Peyton Reed continues his directorial duties for the Ant-Man franchise with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Jeff Loveness takes over the writing, based on the incomparable Jack Kirby's characters. While his efforts are good, some issues keep the film from matching the prior movies.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) leads an idyllic life. He's an Avenger, has a family he feels like he belongs to, and he's even written a popular book about his exploits. Unfortunately, a lot of this is from his point of view, and the reality is that his family has issues - many of which are with him. However, his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) has connected with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank (Michael Douglas), studying the quantum realm with them. But when Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) discovers they're sending radio signals there, she insists they shut down the project. The demand comes too late, and all five are drawn into the fantastic world of the quantum realm, where they will find old enemies and new allies in their struggle to stop Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) from escaping his imprisonment.
Reed knows what he's doing with these characters when they're on the screen. But Loveness's script has a few issues. In the first act, he seems like he's in a rush to get everything going, and the backstory of the family's problems with each other ends up being rushed when it is addressed at all. Similarly, once they're in the quantum realm, everything moves too quickly to the detriment of some decent characters. There's a rush to get Kang on the screen; everything else is secondary. Once he's there, things slow down, and the film catches its pace. The one directorial issue, the villain being two-dimensional, is becoming a problem in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and needs to be corrected. Without solid villains who have compelling (and well-explained) reasons for their actions, the heroes don't matter much. Still, Majors does okay with what he has. Hopefully, with better writing, future outings as Kang will be entertaining.
The sets and characters in the quantum realm are breathtaking. There is so much to see that it becomes hard to keep track, but this isn't necessarily bad. It's much like trying to take in everything on a Disney World ride the first time you're on it. It is impossible but no less enjoyable. All the different races and peoples in the realm stand out visually, giving them presence rather than leaving them as background imagery blending in with the colorful sets.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a fun film that suffers from scripting issues. The story is good, but the path could be a lot better. It's not so awful that Loveness can't find his way in the MCU with future outings; but first, he needs to learn more about this new world he's been thrust into.