Ant-Man grows too big in new film ‘Quantumania’

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

The Marvel Cinematic Universe was once an untouchable cultural monolith, but a focus on quantity over quality has knocked that monolith over. It is ironic that in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Marvel’s smallest superhero franchise flopped by getting too big.

At no point in its two-hour runtime does Quantumania manage to justify its existence, beyond setting up the next Avengers movie. The film’s villain, Kang the Conqueror, is set to be the antagonist for 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Because of this, it is apparent throughout the entirety of Quantumania that the sole purpose of the movie is to introduce a villain to general audiences who did not watch the Disney+ series Loki, which introduces Johnathan Majors as Kang.

None of the characters go through any sort of meaningful arc whatsoever in the movie. In the first Ant-Man, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, the titular Ant-Man, learns to be a hero and accept the mantle of Ant-Man. Is it the most original story? No. But despite being somewhat cliche, it is a great movie that is entertaining to watch.

Quantumania is the opposite. Riddled with so many cliches and reused storylines, the film becomes almost laughably bad. That’s not to say that there aren’t great moments in the film, but these moments are few and far between. This is the worst example of Marvel trying to reuse something that worked before in a way that it doesn’t.

For example, a key subplot features a legion of citizens in the Quantum Realm, the subatomic dimension that most of the film is set in, leading a revolution against Kang. This subplot is almost identical to a subplot in 2017’s Thor Ragnarok. Even the characters participating in the revolution are similar to Ragnarok’s. The dialogue in the entire film is subpar, but this sequence specifically is where it goes from subpar to sad.

All in all, this film is a sad film. A waste of such an insane amount of talent, both on the cameras and behind them. The film stars a litany of talented actors, including two time Academy Award winner Michael Douglas. That being said, Douglas has also been nominated for two Golden Raspberries, and his performance in this may earn him a third.

The performances in this movie all feel as though the crew involved were afraid to ask the actors to do additional takes. The line delivery is consistently inconsistent, and it is very apparent that almost the entire movie was filmed on greenscreen, which is the film’s biggest problem.

The movie starts very strong, with a sequence establishing the Quantum Realm and Majors’ Kang, before cutting to San Francisco. Any time the characters are in the real world in this movie is very well put together and interesting. Unfortunately, we dive into the Quantum Realm almost immediately.

For the past few projects they’ve released, Marvel has notably had difficulty with their visual effects. Numerous workers in the industry have spoken out about unfair conditions as well as a high turnover rate on MCU properties in particular, and numerous higher ups have also suggested that change could be made. Quantumania begs that change to be made.

If you are going to set almost your entire movie in a computer-generated world, those effects need to be spotless. The Avatar films understand this, and whether you enjoy those films or not, they at the very least deliver on the visuals. The visual disconnect between the actors and the Quantum Realm is so apparent that it completely drags the viewer out of the film. If you don’t typically notice bad effects, you may enjoy Quantumania, but if you’re the opposite then do not see this movie under any circumstances.

It is a shame, because the first two Ant-Man films both feature sequences involving the Quantum Realm, and both of these are visually spectacular. The first movie’s sequence especially is one of the most mesmerizing and unique computer generated visuals that Marvel has ever done. Both films depict the Quantum Realm as an otherworldly, desolate land of colors and shapes, barely even resembling a tangible world.

In Quantumania, that uniqueness is replaced with a generic science fiction setting that seems cobbled together based off of whichever science fiction movies the set designer watched the previous night, which were most likely either Dune or Spy-Kids 3D.

In short, or rather small, you should not go see this movie. At the very least wait for them to dump it on Disney+ in a month.