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Welcome, World Travelers! Quantumania is Quantum-Meh-nia!

Welcome, World Travelers! Quantumania is Quantum-Meh-nia!

by James Coulter

I’m going to be perfectly honest: I’m getting tired of these Marvel movies. Have you heard of “Marvel fatigue”? Because I’ve been feeling it. Once upon a time, I loved the MCU, but the franchise undoubtedly peaked with Avengers: Endgame. Ever since then, the movies have been average at best and boring at worst. (I’m looking at you, Eternals!)

Last year was when I fell out of love with these films. Don’t get me wrong. They’re still entertaining. But after seeing three of them in a row with Multiverse of MadnessLove and Thunder, and Wakanda Forever, the formulaic nature of these movies became evidently clear. And no more is the formula clearer than in the latest movie: Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Following the events of Endgame, Scott Lang, the alias of the Ant-Man, is living his best life being hailed as a hero. He hosts his own podcast. He published his own book. He even gets recognized on the street. They only aspect of his life which isn’tfine is with his daughter, Cassie, who’s grown estranged ever since his disappearance during the Blip, and who’s become vigilante in an effort to be a hero like her father.

Cassie reveals she has been working on a device that can communicate with the Quantum Realm. Shenanigans ensure when its signal is intercepted and Scott and his allies are transported into the microscopic world where an old foe awaits them. Who is this enigmatic enemy who has conquered the Quantum Realm, and what threat does he pose the real world if he escapes?

It’s Kang the Conqueror.

Does that count as a spoiler? We’ve all seen Loki on Disney Plus. We all heard the news that Jonathan Majors was going to play the character in this movie. We all know he’s playing the big bad villian in this Multiverse Saga. We all know the next big Avengers event will be The Kang Dynasty. The movie may be playing up the reveal as a big twist, but knowing all of this information beforehand sort of deflates it.

Sorry. I hate to be cynical, but it’s hard not to be after being inundated with mostly mediocre Marvel content, both in theaters and on Disney Plus. Honestly, the last time a Marvel project truly excited me was with Spider Man: No Way Home, and that had Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield making epic cameo appearances. The only future Marvel movie that even entices me is Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3, and that’s only because it’spart of my favorite franchise.

Okay. I’ll play nice. Let’s list some positives.

The best thing I can say about the Ant-Man movies is that they can get really creative. This movie takes place in the Quantum Realm, a subatomic world filled with bizarre lifeforms and landscapes. The (overworked) VFX artists clearly went above and beyond to bring this world to life. And aside from some creative creatures, we also get a surprise cameo from a popular actor (who I dare not spoil, but I promise will make you gasp in laughter when they appear.)

Also, Ant-Man’s main power, aside from communicating with ants, is being able to grow small and large. The films take real advantage of these superpowers, with the epic fight on the Thomas the Tank Engine toy set in the first movie and Ant-Man skateboarding on a truck in the second.

This movie is no exception. No spoilers, but there’s a moment where Ant-Man shrinks down to such a subatomic level that he enters what is called the Probability Storm, which plays off the quantum principle of superposition in which objects can exist in multiple states simultaneously. The end result is many different Ant-Mans playing off each other, and it is glorious.

What makes these movies work is Paul Rudd. Unlike other Marvel superheroes like Iron Man and Captain America, Ant-Man has a very average-man-turned-superhero vibe. He acts and reacts just like any average person would if they were suddenly granted such superpowers, with shock, awe, and heavy sarcasm. What results are very quippy one-liners and overt meta commentary that leads to some rather comedic moments. What else can you expect from a superhero who’s main powers are talking to ants and shrinking? Wagnerian melodrama?!

The worst thing I can say about this movie is that it’s yet another Marvel movie. You’ve seen one of them, you’ve seen most of them. Except for the Avengers and Guardians, there’s nothing exceptionally exceptional about them, especially in the wake of Endgame.

I say this as someone who’s been a huge fan of the MCU. I want to love these movies, but lately, they’ve been rather “mid”, as the kids these days would say. Honestly, I’m only continuing to watch them to see how they incorporate the X-MenFantastic Four, and Deadpool now that Disney and Marvel own those properties. Otherwise, until the next big Avengers movie (and Guardians: Vol. 3), I’m just not that excited about them.

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