Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
20th February 2023
Scott Lang’s latest foray into the Quantum realm serves psychedelic swagger in spades, persistently delivering this trippy concoction for its 2-hour duration. Director, Peyton Reed, rounds out this trilogy unabashed by his fireworks of physics, which at times inhibits the film’s ability to gain traction with its narrative depth.
The story dives into its alternate realm epic at a pace so brisk that it almost feels jarring. It is clear that Reed exudes little patience for an audience lacking in Marvel lore. He pivots from Lang and family enjoying Earthly pleasantries to surviving a surreal wasteland littered with translucent alien life forms. Its premise is immediately intriguing as it entices its audience to seek knowledge and develop an understanding of this world that has previously only served as a brief segue through the established multiverse of the films. However, this interest tends to wane at times as it rapidly introduces a variety of native cultures that don’t quite evolve beyond their paper thin entities.
While the narrative of the film soars swiftly through a world full of missed opportunity to further flesh it out, its rapid pace is stymied by lead characters that embrace their roles with vigor that serves as the heart of the film’s thrills. The central figure that most emphasizes this is Jonathan Majors’s Kang the Conqueror, the long-awaited debut of Marvel’s next Avengers’ level threat. Majors immediately commands authority as a ruthless dictator of time. His performance is masterfully juxtaposed between warm and nuanced to sinister and merciless. Meanwhile, Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne return as the franchise’s leading duo with charisma and sincerity that shine consistently throughout the film. These performances construct a foundation that effectively builds to a thrilling climax, an outcome of which will have inevitable ramifications for the larger MCU narrative.
Cinematogrophy that embellishes color and luminescence also serves as one of the film’s finer attributes. Its ability to deliver a palette of surrealist dreamscapes comprising the quantum realm adds a unique flavor to a universe that is already saturated with fascinating vistas. Therefore, it is remarkable that this film is able to stand out on its own within this context. As the MCU further delves into its lore over time, we will likely bare witness to a spectrum of worlds whose greatest strength is their absence of limitations.
While Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is unable to break the barriers of the standard Marvel formula, it is a serviceable gateway to an intriguing phase 5 of the MCU. It establishes a villain that is unquestionably the most formidable foe that the Avengers will yet face and reminds the audience that Marvel has far from stalled on the concept of epic storytelling.