By Patrick Edwards, Second year, Film and TV
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since the first Ant-Man (2015): a fun but inoffensive heist film. Its biggest flaw was a “what could’ve been” scenario, as Edgar Wright was unceremoniously booted from the project due to dreaded “creative differences” mere months before filming began. Hence, the director of Yes Man (2008), Peyton Reed, came on board to direct Antman and its two sequels with diminishing returns.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) living as a celebrity after his heroics in Avengers: Endgame (2019) and happy with his found family - made up of his girlfriend, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), her parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfieffer), and Scott’s daughter, Cassandra (Kathryn Newton).
That is until the group is sucked into The Quantum Realm, where they must face off against the villainous Kang (Jonathan Majors).
The only enjoyment to be garnered from this film is in the above performances. Jonathan Majors is sinister and intimidating enough, which will excite those invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as it appears he will be a recurring villain. Paul Rudd is ever charismatic, although he lacks the emotional range for the more intense scenes, so he is not an ideal leading man in a film of this scale.
The remaining entertainment comes from the clueless nature of Michael Douglas, who clearly struggles acting with green screens and people covered in motion capture suits.
Peyton Reed’s lack of vision is evident throughout this film. The film steals ideas from the Star Wars Franchise (1977-), it's entirely CGI environments are reminiscent of the Avatar Franchise (2009-), and the character design feels so generic and cheap-looking that it could be taken from the Flash Gordon Franchise (1936-1980).
There is not a single original idea to be found in this latest MCU outing. The ‘new’ world in which the majority of the film is set is poorly developed. It is described as an entire subatomic universe within our own; however, terrible visuals and a bland story make it feel limited and dull.
We never really explore this supposedly infinite and surreal world, which creates a feeling of missed opportunity. The writers and director had a whole new universe to play in, yet they offered up one of the blandest MCU projects to date.
This new instalment is one of the ugliest outings the MCU has to offer, with a visually unappealing colour palette and brown sepia tone plastered over the entire film. Not one of the many rendered locations feels real, and the lighting makes the characters feel completely distant from their settings.
I want to highlight; this is through no lack of technological equipment or skill in the hardworking VFX team. It has been well documented recently that Marvel overwork and underpays its VFX teams, with the terrible visuals being evidence of the rushed nature of these projects.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is an experience that even die-hard MCU fans will struggle to remember. There is little value to be found here other than a tease of the future of the MCU, the film just feels like a stepping stone to get to the next project in Marvel’s unending franchise machine.
Featured Image: by Marvel, courtesy of IMDB
Does the future of the MCU look just as bleak to you?