The Marvel franchise spins its wheels with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, a bland-looking, boringly plotted waste of time.
After futzing around in the Multiverse, Marvel is now focusing on the Quantum Realm, where a bunch of uninteresting new characters run around in goofy-ass sets, and everything is slightly purple. When I think of this movie, two things come to mind: grayish purple, and actors in shitty makeup.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is dealing with losing five years hanging out in the Quantum Realm during “the blip.” He’s now returned to Earth, where he is writing memoirs and trying to get along with his daughter, Cassie, now played by Kathryn Newton. A mess-up with a beacon contraption Kathryn invented results in them being zapped into the Quantum Realm, along with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and a very upset Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). Janet just spent decades in the realm, and she’s not happy about returning.
After a sequence reminiscent of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, they find themselves hanging around in what amounts to a big Star Wars Cantina, but without the charm and effective humor. Many attempts at creating captivating, memorable creatures fall flat.
The villain comes in the form of Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), who was exiled to the Quantum Realm after traipsing around the Multiverse and going kill-crazy. We learn through flashbacks that Janet has a bit of history with Kang; they have both gone a little mad over the years, and who can blame them? Anybody forced to hang out in this annoyingly unoriginal realm would be bored out of their minds. I know I was in bad mental shape after just two hours.
I am not the first, and won’t be the last, to compare the look and feel of this film to Robert Rodriguez’s lousy Sharkboy and Lava Girl. There is a villain, MODOK, that is well known to Marvel fans, and the visual realization is … let’s just say it’s a little disappointing.
The film looks surprisingly cheap and pasted together for something with an alleged $200 million price tag. It reminds me a little of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, a 2007 trilogy closer that spoiled the good will of the first two installments in favor of bad humor mixed with an overloaded dark plot.
While her character is part of the title, Lilly doesn’t get much substantive screentime. Actually, nobody really gets what can be described as substantive moments in this dreck, but Lilly is pretty much a background player. Newton is more of a co-star with Rudd in this; they could be fun in a film that didn’t completely suck balls.
Bill Murray shows up as some past acquaintance of Janet’s who enjoys eating squid-like creatures while they are alive. He gets one obnoxious dinner-table scene—and that’s it. Murray is pretty much a one-scene-and-done actor in these types of films. This isn’t the first time he barley showed up for something starring Paul Rudd; there’s also that useless cameo in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Rudd has always been fun in his many Marvel appearances, but this time, his shtick grows a little tired. Watching and hearing him trying to make his line reads credible is difficult. He’s a likable actor, so it’s no fun watching him squirm in the muck.
Majors hams it up as Kang to no avail. He has played the role before in a better vehicle (Loki), and considering how well this film is doing at the box office, he will probably continue playing the role for some time to come.
This film is the start of a new Marvel “phase.” After another film or two like this, a full, wipe-the-slate-clean restart will be in order.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is playing at theaters across the valley.