Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

A threequel that needs less shrinking and more growing.

I would hate to bore the people who are expecting my review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” but I really must let you know something that I’m glad a friend of mine introduced me to. “They Call Me Jeeg” is an Italian superhero movie that never found success in our country, but is still a surprising and original piece that doesn’t linger on the special effects and has a ballsy attitude in terms of its violence. The reason why I would bring it up here is because it also is about a thief who becomes a superhero. Paul Rudd’s thief Scott Lang becomes the superhero we all know and love-Ant-Man.

This threequel takes us inside the dimension known as the Quantum Realm with ideas that work and elements that seem clunky. It’s more capable of being a teaser for the next phase of the MCU, as we’re entering what they call “The Kang Dynasty,” than it is at being better than the last “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Who is Kang? He’s one of the alternative characters of He Who Remains, all of whom are played by Jonathan Majors. And it’s Kang the Conquerer, who plans to, well, conquer the multiverse. Yes, we know that exists. Rick & Morty both know about it. Spider-Man and Doctor Strange both learned about it. Jessica Rothe learned about it. And more recently, Michelle Yeoh learned about it. I trust you get the references.

Years after Scott got out of the Quantum Realm and helped the Avengers save the world from Thanos, he feels he is proud to do his part without anymore threats. He even wrote a book that earns him some more publicity. But he’s faced with more problems.

His teenage daughter Cassie (now played by Kathryn Newton) becomes an activist helping those in need, which gets her in trouble with the law. She’s got the shrinking tech to trigger them.

Both of them, along with Hope A.K.A Wasp (Evangeline Lily), her mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer)-the one who was trapped in the realm for decades-and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) all get sucked in the realm, where the biggest problem emerges.

And that problem would be Kang the Conqueror.

One of the fascinating elements of the Quantum Realm is a red juice that you must drink in order to understand these Broccoli heads or machine heads or alien creatures or familiar foes or creatures who look like humans (Bill Murray pops by). If only the humans in “Madagascar” or “Small Foot” got that drink. Then they could understand the animals we believe are talking.

The story doesn’t do much justice for the characters who can live up to their expectations, but need more basis for us to fully understand them. And yes, there are some extra new characters like a Telepath named Quaz (William Jackson Harper), whose head lights up purple whenever he can read minds. We think we want that power, but he tells us we don’t. He probably would get a headache seeing “Chaos Walking,” just like I did.

Paul Rudd knows how to give us the laughs as Ant-Man, and he also has the heart and spirit to show us he is a loving father. And Jonathan Majors has the best supporting performance in this film, portraying a villain who knows how to be menacing without trying to be the next Thanos. He’s no sell-out. He’s tough AF. These are the two actors we really enjoy in the roles.

Half the time I was entertained and amazed at its ideas and concept, and the other half made me realize that the story needed to be more complex and the action needed to be less all over the place. I’m sure this next phase will grow on you. Or maybe that’s just an Ant-Man pun.

I can’t praise every Marvel film that comes out.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Categories: Action, Adventure, comedy, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci Fi, Thriller

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