Cluttered, distracted and lackluster, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is the latest installment in the seemingly never-ending Marvel franchise and leaves the audience underwhelmed with a conglomeration of recycled ideas.
“Quantumania” follows returning character Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his partner Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) teaming up as Ant-Man and the Wasp once again to defeat new villain Kang (Johnathan Majors). The movie follows the formula of its predecessors in combining action-packed battles with family drama by focusing on the strained relationship between Scott and his now teenage daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton). As the group is sucked into the Quantum Realm, the audience is told that Hope’s mother, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), previously spent time there and encountered Kang.
The group travels to the Quantum Realm after Cassie creates a device to contact it and accidentally opens a portal to the space — a confusing cluster of amorphous shapes, dull colors and odd creatures. The ominous color scheme implies the Quantum Realm’s dangerous nature. However, even the impressive visuals could not make up for the lack of focus and direction in the script, leaving the plot an afterthought to the movie’s elaborate costuming and visuals. One of the reasons that the movie felt lost was because there seemed to be no real stakes that the heroes were fighting for. Obviously, the world was in some sort of danger, but it did not feel like the main characters had a significant personal investment in defeating their villain. Furthermore, relationships in the franchise that were emphasized in previous films, such as between Scott and Cassie, did not seem to carry the same authenticity. The combination of minimal plot, bad script and disingenuous relationships made the movie a boring watch.
“Quantumania” is the movie that would result if an artificial intelligence were told to create a new Marvel film. It is utterly predictable because it pulls its content from every other action movie to ever exist. From too much expositional storyline to expected action sequences, the story felt disjointed and like a bad continuation of the Ant-Man storyline. There is nothing particularly new or exciting that makes the film stand out within the Marvel franchise.
Public consensus suggests that “Quantumania” was a critical failure. The movie has a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it equivalent to the lowest-ranking Marvel film of all time, “Eternals.” Unlike “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Quantumania” did not have multiple writers. Instead, it was written by Jeff Loveness alone in his Marvel debut. Despite the writer’s belief in his work, it seems that the criticism has not stopped as bad reviews continue to stream in.
With the past few Marvel releases, there seems to have been a decline in audience approval. From “Loki” to “Eternals,” the original allure of the franchise is quickly fading. Marvel gained popularity because of their interesting characters, with noticeable character arcs among the fighting and action. The movies originally had something for everyone, making them the perfect family films. However, somewhere along the way, it seems that Marvel ran out of new ideas and began producing formulaic content that is no longer enjoyable. “Quantumania” is proof of this downward slope. The movie is an indicator of the direction of future Marvel films — bland, repetitive and lacking in plot.
“Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is now playing in theaters.