It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve seen Ant-Man or the Wasp on our screens, with their last appearance in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. After a four-year dry spell, our favorite microscopic heroes are back in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the newest film from Marvel Studios. Quantumania serves not only as the third film in the Ant-Man franchise but also as the first film in Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
Previous films in the Ant-Man franchise have served as palette cleansers of the MCU, arriving in theaters around some of the heavier films from Marvel Studios. However, Quantumania has a lot of work to do, setting the scene and tone for what’s to come in Phase 5 and the rest of The Multiverse Saga.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania sees the return of most of the principal cast, with the most notable additions being Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conquerer. This film has already received plenty of criticism from reviewers, although I can say that I’m definitely not in that boat. That being said, what exactly are my thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? Continue on to see my spoiler-filled review of the film.
[Warning: Heavy Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania spoilers below!]
Life has changed for Scott Lang
A lot has changed in Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) life since the last time audiences have seen him. The days of crime and jail are long behind him, as he settles into his new life of heroism and positive notoriety. People around town know who he is and love to show their gratitude. Scott’s also a published author, having written his story about becoming an avenger.
Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is also experiencing a lot of success, expanding on her father’s research and using that knowledge for the greater good. Even Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) have settled into their new life and seem happy with it. There is peace for once in Scott’s life, that is until he gets a call that Cassie has been arrested.
Cassie has grown up without her father, while he was stuck in the Quantum Realm between Ant-Man and the Wasp and his return in Endgame. She’s a hero in her own right, wanting to help others, and more self-sufficient than Scott would like her to be. Cassie’s also incredibly smart and inquisitive, two characteristics that influenced her fascination with the Quantum Realm. Together with Hank and Hope, Cassie developed a device to better map the Quantum Realm, by sending a signal that retrieves information for them.
Upon finding out how it works, Janet becomes both terrified and angry. She attempts to shut the device down, however, something or someone causes it to engage, pulling everyone into the Quantum Realm.
A split family and finding allies in the Quantum Realm
The Ant-family freefall into the Quantum Realm, with only Scott and Hope suited up and able to guide the descent a bit. Scott directs his fall into Cassie, hoping to soften the blow of whatever level of the Quantum realm they land on, with Hope doing the same for her parents. This results in the team being divided, with only Janet knowledgeable about the terrain, having lived here for 30 years.
Both groups have similar goals, to find each other and return home. Janet has the idea of visiting an old friend, Lord Krylar (Bill Murray). She believes that if anyone would know where to find Scott and Cassie it’s him. However, Krylar is not happy to see Janet, blaming her for Kang’s violence and terrorism.
It turns out that Janet has many secrets, one being that she found and helped Kang, in an attempt to get home to Hank and Hope many years ago. However, when she discovers who he truly is and the destruction that has occurred by his hands, she turns against him, exploding his time engine. Her actions keep him locked in the Quantum Realm and angry.
Scott and Cassie, on the other hand, are found by some natives of the Quantum Realm who are rather suspicious of our heroes. Through inoculation of alien goo, the natives learn that Scott and Cassie aren’t harmful. But through their connection with Janet, they are targets for Kang (Jonathan Majors).
Kang makes his presence known in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
No sooner does this Janet revelation occur to the Quantum Realm natives before trouble arrives. A battle occurs and two major revelations come to light. The first is that Cassie has her own suit, similar to Scott’s but purple. This comes as such a partial shock to Scott, who until the beginning of the film, was unaware of her involvement in the hero business.
The second revelation comes in the form of a large metallic death machine. Turns out that Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) survived his disappearance in the first Ant-Man. He’s now returned as M.O.D.O.K., the killing machine for Kang. For those who weren’t following the leaks or didn’t see him in the trailer, this reveal might have come as quite a shock. But it was also mildly laughable to see that big head and little body.
M.O.D.O.K. captures Scott and Cassie on behalf of Kang, who needs them for a mission. His power core for his time and space chair was destroyed by Janet. Kang requires the help of Scott to size it back down and return it to him. If Scott doesn’t agree, Cassie dies. As a father, it’s a no-brainer.
