Author Topic: QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet  (Read 1499 times)

Offline perc2100

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QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet
« on: February 27, 2023, 12:39:34 PM »
Marvel Studios has been getting a bit of flack since wrapping up their magnum opus of the 'Infinity Saga,' the 20+ film slate spanning over a decade that introduced the mainstream to the joys of Marvel comics heroes and villains.  Complaints of Marvel "meandering" as they introduce new characters while broadening the universe have been levied, as well as criticism leveled at Marvel Studios' intense practice of constantly changing story narrative at the expense of working their CGI contractors to the bone.  What seemed like a 10+ year honeymoon for Marvel, where films were met with both critical and box office accolades, feels over: now there's fierce criticism, slightly lower box office (much of that could be attributed to pandemic issues, though with films like the AVATER and TOP GUN sequels playing like gangbusters, that excuse seems irrelevant now), and what feels like a bit of backlash or fatigue from some moviegoers online.  While I'm a movie and comic nerd through-and-through, I like to base the cultural significance on stuff with my parents: if comic book movies are on their radar, it must be pretty big.  And though they've gone through some major life changes since the start of the pandemic (having moved cross-country after retiring), they've not watched ant Disney+ series or any Marvel films since ENGAME: before that, they saw almost every Marvel film in theaters (with Thor & Tony Stark being my mom's favorites, Steve Rogers by dad's).  SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME was a smash, almost certainly thanks to the nostalgia hype of the multiverse bringing back popular actors who've played Spidey previously, but other than that Marvel has yet to have a truly huge film.

All of that sets the stage for ANT-MAN & THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA, a film that's a subtle gamble for Marvel: taking a low-level hero, who's done mostly personal stories thus far, and integrating them into a wild, cosmic affair while also introducing Marvel's BIG BAD/Thanos-level villain that'll kick around for the next several years.  Not only that, but they constructed a movie that takes place, I'd say, about 85-90% in the Quantum Realm, necessitating CGI environments and main side-characters.  While I haven't seen _all_ the comic book movie adaptations every made (and some, like RETURN OF SWAMP THING, or the 1990 CAPTAIN AMERICA I haven't seen in decades and only vaguely remember), I've seen almost all of them.  And by my account, QUANTUMANIA is the 'weirdest,' most comic booky comic book film made so far!  It takes our small-time heroes (I hate that that's an intentional pun) and puts them into a heretofore unseen by us realm with all sorts of weird creatures, civil unrest, and multiversal peril.

Does it work?

For me, it does.  The main theme of the film is 1) knocking affable, easy-go-lucky Scott Lang down a peg or several while 2) forcing Lang to come to grips with it's not enough to _want_ to be The Guy, or WANT to be involved with his daughter, he has to make the effort.  The acting all-around is what we've come to expect, though since Lang is out of his element a bit he's also not as carefree as Rudd typically can be.  The rest of the returning cast is solid, and Kathryn Newton as the third actress to play Cassie Lang is good as the pseudo punk-rock protesting rabble rouser who's wanting to step-up to do more: not afraid to get arrested for protesting while wanting to mimic her dad and his buddies.  Also returning is Corey Stroll/Darren Cross: the big bad of ANT-MAN (who then used Pym technology to become Yellowjacket).  This time around, thanks to Lang sending Yellowjacket to subatomic size in the first film, Cross has been mutated or something and has been re-engineered as MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing).  This is one of Marvel comics more silly villains, and the film has fun with it.  Yes, there are the requisite jokes from Lang about "wait: shouldn't it be MODOFK then?" and Stroll plays the character with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  In fact, MODOK/Cross even has a pretty nice character ark while delivering a very solid message: "don't be a dick."  It's both funny and (a little tiny bit) touching (as well as slightly awkward - I mean, MODOK does indeed have little 'baby hands and feet' w/a ginormous head).  In fact, playing a character I never dreamed we'd see in live-action in the MCU, all involved on the creative side here have brought us the best comic accurate MODOK we could likely hope for.  Those wanting more comic accuracy can check out the HULU series for more goofy fun.

The most significant new character is, of course, Kang the Conqueror: played wonderfully, as always, by Jonathan Majors.  Those who watched Loki s1 saw Majors as He Who Remains, a _version_ of Kang, but Kang the Conqueror is a whole other force of reckoning.  While there are still A LOT of unknowns about who this version of Kang really is, we know that he was brutal enough to cause major upheaval within the Quantum Realm and for Janet van Dyne to see that he's at the root of major conquering/destruction/murder throughout many different multiverses.  This film isn't exactly a 'Kang origin story,' but it gives us a different glimpse of what He Who Remains warned us in the Loki s1 finale.  While I was kind of disappointed that Kang didn't seem as all-powerful as I had hoped, the mid-credits stinger that revealed
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, shows that QUANTUMANIA's Kang was more of a place-setter for what's really to come.

And of course there are a myriad of new characters introduced here.  Some vaguely familiar, such as Bill Murray who plays Lord Krylar (but really is just playing himself having fun in the MCU) or William Jackson of "The Good Place" and MIDSOMMAR fame play Quaz, a mind-reading humanoid.  We have the weird, such as David Dastmalchian (Polka-Dot man in the amazing THE SUICIDE SQUAD) as the all-CGI being Veb, a sort of globulus 'thing' who seems rather harmless at first glance but unleashes some fury in the big Act 3 battle.  Marvel Studios seems to have repurposed the old-school Micronauts (which they no longer have licensing for) into the 'Quantumnauts' (I _think_ Cassie actually uses that term!).  Most of the characters are fun, and many of them actually have their own little micro-character arcs (sigh...pun intended again I guess? :-[ ).  I was kind of surprised the bit of character work went into a movie that was also a massive CGI-fest.

