“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” Gets Squashed Like A Bug


Gabriella Madden

Director: Peyton Reed

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Bill Murray, William Jackson Harper, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michael Douglas

Release Date: February 17, 2023

Rating: 1/5

The Marvel Cinematic Universe used to be this immovable force, raking in billions with its iconic characters, and at one point, groundbreaking visual effects. These days, that’s hardly anywhere to be seen. Iron Man and Captain America are gone, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the first few entries into phase four, I’m so disappointed in what the MCU has turned into, and “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” was no exception. Spoilers ahead, so please be cautious if you haven’t seen the film yet.

Ant-Man has always been a fun character, played to perfection by the one and only (and seemingly ageless) Paul Rudd. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two films, both directed by Peyton Reed, and Ant-Man in other films like “Civil War” and “Endgame.” When this film was first announced way back in 2019, I was so excited, especially for more Quantum Realm content, and seeing Kang played by Jonathan Majors. 

Rudd and Majors were literally the only two aspects of the film that I enjoyed. Rudd brings the same whole-heartedness he brings to play Scott Lang he does every time, and Majors did the best with what he was given, which is saying a lot because he wasn’t given much. After the peril audiences and heroes alike felt with Thanos, I’m supposed to believe the next big bad of the MCU can be wiped out by… ants?

The writing felt extremely lazy, from dialogue to pacing to literally everything. There was NO exposition to this film except for literally two to five minutes before all five members of the Lang/Pym/Van Dyne family are transported to the Quantum Realm. This is supposed to be our grand welcome to the Quantum Realm and seeing more of it, but I felt like a lot of what happened was pointless in the long run. You’re going to bring in the amazing William Jackson Harper, Chidi Anagonye in “The Good Place,” and minimize him to three minutes of screentime and cringy dialogue? And Bill Murray for TWO MINUTES?

Kang was also done dirty in this film. He’s been allegedly wreaking havoc across the multiverse for years now, yet we saw none of it, and we just have to trust one flashback. Thankfully, Majors is incredibly menacing in this role so it’s believable. But come on, is it that much to ask to solidly develop your next big villain the MCU will be dependent on for the next decade?

The dialogue was absolutely horrendous. It was just over-the-top MCU cringe, and Kathryn Newton’s sole line was just “Dad!” repeated over and over. I mean no disrespect to Newton because I thought she was great in “Big Little Lies,” so I know she’s capable of much more than whatever this was. Cassie was just there to give Scott a motive to win, and to set up Young Avengers, and nothing more. I really wish the writers gave Newton and Majors more to work with since I know they can really pack a punch. 

The stakes were also ridiculously low with this movie as well. Besides Kang getting overpowered by ants, everything is just totally back to normal. Does Scott just get to live his normal life again? The point of this movie was to explore the Quantum Realm and really flesh out Kang before we start moving further into phase 5, yet we saw none of the quantum realm and saw Kang do nothing of the substance of why we should fear him. I love Ant-Man and Paul Rudd as much as the next person but we need someone to be executed “Game of Thrones” style by Kang with lasting consequences. The stakes need to be higher than “Endgame” for the future of the MCU to work and I’m honestly convinced they aren’t.

The visual effects were extremely reminiscent of “Spy Kids” and that I mean with all disrespect. There were reports circulating that Marvel directed all their VFX concerns to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and left the “Ant-Man” team understaffed with an impossible deadline. Marvel Studios’ handling of their massive VFX issue has just made the problem so much worse. This is a multi-billion dollar company we’re talking about, surely they have the resources to develop a good system for improving the VFX and working conditions for the artists behind. The MCU used to have beautiful visuals and looked like actual movies, and as the quantity increased over the years, the quality certainly declined.

I haven’t seen an MCU movie in theaters since “Spider-Man: No Way Home” back in 2021 because superhero fatigue hit me hard after the pandemic, until I saw “Ant-Man.” I was really hoping this movie would motivate me into getting back into the MCU, but it didn’t. I’ll still be seated for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” because those movies always deliver what I’m looking for. Be on the lookout though: if Marvel doesn’t make changes, and make them soon, they’re going to lose a lot of fans and a lot of money.