This article contains spoilers for "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania."
"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" takes us back into the Quantum Realm, but this time we're staying there for most of the film. The world "underneath ours," as Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) tells us after her 30-year stay, is a wild place full of refugees from other worlds. There are strange creatures, including one that looks like walking broccoli. There is a guy with a light for a head named Xolum (James Cutler), a red blob-y thing called Veb (voiced by David Dastmalchian, who played the ex-con Kurt in the first two "Ant-Man" films), rideable flying creatures that look like stingrays, something that looks like a baby Ewok, and sentient buildings.
Some of the actors who play these roles are big names, from William Jackson Harper's ("The Good Place") telepath Quaz to Bill Murray's ("Ghostbusters") Krylar. However, the entire film is so packed with events, characters, and set pieces that we barely get to know them. As /Film's own Jeff Ewing wrote in his review of the film, "most characters are underutilized, underdeveloped, or set into contrived circumstances." Dastmalchian's entire character appears to be there for nothing but a single joke!
It's frustrating to have people like Harper, Dastmalchian, Murray, and others in there with so little to do. If you're not going to use them, why cast them in the first place?
More William Jackson Harper, Please, For This And Every Other Project
I certainly understand the concept of casting big-name and popular actors in cameos. There are entire books written about how roles with only a line or two can change a film or win an Academy Award. The thing is, even if a performer is brilliant, they still have to have lines and a story that lives up to their skills.
The most glaring of the issues here was with William Jackson Harper's Quaz. If you've watched "The Good Place," you know how good he is. He took the role of philosophy professor Chidi Anagonye, which could have been a boring, flat character, and made him sing. This guy can give more emotion with a single lift of his eyebrow (or, in Chidi's case, gripping his stomach) than most actors do in an entire episode.
Harper plays Quaz, a telepath working with the freedom fighters of the Quantum Realm (who oppose Kang's tyranny). Someone who can read thoughts could have been put to a lot better use, perhaps accompanying Scott (Paul Rudd) and Cassie (Kathryn Newton) through the Quantum Realm, helping them to adjust, or giving a better introduction to the multiple fascinating creatures and people we're only briefly introduced to.
This man talked about putting Peeps and M&Ms into chili and wanting to eat words, and he had me in stitches. In "Ant-Man," his entire purpose seems to be to count the number of holes a human has and set up a punchline. That's it. It was like singing the beginning of "Shave and a Haircut" and not adding the "two bits."
The King Of The Cantina?
Whatever your feelings may be about Bill Murray, especially in the wake of his recent controversy, it's impossible to deny the Academy Award-nominated actor's comic genius. The man can carry a film, and there is no denying it. Murray gets more to do in the story than Harper does, but they set him up for a single scene and leave everything hanging.
Murray's character is Krylar, the governor of Axia, a fancy part of the Quantum Realm. He likes luxury and eating live creatures out of drinks. Murray saunters in, lets us know that he and Janet have a past, teases more information, then drops it all. He never returns, and we discover nothing else. The character feels like Murray said he was available, so the writers shoehorned a scene in there for him.
It's frustrating to see someone who could have made this movie so much funnier end up Bill Murray-ing for a few moments without a resolution. This issue encompasses the problem with the entire film; it's overstuffed, and so many of the things and characters we might have otherwise found interesting were given short shrift. Well, maybe they'll show up somewhere else in Phase 5.
"Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" is currently in theaters.
Read this next: MCU Jokes That Didn't Age Well
The post Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Criminally Underuses Some Great Actors appeared first on /Film.