Monday, February 20, 2023

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania


Based on the Marvel Comics series, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the story of the titular heroes along with a few family members enter into the quantum realm where they don’t just deal with new evil forces emerging but also a man who wants to destroy all in Kang. Directed by Peyton Reed and screenplay by Jeff Loveness, the film explores the world of the Quantum Realm as they’re getting ready for a war while the heroes also meet this mysterious figure known as Kang the Conqueror who doesn’t just want to destroy the world but every universe and multiverse along the way as he is portrayed by Jonathan Majors. Also starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, William Jackson Harper, Katy O’Brian, with Bill Murray, and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a visually-astonishing yet clunky film from Peyton Reed.

The film revolves around titular heroes and a few of their family members who create a device to make contact with the Quantum Realm only to be sucked in as they deal with not just a growing rebellion but also this evil figure known as Kang the Conqueror. It is a film that has a lot happening as it plays into a family not only dealing with this evil figure but also what he plans to do with the multiverse. Jeff Loveness’ script does do enough to establish some of the characters as well as insight into what Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) had been doing in the Quantum Realm for 30 years. It unfortunately gets bogged down by not just a lot of exposition but not enough urgency into the stakes over how dangerous Kang the Conqueror is where Janet would unveil her own fears towards Kang. A key sequence during the film’s second act about Janet’s first encounter with Kang does play into why Janet never told her husband Hank and their daughter Hope/the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) about her time in the Quantum Realm. Yet, it features a lot of exposition into Kang’s true motivations but also something much bigger though it ends up being clunky while there’s not enough weight into this rebellion towards Kang and his empire.

Still, the script does focus on Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who hasn’t done much since the Battle of Earth as he’s written a memoir and sort of became a celebrity but hasn’t done enough to bring attention to his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) who has become an activist. Yet, it is an invention she had developed during the Blip with Hank’s help that would suck everyone into the Quantum Realm where she and Scott would meet these people in the Quantum Realm who are rebellion against Kang where Cassie wants to help them. The script unfortunately doesn’t do enough to establish these people living in the Quantum Realm where Lang and Cassie not only deal with Kang but also a mysterious being known as M.O.D.O.K. who is someone that Scott and Cassie knew. There is also a lack of humor throughout the film as some key characters from past films doesn’t appear in the film but are barely mentioned as the few moments in the attempt of humor is uninspired and forced at times. Notably a scene where Lang tries to retrieve an object for Kang where he meets multiple versions of himself that is suspenseful but its attempt to be funny doesn’t work.

Peyton Reed’s direction does have some incredible moments in terms of the visuals and world-building though he is bogged down by its clunky script. Shot largely at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire in Britain with additional shots set in San Francisco and parts of Turkey, Reed opens the film with Janet’s time in the Quantum Realm and how she first met Kang which then cuts to what has Lang done since the events of the Battle of Earth. While a lot of Reed’s compositions are grand in the way he presents the Quantum Realm with its wide and medium shots, Reed does maintain some intimacy in the close-ups to play into the character interactions as well as their reactions to their surroundings. Reed does manage to infuse energy into the action scenes along with some moments of suspense as it relates to Kang in his initial meeting with Lang. Yet, the need to try and infuse humor in some of these moments don’t work as it gives the film an inconsistent presentation where it wanted to be all of these things only to not find balance in blending all of these genres.

Reed’s direction does suffer from not just the exposition that does drag the film in bits of the film as there isn’t enough weight into the stakes of what Kang wants and how he used Cassie to force Lang to retrieve this energy source that he needed for his own personal mission. While Reed does provide enough back story into Kang but also revealed how he came to meet Janet, the fact that there isn’t enough urgency into defeating him other than Janet’s own warnings doesn’t give the film that intensity that it needed. Though its third act with its grand set pieces allow Reed to go all out where there are a few funny moments but also some intense ones. Its aftermath is clunky where Reed isn’t sure how to end things since Kang is a much bigger threat than everyone realizes while there’s also this sense of confusion into whether the good guys have won or they just created something worse. Overall, Reed crafts a wondrous but undercooked film about a two superheroes and their families dealing with a new threat in the Quantum Realm.

Cinematographer William Pope does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its approach to stylish lighting for many of the exterior scenes set in the Quantum Realm as well as its approach to natural lighting for the scenes on Earth. Editors Adam Gerstel and Laura Jennings do terrific work with the editing as it does play into some fast-cutting for some of the action scenes but also in some stylish moments when the characters are sucked into the Quantum Realm. Production designer Will Htay, with set decorator Richard Roberts and supervising art director Nick Gottschalk, does amazing work with the look of some of the places the characters go into at the Quantum Realm as well as Kang’s home base. Costume designer Sammy Sheldon does fantastic work with the costumes from some of the clothes that the Van Dyne/Pym clan would wear in disguise as well as the super-suits that Lang, Hope, and Cassie would wear.

Hair/makeup designer Jan Sewell does nice work with the look of the characters such as Janet’s hair during her time in the Quantum Realm and her white-hair look following her return from the Quantum Realm. Special effects supervisors Paul Corbould and Noah Meddings, along with visual effects supervisors Axel Bonami, Cristian Camaroschi, Jeff Campbell, Alex Cancado, Jesse James Chisholm, Russell Earl, Roy Malhi, John Mangia, and Malte Sarnes, do excellent work with the look of not just some of the creatures and people in the Quantum Realm but also the look of it as it is a major highlight of the film. Sound designer Kimberly Patrick does superb work with the sound design in not just creating sound effects in some of the weapons, vehicles, and creatures at the Quantum Realm but also in the way natural sound would be presented in the Quantum Realm. The film’s music by Christophe Beck does wonderful work with the music as its usage of orchestral bombast help play into the action and suspense that include some soaring themes that relates to Kang while music supervisor Dave Jordan provides a low-key soundtrack as it features John Sebastian’s theme song to the 1970s show Welcome Back Kotter.

