Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania


‘…this film’s action sorely lacks the ingenious charm offered by the super-scale skirmishes seen in the first two Ant-Man films, and the result is incomprehensible gibberish…’

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA, (aka ANT-MAN 3), US IMAX poster, from left: Kathryn Newton, Bill Murray, Evangeline Lilly as Wasp, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas 2023. © Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

So when the wheels finally come off the Marvel cinematic juggernaut, they really do fly; a lot has happened in the gap between the third Ant-Man film opening at the flicks and arriving on streaming channel Disney+. Firstly, star Jonathan Majors was dropped by his own management company after assault charges were filed over a domestic abuse incident. That’s the kind of scandal that Marvel had previously been successful in keeping away from their forward plans to date, but with Majors supposedly set to play his character Kang the Conqueror in a number of subsequent movies, all bets are off about the franchise’s future. Secondly, the box office of this film is short of $500 million, around a quarter of Avengers Endgame’s haul back in 2019. Marvel fans may be loyal, but that’s over three quarters of their target audience finding something else to do in just four years; the Marvel magic seems to be ebbing away faster than a fading vortex…

‘I’m lucky I met Hope van Dyne,’ says Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in the usual peppy sunshine opening. ‘I think YOU know who she is!’ Sigh. No, Scott, your confidence is unfortunately misplaced, I don’t know, I don’t remember, and if you’re not going to explain as the narrator of your own story, I don’t know who IS going to tell me. Films which confidently assume that you’ve been researching the characters for months previously make a big assumption; that’s we’re all hard-core Marvel fans with nothing better to do. Sure, there’s certainly lots of fan-boys around, but a genuine hit film needs to appeal to more than its base, and there’s little here to engage once we abandon the sunshine for two hours plus of utter green-screen muck. Ten minutes in, Ant-Man, his pal Hope (Evangeline Lily) and her father Hank (Michael Douglas) and his wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Lang’s daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) use their super-powers to travel to the Quantum realm; ‘It’s a place outside space and time, it’s a secret universe!’ we’re told when we arrive. ‘A sub-atomic universe, this changes everything!’ says Hank Pym, before gawping at a freaky passer by; ‘That guy looks like broccoli.’ But such frivolity aside, big bad Kang the Conqueror rules over this universe with his dreary cod-Shakespearian intonation, and soon Ant-Man’s differently sized-team face a choice;  either get small, get big or go home.

‘Socialism is a charged word,’ says Hank Pym; it feels like Michael Douglas was allowed to draft a few lines of his own dialogue here, but not enough. There’s little political, meaningful or even particularly quantum about the quantum realm; it’s just the usual collection of docile, downtrodden oddities waiting for their white saviour. Can our heroes form a neuro-kinetic link with the multiversal engine core? Why is Bill Murray dragged into this for a one-and-done single-scene cameo? And what’s with that awful MODOK thing which looks like a 2000 AD mekon rendered in tatty 1981 visual effects graphics?

‘Just because it’s not happening to you, doesn’t mean it’s not happening,’ is about as close as we get to any philosophical insight here, although there are some grace notes; eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett turns up for a cameo, and his dad was a real life quantum physicist, as detailed in his excellent 2007 book Things the Grandchildren Should Know. A quick swatch at that book reveals more than a thousand hours of Quantumania’s old-school Lost World shenanigans; despite familiar faces, this film’s action sorely lacks the ingenious charm offered by the super-scale skirmishes seen in the first two Ant-Man films, and the result is incomprehensible gibberish for those of us who refuse to do our homework.


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  1. Think this was shot during lockdown and that this was a factor in it being so CGI heavy? I did wonder (a) just how many lines Evangeline Lily had & (b) if the opening sequence – ie, Antman walking along the street – was shot after the lockdown as a corrective.

    • It’s messy for sure. I’m not sure any two hour movie shot extensively on green screen and without natural light could ever work; as you say, these bookends don’t really connect with the rest of the story and could have been added later. Lily seemed to drift in and out of this movie, and it has the airless feel of a Covid era production.

    • Agreed; a very empty experience. No complains about the production values, as high as you’d expect, but the overall story was not great at all.

    • Aside from the first and last five minutes, it’s was green screen all the way, and a universe that just seemed like the butt of lame jokes. The Ant Man films are popular enough that I can see why they thought they could smuggle in a new big bad, but it feels like they’ll need to think again. There’s precious few instances of this happening before, so they’ll have to rethink the whole shebang; Disney even seem a bit loathe to promote this film now given that Majors is the big attraction.

  2. Urk. Didn’t like Majors even before he (allegedy) beat up his missis, didn’t like the first Ant movie so won’t be seeing this. In fact Marvel & I parted company after the Endgame- I think I’ve said it before, but the clue was in the title. Big fat crope.

  3. Will definitely be watching this, but am not holding my breath that it will be as enjoyable as the previous two. If disney expects me to watch the tv shows to know what is going on, forget it!

    • First two had a cool gimmick relating to scale, but there’s less than a minute of that in the third film. Lower expectations accordingly.

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