Plot: What’s it about?
Is it happening? Are we starting to feel the burn of Marvel fatigue? As of this writing, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU from this point forward) is a decade and a half old. Gone are some of the mainstays of the early days of the franchise like Captain America and Iron Man. Now we’ve got television shows that are just as “important” to the MCU as the feature-length films. We’ve seen characters that even I (a devout comic book reader back in the day) have never heard of. We’ve got spinoffs of spinoffs and a villain that we don’t really feel like we know. But we’ve also got Paul Rudd and his affable Scott Lang/Ant-Man. So…that’s something. As we delve into Phase Five of the MCU, things are getting complicated. But let’s take a break from the bigger picture and take a look at this one.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has discovered that his daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton) has been meddling with the quantum realm. She’s sent a beacon into it so that it can be mapped without actually having to go there. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has been encouraging her in this effort, though Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) isn’t too thrilled about it. If you’ll recall, she spent a few decades down there and feels that Cassie is playing with fire. But before any of this can be explained, Hank and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) are pulled in. They discover that Janet had a few secrets about what she experienced while trapped. The biggest of which is Kang (Jonathan Majors), a being who’s destroyed several timelines and has gotten a feel for it. Scott and Hope, with their Pym particles in tow, gives Kang the opportunity to make a bigger move. Scott and Cassie are separated from the group and they must now find each other in the Quantum realm all the while not letting Kang do his bidding.
The Ant-Man films have always been, to me at least, a bit more light-hearted than some of the other MCU films. Most of this is due to Paul Rudd and his natural charm. It’s just hard to imagine this guy being mean, even in a role. To that end, I’ve found the first and its sequel very enjoyable. This one, though…I don’t know. I can’t really place my finger on it. It delivers the goods and does advance the MCU storyline, but there’s just a little too much going on. It seems to scream “Hey, look at how cool our Quantum realm is!” more than anything. Jonathan Majors shines in his role as Kang and this isn’t his first appearance in the MCU. And we’ve also got a few other notable stars that make their MCU debut here as well. I’ll circle back to how I started this review: I simply think that the MCU is experiencing some diminishing returns. The television shows and movies won’t stop, to be sure, but they might need to go back to the drawing board and go for quality over quanity.
Video: How’s it look?
As if we would expect anything less than stellar? Disney (Marvel’s) film looks pretty darn good. The 2.39:1 HD image is glorious from start to end and with the amount of CGI, there were plenty of opportunities for errors. Thankfully none of those persist. Though it’s not reviewed as such, the film was shot (and wisely uses) a LOT of CGI. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it was a bit much – even for this one. We can really get a sense of space when seeing a microscopic ant (or wasp) shrunken down to the size of an atom. Textures, clarity and colors seem warm and well-balanced as well. There’s nothing to complain about here, folks; it looks the part.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The sound mixes on some of the Disney (Marvel) titles has led some of the audiophiles to complain (who would have thought?). Thankfully I didn’t really notice anything that would raise an eyebrow when watching the film. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack has about every trick in the bag ranging from sharp, crisp dialogue to the sound of…whatever the quantum realm sounds like. Surrounds are active for the duration of the film, LFE play a very important role (even in the micro-universe). It all sounds amazing. There may be some issues with other titles, but not this one.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Gag Reel – Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
- Audio Commentary – Watch the film with audio commentary by director Peyton Reed and writer Jeff Loveness.
- Featurettes – Two total, that don’t really shed any new light on things, but nice to have nonetheless.
- All in the Family – Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michelle Pfeiffer discuss the complex layers and secrets – yet incredibly strong bond of this heroic family.
- Formidable Foes – Discover how Jonathan Majors, Bill Murray and Corey Stoll bring gravitas to the villains of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.Learn more about how Kang brings a Thanos-level threat to this adventure and the larger MCU.
- Deleted Scenes – Again, just two are included but were wisely cut.
- Drink The Ooze – Upon entering the Quantum Realm, Scott Lang nervously drinks the ooze.
- I Have Holes – Veb expresses great excitement when he discovers he finally has holes.
The Bottom Line
This is, by no means, a bad movie but it’s my least favorite of the three Ant-Man films. Still, it does play a central part in the MCU and most of us are already pretty invested at this point. Purists will want a physical copy, but this digital version does check all the boxes.