Cert – 12, Run-time – 2 hours 4 minutes, Director – Peyton Reed
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his family find themselves trapped in the Quantum Realm, however they’re not the only people looking to get back to their universe.
“You’re out of your league, Ant-Man” Jonathan Majors’ Kang tells Paul Rudd’s hero after much build up of the film’s villain. It’s a statement which rings true in a number of ways as the character who has largely led – as even director Peyton Reed has admitted – palate cleansers within the MCU ushers in the fifth phase with a world-expanding venture. We’re far from the world of giant everyday items, instead we’re plunged into the alien-like environment of the Quantum Realm, which Scott and his family are all taken back into after his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) creates a satellite to the invisible universe. Perhaps it’s in part because of this that Lang feels something of a different character compared to his previous appearances. It may occasionally even-out, but there’s often something slightly out-of-place about him here, and not just in terms of him trying to find his way home.
Yet, alongside the Lang-Van Dyne clan Kang is also looking at making his way into their universe. Marvel are clearly building up their next ‘big bad’ quickly. Much of the first half of the film is spent simply talking about him without actually giving away any details. All we hear is about ‘Him’ and occasionally ‘The Conqueror’, it would be nice to actually get some other form of information aside from the fact that everyone is scared of ‘Him’ and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) had bad experiences with him for the years she was trapped in the Quantum Realm. In general the build-up of Kang in this particular instalment is just one of a number of drawn out elements and details within the narrative.
Characters are split up and must scour various different poorly green-screened terrains to find each other. All whilst running into the clans and creatures of the Quantum Realm (including Bill Murray, David Dastmalchian, Katy M. O’Brian and William Jackson Harper) – which as a whole feels as if it could be given a boost via some better CG; although it’s not consistently, or even majoritively, poor. Yet, with all that’s going on amongst the constant jumping back and forth between incidents and locations there’s never really anything to properly bring you into the world shown on screen. Yes, it may be watchable, but it never quite feels properly engaging, therefore losing the interest of the viewer overtime as they sit through a selection of scenes constructing the idea of ‘we’ve seen this all before’.
Admittedly, things pick up as everyone begins to come together, and Kang actually shows the threat that he poses not just to the characters in this film but in the future of the wider MCU. It’s fine in the moment and provides amusement, however the feeling still lingers that this is largely a 2-hour long ‘Next time’ trailer for future instalments. Again, one that’s fine to sit and watch, but also one that creates its fair share of frustrations as it almost feels as if the wrong (albeit only) character was picked for the job. One who has changed, alongside the style of the film he leads. The sense of fun isn’t really present here, alongside a reduced number of laughs – and general comedic moments. He’s out of his league, and it shows.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania perhaps suffers most from its differences to previous films. The sense of fun isn’t quite present and a familiarity with the narrative provides little to properly engage with. What’s there is fine on a very basic level, but it never truly grabs your attention as it feels the wrong character has been changed to usher in the next phase of the MCU.