To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a sci-fi epic superhero film based on Marvel Comics characters of the same name directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man) from a screenplay written by Jeff Loveness (Rick and Morty). Featuring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, William Jackson Harper, Katy O’Brian, Corey Stoll, and Bill Murray; it is the third film in the Ant-Man series and the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the story follows Scott, Hope, Cassie, Hank, and Janet as they are pulled into the Quantum Realm by Kang the Conqueror, a variant of He Who Remains who has a score to settle with Janet.
In the Quantum Realm, a young Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) collects some water near her makeshift home. She witnesses a ship crashing in the distance and heads to see what it is. When she reaches the crash site Janet is attacked by a creature that can replicate itself. While Janet attempts to fight the creature off it is killed by the damaged ship’s pilot, Nathaniel Richards (Jonathan Majors). After catching his breath Nathaniel asks Janet “what is this place?”
In San Francisco, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is enjoying his newfound post-Blip fame as Ant-Man. He narrates about how unbelievable his life has been going from an ex-con to an Avenger. Civilians love to have him take pictures with their dogs, people pay for his meals at restaurants, he enjoys free coffee at a local shop (although the owner mistakes him for Spider-Man), he is named Baskin-Robbins employee of the century, and his new memoir Look Out for the Little Guy is a smash hit! Scott is also still dating Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) who has reclaimed her father’s company and turned it into the Pym van Dyne Foundation, a nonprofit which uses the Pym Particles for humanitarian efforts. While the two are at a reading of his memoir, Scott receives a call letting him know that his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is in jail.
Ant-Man is one of my favorite MCU films and Scott Lang is probably the funniest member of the Avengers. He is the viewer’s perspective in this world of superhumans, cyborgs, aliens, and wizards. Just a normal guy who ended up as a superhero. This makes Scott a little more relatable than a space Viking like Thor or a tech billionaire like Stark. The first film worked perfectly with its small-stakes adventure while making connections to the larger MCU. Michael Peña’s Luiz was a standout in that movie with his hilarious storytelling technique. Fans have clamored to have his character recap the events of the MCU before it wraps everything up.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania had a lot on its plate by being the first film in Phase 5 after the lackluster response to most of the films in Phase 4. It’s also introducing the multiversal adversary Kang the Conqueror to the MCU after his variant He Who Remains appeared in Loki Season 1. To quote director Peyton Reed, “the first two films were palette cleansers and this film is not that.” This movie goes in a different direction by leaving San Francisco behind and spending the majority of the story in the Quantum Realm. So people who were fans of what was done before are in for a big surprise. Reed does a good job amping the stakes up in this film while keeping the comedy relatively the same. Not every joke works, but when they land it’s golden. The action is stunning and the visuals are insane.
The Quantum Realm is the Australia of the multiverse. A psychedelic place that looks like a Dr. Seuss book set in the Star Wars universe. There are a variety of creatures and sentient beings that we are not given a clear answer on how they got there or how the physics of this realm operates. The issue is that the Quantum Realm changes in every movie in which it appears. It appears as just a void in Ant-Man, an unstable hellscape in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and a series of time portals in Avengers: Endgame. This is mostly due to Marvel still figuring out their plans as they move their grander story forward. Being vague makes it easier for them to retcon what they need in future projects. With so many characters appearing in the realm, I feel a Special Presentation following Janet’s time down there would have helped explain what exactly the realm is and to flesh out more of the characters that appear there.
The acting in the film is pretty solid. Paul Rudd turns in another terrific stint as Scott Lang and carries the film with his likable personality. Michelle Pfeiffer is given a lot more to do in this film with Janet’s mysterious time in the Quantum Realm being the thing that pulls our heroes in to start. I love Kathryn Newton and I am happy to see her get more big movie roles, but I’m not sure she brought anything to the table that justifies recasting Emma Fuhrmann in the role of Cassie. The major (pun intended) addition to this movie is Johnathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror. This version has the same goals as He Who Remains but is more ruthless. He does not joke and he does not play around. His only weakness is his ego which may be the key to defeating his other variants whenever they appear. (and boy will more variants be appearing!)
If this film is missing anything it’s the presence of several mainstays in Scott’s life. His ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) is only briefly mentioned which is strange considering their daughter gets arrested and is using Pym tech. A small appearance in the scene where Cassie is bailed out would’ve made sense. Her stepdad is a cop for goodness sake. There’s also Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (T.I.), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian)! They are Scott’s closest friends and business partners. It would be nice to know what became of them and their security company X-Con. I’m not saying they needed to get sucked into the Quantum Realm, but a scene would’ve been nice. Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) even got a small cameo! Dastmalchian does however appear as the voice of Veb, a red goo-like resident of the Quantum Realm.
While not the best movie in the series, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a step up from the previous film and a fun start to Phase 5 of the MCU. Paul Rudd continues to impress as Scott Lang and Jonathan Majors flexes his acting muscles throughout. The visuals are stunning and the story is palpable. I give Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania a Decent 8/10. Speaking of Jonathan Majors make sure you stay till the end because there are two post-credits scenes that you’ll want to see!