ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA Review: "The Conquerer Makes A Rapturous Debut In Best Ant-Man Movie Yet"

The first comic book movie of the year is here with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which introduces a huge new villain in Kang the Conquerer! Come read on to get our full thoughts on the film!

Reviews Opinion

After proving vital in the Avengers’ mission to reverse the blip, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is finally able to enjoy the good life at the top of his latest adventure, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. But his happiness is short-lived as director Peyton Reed thrusts him and his family back into the Quantum Realm for a Marvel adventure unlike any other, where an unprecedented threat awaits in Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

**This review contains mild spoilers for Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania**

Quantumania kicks off with a short, but sweet, voiceover intro that gets us up to speed with what Scott - excuse me, New York Times best-selling author Scott Lang - has been up to since the events of Avengers: Endgame and outside of becoming a published writer, he’s settled into a comfortable existence where his main focus is making up for lost time with a now-young adult Cassie (Kathryn Newton).

However, while he’d be perfectly content enjoying a low-stakes camping trip, his rebellious daughter is a tad more ambitious. This would normally be a good thing, but since this is a Marvel movie, things quickly go awry and the Lang-Pym family suddenly find themselves stuck in the Quantum Realm.

Scott and Cassie are then separated from Hank (Michael Douglas), Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Hope (Evangeline Lilly), forcing the pair to learn how to navigate this strange new world on their own while simultaneously evading the mysterious Conqueror, who has the whole Realm terrified. Elsewhere, Janet takes the lead to keep her family safe, and reluctantly reveals more of her past in the process, which results in Hope and Hank learning exactly why she never told her family about this place, or about Kang… or about what she’s done.

Both parties soon find themselves on a collision course with Kang the Conqueror, a shadowy traveler not bound by the laws of time or space, who is also currently trapped within the vast confines of the Quantum Realm. He desperately needs something from Janet to help him break out, but since it’s Scott and Cassie that make first contact, he amends his plan ever so slightly, and instead sends Scott on the heist of a lifetime, one that could alter the fate of the multiverse as we know it.

Since 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, director Peyton Reed has helmed a pair of episodes for The Mandalorian, including the show-stopping season two finale, and he’s arguably in top form here, delivering one of the more visually imaginative comic book movies ever, which certainly boosts a surprisingly uninspired screenplay.

The story is admittedly solid and does serve its purpose, successfully introducing The Multiverse Saga’s all-powerful villain, but it rarely surprises and often defaults to the chemistry between actors elevating the material rather than pushing them to their limits in this massive trilogy-capper. The change in tone was appreciated, though, as screenwriter Jeff Loveness leans into the film’s more dire circumstances rather than opting for the more comedy-heavy vibe of the previous two installments.

While the plot leaves much to be desired, the script does deliver on the family quotient as well as on the aforementioned big bad. The Ant-Man films have always been the most family-centric Marvel adventures, with Scott and Cassie’s relationship being at the heart of each story, and it’s no different in Quantumania as their ever-evolving dynamic is a welcome one and ultimately the driving force behind the Scott/Kang conflict.

While Kang remains a shadow for the entire first act, his presence felt but not seen, with characters in the know refusing to even say his name in passing, when he does make his grand appearance, he instantly becomes one of the MCU’s most intriguing villains. By the end of Quantumania, it really feels as though we’ve only had a brief glimpse at his power and just a small appetizer of what’s coming our way in 2025’s The Kang Dynasty, which is coincidentally also being penned by Loveness.

Paul Rudd remains one of the MCU’s most reliable veterans and is again as charming as ever, returning to the role of Scott Lang for the fifth time. Rudd’s always a joyous on-screen presence and this time, he really gets to push the envelope with several intense sequences opposite his excellent new co-star Jonathan Majors. While Lang doesn’t necessarily become a changed man by the end of the film, he continues to serve as an important reminder that no matter how big or small we are, we can all make a difference.

As for his leading lady, Evangeline Lilly, well, that’s a different story as the titular Wasp - and I’m putting this delicately - does find herself completely sidelined in this feature, presumably due to Hope not necessarily being particularly important to the overall story. She has a healthy relationship with Scott and a booming business, plus her family is whole again, so there isn’t really much conflict in her life. She’s more or less a tag along and does get her moments to shine, but it’s her mother, the original Wasp, that ends up shining far brighter.

Michelle Pfeiffer was a delight in her debut and is even better in her second full-fledged outing, firmly establishing herself as one of the MCU’s most valuable gems. She brings an infectious energy to her role as Janet van Dyne and more or less carries the movie until Kang’s introduction. She excels in every facet of the film, from the action and romance to the comedy and drama, she’s just fantastic.

Michael Douglas is also as solid as ever, but like Hope, Hank is also just kind of along for the ride (although he is more memorable). Kathryn Newton gets a nice introduction as the recast Cassie, and she really grows on you over the course of the film. When we'll see her next remains to be seen, but she seems to have a bright future.

Now, on to the main attraction: Kang the Conqueror.

Much has been said about Jonathan Majors’ excellence and much more is yet to be said, but for now, I can safely say that Majors delivers in a major way (no pun intended) in Quantumania. Following up Thanos is a tall order, but Majors seems more than up to the task, bringing an unexpected nuance and subtlety to his performance that makes Kang as wildly interesting as he is terrifying. His master plan remains intentionally murky, especially with his story just beginning, but we learn just enough to know that this is a villain not to be trifled with. Majors completely separates his performance as Kang from his turn as He Who Remains, making the latter a distant afterthought, and while we do wish the script had given him even more screentime to assert his destructive power, what we do get is more than enough to tide us over until his next appearance.

As I mentioned, there aren’t many surprises over the course of the film’s runtime, save for maybe M.O.D.O.K. I won’t spoil anything here, but he’s a fine secondary antagonist, even if his role is mainly to add a little levity and some closure to a relatively tense film. The supporting cast doesn’t make much of an impression outside of that.

There are also two post-credit sequences that absolutely cannot be missed, with the former setting the stage for the future and the latter actually setting up something for later this year.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the best Ant-Man film yet and a strong start for Phase 5. Paul Rudd brings the heart as the always enjoyable Scott while Jonathan Majors brings the heat, making a rapturous debut as Kang the Conqueror. Plus, a dynamite performance from Michelle Pfeiffer makes this another enjoyable Marvel Studios adventure. A new dynasty has begun and it’s time to bear witness!

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA Villain Kang The Conqueror Finally Gets His Own Hot Toys Figure

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA Villain Kang The Conqueror Finally Gets His Own Hot Toys Figure

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA Concept Art Gives Scott Lang A Redesigned Quantum Costume
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