May 23, 2024

Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania” commences the fifth phase of their superhero universe. Here, we revisit Scott Lang (Ant-Man), played by Paul Rudd; Hope (The Wasp), played by Evangeline Lilly; and her parents, Janet and Hank Pym played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas. Also joining the giddy crew is Scott and Hope’s daughter, Cassie, played by Kathryn Newton.

The third of its series, this film meshes together the violent action-packed sequences and the cartoonish mayhem derived from Ant-Man’s earlier adventures.

After the chaos from “Avenger’s Endgame,” Scott and his family are finally settling into a comfortable life after the blip. His daughter, Cassie, has been secretly working with Hank to develop new ant technology to study the quantum realm. When Scott and the others realize this, they are all pulled into the microscopic universe.

Here they encounter all sorts of misfits, from laser-shooting robots to Janet’s former comrades and the big bad Kang the Conqueror, played by Jonathan Majors.

If you were expecting to walk into the theater to see a Marvel film with shocking new twists and mind-blowing reveals, you are sorely mistaken. The world-building in this universe is, quite frankly, bittersweet.

Unlike the previous film, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” viewers see the quantum realm take on a new flavor — namely, advanced civilizations, a large variety of alien races who speak odd languages, goopy foods and turmoil set between the inhabitants and Kang. It’s a diverse cast and world in its own right, but it is not enough to fully immerse the audience or bring anything fresh.

This film follows the typical formula viewers might expect to see from Marvel’s most recent installments: Flashy new suits, world-breaking technology, intense fight sequences, character-based gags that are scattered heavily throughout the story, a near-unbeatable foe and a final battle as the ultimate climax.

The new supporting characters that the film introduces share a common enemy with Ant-Man and his allies. However, they ultimately fade into the background as they are overshadowed by the focus on Scott and Cassie’s relationship. Previous characters’ story arches were not developed any further. Some of them functioned as comic relief, while others acted as mere plot devices to assist in battles, leaving the stakes incredibly low.

Where the film lacked in world-building and character progression, it excelled in comedy. Viewers can expect to find many instances of unexpected comical chaos that will often leave them tearing up. And, as always, it is a delight to see Rudd banter with each of the cast members, including Lang’s character, Cassie. His performance as a caring father and perky superhero pair well with Lang’s witty humor. The camaraderie they share allows their jokes to flow naturally and not rub off as cheesy one-liners.

Perhaps the biggest selling point of this movie is the action sequences. From ground-shaking fights against strange gelatinous creatures to several fast-paced shots with lasers, giant ants and reality-bending effects, there is never a moment without a tense grip on the viewer’s eye. The final battle against Kang is also rather threatening and works as an excellent opportunity to elicit more of Scott’s serious side.

These are the scenes where creativity shines the most, leaving the audience wanting more.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania” is virtually a mixed bag. If you are looking for a film that restores the haphazard content of Marvel’s phase four, you may need to wait a little longer.

4 out of 5 stars.

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