ANT-MAN & THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA
February 17, 2023 / Walt Disney Studios Canada
Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, William Jackson Harper, Katy O'Brian, Bill Murray
Super-Hero partners Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible.
Written By Darren
Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania kicks off Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a bang, that despite a first act that takes its time to find its footing, is another fun and exciting entry thanks to the excellent performances of Michelle Pfeiffer and Jonathan Majors while setting in place the building blocks for the larger story at play in The Multiverse Saga.
Kang the Conqueror has arrived. After briefly meeting one of Kang’s variants in the season one finale of Loki, audiences are treated to their first taste of one of the new big villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the results are terrifying. Few Marvel villains have made such an impression during the film, but every scene that Kang has, you can feel a chill go down your spine as you question if all of our heroes will make it out of this adventure alive. His presence alone easily makes Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania the most important film to the larger story at play since Avengers: Endgame as it starts to tie together ideas and plot elements that were introduced in Phase 4 to build the way to the next Avengers film: Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
Having helped save the world during the events of Avengers: Endgame, Scott Lang is enjoying his fame as Ant-Man and being reunited with Hope and his daughter Cassie. But after Scott, Hope, Cassie, Janet and Hank are sucked into the Quantum Realm, Scott must traverse a strange new universe that stretches the limits of what he imagined possible, while fighting to save his family from a deadly foe from Janet’s past hell bent on escaping the Quantum Realm.
Compared to the first two Ant-Man films which were fun yet grounded entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the third film in Peyton Reed’s series is the exact opposite. It is a grand science fiction space opera, akin to the original Star Wars trilogy at times with a full on cantina-esque sequence, with major ramifications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. Yes, the film does get off to a rough start in the first act as everything happens quickly without much explanation and not all the jokes land as the writers hoped, but once the plot is fully developed and the film’s villains are introduced in the second act, it is a nail biting experience to the end as you watch on the edge of your seat to see it our heroes will make it out of the Quantum Realm alive. And make sure to stick around for the two post credit scenes, because they are both big teases of the chaos still to come that this film has helped set up over the next two phases.
While audiences up to this point have been able to get by without having seen the Disney+ television series, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the first film where having seen one of the television series, specifically Loki, is a benefit as it provides context for who Kang is and his importance to the larger story at play. The film does a serviceable job explaining all of this, recapping for those who have seen Loki who are familiar with the plot elements at play, but for those meeting Kang for the first time, it will feel like his introduction is rushed by and will leave them with questions they need answered.
It goes without saying, but this film belongs to Jonathan Majors as Kang. From the second he arrives on screen, you are immediately intimidated by the unfathomable power of his villain. Majors infuses the calm and calculating nature of Kang with an uneasy feeling that quickly explodes into one of the most terrifying displays of uncontrollable power witnessed so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The nuance and gravitas that Majors brings to the role is unmatched, making for not only one of the best villains we have encountered so far in the franchise, but one of the best performances from a Marvel film. Given the importance of Kang going forward and the promise of him appearing at minimum again in the second season of Loki and then in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, the future of Marvel is in truly capable hands with Majors taking centre stage.
Returning as our heroes are Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, and all of them are great. Rudd brings his effortless charm and humour once again to Scott, Lilly continues to kick butt as Hope, and Douglas is clearly having a great time as Hank. Pfeiffer is the standout, being given a far more substantial role than the previous film as she tries to hide her past in the Quantum Realm from her family, while being forced to deal with the consequences of her decisions she made while trapped there. She shares a good number of scenes with Majors, and the two of them are an outstanding screen pairing. Taking over the role of Cassie is Kathryn Newton, who is a welcomed addition to the cast, forging a wonderful father-daughter bond with Rudd. And while I won’t spoil who portrays M.O.D.O.K. in the film, it’s a great performance that makes for one of the film’s more memorable characters.
Visually speaking, the visual and special effects bring to life the endless possibilities of the Quantum Realm. After some questionable CGI moments in Phase 4, this film resets the standard set by Marvel in previous phases, creating a colourful, vibrant CGI world that immediately sucks you into the film. The action sequences, especially the final act extravaganza, are exhilarating and deliver that signature Marvel excitement throughout the film. And combined with Christophe Beck’s triumphant score which captures the emotional undercurrent of the story at every turn, this truly is a film that demands to be seen on the big screen.
While it is certain to divide audiences, there is no denying that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is an exciting start to Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story takes audiences on a wild and colourful adventure through the Quantum Realm with all of the hallmarks of the Marvel franchise that has made it one of the most profitable series at the box office. Though, it is the intimidating and brilliant performance of Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror that ushers in a new era for Marvel, that with a memorable supporting and gripping performance from Michelle Pfeiffer, easily makes Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania one of the stronger and more important films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has set the stage for a new era of storytelling!