The Antman films have mainly focused on family and tend to have a comedic bent to them. Paul Rudd is a comedic actor so they lend themselves to his comedic talents and others in the franchise. That being said, Antman and the Wasp Quantumania is much more of a serious film than the other installments in the franchise. The stakes are higher and Peyton Reed, the director, ramps up the story to fit those high stakes.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is coming off of a high. He helped save the universe in Avengers Endgame and so he is capitalizing on his fame and celebrity by having written a book. Entitled “Look Out For the Little Guy”. His fortunes have turned around for him. With that lost period, when he was stuck in the subatomic level,l he lost five years of his life and his daughter Cassie, (Kathryn Newton) who was a toddler when he got stuck is now a young woman. That means he has some lost time he has to make up for with her. While he was gone she started working with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) On a device that can help them travel to the quantum realm, but Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who spent some time down there tries to stop the experiment. but she is too late and the machine inadvertently sucks them all into the quantum realm.
This film is one of the weirdest MCU movies to date. Touched on in the other Antman films and Avengers Endgame the quantum realm is focused on in much more depth. The backstory of Janet Van Dyne is tied to this place. Her history with an individual named Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) is also shown. This subatomic dimension is very weird though. It has a lot of strange creatures and even stranger characters. There are some humans played by William Jackson Harper, and Katy M Obrien though and they are a mix of revolutionaries and henchmen. Filmed in what is known as the volume, a giant LED screen, that can project what a computer generated onto it. So this entire quantum realm is projected on this screen. The visuals are amazing and this realm looks breathtaking. I didn’t see the film in 3D but if I had it probably would have had a better visual experience. It was still very good though. This was most of the film and it looks a bit Lovecraftian in nature.
Despite the weird nature of the quantum realm, the movie is pretty much a straightforward family film. Similar to Everything Everywhere All at Once it has a lot of strange stuff in it but that is all a disguise for the real heart of the film which is a family drama. Stuff involving Rudd and Newton’s characters is the real meat and potatoes of the story. The screenwriter Jeff Loveness also threw in some stuff involving Douglas, Pfieffer, and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne for good measure. This franchise has always focused on the father-daughter stuff and it works even better in this the 3rd installment in the franchise. As an older teenager, Newton’s character starts to have a mind of her own and Rudd’s Lang isn”t happy about it. He’s constantly worried about her all the time. Any father in this circumstance would be in a similar situation of being a worry wart.
Peyton Reed is the only director in the history of the MCU to successfully complete a trilogy of films. This is his third after the previous two Antman films. We’re relatively small but this seemed like a much larger undertaking. There were a bunch of sets that had to be built and a lot of moving parts as in extras and so forth. The scale is much larger than his previous two films in the trilogy. There were a lot of CGI characters who had voice-over actors like David Dasmalchian, playing them and various other things that made this film more of an undertaking for Reed. He passed this test with flying colors though. Everything in this movie was done exceptionally well. Reed may be ready for a bigger film in the MCU. Possibly Avengers Secret Wars in a couple of years. With all the weird elements this film could have gone off of the rails but it doesn’t. It succeeds with flying colors.
One of those reasons is Jonathan Majors. He plays Kang the Conqueror as a Darth Vader Esque character. He is a dark and very sinister character. He has some one-liners that are very similar to Vader as well. Majors is an actor on the rise right now with three movies out in a period of three months and all his three roles are very similar regarding his machismo and manliness. Kang is easily one of the best villains in the MCU so far. Josh Brolin’s Thanos was very evil and had a mad vibe about him but Kang takes the cake. He is much more maleficent. Where his evil nature is just who he is as suggested by He Who Remains at the end of Loki Season 1. “If You Think I’m Bad, Wait’ll You See My Variants”. That has finally come to fruition. And it’s not good for anyone who encounters him in the quantum realm or otherwise.
Antman and the Wasp Quantumania is the best in the franchise. It ups the ante on the previous two films in the trilogy. Reed takes what he learned from the Avengers films and applied it to this third installment. The visual effects are breathtakingly beautiful. He gets a comedic writer named Jeff Loveness to write the script and it blends some comedic moments with more dramatic moments. Yes, some of the comedy stuff breaks up the serious moments, which is most of the film. I was a fan of the family dynamic which is what this franchise is built on. That is the heart of the story despite all the wacky stuff in the movie. The cast is good but the two actors that stood out to me the most were Newton and Majors. Majors just owns his character of Kang. He becomes one of the best villains in the MCU and had plenty of moments to shine in this film. Newton is the future of the MCU with others of her ilk like Xoichitl Gomez, Dominique Thorn, and Iman Vellani. The MCU is in good hands with these young actresses. This movie is a big swing and it is a home run in my book. Of recent MCU films, this is the best I’ve seen since Spider-man No Way Home. I hope audiences will love this movie as much as I did.
4 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen