Quantumania is the Best Ant-Man Movie… Take That as You Will

Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantummania is a 2023 superhero movie starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily.  In it, we have a character named Ant Man (not to be confused with Aunt Man who is also played by Paul Rudd).  He is a superhero who’s power is he can get really really big or really really tiny and no, I’m not by jumping into a hot tub and then into a swimming pool.  Honestly, if you don’t know anything more about this character or the universe that he belongs to I have no respect for you and you are hereby dismissed. 

In this chapter of Ant-Man’s story his daughter, Cassie, Invents a device that sends a signal down To the mysterious Quantum Realm, a universe so small that you might actually find Tucker Carlson”s integrity shivering down there.   And if you’re upset by that joke, please know that I don’t respect you either and I really hope you took it personally.

Needless to say there is something evil in the Quantum Realm that pulls Ant-Man and his entire extended family into that teeny tiny world. Now they must find a way home while dealing with the threat of Kang the Conqueror, the next Marvel big bad.

I rather enjoyed this movie.  I enjoyed the story, I enjoyed the weird and imaginative world of the quantum realm, and I enjoyed the lighthearted start to phase 5 of the MCU.  I’m not about to tell you that this is the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ever made because it’s not… not a long shot.  But it is at least better than average and better than Marvel’s Previous efforts such as the Multiverse of Madness or Thor Love and Thunder – both of which were mid at best and annoying at worst.

This film sets out with a mission:  Introduce the threat of Kang the Conqueror who will serve as the next Thanos level villain in the MCU and it does it rather well and in some unexpected ways.  Jonathan Majors, as he demonstrated in the Disney+ series, Loki, is an interesting fellow and an actor so charismatic that, even in an exposition laden slog like the Loki finale, you can watch him and be entertained. 

I also enjoyed that Kang was not what I was expecting and I won’t be spoiling the ending here because I hate it when Youtubers do that, but the threat of Kang isn’t that he’s going to come in and start blasting away at every screaming green guy and hammer-wielding adonis that he sees, but rather he represents a threat akin to an epidemic without a vaccine.  Thanos may have boasted that he was enviable, but Kang feels inevitable without having to say it.  I really hope that Marvel continues to build this potentially fantastic character to his true potential.

And, if you think that it’s weird that the next Marvel threat is being introduced in a movie about a shrinking man and his family, remember that Thanos’ first speaking part was in a movie about a talking tree and talking raccoon

Paul Rudd is, of course, a lot of fun to watch as well even though we see a more passive Scott Lang in this movie who is less of a scoundrel and a thief and more of a father desperately trying to keep his daughter safe so that he can have a relationship with her since he lost five years during the Blip.  I can’t believe that they’re still calling it the Blip in the MCU.  That’s like taking something like the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and calling it the Swash.  

Yes, I remember losing my home and my entire family in the swash.  I know what you’re thinking:  Jay, you shouldn’t be calling an event that killed twelve thousand people the Swash!  That’s disrespectful!  

I know… that’s my issue with The Blip.  Yes, they all came back but you know that their lives were wrecked by what happened and that more than twelve thousand people most likely died as a result of half of the population going missing!

I’m really off on a tangent here.  Let’s get back on track.

Honestly, I find myself missing the more pro-active Scott Lang.  The one where he happened to things and things didn’t just happen to him.  Sure, there was less of a chance for this to happen in a story where he basically gets kidnapped into an alien world, but the thief, scoundrel, and con-man could have gone pro-active at any point.  I just feel like we lost something that made Scott such a fun character.

But at least he didn’t fair as poorly as Evangiline Lilly who feels relegated to a background character guest starring in a film that has her character’s name in it.  No disrespect to Evangiline Lilly or the Wasp at all, but having her be the character who always shows up at the last minute to save the day is getting old.  I’d really like to see her on a solo adventure.

Also, where was Michael Pena?  The heart and soul of the Ant-Man movies and you couldn’t even get him for a cameo?  Shame, Marvel.  Shame.

Kathryn Newton is perfectly fine in her role as Cassie Lang.  I say perfectly fine because the movie really didn’t give her anything super interesting to do other than being the edgy teen that Scott can’t relate to, the hostage that gives Scott motivation, or the daughter that Scott finally relates to at the end.   Quantumania really didn’t give her a whole lot to do which is a shame.  It’s almost like the movie could have gone without the character all together, but then again, the movie also needed to create the superhero who will eventually replace Paul Rudd when he gets tired of Ant-Manning, so it’s a Catch 22 really.

Michelle Pfeiffer serves as the expert as she was in the Quantum Realm for years so she is the guide to our wayward heroes, taking them from location to location and from beat to beat.  She’s also the person who could have stopped the entire conflict of the movie if she would have simply told them that there was an evil teeny tiny man in the Quantum Realm in the first place.  But she doesn’t…. Which makes no sense.  That would have been literally the first thing that I said upon returning to Earth.  “Hey, FYI, do NOT go back in there.  Jonathan Majors is down there and he… is… crazy.

I’m going to be defending this movie a lot, but that is just bad writing.

Michael Douglas, on the other hand, is a lot of fun in Quantumania.  Something about his down-to-earth attitude in the way that he reacts to the situations that he’s in, the way that he deals with all of the revelations that he learns about his wife.  I found it heartwarming.  Honestly, there is a scene – and minor spoilers here – where his character Hank, finds out that his wife had smoosh-smoosh with a man in the Quantum Realm while they were trapped.  Instead of going nuts or harboring hurt feelings, he admits that he had smoosh-smoosh with someone too and that it didn’t work out.  Why?  She wasn’t you, baby.

I’m sorry, is it me or was that the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen in a Marvel movie?

Don’t look at me like that.

As I said, I enjoyed this movie.  It is far, far more imaginative and unrestrained than The Multiverse of Madness and manages its humor better than Thor: Love and Thunder.   It didn’t feel as derivative as Black Widow, and it wasn’t a boring slog like Eternals.   Now, on the other hand, it’s not as good as Shang-Shi, Wakanda Forever, or No Way Home, but it’s certainly good enough.  

The idea that so many Marvel fans are out there crying that Marvel movies aren’t as good as Endgame is mind-blowing to me.  No, dear one, they’re not all going to be Endgame level.  That was the point of Endgame in the first place.  

There seems to be a blood in the water mentality as far as Marvel goes where it’s chic and cool to dump on the franchise.  Well, I’ve never been one to believe that rage-farming or being a contrarian makes anyone the least bit interesting.  I see things I like and I tell people I like them.  It’s really as simple as that.

I’m not saying that everyone who disagrees with me is wrong, I’m saying that they’re stupid.

That was a joke.  Or was it?

Truthfully, I can fully see why someone would not like Quantumania, but to sit there and say it’s not as good as Endgame or, as I’ve seen elsewhere, that it’s “woke” really only shows your idiocy in the matter.  Justify your position with actual point or just admit you just want to be the cool guy who hates everything that everyone else likes.  I mean, we already know… and you’re not.

Personally, I really enjoyed Quantumania and would furthermore say that I believe it’s the best of the Ant-Man movies which, admittedly, isn’t a very high bar to hit.   The cast is charming, the villain has got some intriguing possibilities for the future, and the setting and world-building is phenomenal.  I honestly don’t get why The Multiverse of Madness seemed so restrained while Quantumania feels entirely off the leash.

Ultimately, I liked it.  It’s a better than average adventure romp that could have used a little re-working, but in the end, I’m more than happy with the result.    I just hope the Aunt-Man sequel is equally as entertaining.  

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