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Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumaina

It turns out that Ant-Man and the Wasp are just about out of sting in the lackluster new Marvel entry ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Not without its charms thanks to a very good cast, the story manages to strand them in murky, visual limbo.

Ant-Man Scott Lang (the ageless Paul Rudd) and The Wasp Hope Van Dyke (the underused Evangeline Lily) have moved on with their lives, with Hope showing a LOT more initiative than Scott.

Scott’s daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton in a great performance) has become a social warrior, anxious to help others and the planet, while her Dad writes a book about saving the world as an Avenger. Their interactions are the best thing in the film.

Michelle Pfieffer and Michael Douglas steal the movie as Hope’s parents Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyke. These two are aging gracefully and have not forgot how to throw an adventure on their backs and run away with it.

The film has barely started when they are all sucked into the Quantum Realm, where Janet spent decades of Quantum time entrapped. She’s never talked about those years to anyone, but she’s kept plenty of explosive secrets about her time there.

The world they are sucked in has several serious problems.

They first is that after seeing “Avatar: The Shape of Water” and the universe than Cameron and his cutting edge team created for that film, the Quantum realm comes off like a boring, standard definition splattering of colorful wormholes. It also frequently reminded me of the crap Disney flick “Strange New Worlds” and that is never a good thing. The world is often undefined or just plain ugly.

We meet plenty of characters and creatures.

Some are fun, some are lackluster.

Bill Murray is a favorite and brings about 15 minutes of new life to the movie in his role as Lord Krylar, an ally from Janet’s past whose loyalties are very shifty. He’s funny and engaging.

Katy O’Brian has real presence as Jentorra, a true warrior queen and William Jackson Harper is terrific as Quaz, a mind-reading inquisitor.

Jonathan Majors (Da 5 Bloods, Creed III) dominates the realm as Kang the Conqueror. He’s fierce and powerful as the villain not only of this film, but the entire upcoming series of Marvel films.

Let’s hope they give Majors better films to dominate, he certainly deserves a movie more deserving of his efforts.

I was bored for the first hour after everyone gets sucked into the proverbial genie bottle.

Paul Rudd is one of the funniest actors in the Marvel universe. The previous two Ant-Man adventures provided plenty of humor and showcases for the character. This time, Ant-Man’s suddenly forced to take on the Captain America leadership role and for me, it does not work.

Once the final battle against Kang finally started and Douglas and Pfieffer ride in and save the movie and our title characters with old-school movie star bravado, things finally got enjoyable again and wrapped up reasonably well.

Very low on my list of Marvel movies, this is a mostly disappointing slog, dragged down by repetitive storytelling and predictable scenarios.

The entire MODOK story line is funny and the actor playing him does his best (I won’t mention him here to avoid any spoilers) but it just felt like a throwaway use of a character. His role in the final battle is poorly written and out of nowhere. Meh.

At 124 minutes long, this is one of the shortest recent Marvel films.

Why does it feel like one of the longest?

With the biggest second week box-office drop in superhero film history for Marvel and DC, audiences seemed to agree with me.

Disappointing, and only saved from a lower rating by its very good cast, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP:QUANTUMANIA gets a C.

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