Home » ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Review – Pint-Sized Heroes, Massive Heart

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Review – Pint-Sized Heroes, Massive Heart

by Aaron Escobar
Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd and Kang the Conqueror played by Jonathan Majors face off in Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA.

Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is here and it hits the ground running. Peyton Reed returns to helm the third Ant-Man entry, aptly titled Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Paul Rudd is as loveable as ever as Scott Lang, having enjoyed a break from crime fighting following the victory over Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. He’s written a memoir, “Look Out For The Little Guy”, and is even dubbed “Employee of the Century” at good ol’ Baskin-Robbins. After countless battles, and some reluctance along the way, Lang has mostly come to terms with being a superhero. All Scott wants now is to be a father. After all, he’s already missed 8 years of his daughter Cassie’s life (three years due to being in prison and five from being trapped in the Quantum Realm). Because of this, he’s had to play a hard game of catch-up. 

Unbeknownst to Scott, Cassie (now played by Freaky star Kathryn Newton) has been following in her father’s footsteps, having been arrested a couple of times, though for completely different reasons. Most recently she was arrested after peacefully protesting the displacement of homeless people in their hometown of San Francisco. Kathryn Newton’s Cassie Lang is bright, curious, and scientifically inclined. Under the nose of her dad, she’s acquired a super suit of her own and has even built a device to study the Quantum Realm. The microscopic universe can only be entered through special subatomic particles created by Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym. Through this device, Cassie can send signals to the realm to further her studies. Almost immediately after booting up the device, the entire Ant-Family gets sucked into the minuscule dimension, setting the Quantumania from the film’s title in motion.

Enter Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a time-traveling, multiversal foe. After crash landing into the Quantum Realm, Kang wants out. He needs his ship repaired and he needs Ant-Man to help him. In order to get Scott to comply, Kang threatens to kill Cassie if he doesn’t. Having no other choice, Scott accepts. It’s worth noting Jonathan Majors previously portrayed another version (known as a “variant”) of Kang from an alternate universe in Loki Season 1, going only by the name “He Who Remains”. This is not the same being. Gone is the quirk and playfulness of yore. This Kang is powerful and menacing. Compared to his previous incarnation, he is absolutely no-nonsense.

The Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania boasts a genius-level intellect with hyper-advanced technology and telekinetic abilities. Kang took his Quantum prison and made it his empire, destroying homes and building his kingdom on the bones of the realms’ denizens. He is relentless in his plans to escape and it’s clear from his performance(s) that Jonathan Majors is taking the role as seriously as any of his other exciting projects, past and present. He’s charismatic and has got a naturally strong screen presence. His motives, on the other hand, are still somewhat abstract. While it isn’t entirely clear what his plan of action is after he escapes the Quantum Realm, Kang is set to take on the Avengers next. Although perhaps intentionally vague for now, this film sets the stage for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in a very exciting way.

Ant-Man played by Paul Rudd and Cassie Lang played by Kathryn Newton face off against new strange creatures and bizarre warriors in Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA.
Paul Rudd & Kathryn Newton in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ courtesy of Disney

Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne has grown a lot as a character since 2015’s Ant-Man. Hope has gone from someone who was left stuck on the sidelines to a full-fledged hero. She even gets equal billing in the title! Additionally, she’s now running her own foundation, helping solve issues like housing crises and global warming. She’s capable and a baddie, but because of the lengths these films have gone to make her strong and independent, she inadvertently comes across as lacking personality. To add more insult to injury, she has a little less to do in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania compared to the previous movies, which is disappointing for fans that have been following her from the beginning. Hope could be so much more if the writing allowed her to be more than just the base-level definition of a “strong heroine.”

The whole Ant-Family is an active participant in the story at hand. In particular, Kathryn Newton and Michelle Pfeiffer are the MVPs. Despite being new to the superhero lifestyle, Cassie will go out of her way to help people in need, even if she’s putting herself in harm’s way. She’s always looking out for the underdog, going so far as to help liberate the freedom fighters of the Quantum Realm. Cassie proves to be charming and a bold warrior in her own right. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet van Dyne gets to show the skills she honed having to adapt to living in the realm, with large portions of the movie devoted to her. Having been stuck there for 30 years, Janet had to scavenge and fight her way to survive. Pfeiffer finally gets her own awesome action beats to nail, and deservedly gets as much screen time as Paul Rudd.

Two more notable mentions from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania come in M.O.D.O.K. (Corey Stoll) and Vebb (voiced by David Dastmalchian). M.O.D.O.K. (which stands for “Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing”) is truly unhinged. He’s got a giant head, a small body, and a cybernetically-enhanced hover suit equipped with blasters and buzz saws. More importantly, he’s got some beef to settle with Scott. He’s also secretly sad and insecure. Vebb is a delight. He’s a gelatinous life form – just one of many strange new creatures in the Quantum Realm – whom our heroes come across on their journey and one of the funniest characters in the entire film. The Good Place star William Jackson Harper makes his MCU debut here too but is not featured enough as you would hope.

Ant-Man turns to an extremely giant size and is surrounded by a fleet of Kang the Conqueror's battle ships in Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA.
Paul Rudd in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ courtesy of Disney

Though not nearly as wacky as they could have been, the visuals of the Quantum Realm do show some imagination, from colorful flora and fauna to living buildings. One of the best effects sequences in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania comes when Scott gets stuck in an environment that creates an infinite number of Ant-Men. These clones link together to form a vertical bridge (as ants do in real life) so Scott can reach what he needs to save Cassie. Scott, Hope, and Cassie receive a new way of donning their suits as well. All they need to do is slap a button onto their chest and their suits will materialize almost instantly around their bodies. Even if nanobot-like suits are becoming a tired trope in superhero media, this technique is admittedly a little more original.

Christophe Beck (Frozen) returns as composer, a welcome comeback from the now-MCU veteran, having also scored Hawkeye and WandaVision for Marvel in addition to the previous two Ant-Man films. He and director Peyton Reed go way back, having first worked together on Bring It On in 2000. Beck brings back his brass-infused themes for our mini heroes, and with the addition of some techno flourishes and choir pieces, the end result is yet another superb score. The Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania original score may not be as “fun” as the previous soundtracks, but it’s thrilling and another banger from Maestro Beck.

There’s a quote from Scott Lang’s memoir, “There’s always room to grow”, which is beautifully illustrated by the end of the film. What sets the Ant-Man series apart from the rest of the MCU is the heart at the core of its family-focused narrative, most seen between Scott and Cassie. Despite a darker tone, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania retains the same sincerity as its predecessors. The Ant-Man movies are about family above all else, and those themes have never been more apparent than in Quantumania.

Over the film, we see just how far Scott Lang is willing to go for his daughter Cassie. He’s willing to put his life on the line and go to the ends of the Earth (or, in this case, realm) for her. Despite the trials they’re put through and the secrets that threaten to come between them, they all come through for each other in the end. These themes of love and family will be sorely missed if or when the Ant-Man and the Wasp films come to an end. By the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it’s clear how much these heroes are needed to further diversify the MCU.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters February 17th!

Follow writer Aaron Escobar on Twitter: @aaronfraggle


Keifer Winchester February 20, 2023 || 7:33 am - 7:33 am

I thoroughly enjoyed it, had to see it in 3D (I thought better than avatar 2) M.O.D.OK. was a trip & Bill Murray shows up!!

Wolverine MCU February 27, 2023 || 5:01 am - 5:01 am

Aren’t you spoiling the movie..ALOT? WOULDN’T THIS be a part of the reason for the sales decline?


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