Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Makes a Complicated Start for MCU Phase 5

Jade Baxendale, Editor-in-Chief

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania came out on February 17, 2023. The movie was the beginning of Marvel’s phase 5 after a chaotic phase 4. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily star as Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and The Wasp (Hope van Dyne) respectively, and Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas also return to the roles of Hope’s parents, Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym. Kathryn Newton stars as Scott’s daughter which is the second recast for Cassie Lang.

The original recast in Avengers: Endgame was to age up Cassie after the time jump, but the second recast was unexpected because there was no timeline reason. Finally, after his introduction in the Disney plus series Loki, Jonathan Majors returns to the MCU as Kang, but this time as an evil variant titled Kang the Conqueror.

The movie starts a little while after the events of Avengers: Endgame–meaning it’s been a very long time since we’ve seen Ant-Man, but very little time has passed for the characters in the movie. Scott Lang enjoys the fame that came with his heroic efforts in Endgame when he fought Thanos as one of the Avengers. However, we know his time on Earth is short-lived because at the start of the movie Scott, Hope, Janet, Hank, and Cassie are sucked into the Quantum Realm. The group must face the dangers of the Quantum Realm, including the main antagonist Kang the Conqueror, in their efforts to get home.

After the mixed reviews of the MCU’s Phase 4, Marvel Studios promised to start taking more time on their movies to improve the storylines and CGI. In terms of CGI, because this movie was set in the quantum realm, there were huge CGI elements in the movie and it was clear there was a lot of time, effort, and money put into this movie to bring the Quantum Realm to life. However, the storyline of the movie was truly not gripping and relied on cheesy humor and fast action to distract from the plot. This is the exact problem that the MCU had with Phase 4.

Scott Lang in his Ant-Man suit (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The disappointing part of this movie is that, although the idea of Kang was introduced in Loki, this movie was supposed to be Kang the Conqueror’s epic introduction to the MCU as Phase 5’s main villain. By doing this, the movie felt like a set-up movie for Marvel’s Phase 5 (which it was) but it forgot about the character development and arcs of the movie’s actual main characters: Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne.

As the third Ant-Man movie, many viewers were expecting a major character arc for Scott Lang. However, Scott remained predictable throughout the movie and lost many of the character complexities that have been set up throughout his MCU appearances. When it came to The Wasp, Hope was often sidelined by her own mother throughout the movie and felt like a side character in a movie that has her name in the title.

This could have all been made up for if Kang’s MCU storyline was set up well, but it simply wasn’t. The movie seemed very low stakes and Kang wasn’t a very daunting enemy. We can only hope that Kang’s other variants are more menacing throughout the rest of Phase 5.

Overall, the movie was really only disappointing for the dedicated MCU fan. In the context of the MCU, it was underwhelming, but as a standalone movie, it was a fun movie to watch. As previously stated, the world of the quantum realm was beautiful and unlike anything we’ve seen on screen before. The creativity and work put into the world-building are astounding and the movie could be commended on its graphics alone. The side characters introduced in the quantum realm made for good comic relief and the overall storyline, while quite simplistic, was a heartwarming nod to the strength of family.

For the average viewer, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a fun, family movie, but to the dedicated MCU fan, this movie makes for a complicated start to Marvel’s Phase 5.