A new phase of the MCU has begun with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and so far it’s off to a good start.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania starts Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by building on the foundation of Phase 4 that built up the concept of the Multiverse and variants and intersecting timelines and takes it to the next level. In this film, Scott Lang, his daughter Cassie, and Hope Van Dyne and her parents all find themselves sucked into the sub-atomic Quantum Realm, revealed to be a whole, strange universe unto itself. However, they quickly realize they are far from alone, and someone very dangerous is hunting them.
By far the most important thing An-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania does is properly introduce us to Kang the Conqueror, the new overarching villain for this saga of the MCU, just as Thanos was the overarching villain of the Infinity Saga. While the character, or, a variant of him anyway, was technically introduced during season 1 of Loki, Quantumania is his proper introduction to the cinematic MCU and what an introduction it is. Jonathan Majors is perfectly cast as Kang the Conqueror, a character I admittedly knew nothing about before this film, but who is now one of my absolute favorite villains based on what I’ve seen in this film alone.
I genuinely doubted whether anyone could top Josh Brolin’s Thanos but as I said above, Jonathan Majors proves he is perfectly suited to play Kang, a character that doesn’t seem all that dangerous at first, but once he reveals who and what he is…he honestly makes Thanos and his great plan seem like child’s play. In all seriousness, the scale of what Kang wants to do is so massive, it’s almost too big to think about, even for a film series like this. I’m not sure if that’s a weakness or not, but the writers will have to move carefully going forward to make sure the stakes are properly understood.
By and large I loved most of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The fight scenes in particular are a lot of fun to watch. I actually hadn’t seen any of the Ant-Man movies prior to this one, and the bits of Ant-Man that are in the other films do not do the character justice. I like how funny Scott can be but when push comes to shove he can get deadly serious, especially where Cassie is concerned (one of my favorite sub-plots of the film). Also, the film puts forward a really solid explanation for why it had to be Ant-Man who properly encountered Kang first, as opposed to a different hero like, say, Thor or Hawkeye. Initially Ant-Man seemed like a strange choice to me but after watching the film, I can’t fault the logic they went with.
It should also be mentioned that the Quantum Realm is beautifully realized. It’s probably a coincidence, but a lot of the visual aspects of the landscape reminded me of Disney’s Strange World, released late last year. It all felt very much like a real place, enough so that I hope the Quantum Realm is revisited in the future, it definitely feels like it has the potential for further adventures.
That being said, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is not without flaws. While the film excels with solid visuals and excellent casting, particularly as I’ve said with Majors as Kang, where the film can really stumble is in the dialog. Now, to be fair, it’s not bad throughout. There’s actually quite a bit of dialog in this film that’s good. However, during several critical moments I couldn’t help but notice some lines that were, for a lack of a better word, stupid. For some reason the writers chose to play a few moments up for laughs (or at least they got laughs from the audience) that didn’t really feel like they should be funny given the context. Cassie in particular has some lines that made me cringe just a little bit. I also have very mixed feelings about how a certain MCU villain is presented in this film. I won’t name them due to spoilers but the reveal, while initially interesting, could probably have been presented better.
Though these flaws can’t be ignored, don’t let them stop you from going to see Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as the film gives a solid start to Phase 5 of the MCU. Kang the Conqueror might just be my new favorite villain of the MCU and for that performance alone, you need to see this film.