Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania review: It’s a small world after all

In the vast expanse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man stands as a diminutive yet endearing figure, offering a refreshing departure from the grandiosity of its superhero counterparts. From its inception in the standalone movie of 2015, Ant-Man’s allure has been rooted in its human-scale narrative, underscored by the effortless charm of Paul Rudd’s portrayal of Scott Lang.

Director Peyton Reed’s whimsical approach breathed life into a blithe comedy, where superhero antics played second fiddle to the everyday struggles of its protagonist. However, the sequel, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” embarked on a grander scale, sacrificing some of the original’s intimacy for a more expansive storyline. As is often the case with sequels, the novelty waned, and the charm dulled slightly amidst the heightened action.

Now, with the third installment, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the franchise takes a bold leap into uncharted territory, embracing a psychedelic journey through the Quantum Realm. The trailer and subtitle alone hint at the audacious direction the narrative has taken, shedding its modest proportions for a kaleidoscopic blend of Old Hollywood glamour and cosmic extravagance.

For a few expository minutes, at least, Rudd is just Scott Lang again, “a divorced-dad ex-con” who once helped save the world from Thanos and now has written a cheerful memoir about his version of events, Look Out for the Little Guy. He still has his faithful longtime girlfriend, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), a.k.a. the Wasp, and a now-teenage daughter, Cassie (Blockers’ Kathyrn Newton); even his would-be in-laws, the mad scientists Hank and Janet (Douglas and Pfeiffer) have settled into mellow domesticity.

Yet, amidst this domestic tranquility, trouble brews in the form of looming cosmic threats and quantum anomalies. The arrival of Bill Murray, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michael Douglas adds a touch of analog Old Hollywood charm to the mix, blending seamlessly with the larger-than-life spectacle of Marvel’s cosmic realm.

As the stakes escalate, Rudd’s Scott Lang finds himself once again thrust into the fray, grappling with personal and existential challenges alike. The clash between the mundane and the cosmic, the human and the superhuman, promises a thrilling cinematic experience that transcends the traditional boundaries of superhero storytelling.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” holds the promise of delivering a delightful fusion of whimsical comedy, heartwarming family dynamics, and epic cosmic adventure. With director Peyton Reed at the helm and a stellar cast bringing these characters to life, audiences can expect a rollercoaster ride through the Quantum Realm unlike any other.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

In the ever-expanding cosmos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ant-Man franchise remains a unique pocket of entertainment, blending humor, heart, and intergalactic adventure in equal measure. As the third installment, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” gears up for its eagerly anticipated release, it ventures into uncharted territories while retaining the essence of what made its predecessors so beloved.

Janet Van Dyne’s haunting experiences in the Quantum Realm continue to cast a shadow over her tranquil life, unbeknownst to her husband Hank Pym, who remains blissfully unaware of her secret trauma. However, their peaceful existence is shattered when a mishap with a DIY portal built by Cassie Lang catapults them all into the enigmatic depths of the Quantum Realm. What unfolds is not the desolate landscape Janet once described but a vibrant microcosm teeming with extraterrestrial life forms and cosmic wonders.

Enter Kang the Conqueror, a formidable antagonist whose presence looms large over the newfound realm. Portrayed by Jonathan Majors with a blend of menace and tragedy, Kang adds a layer of complexity to the narrative, drawing parallels to Shakespearean villains in his relentless pursuit of power and domination.

Jeff Loveness, known for his work on “Rick and Morty” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” injects the script with a frenetic energy, blending humor and spectacle in equal measure. The result is a whirlwind of witty one-liners, exhilarating CGI sequences, and poignant character moments, all underscored by the overarching theme of family bonds and resilience.

Paul Rudd’s portrayal of Scott Lang, the affable yet reluctant hero, remains as endearing as ever, while newcomer Kathyrn Newton brings a fresh dynamic to the ensemble as Cassie Lang. Supporting cast members, including Bill Murray and Corey Stoll, deliver memorable performances, infusing the film with their trademark charisma and wit.

Director Peyton Reed navigates the cosmic chaos with aplomb, striking a delicate balance between spectacle and storytelling. While the film occasionally veers into absurdity, it never loses sight of its core themes and characters, ensuring that audiences remain invested in the journey from start to finish.

At just over 120 minutes, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is a brisk and exhilarating ride through the Marvel multiverse, offering a refreshing take on the superhero genre. As the MCU continues to expand and evolve, this latest installment proves that sometimes, keeping it small can lead to big adventures.

 

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