Review: ‘Ant-Man’ sequel is hugely entertaining, out-of-this-world fun
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” currently has an 84% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.
BAXTER — The size-shrinking superhero with a big heart returns to the big screen in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
The second sequel in the feature film adaptation of the Marvel comic book Avenger reunites the cast from previous installments. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly play the titular characters while veteran actors Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer return as Lilly’s parents.
Joining the ensemble cast for this go-around is Kathryn Newton, who plays Rudd’s semi-rebellious daughter Cassie Lang and seeks to follow in the footsteps of her on-screen father as a do-gooder in her own right with a size-shrinking (or size-enlarging) suit of her own.
A hallmark of the previous two Ant-Man motion pictures was premised on the goofiness or silliness of a world-saving hero the size of an ant. Much of the physical comedy comes from the considerable talents of the immensely likable and relatable Rudd, who is agelessly enduring.
The humor and absurdity of the franchise are reminiscent at times of the old “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” franchise starring the now-retired Rick Moranis in which everyday objects take on a larger-than-life significance or pose a humongous threat to a minuscule Rudd and company.
While it’s not necessary to have seen the two previous Ant-Man movies, it does help to a certain degree. But the adequate explainer or flashback scenes at the start of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” should suffice for most moviegoers to catch up to speed at the stakes involved.
In his third feature film outing as Ant-Man, who is able to shrink or grow in size thanks to the fictional “Pym Particles” invented by Dr. Hank Pym, Rudd muses on the fame he has achieved as a part-time Avenger who formerly saved the universe with others in previous Marvel movies.
Rudd as everyday man Scott Lang seems complacent in a happy-go-lucky kind of way and believes he has earned a respite or break from facing villains bent on world domination such as Yellowjacket from the first motion picture or the genocidal alien Thanos in the Avengers movies.
But as Spider-Man once said in director Sam Raimi’s film franchise about that superhero, “With great power comes great responsibility” and it takes the no-holds-barred gumption of Lang’s daughter to remind him of his obligation or duty to act when there is something wrong.
And there is something very wrong, the Lang family discovers, when Cassie Lang creates a device to communicate with the subatomic realm of our universe, the microscopic and infinitesimal small universe underlying our own with fascinating and weird inhabitants.
Pfeiffer’s character plays the wife of Douglas’ character in the movie franchise. Together, they comprised the earlier versions of the Wasp and the Ant-man, respectively, and were heroes in their own right and in their own time.
It was during one of their life-saving adventures that Pfeiffer’s Wasp became trapped in the quantum realm when she shrank out of our known, everyday existence. And it was there she met Kang the Conqueror, played to great effect by a quietly menacing Jonathan Majors.
The time-traveling baddie will become the next great villain the Marvel Cinematic Universe will revolve around in some way, shape or fashion in future installments of other Marvel superheroes, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The quantum realm is so weirdly inventive and bizarre that it makes the characters of the “Star Wars” universe seem like a Norman Rockwell painting. The quantum realm denizens defy description but are worth watching on the big screen, even if the plot is a bit incoherent.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” currently has a 47% approval rating among critics and an 84% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.
The consensus from the critics at RottenTomatoes.com: “‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ mostly lacks the spark of fun that elevated earlier adventures, but Jonathan Majors' Kang is a thrilling villain poised to alter the course of the MCU.”
FRANK LEE is the movie columnist for the Brainerd Dispatch. He may be reached at 218-631-6470 or at email@example.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Frankfilmcritic .