‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania’ review: Paul Rudd is back in action but has he met his match in Jonathan Majors’ Kang and what does this mean for the MCU’s Phase 5 start?

with Avengers: Endgame Now a few years into its history, and its place in the box office realm currently challenged more by Avatars than any single Marvel character, the MCU is now entering Phase 5 at the behest of Marvel chief Kevin Feige and using a third cinematic incarnation. ant people and the full-blooded rise of the multi-villain Kang the Conqueror to propel what is essentially a stand-alone transition movie. such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania It’s a mixed bag, still containing the light comedy of the 2015 original and the 2018 follow-up, both set in San Francisco, but now taking us deep into a subatomic universe where the family characters will experience forces of both good and evil, some wacky new creatures that They seem straight out of a star wars Barr, and a mission to save this glittering community of colorful creatures who are being terrorized by another comic book legend now embodied by the imposing and talented Jonathan Majors, clearly aiming to be the MCU’s next major player.

As it rolls on, we see Hope Van Dyne aka The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly back in style) help free her mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer in a welcome lead role here), who has been trapped in the Quantum Realm for 30 years, and the sheer force of war. Reluctant to share his experiences like a soldier returning from hell. We meet him back on Earth in San Francisco, and there Scott Lang (Paul Rudd in happy-go-lucky mode) is now hitting the streets to the tune of John Sebastian’s catch. the quote The theme is “Welcome Back”. Five years into his world-saving efforts as an Avenger with no discernible superpowers other than shrinking and communicating with ants, he’s written a best-selling book and seems content as a family man with teenage daughter Cassie (Katherine Newton) and Hope. Along with domestic bliss are his parents Janet and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who turn the future day-to-day operations of the Pym Foundation to Hope. But family life has barely resumed when one of Cassie’s experiments goes awry and they’re all sucked into the quantum realm, just as Alice went straight down the rabbit hole.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne/The Wasp in Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Image courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 Marvel.


This strange place is no wonder, though we can tell from Janet’s disturbed expression and veiled warning that there’s more to it than its carnival-like freak show vibe. We get the clue early in the film when the terrifying presence of Kang, whose biggest and scariest feature is his ability to defy all logic of time to his overwhelming advantage, as he first encounters Janet there that day. He knows a lot, but chooses to keep much of what he knows a secret. He clearly has a relationship with the mayor-like presence of the rather foolish Lord Creeler (Bill Murray in an extended cameo), more than familiar.

There are also freedom fighters led by Gentora (Katie O’Brien) and Quazz (William Jackson Harper) to guide the newcomers to the state of the Union. They have their hands full because Kang is a true terrorist, aided by his number two, a strange floating head named Modoc. (short for Mechanized Organism Designed Only to Kill), and hey, does he have the deformed face and voice of none other than Darren Cross, the ousted Yellowjacket in the first? Ant people? Has he returned, or is this another of Kang’s time travel tricks? Nevertheless, although not listed in the press notes (but featured in the closing credits) Corey Stoll plays him, and in a word by stealing This is the movie. He is a rioter.

Motion Pictures of Walt Disney Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

Everett Collection

Of course, like any Marvel movie it’s all about action and fighting for world domination, and that’s what our heroes have to deal with on two different trajectories as Scott and Casey are separated from Janet, Hank and Hope, and ultimately their altar-egos when they Buzzed to save the day. Note though, and it’s no spoiler to note, that all of this is to set up the future movie, not necessarily to continue it, as evidenced not only by the inevitable Easter egg in the closing credits, but a James Bond-like promise on screen: “Kang Will be back”, but right how (Where can we wait of course Avengers: Kang Dynasty takes us). Majors certainly has the power here, if not the fun of some other Marvel characters, and has already taken on a variant in the KCU (Kang Cinematic Universe) as He Who Remains in the Disney+ series. loki. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Like Lily, Rudd is delighted to be welcomed back to her signature role. Douglas is still strong and it’s great to see especially Pfeiffer who can do so much this time and really sock it home. Newton is also a keeper, wherever we go from here. Among the various creatures, the vibe voiced by David Dastmalchian is downright hilarious.

The visual effects team earns their money, no doubt, but as mentioned seems more inspired by the world of George Lucas than Marvel in terms of all the new business creatures created for this quantum leap in the series. I also have to admit that I’m pretty sick of the wizard-style flash and burn effects so many of these comic book movies have been a delight. Mix it up next time, guys.

The final verdict on all of this, however, rests with the fans, and the big question is how they’ll embrace everything that Phase and the team have in store as we move into this new phase of the MCU. Stephen Broussard produced with Feige. Peyton Reed directed the Jeff Loveness script, both delivered in time-honored Marvel style.

Disney release Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania With Thursday previews and full Friday openings, even day and date in China, that means it could be a very pleasant President’s Day holiday weekend.

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