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

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!

Review Opinion
By RohanPatel - Feb 14, 2023 12:02 PM EST

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!

LOKI And ANT-MAN 3 Star Jonathan Majors Sets Acting Comeback With Supernatural Thriller MERCILESS

LOKI And ANT-MAN 3 Star Jonathan Majors Sets Acting Comeback With Supernatural Thriller MERCILESS

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA Was One Of Marvel's Most Expensive Movies Ever Reveals New Report
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supermanrex - 2/14/2023, 12:02 PM
refreshing to see positivity ringing forth about this. i cant wait to see it.
tmp3 - 2/14/2023, 12:04 PM
reviews seem very weak so far
TopBoy - 2/14/2023, 12:08 PM
Most reviews say it’s just as bad as the phase 4 movies.

Really should’ve just called it a day after Endgame 😬
HulkisHoly - 2/14/2023, 12:21 PM
@TopBoy -

Or just had a better plan of HOW to move forward.
DocSpock - 2/14/2023, 12:09 PM

Can't wait. Spoo

TheWalkingCuban - 2/14/2023, 12:09 PM
I’ll read this later. OT: this comment is what I’ll read later.
JuanRGuijarro - 2/14/2023, 12:10 PM
the same crap every three months...
TheWalkingCuban - 2/14/2023, 12:13 PM
OT: RDJ wants 80 million to return as

Doctor Dolittle

Origame - 2/14/2023, 1:00 PM
@TheWalkingCuban - honestly, I'm under the impression marvel immediately knew they couldn't move forward without RDJ so they made phase 4 purposefully bad to try to guilt him into coming back.
TheWalkingCuban - 2/14/2023, 1:05 PM
@Origame - nothing else makes sense cuz yeah he’s watching like “dang, their movies are worse than mine! Well I could use another worm farm for Operation Human Bearded Dragon, what the hey! I’m sure they could drop me a cool 80 mill”
MarkCassidy - 2/14/2023, 12:14 PM
Rohan liked it a lot more than I did! Review tomorrow, but it's... not good.
GhostDog - 2/14/2023, 12:14 PM
@RorMachine -

GhostDog - 2/14/2023, 12:15 PM
Besides Majors, nothing about this looks good. Let’s get to GOTG 3.
tmp3 - 2/14/2023, 12:16 PM
@GhostDog - same thoughts i had from the trailers. gotg 3 looks fantastic though - could be gunn's best.
GhostDog - 2/14/2023, 12:19 PM
@tmp3 - I’m in that weird camp where I liked 2 more than the first but 3 looks incredible.

No offense to Peyton Reed, he helmed a really good Mando episode, but when I watch the ant man films I just think of how massive of a drop off it was from possibly having Edgar Wright. I Joe Cornish would’ve been better than Reed.
tmp3 - 2/14/2023, 12:21 PM
@GhostDog - i wasn't huge on gotg 2 when i first saw it but a rewatch made it top-tier mcu for me. i think gunn's work rn for me is peacemaker, gotg 2, gotg and then tss - but gotg 3 looks like he's going all out. still feels weird to helm superman though.
an edgar wright ant-man movie with full creative control could have been incredible. need paul rudd to work with an auteur like him or pta
MotherGooseUPus - 2/14/2023, 12:16 PM
I can't wait for this movie... haven't read any spoilers and barely read this review except for how the actors were... seems like Rudd, Majors and Michelle were all top notch, which makes me happy. With that said... time to peace out until Friday afternoon when i'm seeing it. Good luck boys and girls

Origame - 2/14/2023, 12:59 PM
@MotherGooseUPus - that gif implies your attempt to keep from spoilers is to commit self deletion (because other word might get my comment deleted).
MotherGooseUPus - 2/14/2023, 2:55 PM
@Origame - i have a parachute... i'm good, but thanks for looking for my well being
TyrantBossMedia - 2/14/2023, 12:18 PM
As much as I like Marvel, or have liked Marvel, Phase 4 including the vast majority of Disney+ shows have been a huge disappointment.

I am also getting tired of the constant release of films. They are no longer events or big moments. They are just another movie in the long string of movies.

They really should have taken a rest after Endgame. They made that final battle so damn big (unnecessarily so) and signed off the main Avengers (like it was some momentous finale), only to have them come back again in a few months.

They should have written and started producing a series of films and shows and waited about 3 years before releasing anything. Give the audience a chance to miss you.

But here they go again.
HulkisHoly - 2/14/2023, 12:22 PM
@TyrantBossMedia -

Completely agree!!
LukeCage2155 - 2/14/2023, 12:21 PM
See you guys Friday.
AmazingFILMporg - 2/14/2023, 12:22 PM
64% on RT with 34 reviews in💁

TheWalkingCuban - 2/14/2023, 1:40 PM
@AmazingFILMporg - holy crap that is the Not Good.
GirshwinDavies - 2/14/2023, 2:54 PM
@AmazingFILMporg - oh [frick]
thereeljoefish - 2/14/2023, 12:25 PM
everyone is such a crappy person on here lol
Origame - 2/14/2023, 1:02 PM
@thereeljoefish - really don't see the problem here. So far none of the comments here are all that bad.
MosquitoFarmer - 2/14/2023, 1:08 PM
@thereeljoefish - So much complaining. Majority ain't even seen the movie yet.
mountainman - 2/14/2023, 12:27 PM
Sounds like a real mixed bag from all the reviews I've seen.

Another one that I'll be waiting until Disney Plus to watch it. Up to EndGame, I saw every MCU movie in theaters. Some more than once. Since then the only ones I saw in theaters were Dr Strange 2, which I regretted, and Spiderman NWH, which was very enjoyable.

The declining box office receipts don't lie. A lot of people are in my boat. Many of us just aren't drawn to this like we used to.

GOTG3 is the only MCU movie that may get me to theaters this year. Maybe.

The exciting theatrical releases in 2023 are:

- Dune 2
- Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning
- Oppenheimer
TyrantBossMedia - 2/14/2023, 12:31 PM
@mountainman - The only one I saw in the theater was Spider-Man NWH. Everything else I just didn't care about.

The only other movie I saw in the theater was Maverick.
And the re-release of Poltergeist.

Marvel just doesn't excite me anymore
mountainman - 2/14/2023, 1:27 PM
@TyrantBossMedia - I think Dr Strange 2 was my breaking point. It was such a waste of a movie theater experience. And the others that I eventually watched on D+ helped to reinforce that I made the right decision to miss them.

Maverick was a great movie theater experience.

The only movies this year that will 100% get me into the theater are Dune 2 and Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning. Maybe Oppenheimer too. Very small chance with GOTG3, but I'm really not so sure.
TyrantBossMedia - 2/14/2023, 2:04 PM
@mountainman - I really can't think of very much that will get me in the theaters anymore.
DrReedRichards - 2/14/2023, 12:28 PM
Wow... this is getting a lot worse than I though, and I expected it to be just good.

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