Watching ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ is a chore that everyone must complete


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Ashleigh O'Gradney, Contributor

The much anticipated “Ant-Man and Wasp: Quantumania” takes the responsibility as the first film of Marvel’s Phase Five, but turns out to be just a hodgepodge of one-sided characters, tumultuous CGI and plot lines that are confusing to follow in its pandemonium.

Since the early ’00s, superhero movies have been plagued by the three-film franchise, and “Ant-Man” is no different. “Quantumania” is easily the biggest film to hit theaters so far this year, and as the third installment in the “Ant-Man” franchise, both die-hard Marvel fans and casual watchers alike will be flocking to the theaters. The film had already reached $46 million at the box office on opening day, much higher than its predecessors, but the 48 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, one of the lowest in the MCU’s history, may leave some wondering where it all went wrong.

The film follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her parents Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), as they find themselves trapped in the Quantum Realm after a communication device Cassie invented goes awry and sucks them down under. Once they find their respective family, they encounter strange creatures, environments and technologies that challenge anything they thought they knew about the Quantum Realm.

The film opens with a warning addressing the flashing lights and sequences that would be highly present in the film, and it certainly lived up to this reputation, as the whole movie felt akin to some psychedelic trip. Although beautiful and quite impressive at first, the visual effects that encapsulate the design of the Quantum Realm quickly felt overdone and chaotic. The special effects cycled between cartoonish colors and patterns to the kind of elements that are seen in “Star Wars” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

It would be easy to believe that the plot got second priority to the beauty of the film, as many of the characters fell flat or didn’t fall at all, given their lack of screen time. Hope, Hank and Janet became secondary characters, only serving as the rescuers for Scott and Cassie most of the time. Comparatively, the newly introduced characters that reside in the Quantum Realm seem to play an even bigger role than any of the Pym-Van Dynes. Scott Lang goes from being a superhero to a super dad, and Cassie’s intense desire to help people unfolded far too quietly and was overshadowed by other unnecessary plot points.

“Quantumania” also served as a way to introduce Kang the Conqueror, played by the beloved Johnathan Majors. Audience members versed in the tellings of recent MCU shows will recognize Kang from his cameo at the end of “Loki.” Although Majors’ performance was a large film highlight, his character is painted as just another Thanos; a man who believes genocide is the key solution to all of society’s problems.

Unfortunately, those who skipped the shows and any more recent Marvel features may have difficulty connecting the dots presented in “Quantumania.” For the average viewer, this film may feel like a homework assignment instructing you to engulf yourself in all things Marvel–from “Iron Man” to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”–to understand every detail. Don’t forget the half-dozen limited series’ on Disney+ that focus on the less-explored characters of the MCU.

The film also missed the mark in its comedic value. Lovers of the first two “Ant-Man” films attribute much of their enjoyment to Luis’ extensive yet lively tellings of real-life events, the playful romantic tension between Hope and Scott or the strict comic nature that comes from fighting crime on a much, much smaller scale. The few moments of comedy in “Quantumania” felt out of place, awkward or just entirely unnecessary that could have been omitted from the script completely.

Kara Wilczynski, a first-year student at the University, said, “I was expecting more since it’s the first movie of Phase Five, but it felt like every other Marvel movie, just with different characters.”

Given how unimpressive most of the MCU’s recent productions have been, “Quantumania” is hardly the worst of the bunch, but the central point of the film paints itself as some tired foundation to set up new stories that will be present in Phase Five. For those still working through the previous Phases, watching this film will feel more like a chore than enjoyment.