“Quantumania” is the first film to be released under MCU’s Phase 5 and given the unstable nature of Phase 4, I have every reason to be skeptical of this movie and what’ll come after that. After all, this is an Ant-Man movie suddenly getting the big boys treatment almost out of the blue and on top of that, I saw and heard people saying it’s WORSE than Love And Thunder. So I HAD to find out for myself. Cause like, there was no way, right?
Peyton Reed, compared to the first two films, seems to be at an utter loss with his sense of direction. Immediately jumping from Point A to Point B with hardly any sense of cohesion, it feels hasty and tacked on; content without closer examination.
Even taking into account Bill Pope’s bafflingly threadbare cinematography and the so-so editing that follows, this film isn’t really pleasant to look at. There’s little rhyme or reason to how the Quantum Zone operates and no explanation to it beyond frustratingly surface level window dressing and not to mention, the onslaught of special effects and incessant worldbuilding somehow overshadows and undervalues this sunless, surreal, slimy Color Out of Space production design all at once; painfully flimsy, devoid of meaningful history and social organization, lacking of any environmental concepts and constantly writhing in agony from all the cheap plastic. This isn’t the first time the presentation and worldbuilding in a MCU film practically shits itself when it shouldn’t have but this is perhaps the most baffling example because with all the inspiration it borrows from, it should be DEAD SIMPLE.
And that’s just the erratic technical design; the story has almost nothing going for it.
Third time around, this story is yet another diversion from the previous two movies, taking the potentially intriguing multiverse idea and turning it into a shortcut that not only undermines the initial progress from the previous phase but also fails to connect on the ‘family drawn together through adversity’ front between the Pym family dynamic and Scott and Cassie’s relationship. They effectively turn Scott, Cassie, Hank and the rest of the main characters into sacrificial lambs to the slaughter and strip away most of the emotional center that made the previous Ant-Man movies passable. Wafer thin stereotypical dialogue, barely any character development and there’s hardly any sense of forward momentum.
You think that one of the writers behind freakin’ Rick and Morty would’ve found way to eject some majesty and uniqueness into the staging of this world and how it connects all the characters involved but no, the vast majority of this runtime consists of a storyline with plotholes the size of the Mariana Trench, constantly feels like it’s making stuff up on the fly and doesn’t make a lick of sense no matter how much it babbles on.
The biggest dick move of this movie however is how transparently obvious it becomes that nothing seems to matter. Between the uneven action sequences being fun one minute and stupid the next, the dull and dated 2000’s comedy that’s desperate for laughs or the multitude of ideas they either abandon too early or squeeze in-between while the rest of the film structure breaks itself apart to compensate, this film acts like it doesn’t care a damn bit about what happens and feels specifically designed to waste and kill time. For a movie that presented stakes this big and monumental, I could not bring myself to give the slightest shit whether the heroes stopped the big bad or if he actually made an escape. Even the music doesn’t convey whatever stakes were supposed to be set and just drones on.
Let’s put it like this: Jonathan Majors’ performance makes Kang the best part of the film by default, reliably magnetic and unearthing the type of emotional depth that extends beyond what the script requires from him…..and even HE CANT save his character from being as suffocatingly stiff as everyone else.
Ok, ok, gotta say something positive: Uhhh, the acting is competent on all fronts. I wouldn’t say anybody’s on autopilot here but it’s better than grumbling through your lines. Some of the cheeky humor got through to me and there were only two scenes I can count on the back of my hand that I enjoyed. Compared to the first two flicks, the tone is a VERY WELCOME change of pace, injecting a somber, almost funereal tone to proceedings even if it comes off wildly uneven. You’ll be able to follow this movie if you’ve watched literally EVERYTHING that came before it, which really isn’t that hard to pull off.
Despite what I said earlier, Kang is still the best part of the entire movie, if only by comparison to everything else and also…..seeing MODOK in gleefully polarizing fashion got the biggest laugh out of me. And here’s a shocker: I didn’t stay around for the post credit scenes. Even I stayed for the Love And Thunder post-credits; still don’t think this is a problem?
I’m practically running on fumes at this point regarding anything MCU-related and this is coming from somebody who’s stuck around for these films and shows since the beginning. All of this post-Endgame content is feeling less and less like the people over at Marvel want to make this and more like they HAVE to.