Remember: “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is just the first step
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is clearly alive and…not necessarily kicking. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as the latest chapter in MCU Phase 5, the trick I’ve learned to remember is accepting that maybe Endgame was really the pinnacle of the franchise. There was nowhere to go but down from there, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania follows Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) in the years following Endgame. He’s a celebrity (who sometimes gets confused with the other Avengers), an author and a present father figure.
When his daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton), divulges she’s been sending signals to the quantum realm, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) crazily demands that she shut it down. She doesn’t say why, but she does admit there’s something she’s been keeping secret.
That secret, apparently, is Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
Ant-Man, Hope/the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Cassie, Janet and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) all get sucked into the quantum realm. Apparently there’s all sorts of living “people” there, drinking, eating, fucking and forming revolutions. They even run into Darren (Corey Stoll) who now goes by MODOK, which stands for Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing.
Kang the Conqueror wants his hands on Janet, who blew up (read: expanded) his ship’s energy source with the last of her Pym Particles. How could he be a conqueror without his ship?
Without giving too much of the narrative away, I will say that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania does a few things very well. The humor is quick and witty, the importance of family is clearly at the forefront (though the romantic chemistry between Rudd and Lilly needs major work), and it’s an obvious battle between good and evil. What do you sacrifice for the good of the world? What would you do to save millions of “people” and people?
But the real star of the film is Jonathan Majors, who plays Kang the Conqueror. He goes from poor man banished to the quantum realm to big-wig villain in five seconds flat. And if you know a little Marvel history, you know that there are multiple Kangs from different universes. You get a glimpse of this in one of the two after-credit scenes, and Majors knocks it out of the park. He is multiple characters in the same scene, and yet it all works. The casting of Marvel, as always, is where the success of its film lies.
What Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania does lack, however, is the true power and strength of Kang. We know there is so much more to the character, and yet he failed to succeed. There wasn’t as much struggle as you would expect against a villain of his caliber. But as this is the first film we truly see him in, perhaps the mistake was in expecting to see him in all his glory.
But here’s another thing that Marvel does spectacularly: build the hype. At least now we know that there’s more coming, at least we know that the full wrath of Kang is upon us. So if Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is simply the first step in this direction, then I am all for it.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is currently showing in theaters.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver