Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania review | The quantum battle royale

by W. Andrew Powell
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Scott Lang is one of Marvel’s most relatable characters. Since we first met him, he’s fought epic battles, helped save the universe, and somehow he’s stayed just as relatable. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania sets Scott up for his toughest fight, and he might just lose, but the journey is electric.

Director Peyton Reed, who also directed the first two Ant-Man films, delivers confident storytelling that brings us back to an every-day sort of Scott again, and Paul Rudd is perfect at every turn. Our hero has written a book about his adventures, he’s strutting around town, and he’s still a really good guy, but it’s his daughter that’s taking chances now, and she thinks her father needs to be a hero again.

Kathryn Newton stars as Scott’s daughter, Cassie, and she’s grown up to be a young hero herself. Instead of international villains, she’s taking on the local ones hurting the homeless, and while Scott is unsure about the trouble she’s getting in, he’s also proud of her.

Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors

Their relationship is obviously better than it’s ever been, and Scott is also happily with Hope van Dyne still, played by Evangeline Lilly. It’s like one big, happy family with Scott, Hope, Cassie, all spending time together with Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, played once again by Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer.

One experiment though throws everything into chaos when all of them are warped into the Quantum Realm, where Kang the Conqueror is waiting, played by the great Jonathan Majors. Scott will have to decide how far he’s willing to go when he’s backed into a corner by Kang, and his choices will have major consequences.

Quantumania is, by far, the biggest Ant-Man film, and the events from the story will be felt across the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The best part is how the story and director still keep things simple though.

This is really the first big trip into the Quantum Realm as an audience, and there’s a lot to discover, but it’s fun, weird, and interesting.

The film is also darker than before, but it felt like the character’s natural evolution, and it’s honestly not much stranger than events in some of the Thor or Dr. Strange films. The difference for the Ant-Man films that the storytelling is more confidant, fresher, and it propels a head-to-head battle that is incredibly satisfying.

I was also impressed with all of the new characters we meet, from Jentorra and Veb, played by Katy O’Brian and David Dastmalchian, to the clever way the film introduced MODOK, a classic comic book villain. And William Jackson Harper has a small part, but I’m thrilled to see the fantastic actor in the MCU.

As far as cameos go, Bill Murray has a Jeff Goldblum-style appearance as a slimey, well connected mafia-type kingpin. It’s short and sweet, but it was fun to see him put on his smarmiest smile.

Quantumania stumbles a little in the aftermath of the story though. The ending is satisfying, but the first post-credits scene is a bit ridiculous.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

There is future-building going on that works on a few levels. For one thing, I loved the way Scott’s relationship with Cassie changes, and matures, and Newton has some excellent scenes, making Cassie into a hero throughout the journey. I also thought that Michelle Pfeiffer was fantastic, with some of her best scenes in the MCU yet.

But the film really revolves around Kang, and Jonathan Majors is phenomenal. He’s emotional and earnest, and then grim, tired, and damaged. He can be a maniac, and then he’s a methodical genius, and it’s all part of the depth and fractured range of this character.

In the end, I wish we had been left with more to think about, and I wish there had been more ambiguity, but it’s a fun ride. It’s also a story that actually doubles down on how relatable Scott is, and that’s impressive considering how much he goes through.

It also spoils nothing to say that the film does set the next season of Loki up perfectly, so I can’t wait to see where things go next.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is playing now in theatres.

Photos courtesy of Marvel.

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