Herding Schrödinger’s cats

Most comics are dumb. Fun? Yes. But dumb. I am allowed to say this because I have a dressing room designed to hold thousands and thousands of such things. It’s like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, only I care deeply about organizing and protecting these “top secret” documents, unlike the government. As comic book adaptations now multiply like Gremlins at a water park, everyone has to adjust to three important things that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania brings to light.

For the studios: Not every part can have insanely high stakes. If you scream “This changes everything” every time, then you are Chicken Little, and I am 95% sure that he will be eaten at the end of this parable. Its meat is highly valued these days.

For viewers, you should set your expectations to “have fun with characters I like” and not “this movie is the culmination of my childhood dreams.” I understand that going to the cinema is cheaper than therapy, but you probably need therapy.

For critics: I know that not liking blockbusters is our trait. The exceptions were the Marvel films and the three Fast and Furious films. But drooling over being able to uncork the spandex jokes we used to make only in DC movies seems pretty desperate.

All this suggests that “quantamania” is good. Absolutely, completely normal. A few weeks ago, there were many who cited Airplane as an example of a completely average, audience-pleasing but irrelevant film. It was disgusting and offensively bad. Quantum Mania is cinematic room temperature. It’s a Diet Pepsi when you wanted a Diet Coke. This is a three day holiday at Six Flags. It’s forgetful, pointless, tolerably interesting.

The entire movie exists only to establish a new big bad guy in the Marvel Universe. Scott (Paul Rudd) and Hope (Evangeline Lilly), along with Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), are drawn into the quantum realm after Scott’s daughter Cassie (Katherine Newton) accidentally opens a bridge between the worlds. Filled with strange creatures, some shaped like the best character from The Good Place (William Jackson Harper), “the world below our world” would be visually stunning if anyone in the quantum realm turned on even one light. I’m not saying he’s dimly lit, but he’s just been elected to Congress.

The entire microverse is ruled by the iron fist of Kang (Jonathan Majors), whose goofy voice will make you either giggle with delight or infuriate. Majors is a huge talent who understands very well the broad, wacky melodrama to which he devoted himself over the next decade or so of his life. I love it. Despite everyone in the movie referring to him as Voldemort or how we should treat J.K. Rowling by refusing to name him and hinting at him in terrible ways, Kang doesn’t actually do many unambiguously bad things. of things.

For example, he snaps his fingers and people die. He also shoots laser beams at people and “completes entire timelines”, which should be impressive, but basically looks like he’s stepping on a glow stick. Basically, he just delivers delightfully dripping monologues. And all that really happens in the movie is that Ant-Man’s squad is trying to get out of the quantum realm without releasing Kang in the process. If he comes out, “That changes everything!”

Big parts of the action set are fine. Though if the point of the movie is to make Kang the biggest and baddest villain in the history of bad budding, it won’t be helped by a couple of characters that can either be very big or very small. Frankly, it would have been nice if the tone had matched the goofiness of his simple story: a time-killing god going head-to-head with a superhero known for riding winged ants.

Instead of leaning towards the absurd and genuinely having fun with the bullshit, the most we get is that the characters basically say, “That’s stupid, right?” There is a character that is a giant floating head. The best jokes they make for him include making fun of his name and calling him a jerk. One scene contains an almost infinite number of Ant-Men (Ant-People? Ant-People? Ant-People?). The only funny thing is that one of them is wearing a Baskin-Robins suit. Bill Murray has a cameo that is almost entirely exposition. We needed more Doctor Who and less Infinity War, more Salvador Dali and less Francisco Goya, more ants and fewer people.

Because at the end of the day, aside from making money, the only artistic reason for making a billion different superhero movies is because there’s something unique about them. If they’re all just Avengers-style Armageddon-prevention films, we’re petrified by the scope. The Ant-Man films were supposed to be family sitcoms. Instead, they stick in some serious, stupid thread about Scott being selfish. He was literally selfless and tried to do the right thing in the other half dozen films he starred in.

And yet, I repeat, there is nothing wrong with Quantumania. It’s petty, yes. It could and perhaps should have been a more enjoyable experience. In fact, not a single significant event occurs. But enjoyable from start to finish, with frequent bursts of glee. I would watch it a hundred thousand times before watching Avatar 2 again. Nobody tells James Cameron that I said that. Now he probably has money to make that guy disappear.

Grade = C+

Other critical voices to consider

Brittany Murphy of Muses of Media says that “the third installment of the franchise had a great chance for world building, and while it worked in some areas, it faltered in others. There were chances, but most of them are lost due to sloppy storytelling and annoying comedic beats.”

Christy Puchko of Mashable says, “In the end, with its clumsy clash of influences, star power, CGI that is often rubbery or downright ugly, and a convoluted plot that should have an Excedrin connection, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania is like a children’s multimedia project made from papier-mâché, sequins and bits of rotting ground beef.”

Truthdig’s Siddhant Adlaha says, “In the process, the father-daughter story fades into the background and is ultimately told through the hasty punches of the characters. It tastes even poorer with calls for contemporary political ugliness — that is, a thematic reflection between police storming homeless camps and armed guards attacking displaced alien refugees — that deliver disappointingly little in terms of plot, meaning, or even visuals. intelligibility. Audiences old enough to understand even rudimentary narratives deserve more than a handful of scattered laughter and plenty of visual annoyances.”

The message “Shepherd Schrödinger’s cats” first appeared in The Reader.

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