The production design was fine, with Kang's crashed/damaged ship resembling his comic's time throne.  Most of it is CGI with lots of bright colors and whatnot.  To be honest, I can see why people aren't huge fans of this one, though I liked it quite a bit.  This is a WEIRD movie: not quite an easily digestible one for the mainstream.  It deals with some hard corps technobabble (as Roger Ebert would've said, the 'mumbojumbo quotient' is pretty high here), a lot of CGI in both the background and foreground and characters, and a fairly simplistic base-level story: all with a, like, D-level comic character.  This film is far from being merely an introduction/tease of future MCU films to-come (though it does feature that), though, and it does interesting things with Scott Lang in particular. 

OK, I'm going to get into some spoilers here, so I'll leave it with this: QUANTUMANIA is neither bad or epically great.  QUANTUMANIA is a really fun comic book adaptation that has fun with its characters while being daring enough to take both its main character and the audience out of our comfort levels with Ant-Man.  It really pushes the boundaries as far as CGI on screen (in a way, seemingly, that Lucas did for the Star Wars prequels) that worked for me: not exactly photorealistic all the time, but does it have to be in a comic book setting?  Not to me.  I don't mind the CGI backgrounds the way others may.  QUANTUMANIA is a fun movie that does make me excited for the future: as many MCU films before it.

So, let's talk about the Kang situation: spoilers from here on out...

Some big questions for me: where exactly does QUANTUMANIA take place within the MCU timeline: before Loki or after? 
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Offline Michaelnaut

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Re: QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2023, 02:48:46 PM »
This movie for me was probably the one that required the most "stretch" for me to get into.  As a comic book geek, and a heavy Marvel fan, I was able to suspend a lot and let the movie just flow, but to one of your observations above, the location of pretty much the entirety of the movie in the Quantum Realm "took me out of it"...CGI *everywhere* for me really removes me from the movie setting, personally.


It was a good movie to watch, and was enjoyable, for a lot of the reason above, so I won't add more, but will just posit a thought for folks.


In the Infinity Saga, the lead up to Thanos, and even him revealing himself, was very behind the scenes.  I think the most we saw of him was in GotG.  In this phase, Kang's been pretty much all over.  Loki S1, the whole of AM:Q...I'm wondering if there's something happening behind the scenes, where Kang is just a diversion to the real big baddie...we'll see.
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Re: QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet
« Reply #2 on: Today at 10:16:50 PM »

Offline perc2100

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Re: QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2023, 09:55:01 AM »
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This movie for me was probably the one that required the most "stretch" for me to get into.  As a comic book geek, and a heavy Marvel fan, I was able to suspend a lot and let the movie just flow, but to one of your observations above, the location of pretty much the entirety of the movie in the Quantum Realm "took me out of it"...CGI *everywhere* for me really removes me from the movie setting, personally.
Part of me felt that way while watching the trailer, but then I kinda thought: this is a _comic book movie_ that I suspend disbelief for a myriad of times annually (comics).  That kept me grounded: it's not like we're watching ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN or something.  :P  Don't get me wrong, I was of a similar mindset, but Marvel has done a pretty good job of getting progressively "weird" from RAGNAROK on so I feel like they've kinda eased us into it at least

It was a good movie to watch, and was enjoyable, for a lot of the reason above, so I won't add more, but will just posit a thought for folks.


Quote
In the Infinity Saga, the lead up to Thanos, and even him revealing himself, was very behind the scenes.  I think the most we saw of him was in GotG.  In this phase, Kang's been pretty much all over.  Loki S1, the whole of AM:Q...I'm wondering if there's something happening behind the scenes, where Kang is just a diversion to the real big baddie...we'll see.
Oh, this is an interesting thought!  With the 2nd Avengers movie that seemingly concludes this entire story arc being SECRET WARS, it's quite possible may be someone bigger before it's all said and done...

Offline Old Man Grey

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Re: QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2023, 05:18:57 PM »
It wasn't the farce the last "Thor" movie was, but it wasn't as good as the last "Antman". Antman's daughter went from cute kid to an annoying teenage brat. I was never a fan of Kang in the comics and still think his powers are very vague. Too many "I love you" speeches. I think it might be a good idea to have a 5-minute recap at the beginning of these films to get everyone up to speed.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2023, 09:58:32 AM by Old Man Grey »

Offline lliving

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Re: QUANTUMANIA - Marve's most comic booky film yet
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2023, 06:47:06 PM »
This movie was just ok to me.  No real stakes from the events in this movie.   I thought there were opportunities.  You don’t have to kill Ant-Man off, but perhaps if Jane was trapped again in the Quantum Realm as penance for giving Kang his powers.  Or Hank having to stay behind so everyone else could escape. Everyone getting to return  home seemed too neat, tidy  and Disney-like. Kang the Conqueror defeated by warrior ants !?! While Johnathan Majors is a force of nature and I thought Michelle Pfeiffer carried her parts well. I just felt like Evangeline Lily was “blah”, and I’ve never felt her and Paul Rudd have much chemistry. Kathryn Newman as Cassie doesn’t make excited about the future Young Avengers.


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