?My life doesn?t really make sense??
Leave it to Scott Lang to summarize his own movie so easily.
With the introduction of the Multiverse, the Marvel Cinematic Universe begun to fully embrace the bazaar with enthusiasm. From Spider-Man: No Way Home to Loki and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, the MCU continues to push the envelope of its own narrative by allowing their imaginations to run increasingly wild.
But nothing that we?ve seen so far dives into the lunacy quite as much as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Blob-like creatures, living buildings and more Paul Rudds than you can imagine are simply par for the course here as Marvel takes us deeper down the rabbit hole that is the Multiverse. Quantumania is wild and silly but, thankfully, it?s also immensely entertaining.
Directed once again by Peyton Reed, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania returns as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) have settled into life in the post-Thanos era. Now an author, Lang is enjoying his (almost) celebrity status while trying to reconnect with his daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton). However, when Cassie builds a device designed to explore the Quantum Realm, Scott, Hope, Cassie and Hope?s parents, Janet and Hank (Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas) suddenly find themselves trapped within it. As they attempt to find a way home, they encounter someone from Janet?s past who may have darker intentions than they could have imagined.
With?Quantumania, Marvel kicks off its fifth phase with (somewhat ironically) one of its biggest stories to date. Unlike the original film which dealt with a thief just trying to get his kid back,?Quantumania?is an all-out galaxy affair, featuring CGI creatures, spaceships, and an evil empire built on the back of a madman. (As a result, comparisons to the Star Wars franchise have a certain validity.) Spinning into the wildest corners of the imagination, Marvel has given itself the freedom to take the viewer on a ride into the weird and wonderful and this inventiveness plays well into the?Quantumania. As Ant-Man, the Wasp, and their friends step deep into the Quantum Realm, the film becomes a treat for the senses. With stunning CGI and wild creatures, this ?tiny world? feels absolutely massive in scope. (In fact, in a lot of ways, the film succeeds where last year?s animated?Strange World?failed.)?
While the Ant-Man franchise has always been built upon the back of Paul Rudd?s ageless charm, perhaps the most surprising element of this film is its focus on Michelle Pfeiffer. Given very little to do in the last film, Pfeiffer?s performance as Janet Van Dyne is essential to the storytelling and the film is better because of it. With increased screen time, Pfeiffer shines, offering a fun but engaging performance that keeps the film moving.
Having said this though, the central figure of the film is undoubtedly Kang (Johnathan Majors) himself. After introducing the character in the Loki series, his villainess turn continues to grow (pun intended) as Marvel continues to tease its next ?big bad?. With more time to play, Majors is clearly relishing the opportunity to play the power-hungry beast with a villainous snarl.
Underneath the CGI mayhem, the film continues a very interesting conversation that has been slowly brewing in the Marvel universe about what it truly means to save the world? Whereas Lang has hitched his wagon into the Avengers, other members of his family are trying to fight to make the world a better place on a smaller level. For example, while Cassie has an interest in preserving the homeless, Hope attempts to help humanity by sharing her research with the scientific community. In some ways, this becomes a fascinating discussion by grounding the MCU in the real world. Preventing alien invasions are one thing?but what about the real issues such as poverty that affect us every day.
More than this though, Quantumania also suggests that the ?what? of saving the world may not be as important as the ?why? as several characters begin to ask themselves whether saving their family outweighs saving the world. (In this way, Marvel seems to have tapped the fringes of the famous ?trolley car paradox?.) Without giving any spoilers Quantumania, reinforces the belief that our everyday decisions help to not only define who we are but can also potentially change the world for better or for worse. Even though they appear to be small, our daily choices can have a big impact on the future?and we need to take them seriously.
After all, as Lang reminds us, there?s always room to grow.
In the end, Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania provides yet another fun ride for fans of this franchise that immerses them into the chaos of the multi-verse. Though it doesn?t have the emotional impact of other more recent entries like Black Panther: Wakada Forever or Wandavision, the film?s creativity and humour make it memorable for its madness (even if it doesn?t always ?make sense?).
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania?is available in theatres on Friday, February 17, 2023.