Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton and Michael Douglas star in a three-quel without equal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
O Ant-Man, Ant-Man, wherefore art thou Ant-Man? Oh no, not the Quantum Realm again!!
The latest Marvel movie extravaganza cleverly disguises itself as a continuation of the Ant-Man saga, rather than an introduction to the so-called Phase V of the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe. It features a slew of talented actors doing their very best to treat the extremely silly movie as though it were Serious And Actually Meant Something.
The first few minutes are perfectly fine, as Scott Lang, the tiniest Avenger of them all, jauntily walks the streets of San Francisco, timed to the rhythm of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” as though it were the opening sequence for an updated, comic West Coast version of Saturday Night Fever (1977), only starring Paul Rudd rather than John Travolta. Instead, though, we hear “Welcome Back, Kotter,” which prompts comparisons to the sitcom, debuting in 1975, that served as a breakout role for … John Travolta.
It’s not long before Ant-Man and his nuclear family — Hope van Dyne, aka the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), her parents, Hank and Janet (Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, respectively) and Ant-Man’s daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton) — get sucked into the Quantum Realm, aka Several Large Indoor Studio Lots in Atlanta that are filled with colorful lights and shapes, representing millions of hours of dedicated artistry by thousands of workers throughout the world.
The family is trapped there for centuries, aka Nearly The Movie’s Entire Running Time, where they perform magnificently under pressure and extreme stress, and also crack jokes, when time permits. They encounter Kang (Jonathan Majors), aka The Next Big Bad Villain Who Is Even More Evil And Powerful Than The Last Guy Who Destroyed The Universe. We don’t know why he’s so evil, except that Marvel needed a new villainous character to build their movies around. Also Jonathan Majors is a fierce presence, able to leap tall mountains in a single bound and also Do Anything He Wants To Do Before He’s A Marvel Supervillain.
Really, the movie is divorced from reality, logic, and common sense, but I’m sure that everyone involved tried very, very hard to make a movie that everyone would want to see in movie theaters. Occasionally, the combined star power manages to pierce the animated atmosphere by wisecracking or evincing genuine humanity. And the story revolves around the importance of a strong family unit, which isn’t a bad thing at all in fighting off evil villains from another realm, if your entire family is superpowered.
Moments of joy are few and far between for jaded adults, though younger ones may well find unbounded delight in the light show, as did one young person at the critics screening I attended last night. He continually beamed, often broke out in laughter and displayed not one iota of cynicism throughout the endless running time, which made it pass a little more quickly for me.
Indeed, this movie may be perfect family entertainment. The IMAX presentation looks smashing and sounds spectacular. Never mind the ceaseless death and destruction. Let the kids go and enjoy. Just keep repeating to yourself: “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.”
The film opens in Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding cities on Friday, February 17, via Walt Disney. For more information about the film, visit the official site.