“Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania”
Letterboxd (3/5), Imdb.com (6/10)
If you’re looking for a dazzling display of special effects (especially in 3-D), then this latest installment in the Marvel Universe’s “Ant-man” franchise is for you. However, if you’re looking for an absorbing story, more along the lines of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (2022), you’ll probably want to look elsewhere, despite the superb eye candy on offer here. Though visually dazzling, director Payton Reed’s latest feels like something of a placeholder entry in the ongoing string of movies in this long-running series of action-adventures. Set in a vividly colorful, fantastically landscaped universe that exists below our reality at the quantum level, this picture tells the story of an unlikely superhero (Paul Rudd) and his family of colleagues (Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton) who become inadvertently trapped in this strange world and desperately look for a way to get home, but they must first match wits with a dastardly, powerful villain (Jonathan Majors) who stands in their way. What ultimately transpires, however, is a story that’s eminently predictable and fairly formulaic, reminiscent of many other such tales, such as “Tron: Legacy” (2010). Also, like many other Marvel movies, the concluding sequence is once again entirely too long (even though the overall length of this production is, thankfully, comparatively shorter than many of its protracted peer releases). To its credit, the film features fine performances by Pfeiffer and Majors, as well as a commendably lucid explanation of the rudiments of quantum physics. However, these strengths, along with its stunning visuals, aren’t enough to overcome the overall narrative blandness of this offering. While “Quantumania” is certainly best viewed on the big screen in 3-D for maximum visual effect, this film might otherwise be considered a candidate worth waiting for its streaming debut. The kind of overkill on display in this work isn’t doing the Marvel Universe any good, something that really needs to be borne in mind for the future of these releases.