Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania feels like deja vu. Starring Paul Rudd, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton and Jonathan Majors, the latest Marvel installment is… fine. Listen, I love a Marvel film and I’m just nerdy enough to understand the implications the film is supposed to have as it ushers in Phase 5. What I’m at a loss to understand is just why this task was laid at the feet of Ant-Man.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the third installment of Ant-Man movies. Ant-Man made his first Avenger appearance in Captain America: Civil War making Ant-Man a fun fanboy cum fixture to the team. Paul Rudd plays a perfect Scott Lang and brings a dorky comedic energy while still flexing his superhero powers.
It’s that comedic wit and relatability that made Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp watchable stops during Phase 3 and 4. The wonder of Scott Lang was a grown up version of Peter Parker – he was someone who was still awed by the idea of being a hero and helping people. The innocence of that appears to be lost in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
We’re post “The Snap” and the events of Avengers: End Game and Scott and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) have returned from the Quantum realm with Hope’s father and Scott’s mentor, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope’s mother, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Janet was trapped in the Quantum Realm – or the universe just under our own – for more than 30 years. Since she’s been back she’s acclimated back to life quickly while the rest of her family moves on. Scott becomes an author of a self help memoir and his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) research’s Pym technologies and is eager to learn more about the Quantum Realm.
It’s her research that changes the trajectory of film. Hope has secretly been sending signals to the Quantum Realm in the hopes of getting more answers about the mysterious place. Though Janet was there, she’s reluctant to speak. She tells them that the Quantum Realm is a desolate and empty place full of danger. If that’s true, then who is returning their call?
They all go to inspect the noise and are sucked back into the realm. Thankfully Hope and Scott have their suits at the ready and when they get separated, Scott learns that Cassie has made one too. It’s while they’re trying to find their way back to each other that they discover the world is full of beings and one in particular that isn’t happy to see them.
Along the way we run into several fun cameos and pick up some allies. Standouts include William Jackson Harper as Quaz and Katy O’Brian as Jentorra. We’re also introduced to Kang (Jonathan Majors who was in a completely different movie and the movie was made better for it). Kang seems to be a facsimile of “He Who Remains” from the Loki Disney+ series. This recurring villain will be the bane of our Phase 5 heroes and his introduction is… tepid?
Interestingly enough, the intro in Loki felt much more effective. In a film that is both too long, and too short, we spend plenty of time with Kang without really learning anything about him. This is important because it exposes one of my main fears about the coming Phase and the trap I believe Marvel will fall into. If you’re not as familiar with Marvel lore, and don’t watch the Disney+ series or the Marvel series on Netflix (Luke Cage, Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron First, etc), then you’re kind of out of luck. This was evidenced during the Hawkeye series where a Daredevil villain showed up and left me asking… whomst?
While I was excited to see Kang, it was because I’d enjoyed the Loki series and understood they were connected. If you’re just going in blind to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumnia, you might be confused, or even worse, indifferent. This is bad enough, but when it removes any real tension from the film, what you’re left with is Marvel’s take on a Star Wars movie. There’s even a cantina scene. Between Star Wars, Avatar, and Thor: Love & Thunder, there are obnoxious influences in the design and effects. Also, because the Quantum Realm is essentially a state of mind, it’s completely CGI. There are some scenes that display this beautifully and others that could… use a little work.
I wouldn’t say the film is bad. Once we start going further into Phase 5, I’m sure there will be easter eggs that might make it genius, it just still remains a confusing choice to introduce the first post-Thanos villain (Wanda doesn’t count!) and the heroes that will try and defeat them. Also, the two post credit scenes do make it worth it in the end. I’ve said this about some of the other Marvel properties, but I kind of wish that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was a series. Where they could take time and really introduce us to the fabled Quantum Realm.
Until then, don’t be afraid to check out this feature. Just don’t be surprised if you’re left a bit wanting.
2 thoughts on ““Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” Fails to Jumpstart Phase 5”
It’s because of the relationship between Antman and the Quantum Realm, and the Quantum Realm and multiverse time travel – which is the basis of the multiverse saga.
Unfortunately the writer doesn’t understand any of this.
So we end up with not in the Quantum Realm but in OZ, filled with characters from Tatooine, and Tron.
It’s really a catastrophy.
This is great insight and makes a lot of sense. Thank you!