Not settling for just being the third film in a trilogy, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania also has the privilege – or curse – of being first out of the starting blocks for the dawning of Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the all-encompassing goliath of Hollywood since 2008 which hasn’t looked like slowing down anytime soon. Much has been written about its positive and negative impact on the film industry and the now over-reliance on its bank-busting exploits but recent years have perhaps seen the first cracks appear in its seemingly unbreakable armour. Has the sheer weight of worldwide anticipation and expectation started to affect on its master plan? In Quantumania’s case, yes is the answer.

After helping The Avengers overcome Thanos once and for all after The Snap, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is enjoying his newfound fame as San Francisco’s own superhero. His life with Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is flourishing but his relationship with his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is on shaky ground, with his inadvertent time stuck in the Quantum Realm forcing an emotional gap between them. Ironically, that time away has led Cassie to research more about just what is down there with the help of grandfather Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) but her fascination leads them to send a signal that sees them all sucked into the microscopic universe that Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) hoped to never go back to because of a dangerous man known as The Conqueror.

The stakes are certainly high on paper for this one with the introduction of Kang and his conquering habits of bringing our intrepid superheroes to their knees like never before, but for much of the film you don’t feel much for much of the film, you don’t feel there’s any real threat despite Jonathan Majors’ fantastic performance as the new big bad Kang who has only just begun to change the game. There’s certainly spectacle in spades here for fans to sink their teeth into with director Reed utilising the much-loved new The Volume which allows full immersion for fans and for the actors rather than greenscreen but it’s all lacking the usual magic that we’ve seen done better over the past fifteen years.

It’s hard to truly call the film a terrible one as its winning cast is always a pleasure to watch (Rudd and Pfeiffer, in particular, carrying the film when Kang-less) but despite all their best intentions and all the love that follows them from the first two films, it all feels surprisingly flat and uninspired. Its welcome and sharp funny bone is sadly lacking under an underwhelming and mawkish screenplay from Jeff Loveness, one that misses the punchier aspects that Adam McKay and Paul Rudd (and, by extension, Michael Peña) had sewn in the previous installments as well as a severe lack of character expansion. It falls into the trap of seemingly being more concerned about the future of the series rather than the here and now, a mistake that continues to undercut their films.

For fans, there will be moments here unlike anything they have seen, and they will have a good time watching on the big screen but like many of the other recent MCU efforts, everything feels messy and undisciplined, more as if it’s rushed out to meet a date than anything else and only serves to frustrate than illuminate. There will be better films to come, we’re sure and the future for Kang and who portrays him is very exciting, but on this occasion, they haven’t looked out for the little guy.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
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Scott J. Davis is the HeyUGuys man on the red carpet. Purveyor of premiere interviews and junkets with movie and television stars, directors, writers, producers and sometimes even fans. He also writes movie news for the site and his favourite film is Masters of the Universe. He's a legend in his own lifetime.
ant-man-and-the-wasp-quantumania-reviewThe latest phase of the MCU begins in the microscopic world of the Quantum Realm - but is Marvel in danger of burnout just as Kang arrives?