From this moment on, the film progresses at a breakneck speed, full to the brim with one action sequence after another. Scott completes his task of returning the energy core to its proper state, with the help of Hope. Together the two are able to overcome a swarm of themselves, created in the probability storm within the energy core, shooting the center with their shrinking discs.
When all is said and done, Kang takes the core from them without returning Cassie as he initially promised. Hell hath no fury like a parent scorned, especially one that can grow as big as Scott. Scott and Hope, along with Cassie and Jentorra (Katy O’Brian) who are working inside Kang’s fortress, bring down Kang’s Dynasty and end his terror in the Quantum Realm.
Plenty of moments during the battle it appears that our heroes might lose, but ultimately they win by working together. Everyone had a moment to shine in the fight, with my favorite being Hank and his ants, which traveled down to the Quantum Realm and developed a technologically advanced society.
Janet is able to get the Ant-family back home though rerouting the energy from Kang’s power core to create a portal. Everyone, besides Scott, makes it through easily. Scott gets stopped by Kang once more, who makes another attempt at escaping the Quantum Realm. Ant-Man and the Wasp are able to overpower him and watch as he gets sucked up into the energy core, seemingly disappearing.
The Ant-family returns to their everyday lives, but something Kang said haunts Scott. Kang indicated that there are more of him coming. Those that trapped Kang in the Quantum Realm will kill everyone. A reality we see come to fruition in the mid-credits scene.
Further thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
I know that there has been a lot of discourse regarding people’s reception of Quantumania, but I thought the third Ant-Man film was solid. The film had tons of action, the same humor I’ve come to know and love from Scott and the rest of the Ant-Man cast, and huge implications for what’s to come in Phase 5 and beyond.
Yes, the story was more expansive than the previous two films, both of which were secluded stories from the MCU. But the decision to go big and have Quantumania kick start this next chapter in the multiverse worked for both an Ant-Man film as well as for the greater franchise of Marvel Studios.
Highlights of Qunatumania were definitely the two villains. Jonathan Majors as Kang was exceptional. He elevated this movie to one of my absolute favorites. His presence as Kang was electrifying and haunting. I got chills from Major’s delivery of lines in all three viewings of this film. While Kang the Conquerer has been defeated, his presence is still through his variants and they’re terrifying. I cannot wait to see how Majors brings new and exciting twists on all the variants as they continue to pop up throughout the next phase or so of the MCU.
Corey Stoll was unexpectedly delightful as M.O.D.O.K. I wasn’t expecting him to steal the show, not even in the slightest. However, his addition to the humor was fantastic. I’m glad that Marvel Studios embraced the ridiculousness of a baddie like M.O.D.O.K. There isn’t an easy way to bring him to live action and keep a straight face. Stoll brought an exaggerated character to life and I loved every second of it.
While I enjoyed all of the Ant-family in this film, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet was the highlight of our team of heroes. Quantumania highlighted the level of trauma she has with the Quantum Realm. She was terrified of being back there but also slipped back into the role she needed to survive. Pfeiffer has always been a top-tier actress for me, but this film proves that regardless of if her role is in a serious drama or a silly comic book film, she nails it every time. Although this film was titled Ant-Man and the Wasp, this was most definitely Janet’s film. Her journey was the emotional crux that this film hinged on.
Even though Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is one of my favorite MCU films to date, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some issues. The film has a pacing problem, with an extended bit in the middle that feels like it goes out a beat too long. Perhaps that area could have used a bit of tightening up. I will also say that by the time I saw the film for the third viewing, it didn’t stick out to me as much as it did on the first showing.
Quantumania is also vastly different from the previous two films, which I can understand may catch some viewers off guard. I’d also like to remind people that not that long ago, they asked Marvel to switch it up. This approach felt more in line with a Star Wars film, with a sprawling space adventure set in a galaxy very tiny. I am a passive Star Wars fan and I loved that they took this approach with Quantumania.
Overall, I thought this film was a win. I enjoyed it each and every time I went to see it. I feel like it has fantastic rewatch value because there’s so much to take in that you can’t possibly notice on the first watch-through. Watching it for Janet and Kang alone is worth every minute of the two-hour film. I highly recommend this film to everyone, because everything that comes next in the MCU stems from Quantumania.
My rating for the film:
★★★★ / ♥♥♥♥♥