‘Spy Kids 5’ came out early?!

This article contains spoilers for “Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania”

What is the point of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Phase 4? I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point, and I don’t think “Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania” could either. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the movie, but the people in the MCU writing room need to step up their game.

One of the things I like about Scott Lang (Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd) in the MCU is that he is just a guy, and that’s one of my favorite flavors of superhero (see: Moon Knight, Starlord). I liked “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man & The Wasp” (though I probably wouldn’t put them in my top five MCU movies and shows) but I wouldn’t give that same consideration to “Quantumania” for several reasons.

The first is that the writing bugged me in a lot of ways. For instance, why did Janet van Dyne never tell the rest of the gang what happened in the quantum realm?! I get that she “wanted to forget,” but you don’t just leave a guy who has destroyed multiple universes without telling anyone. So much of this movie could have been avoided if Janet had just mentioned Kang’s existence and his goal.

Also, why does almost every teenager in the MCU have to be a genius? I know that it’s part of some of their characters (like Shuri and Ironheart), but I don’t feel like there was a reason for Cassie (Scott Lang’s daughter, played by Kathryn Newton) to work with quantum technology. I can forgive the writers for giving her a suit (she does eventually become a hero in the comics), but making her a quantum genius screams subpar writing. I think there was so much more to do in her writing than just making her a genius rebellious teenager. “Ms. Marvel” was a breath of fresh air because Kamala Khan is, for the most part, a regular teenager.

Despite all of this, Cassie wasn’t the worst-written character. Much to my disappointment, MODOK was. MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) is an interesting character in the comics, and the movies flubbed developing his character. It was surreal to see the giant head of Darren Cross (formerly Yellowjacket, played by Corey Stoll) on the screen as MODOK; he shouldn’t have been MODOK. MODOK is a character meant to kill without compassion, and Cross as MODOK has too many emotions. MODOK should be a dick and shouldn’t have redemption — that is exactly what movie MODOK isn’t. At least the trauma that Cassie had with Cross from when he tried to kill her was done well enough.

One of the most painful parts of the movie was how off the CGI looked at times. There’s a point when Janet has her hand in front of a creature, and it was very obvious that she was on a green screen. There are other times when things just look out of place or straight-up bad. If you had told me some of the sets had come from a “Spy Kids” movie, I would have believed you. There’s no excuse for some of the shoddy work done on this movie.

This isn’t to say that “Quantumania” was all bad. I really enjoyed the scene where Scott has to shrink down Kang’s core so Kang can go back to traveling the multiverse. The scene when all the possibilities of Ant-Man and the Wasp are absorbed into the characters was legitimately done well, and it showed. There are a bunch of smaller things throughout the movie that made it enjoyable enough to watch.

I will also point out that I liked most of the humor and characters in the movie (just not their motivations). Hank Pym and his obsession with ants was a plot element done right, and it had plenty of humor associated with it. The beginning and ending sequences following Scott were also done well. When he starts to question if Kang died in the quantum realm, it’s so ironic that viewers can’t help but chuckle. While I found the movie good-humored, I do still wish I found it as funny as the guy in the theater who was laughing at every joke…

But like I mentioned at the beginning, what was the “goal” of “Quantumania?” It honestly feels like it was just set up for “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” which I don’t like. I miss the MCU where the films felt self-contained while still advancing a universal plot (See “Black Panther,” “Captain America and the Winter Soldier”). Yes, I’m excited about the upcoming “Avengers” film but the road there should be exciting too, and it hasn’t felt that way in a while. I think “Shang-Chi” was the last good example of this type of movie.

Overall, “Quantumania” really is a forgettable movie that can be skipped by the casual Marvel fan. It just serves as a stepping stone for further “Avengers” movies and has some questionable writing. There are some good moments, but honestly, they aren’t enough to save the movie. But if you’re an Ant-Man fan like me, I would still say it’s worth watching the beginning to see if it’s for you. 6/10