Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania – A journey squashed by its own ambitions (Mild Spoilers)

By Jose Anguiano – Cinematic Bandicoot

February 17th, 2023

Previously on the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

The “Ant-Man” movies aren’t as universally praised as “Captain America” or “The Guardians of the Galaxy”.

Part of this is because the first film is infamous for letting go of the original director, Edgar Wright: a visionary auteur responsible for pop culture films like “The Cornetto Trilogy”, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Baby Driver”.

Regardless, Peyton Reed proved a worthy replacement and the sequel showed endless potential for the Quantum Realm.

Now with an entire movie dedicated to this uncharted territory, one can imagine what will happen after the events of “Loki” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”.

After slogging through a laborious phase four – excluding “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – phase five finally introduces everyone to the new big baddie, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

Although the story is ambitious – particularly being more dramatic than the previous adventures – most of its potential is squashed by the whiplashing comedy, much like “Thor: Love and Thunder”.

Too be fair, this comedy is more in character than Thor, but there are too many jokes crammed into the high stakes moments like the final battle.

Why go to the trouble of darkening the tone when the “Marvel humor” interrupts scenes that could potentially lead to unforgettable tragedy?

Thankfully, the humor is not this bad.

At the very least, everyone is well casted with Michael Douglas radiating his sarcastic personality as a paternal grandfather to a teenage Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and Michelle Pfieffer still has a great mother-daughter connection with Evangeline Lilly.

Meanwhile, Paul Rudd is still charismatic and shows his dramatic chops when faced against a new environment.

Speaking of which, the Quantum Realm is home to some of the most creative creatures and set pieces in the MCU, like when Scott encounters multiple versions of himself.

However, for all the dramatic build up to Kang the Conqueror, there is little payoff in his ultimate goal.

Majors sells Kang’s devilish personality, and he is willing to get his hands dirty when his powers come into play, but his plan doesn’t leave much room to show off his intentions outside of his backstory.

This is apparently one of the biggest threats in the Marvel comics, but outside of the acting none of that is reflected in his plan to escape his predicament.

Given the mid-credit stinger, this might be a recurring theme for the future of phase five.

On a side note, one character works in terms of the Ant-man trilogy, but others will see it as a betrayal on par with the Mandorin from “Iron Man 3” or the Taskmaster from “Black Widow”. That, and it takes time to get used to the effects given the character’s abnormal anatomy, even by MCU standards.

“Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania” had potential to be the best in the trilogy given the buildup to Kang the Conqueror and the creativity in the Quantum Realm, but the whiplashing comedy nullifies the dramatic ambitions while the villain is all setup with little payoff.

Given that this is supposed to be the future of the MCU, there is a lot at stake in both the short and long term.

One wonders if Edgar Wright should have given this more focus with the growing stigma against the MCU from filmmakers like James Cameron and Martin Scorsese.

With “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” due in theaters on May 5th, fans will have to brace for the endless outcomes phase five will offer in the future.

Fingers crossed that Kang can still leave as big an impression onscreen like he did in the comics.

Pros: Imaginative quantum realm, bombastic action, otherworldly effects, likeable characters, dramatic upheaval

Cons: Distracting comedy, more setup than payoff, boring villain


What did you think of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Qauntumania”? What do you know about Kang the Conqueror? Whatever your thoughts are, comment and discuss with others!

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