“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” bewildered me

The most recent entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” was made with huge ambition and held very high hopes. However, the movie was met with predominantly mixed reviews and a severe box office underperformance in its first two weeks of release. As a lifelong comic book fan who grew up with the MCU becoming part of pop culture, I’m starting to believe that the MCU magic has faded.

The movie, released on Feb. 17, tells the story of Scott Lang, Ant-Man himself, trying to live a more family oriented life after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” But when a family issue gets in the way of his new life, Ant-Man finds himself at the crux of his own Avengers level threat.

Although I’m not a big fan of this movie, there are some undeniable good things in it. Paul Rudd is one of the best comedy actors working today and he’s responsible for making most of the humor in this movie work. Given the recast, I really liked Kathryn Newton in the role of Cassie Lang and the utilization of her, which feels natural for the evolution of the character and the story being told.

Marvel has always been great at delivering big, entertaining action and this is no exception. For the Ant-Man movies, the action has more of a sci-fi edge that was quite entertaining. Speaking of which, even though this movie has big ambition, it still has that side story feel to it like the previous Ant-Man movies did. This aspect was both refreshing and somewhat required for this ambition to work within an Ant-Man movie.

Without a doubt, the best part of the movie is Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror. We got a sneak peak of this character in the “Loki” show but he’s on full throttle here and it’s fantastic. He’s so menacing in his subtlety that when he breaks this, it’s genuinely scary. I can’t wait to see more from this character as the next big villain of the MCU.

This movie is an interesting case because it’s got a handful of big positives going for it but is held back by tons of negatives that add up. I’m leaning towards not liking the movie and here’s why.
This movie has issues that have plagued the MCU for years now. Even though I previously stated that Paul Rudd makes some of the comedy work, he couldn’t save it all. In classic MCU fashion, the humor undercuts the more mature moments and plot points. More so than past MCU movies, the dialogue was pretty corny and cringy at times, which is something they really got to take care of if they’re going to continue to be publicly confident in the writers they hire.

The elephant in the room is the character of M.O.D.O.K who straight up did not work at all. This is no fault of the actor Corey Stoll, he clearly did exactly what they wanted, but I like most people did not like what they wanted. He’s not as funny as he thinks he is and that interrupts any intimidation there could have been. His look is so jarring that I could never get used to it. Plus, his utilization in the final act just might be the all time low of the MCU.

With the character of M.O.D.O.K and the clearly rushed visual effects work, this movie has been compared to movies like “Spy Kids” and “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” and although it’s kind of mean, it’s merited.
This is a heavily mixed movie that is in the hot seat of critical discussion. For now, I’ll give it a somewhat generous 3 / 5.