Exponent Film Review: ‘Quantumania’ is a futile attempt to continue an already failing universe

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” Marvel Studios’ launch into phase five of its Marvel Cinematic Universe is lackluster, boring and uninspired,” writes our film critic Griffin Arnold.

Imagine putting the CGI from “Spy-Kids: 3D” or “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” and sprinkling in everything wrong with the recent “Star Wars” sequels. You would get something close to “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Marvel Studios’ launch into phase five of its Marvel Cinematic Universe is lackluster, boring and uninspired.  

For those who haven’t been keeping up with the myriad of movies, television shows, books, post credit scenes, random cameos in cereal boxes or the 20 other vehicles Marvel is using to tell their stories: in this installment, the multiverse is under attack by a mysterious man named Kang the Conqueror. Similar to Thanos, Kang will be the MCU’s next big baddie, and with his frankly horrible introduction to the big screen … who cares?   

“Quantumania” takes place right after the events of “Endgame” with Scott Lang, his girlfriend Hope, his daughter Cassie, and a few more recognizable faces traversing the Quantum Realm. For the uninitiated: this is the magical dimension where  Janet van Dyne was stuck in for the last 30 years and was ultimately saved from in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” While in the Quantum Realm, Scott and his family meet different factions of people who were left to ruin after Janet was taken back to Earth. The family then has to stop Kang from his plans to leave the Quantum Realm and destroy other timelines.   

The cast was mediocre, with the only exception being Jonathan Majors playing Kang.  Majors delivers such devastating blows in his speech during this movie. His long pauses and the content of what he is saying shows how Kang should be seen as a massive problem to the characters. Majors doesn’t have to rely on the writers making him quippy and rather focuses on the power of Kang as a character. Unfortunately this still doesn’t make Kang a well-written character in the slightest, but it Majors worked well with what he was given.  

Paul Rudd reprises the role of Ant-Man without the wit and humor of the series’ previous installments. The rest of the cast give lackluster performances, though they aren’t helped by the script, which is packed with throwaway, cringe-inducing one-liners. Most notable in this category is Kathryn Newton, who plays Cassie. Cassie is given similar treatment as America Chavez in a previous Marvel film, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” where her character is simply reduced to a plot point who needs to be saved all the time rather than a fully fleshed out character. Newton’s acting is wooden and inexpressive, and she essentially only says the word “Dad” with the most neutral face known to man. I never found myself caring about the relationship between Cassie and Scott; the necessary chemistry between the two was not properly built upon or continued from the prior installments. The only new piece of information the two share in “Quantamania” is that Cassie went to jail.  

As to not spoil, there are a few notable characters and scenes that show how much funding and time Marvel has taken out of its films and migrated to different projects. Frankly, this film is a waste of time for people who have spent the grueling hours watching all of the recent Marvel projects­­— and for the people who haven’t, it is confusing and hard to follow. By the end of the film, it is clear that there was no need to make this movie at all from a creative or narrative aspect. Everything we learn from the film has been explained ad nauseam in previous movies or shows.   

What’s missing, especially for comic book fans, is anything that distinguishes this movie from any other generic science fiction movie. Without Ant-Man and his family or the Marvel title card, there would be no discernible way to tell this is in the MCU. Perhaps this disjointed, foreign feeling was a creative choice to depict the titular Quantum Realm. But “Quantamania” reads more like an action film that has cut down massively on visual effects and writing and was made simply to prove that the MCU isn’t burning out.  

If Marvel wants to create good and compelling stories, it needs to step back, listen to criticism and ask itself: who is this movie for? How long does it think people can last with such a dense timeline of content? Is it a studio that tells compelling stories or one that churns out unsatisfactory films in order to make a quick buck? Unfortunately, it seems it has decided to follow the money.