Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Marvel is back and this time Scott Lang aka Ant-Man takes center stage in what is a pivotal start to the next phase of the ever evolving Marvel Comics Universe (MCU) trilogy. Bearing the full title of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the movie mostly (and excitedly) gives us our first proper glimpse at Kang: The Conqueror (played by Jonathan Majors) who is set to be the next villain to terrorise and be the main protagonist in this new phase. More on this new baddie a bit later.

Joining Majors are familiar faces, namely Paul Rudd (Ant-Man / Scott Lang), Evangeline Lilly (The Wasp / Hope van Dyne), Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet van Dyne) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) and Kathryn Newton (Cassie Lang). 

Ever since the first Iron Man movie which set the tone for the entire trilogy all the way back in 2008, Marvel has more than deservedly received its flowers and all the plaudits. What is most impressive is how the storytelling has been set up in different ways but all tying together in one way or the other. A great example is how the general vibe of its last movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is different to this one and yet both are linked in some share or form to the overall story.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania finds Scott and Hope continuing to explore life as a couple who also happen to be Super Heroes. Life is good—Scott has penned a book, Hope is championing humanitarian causes, and their family—Hope’s parents, Janet and Hank, and Scott’s daughter, Cassie—are finally part of their day-to-day lives. Cassie, it turns out, shares her new family’s passion for science and technology—specifically with regard to the Quantum Realm. But her curiosity leads to an unexpected, one-way trip for them all to the vast subatomic world, where they encounter strange new creatures, a stricken society and a master of time whose menacing undertaking has only just begun. With Scott and Cassie pulled in one direction, and Hope, Janet and Hank in another, they are lost in a world at war with no idea how or if they’ll ever find their way home again.

What started out as a small offering, in the greater scheme of things, is now a full Marvel movie; Ant-Man has no doubt moved up levels. This instalment is set as a sci-fi adventure featuring twists, turns and action-packed excitement. But at the heart of the story are the characters fans know and love and their down-to-earth approach to being Super Heroes. 

One of the main aspects that excite me about a movie is the villain and this is something Marvel comic books and (as a consequence) the movies have done very well over the years. After Thanos I wasn’t quite sure how they would top that but in Kang the studio has more than outdone itself… casting Jonathan Majors was a masterstroke.

For those not familiar with the character, Kang is quite possibly the biggest threat the MCU has ever encountered, with multiple versions of the villain — each more terrifying than the last. Known as He Who Remains in “Loki,” this new and profoundly dangerous version of Kang intends to up his game, triggering a concerted effort from Scott, Hope, Janet, Hank, and Cassie to stop him before it’s too late. Time, it seems, is Kang’s secret weapon, and he intends to use his unique understanding of it to conquer worlds far beyond the Quantum Realm. 

“While retaining the intimacy of the family story, we decided we wanted to go really big,” said director Peyton Reed. “And to do that, we needed a world-class villain in a movie like this. As a kid who grew up reading all the comics, I always loved Kang the Conqueror. He was one of the great antagonists in the comics.”

“I think the film is ultimately about our relationship to time as human beings and how time plays within our relationships. Love, friendship, legacy: that’s what the story is about and every character from Hank to Janet to Scott—all of us are touched by that and deal with the threat or promise of time in a different way,” added Majors.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania isn’t a mind blowing movie especially when you compare it to the other movies in the MCU that have followed prior. Think of it as a solid apetiser that perfectly sets the tone for the main meal and what’s to come. And unlike Thanos — who, despite being teased once or twice, didn’t have a proper origins story and instead just suddenly appeared in the Avengers Infinity War — this movie serves as the perfect introduction to a villain who is set to play a major role in this new phase. 

When that Marvel theme music hits at the start, you are well within your rights to get excited because like Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the beginning of a much larger universe that we’re all excitedly going to get lost in the next couple of years. To that I say, bring it on!

The movie is in cinemas from tomorrow (16 February 2023).