Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
In the interest of full disclosure, Marvel’s “Ant-Man” movies tend to be my favourites. They proudly wear their B-Movies and classic TV serials sensitivities/inspirations on their sleeves and Paul Rudd has to be one of Hollywood’s funniest and cinematically charming actors. At a Disney industry event last November, they showed a preview of the latest in the Series and I was immediately intrigued with its darker tone and imagery. Not only does ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA deliver with visual impunity, the storyline is brisk and succinct and the performances from the multi-talented cast (which include Bill Murray playing, essentially, himself) genuinely exceed expectations.
In the interest of full disclosure (part deux…and please don’t judge me on this!), when I watch Marvel movies and I hear jarring talk of multiverses and quantum doodads and hyper whatchamacallits, the part of my brain that should deal with those just shut down and I concentrate on the performances, Art Direction or the Cinematography. So when having a family dinner after Scott/Ant-Man (Rudd) bails his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) from jail for protesting, the young lady is eager to show Hope/The Wasp (Canada’s own Evangeline Lilly) and Hope’s parents Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) some Quantum Realm doohickey and the next thing you know, they all get sucked into this new world by some cosmic vacuum cleaner on steroids where Scott and Cassie are separated from the rest of their family.
We are now fully entrenched in “Star Wars” territory, from stormtroopers to spaceships to astonishing creatures and it all works brilliantly. Much like the last Doctor Strange movie was influenced by Horror movies from the past, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA pays homage to the George Lucas classics with an originality and panache. Like any Sci-Fi movie worth its salt, this Movie has a villain that is genuinely terrifying.
That personification of pure evil is Kang the Conquerer (Jonathan Majors in a career-defining role that will speed up the Actor’s trajectory into a global superstar status and may just land him the distinction of being the second ever performer nominated for an Oscar in a Marvel movie). There is another homicidal character called MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) but the less said, the better as the performer’s name is not in the Credits, so this surprise was an unexpected joy and this character elicited laughter from the audience every time this huge head in a tiny body organism appeared.
On topic of laughter, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA may not be as consistently humorous as the previous two, but it did provide me with belly laughs and smiles. I can’t think of anything I’d like to change or see that would enhance my viewing pleasure of this epic. It is insanely entertaining. Just make sure you stay behind to see the two scenes played during the End Credits; they surely whet my appetite.
Marvel Studios Canada release ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA February 17, 2023.
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