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Laramie Movie Scope:
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

More Sub-Atomic adventures in Wonderland

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 21, 2023 – Almost any time you see the word “quantum” it is associated with some sort of pseudoscience, or new age mysticism, or other nonsense, and that is certainly the case here, including a reference to “Schrödinger's cat.”

Schrödinger's cat is a famous 1935 thought experiment by physicist Erwin Schrödinger was originally meant to illustrate an absurdity inherent in a popular interpretation of quantum mechanics. The absurdity of Schrödinger's cat, being simultaneously alive and dead at the same time, is portrayed as actual fact in this movie, and by many others who don't know any better.

Although this movie this movie makes many such references to quantum absurdities, most of it actually takes place at some mythical level existing on a scale even smaller than the quantum realm, described as a whole sub-atomic universe of its own. It is, in fact, a sort of wonderland, where anything goes.

The previous Ant-Man characters from previous Ant-Man films, including Scott Lang, Cassie Lang, Hope Van Dyne, along with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, are all sucked into this sub-quantum realm when an experiment backfires.

Cassie Lang is now played by Kathryn Newton of “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu”). The rest of these characters are played by actors reprising their roles from previous Ant-Man films, including Paul Rudd as Scott, Evangeline Lilly as Hope, Michael Douglas as Hank and Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet.

Of all these characters, only Janet has prior knowledge of this amazing realm before the group arrives, and she alone knows of the dangers that lurk there in advance. The movie has a pretty weak explanation about why Janet didn't warn anybody about those dangers, or why she kept the truth about this fantastic realm a secret from everyone, including her husband and daughter.

Without knowing any better, Cassie and others conduct an experiment that gets them all trapped in this sub-quantum realm, thanks to the meddling of Kang the Conqueror (played by Jonathan Majors of “The Harder They Fall”). Kang is an alien, marooned in this realm for his many crimes. Years earlier, when Hope was marooned in the quantum realm she was tricked into helping Kang in return for his promise to take her home.

When Hope discovered Kang's true nature, she marooned his device in an even smaller realm with the use of Pym Particles (discovered by Hank Pym). Only Pym Particles can recover Kang's device, which he can then use to escape the sub-quantum realm and seek revenge against his captors, as well as destroying a hefty chunk of the entire universe, just because he is evil as all get out.

Kang captures Scott Lang and Cassie. He uses threats against Cassie to force Scott to recover his long lost device. It is up to the marooned humans to stop Kang's evil plan. Sorely in need of comic relief from all this Sturm and Drang, the humans just happen to run into Bill Murray (playing the duplicitous Lord Krylar) on their quest. Alas, Murray appears all too briefly in this film.

There is another comic character, Veb, a kind of slime creature who is envious of creatures who have holes. Veb is voiced by David Dastmalchian, who played computer hacker, Kurt, in the two previous Ant-Man movies. The comic actor I miss most from the previous Ant-Man movies, though, is Michael Peña (Luis) who really cracked me up in those previous Ant-Man movies.

One other character is played for laughs, at least part of the time, before he turns maudlin, is Darren Cross (Corey Stoll, reprising his role from the first film). Darren has been modified by Kang into a comic caricature of himself, called M.O.D.O.K. I don't think it is a desirable accomplishment to make a movie that is at once overly silly and overly serious, but that is what happens here. The plot is wacko, yet there is not a commensurate amount of comedy.

An argument can be made that a story with an unbelievable plot requires a lot of comedy to make it work. I would argue that there is no such thing as a comedy that is too funny, but there is such a thing as a drama that is too serious for its own good. In this particular movie, I think the comedic and dramatic elements are out of balance, and more comedy is needed to give it a better balance.

As far as superhero action movies go, this one works well enough. There is plenty of action and plenty of imaginative eye candy. The acting is good. The soundtrack, including music composed by Christophe Beck (who worked on the previous two Ant-Man films) is also solid. This movie should prove to be a popular addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2023 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]