The casting by Sarah Halley Finn is incredible as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Randall Park in a cameo as FBI Agent Woo, Gregg Turkington as Lang’s old boss at Baskin-Robbins, and Ruben Rabasa as a coffee shop attendant who mistakes Lang for Spider-Man. William Harper Jackson and Katy O’Brien are terrific in their respective roles as Quantum Realm freedom fires in the telekinetic Quaz and the warrior Jentorra who both meet the Langs while doing what they can to fight Kang’s forces. David Dastmalchian is superb as the slime-like creature Veb who is fascinated by holes while proves to very powerful during the film’s climax. Bill Murray’s performance as a Quantum Realm governor in Lord Krylar is pretty much a waste as he is an old friend of Janet that works for Kang where he doesn’t really do anything in the one big scene he’s as it is a real waste of Murray. Mark Weinman’s on-set performance as M.O.D.O.K. is quite funny at times though it is the reveal of its identity that provides laugh as a guy who has a grudge towards the Langs yet is also forced to face his own faults.

Kathryn Newton is fantastic as Cassie Lang as Scott’s daughter who has become an activist in her time in her desire to help people have created something she had hoped would’ve gotten her father back years earlier where Newton does provide some humor but also a lot of weight as someone who does feel responsible for her actions and wanting to make up for it as she would become her own superheroine in Stature. Michael Douglas is excellent as Dr. Hank Pym as the scientist who created Pym Particles who doesn’t just deal with the chaos of what is happening but also discovers something that happened around him during the moment he and his family got sucked into the Quantum Realm that would play a key part in the film’s third act. Evangeline Lilly is good as Hope Van Dyne/the Wasp as Lang’s partner who doesn’t just deal with the chaos of the Quantum Realm but also the stakes though Lilly’s character doesn’t really get much to do but react and take action while sporting an awful haircut. Paul Rudd is brilliant as Scott Lang/Ant-Man as this superhero who can shrink himself as the size of an ant who has chosen to not really do anything until he’s in the Quantum Realm where he deals with what is happening as he is trying to protect Cassie but also deal with the evil force that is Kang.

Michelle Pfeiffer is incredible as Janet Van Dyne as Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother who had been in the Quantum Realm for 30 years as she is eager to not return only to get sucked in with her family and the Langs as she is forced to reveal a terrible secret while also being cunning in trying to save her family from this terror that is Kang. Finally, there’s Jonathan Majors in a phenomenal performance as Kang the Conqueror as a man who is eager to destroy everything including variants of himself in the hopes to just conquer and destroy those who oppose him as Majors has this commanding presence that is chilling to watch as he just owns every moment he is in.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a terrible film from Peyton Reed. While it is a film that does feature some entertaining moments, incredible visuals, and stellar performances with Michelle Pfeiffer and Jonathan Majors being the major standouts. It is a film that unfortunately tries to be a lot of things but doesn’t deliver in terms of its stakes while also lacking a lot of the humor that made its predecessors enjoyable to watch. In the end, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is an underwhelming and bloated from Peyton Reed.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Infinity Saga: Phase One: Iron Man - The Incredible Hulk - Iron Man 2 - Thor - Captain America: The First Avenger - The Avengers

Phase Two: Iron Man 3 - Thor: The Dark World - Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Guardians of the Galaxy - The Avengers: Age of Ultron - Ant-Man

Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War - Doctor Strange - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Spider-Man: Homecoming - Thor: Ragnarok - Black Panther - Avengers: Infinity War - Ant-Man and the Wasp - Captain Marvel - Avengers: Endgame - Spider-Man: Far from Home

Multiverse Saga: Phase Four: Black Widow (2021 film) - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - Eternals - Spider-Man: No Way Home - Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - Thor: Love and Thunder - Werewolf by Night - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Phase Five: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3The Marvels – (Deadpool 3) - (Captain America: Brave New World)

Phase 6: – (Thunderbolts) – (Blade (2024 film)) - (Fantastic Four (2024 film)) – (Avengers: The Kang Dynasty) – (Avengers: Secret Wars)

© thevoid99 2023


Brittani Burnham said...

I'm also surprised Murray cameoed for THAT. I was expecting a bit more.

Jstar said...

Oh, I loved this film and thought it was wildly hilarious. But I guess humour is subjective.

With respect to the Bill Murray cameo... maybe he's just not up for much more than that these days?

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-I know. For one fucking scene that really had no purpose to the plot other than Hank, Janet, and Hope to steal a ship? That was disappointing.

@Jstar-Bill deserved better than this and there weren't that funny moments in comparison to the last 2 films. It lacked heart. Plus, Kang was the wrong villain for this film.

Ruth said...

I didn't care for Murray's cameo but agree with you that Pfeiffer and Majors are the highlights. Most of the jokes fall flat or cringe-worthy, though Paul Rudd still shines as Scott Lang.

thevoid99 said...

@Ruth-I had low expectations for this despite the fact that I enjoyed the last 2 Ant-Man films but for some reason. This one didn't click as I missed the characters from the previous films while I had issues with what it wanted to be.