Ant-Man and the Wasp: ‘Quantumania’ Shrinks Under Expectations

Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd, Kathryn Newton, and Jonathan Majors in Ant-Man and the Wasp: “Quantumania” (2023). All photos courtesy of IMDB

Ant-Man and Wasp’s “Quantamania,” the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was an enjoyable but slightly disappointing romp through the quantum realm featuring the latest multiversal baddie, Kang the Conqueror.

The movie featured mind-bending set pieces, exciting combat, and the witty dialogue that has come to be expected from Paul Rudd movies. Still, the film’s structure was confusing, and it often left me with more questions about the characters than answers. It was clear that the movie had serious ambition, but wasn’t able to deliver.

Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors at an event for Ant-Man and The Wasp: “Quantumania.” (2023) All photos courtesy of IMDB

 Rudd, playing the titular Ant-Man, was witty as usual, but clearly out of his element. In the past in the Ant-Man franchise, the conflicts have been relatively small scale, but now he is wrapped up in a battle involving aliens, time travelers, and the fate of the entire multiverse, a far cry from the plot of the first installment in the series. Considering the dire consequences, his tone seemed too light. 

Michelle Pfeiffer in Ant-Man and The Wasp: “Quantumania” (2023). All photos courtesy of IMDB

In contrast, Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, Janet Van Dyne, feels too serious. The movie delves deep into Van Dyne’s backstory, flashing back to her time marooned in the quantum realm. Her character is jarringly grim and mysterious, sticking out like a sore thumb against the more happy-go-lucky characters. We don’t feel like we know enough about her to make her constant brooding feel earned. 

Kathryn Newton at an event for Ant-Man and The Wasp: “Quantumania.” (2023) All photos courtesy of IMDB

Kathryn Newton, playing Scott Lang’s teenage daughter, Cassie Lang, was really enjoyable to watch, showing both the witty jokes that made the Ant-Man series popular in the first place and a wide range of emotions that help the audience to engage with the movie. In the comics, Cassie Lang becomes an avenger, so hopefully, we will be able to continue watching Newton in the MCU.

Finally, Johnathan Majors gave an outstanding performance that got me excited every time he was on screen. Majors reprised his role as Kang the Conqueror from the Disney+ series “Loki,” where he was revealed as the villain late in the series. Major’s performance was a delicate balance of vulnerability and ruthlessness that made it hard to guess what would happen next. One of my least favorite things about the movie was that it let the heroes off easy, beating Kang with the use of sheer luck. Despite Kang’s downfall, the post-credits scene shows he is not the only Kang throughout the multiverse, and he will likely show his face again in movies to come.