The Marvel universe once again rolls on this time with a shift away from some of the newer characters as one of the fan favourites – Ant-Man (Paul Rudd – Role Models) – returns to the screen in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania. And while Marvel maybe hoping this draws some of the old fans back to the series, they might also find that this is a film that divides audiences. Because while it sees the franchise at last introduce a worthy villain there is very little else working for it.

This time around we find Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man) living the high life. Scott is now somewhat of a celebrity, and he is certainly living it up. He rarely has to pay anything and has even written a book. His relationship with Hope Van Dyme (Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbitt franchise) is going well – life is pretty much perfect.

Then all of a sudden everything comes crashing down for Scott when he gets a phone call to say that his daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton – Freaky), has been arrested at a protest and then when he picks her up he learns that she has been experimenting with an Ant-Man suit. Once that revelation comes out it seems like Scott then begins to realise other things. First, he realises that Hope is sure that her mother, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer – Hairspray), has kept secrets from them all about what happened in the Quantum Realm and then he finds out that her father, Hank (Michael Douglas – Wall Street), has created a species of mega-intelligent ants.

Then comes the final nail in the coffin – with all the secrets being revealed Cassie admits that she has developed a device that can explore the Quantum Realm. As she tries to show her family what she created suddenly something from the other side sucks them into the Realm and soon they find themselves fighting for their lives.

One of the biggest criticisms of the film is that everything about it is just too basic. While some of the hardcore Marvel fans have been saying recently that the only way to save this franchise is to go back to basics this isn’t what they meant. The whole story itself feels like something we have seen with Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and even more recently in Disney’s Strange World. While the design of the Quantum Realm looks beautiful on screen – it too is eerily similar to what we saw in Strange World from time to time.

Even the various creatures that we meet in the Quantum Realm while they are interesting, and some are down right cute, once again it feels like things we have seen in Star Wars, John Carter and Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. While director Peyton Reed (Bring It On) has created a visually stunning film the fact that most of what we see on screen (and the storyline) is stuff that the audience has all seen before means that for most people this film will just be like a mundane walk in the park.

There are some things that save this film though and may just do enough to make the hardcore Marvel fans want to re-visit it from time to time. First of all, actor Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) brings the universe’s new maga-villian Kang The Conqueror together amazingly well. Majors puts in a commanding performance where he nearly steals every scene that he is in. And it seems for once that Marvel has produced a complex and interesting villain that may stay in the minds of its audience for longer than just the ends credits. At least Majors does get plenty of screentime something that poor Bill Murray (Ghostbusters) certainly doesn’t – his character seems to get forgotten once the epic battles begin.

Two other performances here that are complete standouts – are Kathryn Newton as Cassie – not only does she put in an amazing performance she makes the character so likeable that you can only hope that we see more of here as the franchise moves on – and Katy M. O’Brian (Z Nation) who puts in an almost Michelle Rodriguez like performance as she plays a warrior named Jentorra. Again, Jentorra is such an interesting character we can only hope that we get to see more of her in future films so we can learn more about her – she almost seems worthy enough to become an Avenger.

Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania isn’t a bad film as such, it’s just a film where most cinema lovers will find there is nothing new for them. To be honest it feels like more a of a filler film where the only main function of it was to introduce Kang so he can become a bigger part of the Marvel universe. Worth a look for hardened fans but this is a film that will be easily forgotten as time goes on.

2.5/5 Stars