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Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania | movie review

It's a small world, after all.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
 

Movie summary: Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne are dragged into the Quantum Realm, along with Hope's parents and Scott's daughter Cassie. Together they must find a way to escape, but what secrets is Hope's mother hiding? And who is the mysterious Kang? (IMDb)


I started watching Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with mixed expectations - there seemed to be a huge outpouring of terrible sentiments towards this film upon its initial release, which was then tempered by a what felt like an equally large number of people who'd skipped it in cinemas to wait for Disney+ who had a reaction along the lines of "it's not great, but it's not terrible either".


Ultimately, that latter sentiment is the camp that I fell into, wondering just what in the movie had inspired such an outpouring of vitriol when originally released. Was it really just MCU-fatigued critics and film snobs relishing the chance to lash out at a lesser MCU film? I wouldn't want to claim one way or the other, but this movie is just about as inoffensive as you can get - meant both in defence and as a criticism.


Quantumania is a very safe film that doesn't so much fit an MCU formula, but basically the formula for just about any sci-fi action film over the last several decades. There are the title heroes, secondary characters to back them up, a Big Bad, the Big Bad's main henchman, an army of faceless minions to be swatted aside, and a tedious, predictable inevitability to how everything will unfold.


While not exciting or interesting in just about any way, does that really sound like anything worth getting worked up in a frenzy about or something to take delight in lambasting? There will be dozens and dozens and dozens - if not hundreds worldwide - of movies released this year that will be no better than Quantumania and yet won't receive anywhere near the level of shit flung in this movie's direction.


This isn't a post to defend the movie - look at the score I gave it! - as there's plenty to dislike. I think a lot of the designs in the Quantum Realm are uninspiring; most of the movie is shot in as basic and functional a manner as seems to be possible; the score isn't memorable in the slightest; a lot of jokes fall flat or are outright bad; and I thought Kathryn Newton's performance as Cassie wasn't anywhere near as strong as it needed to be for such a key role.


On the flip side, some of the designs for the Quantum Realm citizens are pretty great; Jonathan Majors is (unfortunately) legitimately incredible as Kang the Conqueror; Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are so casually excellent that they easily raise the average material they've been given and I wish they'd got to do more; and, with a cinematic universe filled with bad dads, it was enjoyable to see a story dedicated to one of the good ones.


I know the VFX work came in for a lot of criticism on release too, which I can't really agree with. I don't know if it's just a case of a non-cinema-sized screen hiding the flaws or if Marvel Studios got the VFX teams to keep working on it post-release, but - one scene aside - it all seemed... fine? Again, some poor designs and a lack of imagination in places, but that's more on the story and direction side of things rather than the over-worked VFX crews.


I'm not going to claim Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a good movie, because it isn't. It's also not a terrible movie either. There's plenty of bad stuff that can be criticised, but I would argue there's at least an equal amount of good stuff to cancel it out. Based on that, I can't really recommend seeing it unless you want to keep up to date with the MCU and the next Thanos-level villain, even if he might end up being played by someone else by the time the next Avengers movie comes out.


Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has a pretty terrible reputation, which is more than a little unfair as it's simply mediocre at worst. While that's obviously not what you'd call a ringing endorsement, I'd say it's still worth watching at least once for the good bits, as the bad stuff is more likely to result in eye-rolling than any genuine loathing of the movie.

[5/10 - Average]

 

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