A lot of questions.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania asks a few interesting questions. If CGI isn’t real, how is it possible for a film to sodomize you with it over the course of two hours? If the film is 99% shot on green screen by an American studio with American actors, why did Disney need to shoot it in Turkey? How does hundreds of millions in budget get progressively worse in quality as time goes on? And most importantly, who expected that a film about infinite multiverse Kangs would potentially be losing the single actor playing all of them?
Well I have the answer to one question; How many times do we need an Ant-Man film before it goes to shit? And the answer is three. Directed by Peyton Reed who directed the prior two films in the series and written by Jeff Loveness who was the writer behind Jimmy Kimmel Live, which explains why the jokes in this movie aren’t funny, Ant-Man 3 once again stars Paul Rudd as the man made of ants who runs around and does ant stuff. With ants. Did I mention this movie has ants?
I have some sympathy for Jeff Loveness. The guy’s career involves writing one episode of The Office, some Onion stuff, Jimmy Kimmel Live, two Academy Awards, and who cares. Oh and some Rick and Morty. If Kevin Feige actually gave two shits about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and wouldn’t stop ignoring the downward trajectory of the movies during phase 4 to what has already become a full collapse, he wouldn’t have hired the guy who had absolutely zero writing experience in cinema, let alone a billion dollar franchise, let alone the spearhead for phase 5. Feige didn’t just throw Loveness into the deep end, he concussed the guy and threw him in with thirty self-powered toasters coated in anthrax. And for that I can’t fault the guy personally.
And I had the same reaction with Chloe Zhao, whose biggest film prior to Eternals had a budget of less than one of Feige’s corporate dinners. In fact, Feige recently said that Marvel will course correct and stop hiring inexperienced writers and directors for these massive films. Great work, Kevin. It only took driving the truck over the cliff before you realized maybe you should have hit the breaks. It might not work with Disney’s notoriously burdensome work style, the fact that most directors worth their salt won’t deal with the bullshit attached to a Marvel movie, and the fact that Disney seems content on repeatedly burning bridges with actors and directors and writers as their budget capital bottoms out.
Quantumania is stupid, even by Marvel standards. It exemplifies the worst tendencies of the franchise, beats the most obnoxious tropes into the viewer’s head, and after two hours you come out of it wondering what actually happened.
The great majority of the film takes place in the Quantum Realm which is now just another world with a crazy alien civilization that’s whacky and crazy and goofy and did I mention whacky? It turns out that in the Marvel world, even a subatomic civilization is just chock full of the brooding loner, the goofy goober, the sarcastic one-liner deliverer, and basically every other homogenized personality we’ve seen in every film for the last ten years. All of the scenery with its shiny colors and things moving every which way because who cares doesn’t create for interesting sets, it’s just a really stark reminder that the characters are walking around on a two hundred square foot green screen set.
She-Hulk had some bad CGI and it was somewhat easy to dismiss since it was just a TV show, but Ant-Man 3 is a $200 million film and it looks terrible. Especially the MODOK (Corey Stoll) character who looks like Joe Rogan’s dumb bald head and barely surpasses Shark Boy and Lava Girl in its quality. Loveness says MODOK is his favorite character because he got something “extra” which just goes to show how half-assed the rest of this film was.
I think it’s impossible to talk about the story of this film without reminding viewers that the guy who wrote Jimmy Kimmel Live wrote this. And I doubt he had any input on the key moments, so just give Loveness some slack. So it turns out that Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) when she spent 30 years in the Quantum Realm met Kang (Jonathan Majors) who had been exiled there by the other Kangs that we heard about at the end of Loki season 1. She destroyed his space ship capable of traversing space and time leaving him stranded there because she saw how evil he was and the danger he would pose, given he is Kang the Conqueror.
Why hasn’t Janet brought this up in the time since she’s been back? Didn’t really consider it. Also Marvel hadn’t written that far ahead at the time. You might be asking yourself, why set up such an obvious plot hole when there are literally infinite ways to write Kang’s background? You know, in a film that has basically infinite Kangs with their own backstory? Because Kevin Feige doesn’t give a shit, we’ve already gone over this. Our heroes are pulled into the Quantum Realm to be forced to assist Kang in helping him get out so he can do the whole conqueror shtick. Something that would have been avoided if Janet hadn’t been moronically cryptic in explaining why Cassie (Kathryn Newton) shouldn’t have been sending messages to the Quantum Realm in the first place.
The whole plot thread of a character who is familiar with the bad guy and ominously not answering questions about him isn’t clever, unless you’re a popcorn swilling moron-you know nevermind. It doesn’t create tension, especially when the audience already knows the answer, and all it does in this film is to pad out the first forty minutes of characters yelling about how they will go no further until Janet tells them what she’s afraid of.
Also the premise of Kang’s exile is stupid, because they shoved him in the Quantum Realm but let him keep his functioning ship with its “go anywhere in time and space” technology? There are infinite Kangs and this is the punishment they come up with to keep him away? Is the council of Kangs also writing Marvel’s films?
Thankfully this is an Ant-Man film and a Marvel movie, meaning the film never lets you spend too much time in silence or to let an emotional scene sit without someone farting, vomiting, or making some stupid comment. Wouldn’t want the audience doing any thinking or they might realize they spent $20 on this crap. You can basically see Feige off to the side with a stop-watch during any remotely emotional scene waiting for the next awkward joke to slip in to lighten the mood. Don’t forget the surface level attempt at having father daughter moments with Scott and Cassie because we also need some faux humanity.
And remember when Scott Lang worked at Baskin Robbins? Marvel dipping back to the days when their films were decent.
Incidentally Loki blew the load for Quantumania, both by making Jonathan Majors far more interesting as He Who Remains, talking about the multi-verse, and setting up those threads. But they did it too early, the rest of phase four was bile, and Marvel really blew its load too early on what could have been a big start.
Quantumania is crap. It combines a lobotomy of bright colors and big CGI sets that become meaningless as the characters don’t even interact with the environment most of the time (which would require some practical effects) and it just feels like strangeness for the sake of strangeness. Look, there’s lava-ish stuff and it floats up. It gives characters motivations that are so utterly idiotic that they transcend reasonability for no reason other than because the plot has to happen. Everyone phones in their performance except for Michael Douglas who looks happy to be getting a paycheck, and Jonathan Majors himself who seems to be the only one invested in the script.
And could they stop having the actors take their helmet off in the middle of battles so they can pop a quick quip and put the helmet back on? They are so damn proud of the CG helmets that Scott literally whips his helmet off, back on, and then off again in roughly a 30 second time frame. Also they write Kang to be stupid. Kang is defeated of course by our crew of three people, but earlier on in the film he muses that he’s killed so many Avengers that he doesn’t even recognize Scott anymore. It’s meant to sound menacing, until you realize it means absolutely nothing.
The whole movie wouldn’t have happened if Janet wasn’t acting like a stupid asshole.
MODOK might have struck better if he didn’t look like a giant glazed scrotum. Also they ruined his last scene with the goofy MCU-ness. Check out Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on video on demand.