Marvel’s Phase 5 is officially starting with the third installment of everyone’s favorite tiny (or huge) hero: Ant-Man. Almost everyone is back, except for some of the side characters we got to know (and love) in the previous two movies. The Ant-Man movies live in the same universe as the Guardians of the Galaxy entries, with humor being their main appeal. I actually think that they nailed it. However, ever since they announced that the MCU’s next big bad, Kang, would debut in this particular movie, the question came up: How will this work?
Well, to give you a very short answer: Very well… I think the kind of humor that the Ant-Man stories use is precisely what’s needed here to balance out the serious and, to be fair, pretty dark tone that Kang brings in. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves too quickly; let’s start from the beginning.
Obviously, here’s your warning that this article will contain SPOILERS for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
We pick up the story sometime after the events of Avengers: Endgame as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) narrates what happened to him afterward. We get one of the Ant-Man-style cute little montages to find out where our characters are in their life, and we find out that Scott wrote a book on how he brought people back. Let’s be fair; Endgame would have been very different without him. Fun fact: The book in the film will be available for purchase in October. We can read Scott Lang’s memoir: Look Out For The Little Guy!
All seems alright until Scott gets a phone call that his precious daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) is in jail (again). Cassie became a justice warrior of sorts, trying to do everything she could for others, just like her father always did. Her idol, her everything. But while she is trying her best to help others, Scott’s main priority and focus is always: Cassie. This comes back later in a big way.
Another interesting thing to note here with Cassie is that the actress who played her in Avengers: Endgame (Emma Fuhrmann) has been recast for this movie. While the head and all-father of Marvel, Kevin Feige, didn’t clarify why this happened, they probably wanted a more recognizable name for the role. Kathryn Newton is a rising star in Hollywood, leading movies like Freaky or guest starring in Big Little Lies.
Cassie had been busy during the five years when half of the population disappeared and created a device that could map out the Quantum Realm. Something that got perfected by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) after they returned from the Blip. However, once they decide to share this with Scott, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), all hell breaks loose as Janet immediately disables the device after she hears that it sends out signals in the Quantum Realm. However, no matter how fast she was, it instantly turned on them and sucked them in.
The five heroes of the story get separated into two groups: Hope with her parents and Scott with his daughter. They are on their own as they soon find out that Janet wasn’t honest about her 30 years spent in the Quantum Realm.
I’ve seen so many people refer to this movie as Marvel’s own Star Wars, and I think they are somewhat correct. The visuals were STUNNING, to say the least, and the creature designs were creative and truly out of this world. I loved how the warm and cold colors were in harmony with each other and how it made me feel like I was watching something completely new from Marvel. We got used to the same things, I believe, the superhero fatigue is real, and I was quite worried when I saw the Rotten Tomatoes rating. Marvel is a big part of my life, and I would hate it if it started to spiral down.
I think the critics are wrong about this one. First of all, it beats out Thor: Love and Thunder EASILY. The fact that it has a lower score than that movie is unreal. Second, this is definitely (once again) THE something new that people have been crying about. Just like Eternals was.
This movie not only elevates Scott’s story but also deepens the lore it is built upon. It is also a perfect introduction for Kang (Jonathan Majors).
Let me tell you this above all else, Kang is perfect. I won’t have any arguments about this. Jonathan Majors IS the moment, without question. I mean, let’s be fair here. The introduction of He Who Remains, aka one of the variants of Kang, was probably the biggest highlight of the Loki series. (Sorry, fellow Loki fans, it’s true). And, to be perfectly honest, he is the highlight here as well. Now, some look at this as a bad thing, but it really isn’t, in my honest opinion. I think if they want to bring in someone who is much worse and more threatening than Thanos (Josh Brolin), then this is exactly the way to do it. Kang needs more space to breathe and to make people understand how much of a threat he truly is. He is called Kang, the Conqueror, for a reason. His own variants are afraid of him.
I think the decision to have Scott survive his one-on-one with him was brilliant, even if, at first glance, I wasn’t so sure about it. He stays with Scott, and the way Scott starts to panic in the end shows exactly how he got utterly under his skin. How Kang made sure to let him know that he was not one to mess with.
But let’s talk about the negative things, too, because I did have a few minor problems here and there.
Even though it is titled Ant-Man And The Wasp, it did feel like Evangeline Lilly’s character was completely sidelined in the movie except for the ending. They couldn’t really balance out Scott’s relationship with his daughter and then to Hope. Also, when the focus was on Hope and her parents, the real highlight was on Janet, who (as we find out) helped Kang before knowing who he really was. It does make me wonder if Evangeline Lilly had a more significant role before the controversy that surrounded her. I think the reason why this is unlikely is that Letitia Wright was in the same shoes as she was, and now she is our new Black Panther. No matter why her role seems smaller than before, the fact remains: it is titled Ant-Man And The Wasp, yet she is barely in it.
My other problem was with one particular CGI flaw. I will say that everything is absolutely outstanding on the special effects front, but I think they should have worked more on MODOK’s face (Corey Stoll). While it wasn’t horrible, it felt out of place among the stunning CGI extravaganza we got in this movie. I also fully believe that his storyline could have been left out without a problem. And when that is the case, it means you have a flaw in your screenplay somewhere.
Altogether, I think the criticism that Ant-Man And The Wasp are currently getting is simply not fair. It is visually stunning, full of heart, entertaining, and just an absolutely perfect introduction for Kang. Yes, it has flaws, but it is definitely NOT one of Marvel’s worst.
So, all I will say to you dear reader is what I always say to everyone: Go and watch it and decide for yourself. You might end up agreeing with the critics or me or put out something completely new on the matter, but I can guarantee you one thing: You will be entertained.