A Home Video Feature Film Review
The tiniest yet mighty Avengers may be out of their league, as they come face-to-face with one of the most dangerous adversaries ever to emerge onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the third solo-outing for Paul Rudd as the Ant-Man!
It’s entirely possible the third time is indeed the charm! Comedic actor Paul Rudd stepping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (further referred to in this piece as the MCU) may have appeared as the unlikeliest of casting moves, but the talented and nimble Rudd stepped into the super suit of one of the Marvel Universe’s most iconic characters and immediately knock it out of the ballpark! In director Peyton Reed’s first Ant-Man (released in 2015) Rudd’s interpretation of Scott Lang expertly toed the line of action and comedy.
To most fans of the comic book characters, introducing screen legend Michael Douglas in the role of legacy hero Henry “Hank” Pym, the original Ant-Man was a perfectly crafted move, opening the door for Evangeline Lilly to swoop in as his daughter Hope and inevitably inherit the wings of The Wasp. For the sequel that followed, Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) are teamed-up just in time to effectively play their part in the bigger picture of the MCU, as the looming “Infinity War” leads to the consequential Avengers: Endgame altering the dynamic of these two newly minted Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
A dangling subplot that was brewing in the background since the franchise launch, the rescue of Janet Van Dyne, Michelle Pfeiffer as the original Wasp and partner to Hank Pym’s Ant-Man from the perils of the Quantum Realm, sets the stage for the latest film’s plot. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania doesn’t waste time upping the ante, and putting our heroes in truly the thick of things right from the start. The film also features the recast of Kathryn Newton who has assumed the role of grown-up daughter Cassie Lang, who has ambitions of her own to follow in her famous family’s footsteps.
One-Size Fits All!
The family dynamic at the core of this chapter is its greatest superpower, as Scott works overtime to make up for his time lost during “The Blip” but unlike Hank, Hope, and Janet who were literally snapped out of existence when the Mad Titan, Thanos did his thing, Scott was trapped in the Quantum Realm for 5 years (even though for him, it was more like a few seconds). It’s this moment that elevates Ant-Man to the stature of Avengers level and inspires the theory of having our heroes traverse the Quantum Realm, moving through time and space to reverse the endgame, bringing everyone back!
With his family intact, Scott is a hero and life is good! Ant-Man and the Wasp are thriving! Hank and Janet are back together, and Cassie is making her way in the world, following in her father’s footsteps — even rattling the apple cart and landing in jail! Scott is beside himself when he’s called to spring Cassie from the can, but is even more distraught when he discovers that she even has access to Pym particles (the miraculous mix behind Ant-Man and the Wasp’s super-shrinking) and even her own super-suit! Everyone is behind Cassie’s social positive crusades, but even Janet has concerns when Cassie reveals that she’s been working on a transmitter to send signals into the Quantum Realm.
No sooner does Cassie activate the device, it kicks into gear and literally pulls the entire group into its miniaturized wormhole and right into the heart of the Quantum Realm, where it is revealed is a dimension within dimensions with its own thriving ecosystem that interconnects myriad worlds and expands on the multiverse (which has played a huge role in many of the MCU’s recent adventures). The head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige has discussed the relevance the multiverse plays in the current phase of the overall cinematic universe, but in Quantumania audiences get their first exposure to the menace facing our heroes — a master manipulator that controls time and space!
The Conqueror Revealed
We were first introduced to Jonathan Majors in the intersection of the MCU when he played a mysterious character in the first season of Loki, a variant of a man determined to correct [or exploit] the divergent elements existing within the multiverse. Majors wears the same face as the variant that faces off against the God of Mischief, but one that lands in the Quantum Realm and is rescued by Janet Van Dyne and tricked into helping him repair his technology with the promise to return Janet to her family on Earth. Janet gets wise to the man, who is named Kang, exiled for attempting to conquer the multiverse.
Readers of Marvel Comics are fully aware of Kang the Conqueror and the merciless potential this enemy poses to the inhabitants of the MCU. He hasn’t just battled the heroes of the Marvel Universe in one timeline, but in alternate variations and has often bested the full force of the assembled Mighty Avengers. For Scott and Hope to come across this formidable foe will likely have repercussions that will be felt throughout the next phase of the MCU films leading to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty expected to hit theaters in 2025. Experiencing the pair take on Kang makes for one of the most exciting epics, since Endgame although it’s starting to feel like every MCU installment has cosmic consequences at play.
Perhaps you aren’t among the initiated, regardless Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is an exciting bit of storytelling, unlimited by the CGI environment it inhabits, and prompts the placement of both heroes, Ant-Man and The Wasp properly in the scheme of the MCU narrative. As always Rudd is an ably charming and charismatic lead, and Newton is magnetic as the franchise’s newest recruit. Lilly’s steely Hope Van Dyne is finally seen dealing with her the baggage of her reunited parents, and Douglas and Pfeiffer are excellent as the veterans true and true. Majors is ever prescient on screen, as a force to be reckoned with, a dangerous and complex villain that is certain to prove as compelling as Thanos was in The Infinity Saga.
The film’s only setback if there is anything to poke a hole into, is the video-game-like pace and quality. It doesn’t really stop to catch its breath and allow for natural pauses, but as a popcorn film, it works aces and is a perfect opportunity to gather the family around the big screen and share in the excitement. The bonus content is a little short, but the insight into the core family unit is compelling, as is the background on the MCU’s newest “Big Bad”!
Get your #FansEyeView with a scene from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania here:
Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA | starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfieffer, and Jonathan Majors directed by Payton Ree is now available on Digital Download platforms and coming to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 16.