Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Would Have Been Better As A TV Show

This article contains spoilers for "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania." 

Over the last few years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded beyond films and into TV. We've had Disney+ shows like "Ms. Marvel," "WandaVision," "Moon Knight," and more, with varying degrees of success. I've enjoyed many of them, and I like the idea of stretching out stories that need it rather than shoving everything into a two- to three-hour film. Some of the series we've seen made me wish a show was longer or shorter, but the center holds. Flexibility in the length of storytelling gives you more options to tell a full tale rather than have it rushed. For example, I wanted to see Loki get more time than he did as just a movie villain, and the "Loki" series was wonderful. 

"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" is in theaters now, and watching it made me wonder why this wasn't a TV series rather than a film. This one clocks in at just over two hours, which isn't long, and there is so much in it that nothing is given enough time to breathe. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is one of the Avengers I wanted to spend more screen time with, even beyond the mysteries of the Quantum Realm. 

I understand that the economics of box office receipts versus whether or not a series will bring in new Disney+ subscribers isn't very balanced. Actors also have scheduling conflicts and other gigs outside of the MCU. Still, narratively there is no reason for "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" to be a film. There is just too much in here for it to work as one.

You can only fit so much water into a single glass

The first two "Ant-Man" films were a breath of fresh air in the world of complex stories and interconnected superheroes. They were lighter in tone, funnier than the others (Paul Rudd is a national treasure), and they felt like calm during a storm. This one wasn't. "Quantumania" is far more complex. It introduces the main villain of Phase 5, which this film begins — Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). We did see him in "Loki," of course, but that was only one of the Kang variants. This version of Kang takes far more explanation than we had time for in two hours. In fact, I don't think we really got a good explanation at all, but your mileage may vary.

In this brief visit to the Quantum Realm, we learn that Scott is reexamining his life regarding the time he lost with Cassie. It's mentioned but barely explored. We have a continuing relationship between Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Scott, which felt like it didn't exist outside of a brief look during a car ride. We also have the fact that Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) spent 30 years down there and has barely spoken about it. 

Good setup, right? Wrong. 

We still don't know anything about her time there other than how she met Kang. She's got history here, and it's a world we've barely visited. Yes, introducing Kang is important, but honestly, after seeing only glimpses of other parts of the multiverse in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," I want to know more about this one. You broke it all open, Marvel. Let us actually see it.

Wait ... what about the sentient buildings?

There are so many fascinating things and characters in the Quantum Realm. (Still in love with the giant tardigrades from the previous "Ant-Man" film.) There are sentient buildings, yet we merely see them walking and fighting and get no additional information. We have characters with so much potential, like Jentorra (Katy M. O'Brian), the freedom fighter, and Quaz (William Jackson Harper), a telepath who seems to be in the film for nothing more than a joke setup. When you have actors this good, you use them. You don't introduce them and leave us hanging. 

Then there is the flashlight-headed guy Xolum (James Cutler), who looks cool, but we don't get to know him, and then we're supposed to be sad when he falls in the fight. There is the blobby Veb (voice of David Dastmalchian, who played the ex-con Kurt in the earlier "Ant-Man" films) who has a clear fascination with holes ... you know what? Maybe we don't need to explore that one.  

Why are Kang's troops wearing face-covering armor? (Yes, I know. Budget, but you don't have to make it that obvious. I shouldn't be thinking about your budget while you're telling me a story.) M.O.D.O.K. (Corey Stoll) had a storyline that could have been left out, which would have saved me a few nightmares. You've got Randall Park as Jimmy Woo, and you barely let us see him. There wasn't even room for "Ant-Man" MVP Michael Peña's Luis. 

Look, if you've got platforms for both feature-length and episodic storytelling, why not use them where they fit best? If "Quantumania" were given room to take its time and let us explore, the MCU would have been better for it.

"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" is in theaters now.