Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) | Review
Has Disney Ruined Marvel?
By Grace Taylor
After reading that the film received the lowest rating of any Marvel picture at 47% from Rotten Tomatoes (joint with Eternals), I wasn't too optimistic walking over the red and black flooring of Cineworld to see the film in cinema. Still, I felt I had to come to my own conclusions: once I left the screen, however, I could see why.
The movie is a sequel to Ant-Man (2015) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) and follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), his girlfriend, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily), and their family's transportation to the Quantum Realm after his daughter Cassie's (Kathryn Newton) machine to communicate between the realm and Earth goes askew. When they reached the Quantum Realm, we were served with candescent scenery, which at first glance was fascinating. But with the movie’s progression, it became assaulting to the senses. As the story unfolded, I felt as though I was watching a challenge set by the director—how much CGI can we cram into two hours? I wished that someone in the editing room had reinforced the less is more mantra.
The first few scenes were promising. It started strong, but the need for comedic relief took over the already chaotic plot. The character of Ant-Man has always acted as an instrument to get a few laughs, but the storyline was quite frankly ridiculous. It was hard to keep up with everything that was going on. The jokes were poor and could not save the weak and clumsy plot. I was laughing a lot, but not where I was supposed to. Like the other cinema-goers, the room erupted with laughter at the sheer stupidity of what we were watching. The film attempts to harbour themes of morality, but any message that might have been conveyed was entirely overshadowed by the silliness of it all.
It was a shame that most of the film was absurd because the villain, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), was outstanding. Majors delivered a remarkable performance of Kang's desperation to cling to power, but unfortunately, it was not enough to salvage the film. However, I do look forward to his future performances in MCU. I also did enjoy the portrayal of the father-daughter relationship between Cassie and Scott. It is rare we see this dynamic in the way we did. The bond between the superhero duo was touching and solidified how much Cassie looks up to her father.
This movie begs the question of whether Marvel's days of glory are behind us.
Unfortunately, I felt as though this movie points to the Disneyfication of Marvel. A franchise that was once meaningful and serious has become tame and oversimplified. The dialogue was, in parts, childish. From what I have seen from Phase 4 of MCU, I expected a little more from the first film in Phase 5. Unfortunately, after being a fan of the franchise for many years, I am becoming less interested in the movies that are being produced. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) being the exception, I can't help but feel let down by the new releases.
It might be worth going to see Quantumania purely for the continuation of Marvel storylines, as it sets up season 2 of Loki. But as a stand-alone movie, I can't say you should rush to see it. Perhaps the negative reception will be a wake-up call. I hope future Marvel Studios releases regain some of the original charm.