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Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
A fine enough launch of Phase Five of the MCU, despite not doing enough to establish how much of a threat Kang the Conqueror will be.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Release Date: February 17, 2023
Runtime: 02:05
Synopsis:
Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, along with Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, explore the Quantum Realm, where they interact with strange creatures and embark on an adventure that goes beyond the limits of what they thought was possible.

Table of Contents

A fearsome new villain is introduced in the quantum realm in . Scott Lang () is enjoying the celebrity given to him after helping to save the world as part of The Avengers. Scott is trying to make up for lost time with his daughter Cassie () while he is in a loving relationship with Hope Van Dyne (). Hope's mother, Janet (), is still traumatized from her time trapped in the Quantum Realm, and she panics when she finds help that Hank Pym () has been helping Cassie with the creation of a device that can send a signal to the realm. Scott, Hope, Cassie, Hank, and Janet are pulled down into the Quantum Realm, where they discover an entire civilization ruled with an iron fist by Kang The Conqueror ().

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Synopsis

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the third film in the franchise directed by Peyton Reed. The film takes place entirely within the world of the Quantum Realm, where a war has been ongoing against the exiled Kang the Conqueror. Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie end up with a group of freedom fighters that includes their leader Jentorra (Katy O'Brian), telepathic Quaz (William Jackson Harper), and the blob-like Veb (). Meanwhile, Janet Van Dyne tries to seek the help of her former comrade Lord Krylar (), only to find that he is now in league with Kang, who wants to repair his Multiversal Power Core to escape.

My Thoughts on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the proper introduction for the new MCU villain Kang the Conqueror, following his brief introduction in the first season finale of the Disney+ series Loki. The events of this film are meant to establish Kang as the new significant threat leading up to the release of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in 2025. However, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a relatively standalone adventure, with the further implications not established until the now-traditional mid and post-credits scenes.

Minor SPOILERS Ahead

In addition to Kang, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania marks the live-action debut of the large-headed Marvel villain M.O.D.O.K., aka the Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. However, M.O.D.O.K.'s origins are reworked so that he is now a heavily deformed reincarnation of the first film's antagonist Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who was trapped in the Quantum Realm at the end of the original Ant-Man.

While an apparent effort was made to try and remain faithful to the comics, including the use of a mask featuring M.O.D.O.K.'s typical facial expression, sadly, seeing Corey Stoll's giant CGI face in a robotic suit gave off some major uncanny valley vibes. This demonstrates how some of the weirder Marvel villains can appear well on the page but don't translate to live-action. At least, M.O.D.O.K. didn't end up being a full-on robot, as some feared from early concept artwork.

The world of the Quantum Realm of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania gives off a major Star Wars feel, even more so than the Guardians of the Galaxy films. However, the film doesn't waste much time on world-building, focusing more on the threat of Kang, who has taken over the Quantum Realm during his exile, receiving inadvertent assistance from Janet Van Dyne.

Speaking of whom, while the film makes many allusions to Janet's three decades trapped in the Quantum Realm, there are many missed opportunities. One is the extended cameo by Bill Murray as Lord Krylar, who dresses similarly to and ends up just as trustworthy as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back. It's incredible that Murray, who is notably picky about the roles he accepts, would agree to a role in a Marvel film.

When the credits rolled, I wish Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania did more to establish how much of a threat Kang the Conqueror will be. The film is still a fine enough launch of Phase Five, and I am still excited about what's to come. This includes the surprising hint in the post-credits, alluding to something coming later this year.

Trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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