Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania explores an wondrous universe and sets up phase five of the MCU


courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Marvel Entertainment

Poster for the Marvel movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania

Warning: Spoilers

On Feb. 17, Marvel kicked off “Phase Five” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the release of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and the unveiling of the newest main villain, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). The movie excels at setting up the future of the MCU while being a decent watch on its own. It features frequent quippy comedy along with a large number of high-quality special effects. On top of that, the film has key plot points that should drastically affect the future of the MCU.

The movie is set around the main characters: Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his genius love interest The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). Also included are Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and The Wasp’s parents, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank (Michael Douglas). The plot is set into motion when Cassie reveals an invention that will connect her to the “Quantum Realm,” where Hope’s mother Janet was trapped for decades. When the invention malfunctions due to Kang’s interference, Ant-Man and his family get sucked into the Quantum Realm with no way home.

The Quantum Realm features an ominous color palette of dark blue hues and an exciting array of sci-fi creatures that catch the eye. The setting is reminiscent of “Star Wars,” as many alien designs and locations almost seem to have been pulled straight out of the franchise. For example, the natives in the desert resemble the hooded Jawas from Tatooine. The setting feels alive, full of animals and people with conflicts of their own allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the story. 

Throughout most of the film, Ant-Man serves as the viewer’s vehicle to explore the biomes and people of the Quantum Realm. The growth of his relationship with his daughter Cassie is endearing. Cassie learns the ropes of being a hero while also reminding Ant-Man what heroism means. This culminates in the film’s finale, where she emerges as a strong hero on her own with an unwavering moral compass. Being able to see how deep their father-daughter relationship runs is heartwarming.

Much of the story is centered around Janet. She has an interesting background, and viewers get to see what she went through while stuck in the Quantum Realm with Kang. Her dynamic with Kang is intriguing and she does an excellent job of showing the viewer depth of his malevolence. When they first met, Kang hid the fact that he was a mass murderer and said he was simply trapped in the Quantum Realm like her. But after Janet discovers that Kang is a conqueror of universes and has slaughtered trillions, she betrays him by trapping him in the Quantum Realm. Although the pacing of the betrayal was very quick, the way Kang’s voice turns soft as he tries to convince his friend, how Janet’s conflicting emotions contort her face and the way Kang cries out in desperation as he tries to save his ship gives the scene incredible impact. When they later meet face to face, the strength of their bond built while trapped together makes it clear that he is more disappointed than angry. 

Avid viewers of Marvel media already got a sneak peek of Kang in the show “Loki” where Majors played “He Who Remains,” a variant of Kang. But even without watching “Loki”, “Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania’’ does a great job of introducing the character to newer audiences. The Kang in “Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania‘’ is just one of the many versions of him in the multiverse. Majors excellently portrays the character as a menacing monster. The delivery of the interactions between Kang and Ant-Man makes the viewer feel just how indifferent he is to the lives he takes. Whenever he takes center stage, the jokes stop and the stakes rise as Majors captures the spotlight. Without Majors’ excellent acting, the movie as a whole would fall flat, as he adds depth to every scene he’s in. 

Throughout the movie, Kang is also constantly dropping hints at a greater threat looming over the MCU. When he is defeated at the film’s end, it is clear that we haven’t seen the last of Kang. 

Despite some outlier scenes in the beginning where the background looks unnatural, the overall quality of the film is high. The environment, wildlife and alien characters are impressively lifelike. Fight scenes are well-choreographed, and the climactic hand-to-hand combat between Kang and Ant-Man stands out as an especially memorable part of the film. 

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” does a great job of kicking off the fifth phase of the MCU. Viewers can look forward to high-quality action, multiversal conflicts and the many variants of Kang the Conqueror.