PG-13, but I saw it with my kids. Honestly, the most offensive thing is violence. One of the key conceits of the film is that Kang the Conqueror far outmatches Scott Lang as a villain and that means that Scott doesn't really hold his own in a fist-fight. There's something that happens to kids when they see lovable heroes get wrecked. But I don't remember much else besides swearing. There's a word that isn't formally swearing that gets thrown around a lot at the end of the movie that I don't want my kids using, but that's pretty tame. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
SO MANY THOUGHTS! First, it's the first 2023 movie of the blog! It's always in February, but man, I'm writing this in late February. Usually it's early February. But whatever. Second, tea helps my productivity. I found such a wealth of things to talk about in my last blog once I had a cup of tea that you might think that I come across as manic. Do you know why I think that? It's because I think I'm coming across as manic. The third thing is the big one...
YOU ALL BE SOME HATERS! Honestly, I'm not mincing words here. I get the idea of superhero fatigue. It has to be real. I'm not suffering it outside of DC CW superhero slate, which for some reason I've decided to finish. If you have superhero fatigue, okay. I get it. Maybe take a break from superheroes for a while. But also admit that it might be a "you" thing because Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania might be one of the best things that Marvel has put out. My wife can attest to this: I often leave Ant-Man movies with a"meh" attitude. I left that first movie questioning whether Marvel had made a big mistake. It was my least favorite Marvel movie for a while. Ant-Man and the Wasp came out, and I acknowledged it was better than Part 1, but it was still far weaker than the other entries. It's not that I didn't like the character, because Ant-Man was great in the other movies he was in. But I left Quantumania thinking that this was the first great Ant-Man movie. I don't think your crap prepped me for that. Sometimes, I acknowledge it is because of low expectations that I came out so pleased. No, I think this is on you. It's popular to crap on Marvel movies right now because you have somehow made the Infinity Saga sacrosanct. But I'll tell you what? These movies, especially Quantumania, are great and I'm going to do my best to tell you why.
(I feel like a Snyderverse fan right now and I don't like it.)
This is such an ambitious movie. It's a movie that shouldn't be made. Marvel infamously has had this pride in its heavy-hitters. It's guys like Captain America and Thor that have to be your sacrifices to show how bad a bad guy really is. The opening of Infinity War shows Hulk and Thor get wrecked by Thanos. Again, I'm not going to poo-poo the other Marvel movies. Infinity War and Endgame might be near perfect movies and I'm not disparaging that for the sake of defending Quantumania. But doesn't Thanos kind of get nerfed when Cap, Thor, and Iron Man hold their own against him. But I think that Marvel's smart to not hand off all of their stories to the same crop of characters. Yeah, Cap and Iron Man aren't there. But it's not that Marvel doesn't have heavy hitters. We could have seen Captain Marvel get wrecked by Kang for no reason. Instead, Marvel delivers on its promise given by Spider-Man: Homecoming. (It is in this moment that I realize that Weebly didn't save the majority of my writing and that I'm going to have to repeat it. This is a sad day.)
Kevin Feige loves Spider-Man. He absolutely should. The reason that a lot of us love Spider-Man is that Spider-Man's descriptors are "Friendly" and "Neighborhood." Homecoming was an attempt to bring street-level storytelling to the Marvel Universe. The only thing is, they escalated Spider-Man quickly. By the time that the second movie came around, Spider-Man had been to space. Heck, the movie even addresses that there's nothing small-time about Spider-Man. In Far from Home, he's fighting international threats that could have killed millions. Sure, Homecoming had Spider-Man fight the Vulture, a guy who was defined by being ignored by big-time superheroes. But the need for that small-time hero was already gone by his second outing. To a certain extent, the same could be said true of Ant-Man. Ant-Man, after all, was arrested as being a compatriot to Captain America during Civil War. And, yeah, Scott Lang was important in Endgame, but almost because of the role that Hank Pym played more than anything else. With Scott's second movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, he's still fighting this teeny-tiny (no pun intended) threat. Sure, he was at the Endgame battle. But compare his contribution in the battle to Peter's. Peter has this whole Pegasus sequence and Scott just explodes out of rubble. I bet you he smooshed a bunch of bad guys. We didn't see any of that.
So when Scott gets his own movie in the Quantum Realm, it almost feels well-deserved. (Because I'm working off two different drafts, I'm not sure if I mentioned that this is the first Ant-Man movie I've liked from the word, "Go".) Yeah, the rules of the Quantum Realm seem to change a lot. But I write that off as different rules for different sizes. But Scott kind of deserves to fight something bigger. He's been written off too many times, much like Hawkeye. (As much as I loved Hawkeye as a Disney+ property, that story has a tiny scale.) Yeah, it's weird putting Ant-Man against the ur-threat of post Infinity Saga Marvel. But Scott barely manages to come out alive in this movie. It's honestly almost a little sad to watch such a chipper guy take such a beating in this movie. As much as the promise was to have small time stories, it's really about seeing how our small time characters have just as much heart and drive as the heavy hitters. Ant-Man has kind of earned that.
But then there are the complaints, "How can Ant-Man beat Kang the Conqueror?" Okay. You all thought, with your dirty little thoughts, that Ant-Man could beat Thanos, so chill out. I think the real question is how Ant-Man could beat Kang the Conqueror fairly. That question shouldn't bother you that much. There's so much that screams that Scott barely made it out without even making a dent to Kang overall. Instead, the real interest of the movie is that Scott has his own Star Wars world in front of him. That's what makes the Quantum Realm scary. Let's pick apart alien universes and what make them interesting. I remember watching Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and being pretty meh about the whole thing. I wasn't the only one. As pretty as Valerian was, it felt pretty flat because I didn't care about the bad guy. The Quantum Realm becomes the focus of the movie. So much is about what makes this world tick in a way that it shouldn't. After all, Scott and Hank are both confused by the very different world that they're exploring. (Part of that comes from retcons and I can admit that.) But knowing that Kang is down here makes the whole thing scary.
Think about the emotional ramifications of Ant-Man versus Kang. Thor or Captain America versus Kang, you want to see the slugfest. We've gotten that before. But Scott is wildly outmatched, making the inevitable confrontation a real scary thing. The fact that Scott wins is the underdog tale of legend. By no means is Scott supposed to win that fight, but he does. And it is because the lovable goofball has resigned himself to dying. He sees this greater good. He does all of this for his daughter and he gets wrecked. It's the Little Engine that Could or the Earth on Turtle's Back. It's that trope that we don't get to see too much in Marvel because most of the superheroes in the MCU are just so darned successful. Scott is always there with the assist, not the win. He's a guy who knows to pass the ball. No one takes him seriously, so it becomes this confidence thing down there. And the Quantum Realm is built for him. There's no one with predispositions towards him and he has to rally everything himself. It's great.
I'm ranting at this point and I have been slacking on writing. I could keep going with this for a long time, but Quantumania is one of the best Marvel movies I've seen in a really long time. I'm sorry that the world is tired of Marvel movies. But this is not the failure that people are making it out to be. It's a great sci-fi action comedy that sets up a lot of stuff in the MCU. I can't wait to own this one because I can see this one as part of the regular rewatch rotation.
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Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.