Kicking off Phase 5 in the Marvel universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has finally arrived in theatres for audiences to enjoy. As a fan of both the superhero Ant-Man and the actor Paul Rudd, I was pretty excited to see this character back in a lead role, but I also wanted to see what kind of tone Marvel was setting for the start of this new phase. While most of the original Ant-Man cast have returned to reprise their roles (Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania introduces some new actors to the crew such as Kathryn Newton (replacing Emma Fuhrmann as Cassie Lang), Johnathan Majors in his first big screen appearance as Kang, and Bill Murray. While many critics have been absolutely tearing this movie to shreds online resulting in a less than desirable 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I have to say I fully disagree – I had a good time watching this film and despite its flaws, I thought it was an overall entertaining Marvel entry.

[Please note there are spoilers in this review; read at your own discretion]

Ant-Man, Cassie Lang, and the Wasp preparing to fight Kang

While it seemed like most people weren’t particularly interested in this third Ant-Man film, I for one have been incredibly excited for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to come out. I’ve always thought that the Ant-Man movies were underappreciated in the Marvel universe and too often forgotten or overlooked. For me, these movies are so fun, whimsical, silly, and I personally think there’s such a charming quality to them (mostly thanks to Rudd) that stands out compared to the rest of the Marvel catalogue. Perhaps it’s the sort of low stakes, self contained aspect to them, but I always found them especially amusing with such a high rewatchability factor. But it seems like in this new film, director Peyton Reed decided to shake things up to create a much more serious and dangerous Ant-Man adventure with one incredibly important consequence – the possibility of unleashing Kang the Conqueror into the universe.

And did I feel like this more “high stakes plot” took away some of the magic that I loved so much from the first two films? In some ways, yes it did. In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, there wasn’t as much room for playful exploration or comedic bits compared to before, so it definitely didn’t feel as easygoing to watch. It was really interesting seeing Ant-Man placed in a position like this, one where every decision and every action could result in some monumental mistake (yes, releasing Kang the Conqueror from the Quantum Realm would be categorized as a monumental mistake). While I do think the character of Ant-Man is better suited for the more fun, simple adventures like in the first two films, it was pretty cool to see a new version of Scott Lang that really showcased his superhero side. I absolutely loved his line when he sacrifices himself to stop Kang from leaving the Quantum Realm: “I don’t have to win, we just both have to lose”. To me, that shows a lot of maturity and growth and really demonstrates to the audience that yes, Ant-Man is in fact, an Avenger.

Ant-man and the Wasp suited up

But I guess while the tone of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania does feel more tense and serious, what I did really appreciate from the filmmakers was seeing how they stayed true to each and every character. Although they’re fighting a much bigger and badder enemy, I liked seeing that Ant-Man was still, well, Ant-Man. He was still cracking jokes, cleverly thinking his way out of difficult situations, and still deeply cared about the one thing he always had before – his daughter Cassie. Now for audiences who didn’t know, it must’ve come as a shock to them discovering that Cassie had a new appearance (thanks to some new casting). I will admit though, that for me, Newton’s performance was one of the low points for me in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. I’m not quite sure if it was the writing, her acting, or a mix of both, but I just found the character to be too whiny and bland. She wasn’t convincing when she tried to rally the allies, she didn’t seem concerned or worried enough about her father, and Newton seemed to act in a strange “smiley’ way regardless of what emotion she was trying to portray. Let’s just say I was overall disappointed in the execution of the character, especially if Cassie Lang is going to be playing a larger role in the future.

And on the other side of things, we got to see a lot more of the Van Dyne family, exploring their dynamics and relationships to one another. It was interesting seeing Janet in a pivotal role for this film, but it was cool hearing about her past down in the Quantum Realm and the implications her decisions have caused. I wouldn’t personally say it felt like Hope or Hank got as much development compared to Janet whom we haven’t really gotten to know until now, but compared to the relationship we saw in the first Ant-Man (2015) film, it was nice seeing all three of them together as one whole supportive and loving family.

Hank Pym firing a gun

But let’s move on because I’m sure what you’re really curious about isn’t Scott or Hope, it’s about the new big bad guy, Kang. While we first got a little taste of Majors’ acting chops from Loki (2021), we really get to see him shine in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania because he’s playing a version of Kang that is completely overpowering and dominating. In my opinion, Majors really steals the show whenever he’s on screen thanks to his powerful facial expressions and expressive voice. After seeing him on the big screen, I’m honestly really excited to see him as the new main threat for the Avengers, and I’m curious as to what Marvel will do with his character. It seems like not everyone was wowed though, because while I thoroughly enjoyed his menacing performance, my brother and boyfriend who I watched the film with, were less than satisfied. I suppose it really depends on the person because they thought Majors was simply “okay’ and even a bit too animated.

By placing Ant-Man against such a formidable opponent which he clearly does not stand a chance against, I did find that the movie sort of forces us to “believe in the unbelievable”. I mean, I guess if you throw in some thousand year old advanced ants, it does help to level the playing field a bit. That sentence is pretty outrageous in of itself though. But that’s kind of the vibe you get from the Quantum Realm, everything is so wacky and weird you really don’t know what to expect next. So if Kang the Conqueror loses against a giant swarm of ants despite having conquered dozens of timelines and killing trillions of people, I mean, sure I guess that works.

Hope and Scott at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

I want to quickly talk about the CGI in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania though because it seems like that’s where a lot of the hate is coming from online. Sure, certain shots looked a bit incomplete and off-putting (like when Cassie first shrunk and was running away), but overall, I wouldn’t say it was a terrible job done by the CGI department. Exploring a world like the Quantum Realm (which is completely fictional by the way) requires a lot of effort to create and I think they did a pretty decent job with it. The world seemed fantastical enough to believe that it was somewhere beyond our own world, but somewhat realistic enough to believe that they were actually there. I always try to be a bit more understanding when it comes to the CGI, especially knowing that the workers are being worked to the bone for these Marvel movies. So no, while it wasn’t perfect or amazing by any means, it was definitely serviceable and doesn’t deserve the hate it’s been getting. Hey, I thought the scene when Ant-Man was splitting into a thousand “possibilities” looked pretty good too.

I know MODOK has been the target of a lot of hate online recently too, and while the character was certainly ridiculous and outlandish, I think that’s exactly how Marvel wanted you to see and treat the character. From seeing side by side comic book comparisons, I really think they did okay with the design and look of the character since he’s supposed to appear wacky and childish anyway. So while I’ve been reading a lot of comments from people hating on Marvel for adding in such a weird character, if you just view MODOK as comedic relief, I think you’d definitely be able to see the funny side of him instead of hating on him.

Scott and Cassie being discovered by Quantum people when they first arrive in the Quantum Realm

Was this the greatest Marvel movie ever made? Absolutely nowhere near the top, but did it excite me for Phase 5? I’m going to say yes, it really did. While Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania had its fair share of flaws and flops, I think it’s a promising start to the new phase because it introduces us to entirely new worlds and new characters that will surely have a large impact for the future of the MCU. It was interesting exploring an entirely different universe, and while the story could’ve been written a bit better (the ending was definitely way too rushed), it’s always fun getting to see your favourite superheroes facing a new challenge. While this film has been receiving a lot of hate online, I personally don’t understand why and would recommend you check this one out if you’re a fan of Ant-Man or Marvel in general. Though I know a lot of people are facing superhero fatigue (me included), I was interested enough by the start of this new phase to check this one out. After much thought, I’ve decided to give Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania a 7/10. I think that’s a totally fair score, but what I’m really interested in hearing are your thoughts on the film! With so many people divided between liking or hating the film, let me know what you stand. 🙂