Spouting lines like “Don’t listen to him dad!” and “I hope this works.” Every time Scott tries to give some fatherly advice its for comedic affect, which leads to an empty resolution by the end.
And it’s such a CG-fest. I think Disney hired every visual effects studio in Hollywood and when they ran out, they hired guys with really expensive gear who create impressive Youtube videos from the confines of their basements to finish the rest. There is so much going on, at times it’s so big and so loud, sometimes it’s hard to tell what you are supposed to be looking at. There are some interesting sequences, but unfortunately they don’t add up to anything substantial by the end.
The two previous films were written by a team of writers, with names like McKay, Cornish, Wright, McKenna & Sommers and Rudd. Maybe they wanted a singular voice here, but with such a vast world in the Quantum Realm, “worlds” in fact, plural, according to Janet Van Dyne. I think this called for more than one writer. It’s just so vast, that it loses focus on any one character except for Kang.
Majors is so good, from his pauses, to his silent contemplations, almost every time he is on screen, he completely overshadows everything Rudd tries to do. He even manages to suck the comedy timing right out of him. And the dialogue doesn’t help either. Their final confrontation is awkward and kind of unbelievable, and that’s saying something given the context of a world where jello-molds have legs and can talk and horses have the heads of snails. I really missed the ex-con trio of Luis, Kurt and Dave, I mean Pfeiffer and Douglas show us why they are legends. You just feel the missing pieces.
In the first 4 Phases of MCU films, there were scenes and stingers that set-up characters or what’s to come in the next films/shows. Starting here with Phase 5 they used an entire film to set-up their big bad for the next big event. And it had better work, since his name is the title of the forthcoming Avengers film. It wasn’t much of a gamble as Jonathan Majors is fantastic. He’s already played a version of Kang in the Loki show, and now one on film. He will certainly be playing several more versions of Kang before we get to the Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. This though does very little to make Quantumania live up to the charm and fun of its two previous films.
So, those others who are saying that this s the Star Wars of the MCU, again I agree. Sorta. It took Star Wars 16 years to become movies aimed at kids. It took Marvel just about the same amount of time, only with over 20 movies to fill the gap. One could argue that they are alienating the very audience that helped build their empire. I really don’t think these are made for me anymore, much like the Star Wars films are not for me anymore. They are for a younger more forgiving audience, not for the ones that have been reading about Kang in the pages of Marvel books for over 30 years.