Musts and Misses: What to see (and skip) this week

Ant-Man goes micro-cosmic, Party Down boots back up, Emily rewrites a Brönte sister, and the Korean import Return to Seoul dazzles the soul.

This passage highlights the unique charm of the Ant-Man character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Ant-Man is described as “the mini of the multiverse,” emphasizing his small stature compared to other superheroes, and he’s characterized as “the littlest man on MCU’s campus.” The passage suggests that what made the character appealing in his standalone movie debut in 2015 was the “human scale” of the story. Rather than focusing solely on grandiose superhero elements, Ant-Man’s film was noted for its blithe, goofy comedy, with Paul Rudd’s portrayal adding to its charm, including his “deathless dimples.” This characterization underscores Ant-Man’s distinctiveness within the MCU as a more lighthearted and relatable hero.

This passage critiques the 2018 sequel to Ant-Man, titled “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” directed by Peyton Reed. It suggests that the sequel fell short of the charm of the original film by becoming “bigger and busier,” which ultimately made it “duller,” as sequels often do. The upcoming third installment, titled “Quantumania,” is described as having a trailer and subtitle that hint at a significant departure from the previous films. The passage characterizes the new direction as “psychedelic” and “flamboyant,” blending elements of “analog Old Hollywood” with the established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) lore, creating a mix of “cosmic razzle dazzle.” This assessment suggests that “Quantumania” promises a departure from the tone and scale of its predecessors.

This passage describes the main characters of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, is depicted as having settled into “superhero middle-age,” with his longtime girlfriend Hope, also known as the Wasp, and their now-teenage daughter Cassie. Additionally, Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, played by Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer respectively, are described as having settled into domestic life. However, chaos ensues when they are all sucked into the Quantum Realm, setting the stage for the events of the film.

This passage describes the exploration of the Quantum Realm in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” It depicts the Quantum Realm as a vibrant and diverse cosmos, likened to a “Star Wars cantina,” inhabited by various extraterrestrial beings. Additionally, it introduces Jonathan Majors’ character, Kang the Conqueror, as the villain feared by the protagonists. Kang is described as a tragic figure with ambitions of total domination or annihilation, adding depth to his character. The direction of Peyton Reed is characterized as occasionally overwhelmed by the spectacle of the film, which includes wry one-liners, CG fight scenes, and sentimentality. Despite this, the film is praised for its cleverness and ability to remain enjoyable throughout its runtime of just over 120 minutes.

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