In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the time for mourning is over.
Phase 5 begins with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and launches it with a sense of fun, family, and a reminder that despite our affection and connection to these characters, it’s still just a romp.
And who better to lead us in some fun than Paul Rudd returning as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man. Rudd is incredibly likeable in everything he does, and this time is no different, because of his portrayal, it’s easy to follow him on this weird, and wonderful journey down to the quantum realm where we discover the threat that may menace the entire MCU by the end of this phase.
Scott is kicking back after the events of Endgame, he’s living off his fame, and he’s trying to be a good father for Cassie (Kathryn Newton) whose got her own things going on. Hope (Evangeline Lilly) is running the Pym company and working to make the world a better place, her father, Hank (Michael Douglas) has been working on a project with Cassie, which leads everyone to discover that more went on with Janet (Michelle Pfieffer) when she was stuck down in the quantum realm than she had previously revealed.
And someone down there has been waiting for Cassie to turn her project on.
Activating pulls the entire family into the quantum realm, and none of them are ready for what they discover and the threats that will be posed to them by someone known as Kang (Jonathan Majors). Will Scott and the rest of the family be able to stop Kang and his plans or is this just the beginning of something bigger?
Quantumania introduces some fan-favourite characters, giving them the expected unique MCU spin on them. It also keeps the emotional and familial drama grounded in solid performances while still embracing some of the almost over-the-top absurdness that is turning into the regular fare of the MCU. It also feels like a Marvel take on a Star Wars movie, it’s fast, filled with lots of special effects, has fun fight sequences, and is about the hero’s journey.
Watching the film, I couldn’t help but have a grin on my face from the opening moments because Rudd just makes it so much fun to listen to and watch him. I also really dug some of the character and weapon design, feeling that maybe someone in the production department had watched Disney’s 1979 sci-fi film, The Black Hole.
There are twists and surprises, as well as set-up, throughout a film that also includes lots of fun payoffs and character beats. Majors is menacing and there are some interesting layers to his performance that add some fascinating depths to his role. Rudd and Douglas both seem to be having a great time playing in the Marvel sandbox, and Newton’s Cassie seems to be really embracing her inner superhero after seeing what her father has done over the years.
All in all, this one is a very fun entry in the MCU, due in large part to Rudd’s affability and charm, and Majors promises to be a truly terrifying incarnation of Kang. What does that mean for the rest of Phase 5? Who knows, but the mid and post-credit sequences hold some hints.
Ant-Man & Wasp: Quantumania opens in theatres this Friday!