Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review: A victim of the MCU's success

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is sitting in the 40s on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the lowest scores an MCU movie has gotten. People have written this off as a bad movie, but that feels like making mountains out of anthills. Because at its core, Quantumania is inoffensive to a fault.

Scott Lang returns for a new adventure in this latest addition to Marvel's full-to-bursting cinematic universe, this time with his reconstituted family in tow: his girlfriend Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly), his mentor Henry "Hank" Pym (Michael Douglas), and Hank's wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). After Scott's daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) stupidly messes around with the Quantum Realm, they immediately learn how incredibly bad that idea is. Sucked into the Quantum Realm with no way back and being hunted down by a dangerous foe from Janet's mysterious past, the Pyms and the Langs must work together or die trying!

Off the bat, Quantumania looks great. It hits you with the fantastical in every direction and constantly looks like a concept artist's vivid wet dream. Alien environments beyond our comprehension and alien beings unlike anything we've ever seen populate the Quantum Realm like so much eye candy. Makes the Ant-Family's size-changing abilities seem pedestrian by comparison.

The movie treads water until the appearance of the MCU's newest Big Bad, Kang the Conqueror (played to perfection by Jonathan Majors). Whereas Thanos is a warrior comfortable wallowing in bloodsoaked trenches, Majors plays Kang as an aloof demigod who treats anyone below his stature with cutting nonchalance. The Lovecraft Country star elevates this comic book villain with a compelling, vulnerable performance that feels like nobody told him he's acting in a comic book movie. He dominates every scene with his gravitas, to the point that Paul Rudd and the rest of the cast feel out of place in his presence.

It's a lot of fun, though. Multiversal shenanigans and CGI spotfests bombard your eyeballs, and the movie has its share of hokey laughs and dramatic showcases. However, the by-the-numbers plot doesn't help, and it's really noticeable how Quantumania rushes predictably towards a generic supeheroic ending. Any other time, this wouldn't have been a bad thing. But with Avengers; Endgame still fresh in the minds of the pop culture-consuming populace, the expectation that the 31st movie in the MCU will Change Everything Forever From Now On ultimately does Quantumania no favors.

Call it basic. Call it run-of-the mill. But ultimately, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is totally okay. It's just that sometimes, that may not be enough.

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