While Scott Lang has fought alongside the Avengers to take down intergalactic threats like Thanos, his movies have only flirted with the strange unknown. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania takes a step away from its more grounded formula to explore the trippy world of the Quantum Realm. For a “small guy,” Ant-Man has always had huge implications on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This movie takes that and runs with it. If you thought you were on a wild ride with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you haven’t seen anything yet.
New Territory for the Little Guy
While we’ve seen marvelous settings like space in Marvel movies before, this new era of MCU films really looks to go big or go home. Initially, the new territory for Scott Lang and his family is a little bit disorienting. Audiences are used to adventures in San Francisco, not a Star Wars-style bar full of creatures who could belong in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. In a small way, at least in the beginning; you wonder what Ant-Man and friends are even doing there. They look out of place and you’re wondering, what do ants have to do with any of this?
The tone of the film takes a major shift with the introduction of Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conquerer. To say that Scott and Hope get a little overshadowed in their own movie is an understatement. This film seems poised to introduce us to Cassie Lang as a protagonist with Kathryn Newton taking over, but this movie completely belonged to Kang. Going back to Newton for just a moment – if we are being honest, Newton has never really impressed us in other projects such as Supernatural or Halt and Catch Fire, where she essentially plays the same angsty teenager in each. She’s a bit of that in this, but her relationship with her on-screen dad and other moments in the film show that she’s potentially developed her skills as an actress.
Jonathan Majors Steals The Show As Kang The Conquerer
Okay, now back to Kang. Oh. My. God. If there was ever a villain to replace Thanos in this new wave of MCU films, it’s Kang. Majors’ screen presence is insane. Obviously, since it’s an Ant-Man movie, we have Paul Rudd’s good-natured presence as Scott Lang and some goofiness with these weird new creatures in the Quantum Realm. All that changes with Kang, who is intimidating, powerful, and dangerous. Majors possesses the ability to send fear through the screen with simple looks. His lines were delivered perfectly, and he commands your attention every time he’s on screen. One cannot say enough good things about him. Move over Loki and Thanos, we’re in Kang’s world now.
Now, it is true that Jonathan Majors outshined everyone. However, it’s still enjoyable to see Paul Rudd return as Scott Lang. It was nice seeing what he had been up to since Avengers: Endgame, and what’s especially nice is that his character grows, but it never feels like a deviation from what we know about Scott Lang. Scott still loves his daughter and Hope. He’s a family man at the end of it all and he’s just the heart of everything. There’s a scene in the film that really drives into the core of who he is and the end battle scene between him and Kang is great.
One of the highlights of the film is the numerous nods to the first entry. The first Ant-Man is one of the best origin stories in the MCU. To see so many callbacks and to see the actual ants used was really cool. And honestly, there’s a really cool Hank scene in the movie and it reminds you of how much you love Hank and Scott together. Hope really does not have a huge role in this and though Janet has a pretty big role in it, her character is not as enthralling as the movie wants her to be. If anything, her scenes are elevated because of the presence of Kang. Did we mention how intimidating Kang is?
Let’s also take a moment to talk about some returning faces. As mentioned before, fans of the first Ant-Man are in for a treat. As a Corey Stoll fan, the character of Yellowjacket has always been a favorite. While it was not expected to see him again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man actually brings the character of Darren Cross back. This time, he’s playing M.O.D.O.K. and the explanation for why Darren ends up in the Quantum realm as this new character is actually really great. It’s believable, ties in with the first movie, and Darren actually has a bigger role than you think. Fans will be happy with how M.O.D.O.K. looks and function in the film. And he has some great lines with Cassie Lang.
Michelle Pfeiffer and Bill Murray
In addition, Michelle Pfeiffer returns as Janet van Dyne in a much bigger role than she had before. The character of Janet was just really spoken about in the first film and we saw her return from the Quantum realm in Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s nice seeing her character return and interact with Hope and Hank – perhaps in a different manner than either thought. For so long she had just been a memory and now, we learn more of what she experienced in her thirty-plus years in the Quantum Realm. She’s a different person than who she was when Hope last saw her and having to come to the realization that your mom is human is something that all children have to contend with. She has an important role and a great moment with Bill Murray, who premieres in a small role in this movie. He has been promoted quite a bit for the film, but fans should temper expectations if you think Murray has a large role.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is also visually stunning. There has been a lot of chatter about how MCU projects are featuring some not-so-great CGI lately and while there are scenes in recent films that are not the best, this film is gorgeous. Some of the weird character designs are great, the backdrops are beautiful, and the suits look amazing in this movie.
All in all, Quantumania is the type of film that makes you want to return to it again right away. Once you know the end goal, you realize this movie is going to have huge ramifications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Perhaps we were unsure of where this world was going after Endgame, but we’re finally establishing what’s going to happen. Also, there’s some distinct tie-ins to the Loki series here. Even if you were not a fan of how that series developed, there are some things in this movie that will get you excited for season two, so bravo for that cross-promotion.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on February 17.
The film is a psychedelic roller coaster through the quantum realm that delivers moments of laughs, tears, bone crunching action and heart as the film raises the stakes
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