Considering the amazing premise, I had high expectations for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. You have the smallest and seemingly least powerful Avenger, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), taking on the MCU’s next big villain, Kang (Jonathan Majors), in a fight that would otherwise require the combined might of all the Avengers. That’s an amazing way to begin MCU Phase 5, especially after Phase 4 was so lackluster.
Take all of Marvel’s exciting teasers about Ant-Man 3, and nobody would fault you for seeing the film in theaters right away. And the good news is that there are plenty of exciting, even daring things about Quantumania. But it’s ultimately another failure for Marvel, a movie that could have benefited from a tighter script with a clearer focus on the franchise’s protagonists.
In the spoilery review that follows, I’ll give you five things I absolutely hate about Quantumania. Make sure you watch the film before you proceed.
The Star Wars in the Quantum Realm
We’ve fantasized about the Quantum Realm since the first Ant-Man movie. We’ve speculated that this plane of existence lies beyond time and space. That the TVA resides here, as there might be massive cities harboring billions of beings.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania finally gives us a magnificent look at life in the Quantum Realm. And it’s a spectacle. But also a deja-vu. Bad deja-vu. This Quantum Realm seems to be taken right out of Star Wars movies.
We have the restaurant scene with various aliens you can’t understand until you magically do. You learn there’s a rebellion in the Quantum Realm against a big oppressor, who we know is Kang (Jonathan Majors). And you have a spectacular fight at the end that the movie doesn’t need.
The rebels, whom you’re not really invested in, fight Kang’s armies with the help of giant Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Cassie (Kathryn Newton), Hank (Michael Douglas), and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). Oh yes, and the ants from Earth that somehow evolved into a sophisticated species within a few hours.
The reason why Quantumania needs all of this Star Wars excitement is easy to comprehend. Kang needs to be a powerful villain; he needs an empire and a big army. You need reasons for Ant-Man and the Wasp to shrink and grow in size and fight these antagonists. But it all feels like a mini Star Wars movie that features MCU characters.
Given all the world-building that Marvel has done in the MCU so far, you’d think it could have come up with a Quantum Realm universe that doesn’t feel like Star Wars.
MODOK is the biggest atrocity in the MCU so far
After playing the main villain of Ant-Man, Corey Stoll is back as MODOK. The character was rumored to appear in Quantumania long before the premiere, and we saw him briefly in the most recent trailer. That short glimpse at MODOK made some fans fear the quality of the visual effects for Quantumania. Not that a comic book character like MODOK is easy to bring to live action.
But I still expected MODOK to be an exciting antagonist, regardless of the VFX quality. Boy, was I wrong!
MODOK feels like a joke from start to finish. Add the atrocious design, and MODOK is easily one of the worst things Marvel has done in the MCU so far. Corey Stoll can’t save the character, either. Not with that design or script lines. So it’s better that Marvel killed MODOK just as fast as it brought him to life.
Why is Ant-Man 3 sidelining the Wasp?
I did bring up the Star Wars elements of Quantumania as the first thing I hate about Quantumania for a reason. That’s time wasted with characters that don’t matter in the MCU. Characters that we will probably not see again. Wasting William Jackson Harper as Quaz is especially annoying when we could have had the actor play someone more meaningful.
But the real problem with the Quantumania script is that it doesn’t have more time for the protagonists. Paul Rudd shines as Ant-Man in a way that only Paul Rudd can. And Majors steals the scenes the Quantumania version of Kang appears in. Then there’s Michelle Pfeiffer, who is just a stunning force throughout the movie.
Unfortunately, there’s no time for the Wasp to shine. Evangeline Lilly does a great job in the scenes she is in. But it feels like she’s an afterthought at times. Like a sidekick who comes in to save the day at key moments. Not like one of the main two protagonists of the movie. This is Ant-Man and the Wasp. And Marvel is wasting the main Wasp for most of the film.
The forgotten Ant-Man universe
The first two Ant-Man movies are lighter adventures that not all MCU fans might appreciate. But they introduce their own worlds, featuring characters that are fun to observe, especially when interacting with Ant-Man, the Wasp, and Hope.
Quantumania robs us of all of that. There’s no Luis (Michael Peña) or Kurt (David Dastmalchian). And Cassies parents, Maggie (Judy Greer) and Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), are absent too. Randal Park’s Jimmy Woo appears only for a second to confirm that he and Lang are keeping in touch.
Sure, most of the movie happens in the Quantum Realm. Therefore, there’s no place for real-world characters in that universe. But you’d think Marvel knows better by now. We need Easter eggs for the MCU to shine. That involves connections to the larger story but also to the past. And MODOK is definitely not enough.
Kang’s plot hole
This is probably the biggest problem with Ant-Man 3. It wants to accomplish a lot more than it can. Quantumania has to introduce this big bad version of Kang, who is stuck in the Quantum Realm. And the only Avengers to interact with the Quantum Realm are Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Therefore, Marvel is forced to create this elaborate script. To have the heroes sucked into the Quantum Realm, where they spend most of the time running around and dealing with a massive threat that seems to be omnipotent. Hence the Secret Wars-like world-building and the dismissal of characters from previous Ant-Man movies.
It’s all for the good of introducing this menacing version of Kang. And Majors is brilliant in the role. Once again, after the Loki season finale.
Yet maybe the worst thing about the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is Kang’s predicament.
He’s an incredibly resourceful, technologically advanced, and physically powerful person. He can create everything he needs to rule the Quantum Realm for eons… except for the tech that will get him out of there.
With all that in mind, Quantumania isn’t a movie that you’ll need to rewatch on Disney Plus. You might want to see bits of it, to go over the multiverse details that Kang explains. But that’s about it.
Maybe Jeff Loveness should not write The Kang Dynasty now that we’ve seen Quantumania. Or, perhaps Marvel should not interfere with the writing process to ensure that Avengers 5 isn’t a terrible let-down.