‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ brings a brand new world


Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Cassie’s family has some history with the quantum realm, and in the third installment of the “Ant-Man” trilogy, they must find their way out.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” offers a fun dynamic while introducing viewers to a whole new world. Immediately following the release of November’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Marvel Studios announced that Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline would begin in 2023. The announced slate included big names like Captain America: New World Order (May 3, 2024) and Daredevil: Born Again (Spring 2024). But, of course, a new phase comes with new villains and a new plotline, starting off with the charismatic Paul Rudd as Ant-Man in, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” 

The movie starts in San Francisco, California, circa 2025, where we see the smallest (or biggest, depending on when you catch him) Avenger Scott Lang (Rudd) living his best life. Since his popularity skyrocketed for his work as Ant-Man in reversing the Thanos snap, Scott has been writing a book, staying out of trouble and being there for his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), who is now 17. However, Cassie has grown increasingly independent, building a mechanism that allows her to send radio waves to the Quantum Realm in an attempt to explore its vast possibilities. 

Some members of Cassie’s family have history with the quantum realm. Her stepmom is Hope Van Dyne, aka the Wasp, but she isn’t the first Wasp, nor is Lang the first Ant-Man because those titles belong to Hope’s parents, Hank and Janet. Hank Pym is a famous scientist who created the technology that allows Ant-Man and the Wasp to shrink/grow to abnormal sizes, and he helped Cassie with her project. While the Quantum Realm is fascinating, it’s also extremely dangerous, and nobody knows this better than Janet Van Dyne. Janet was trapped in the quantum realm for years after a subatomic accident while on mission for the U.S. government, and she is more aware than anyone of the dangers of the Quantum Realm. However, she isn’t told about this project by Cassie or Hank, and when Cassie shows the project to her family, all of them are sucked into her makeshift quantum radio and into the quantum realm together. 

Now, their job is to find their way out of the Quantum Realm and back to the real world. On their journey back, they meet the MCU’s newest overarching villain: Kang the Conqueror (or, at least, a version of him). Kang was down in the Quantum Realm with Janet, and they together made a power source for Kang’s ship that allowed both of them to get back to the real world. Janet did not know of Kang’s evil intentions,though, including his desire to destroy the entire Quantum Realm, and much of the multiverse. When she learned of these intentions, she destroyed the power source, and since then, Kang had been plotting his revenge from within the Quantum Realm. The climax becomes the main characters’ fight to stop Kang in his tracks.

There were a lot of bright spots on the acting side as the band of heroes fought back against Kang, and the star that shone the brightest was undoubtedly Rudd as Ant-Man. Rudd’s unique acting style was on full display, and his humor and charisma reminded viewers why he is the perfect Scott. Being the punchline has kind of always been Ant-Man’s thing, and Rudd’s goofy demeanor throughout kept true to that. The best part of that was how he was able to combine his goofiness with his love for his daughter Cassie. 

Since the first Ant-Man movie in 2015, the most important person in Scott’s life has been his daughter. This is the first movie in which she hasn’t been a young girl, and the writers did a great job with showing the new dynamic between Scott and his now-teenage daughter. 

For the biggest portion of the movie, Scott and Cassie were apart from Hank, Janet and Hope, and one of the most impactful scenes in the movie came while Kang had the father-daughter duo imprisoned. Kang needed Scott’s help with retrieving and reviving the power source that Janet had destroyed years later. Scott promptly denied the request, but it didn’t take long for Kang to threaten him with his daughter’s life. Watching her get tortured, Scott knew he couldn’t let Kang do this to her, and eventually obliged because nothing was more important to him than Cassie. Rudd and Newton’s chemistry and dynamic in this film was truly a joy to watch.

Of course, this movie was not perfect. When talking about the bad parts, some people will look at the introduction of the villain and self-proclaimed “ultimate weapon” Modok. While yes, he is very ridiculous-looking, I actually thought they used the character pretty well. First of all, he is a character from the comics, so the writers didn’t make this crazy-looking dude on a whim. His role in the story was also fun to watch, and added an extra layer that kind of helped. 

One thing they did miss the mark on though was the use of Evangeline Lilly as Hope. For a movie named “Ant-Man and the Wasp”, it felt like she barely had a real role. She was amazing in the previous Ant-Man and the Wasp film, and I believed that she would finally step into her role as a full-blown super hero in this one. However, she became almost a side character, with the focus being more centered on Janet and Cassie. Despite her supposedly being the co-star, the focus on her was lost throughout the movie. Hopefully we get to see her with a higher focus in future films.

At the end of the day, the biggest strength of this movie was the visual aspect. Marvel is well known for its special effects and CGI, and they did a great job with creating a whole new world. The creation of countless different characters gave the movie a Star Wars-like vibe that worked very well with the plot. They certainly were apt to more than a few corny jokes here and there, but superheroes are, of course, for the kids as much as they are for the adults. 

Going in, this movie was dubbed the most important MCU movie since ‘Avengers: Endgame,” so we knew this would be a timeline-starter more than anything. It had its flaws, but the writers still did a great job with creating an enjoyable plot and dynamic throughout that kept viewers engaged and entertained. This movie is a must for any Marvel fan, but even to casual watchers that enjoy a good superhero movie or two, you won’t regret going to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”