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Ant-Man and The Wasp in Quantumania review: Marvel kick off Phase 5 with an energetic but uneven start

Michelle Pfeiffer and Jonathan Majors shine despite a frustratingly uneven script.

By Joey Passmore

Ant-Man and The Wasp in Quantumania (Image: Disney)
Ant-Man and The Wasp in Quantumania (Image: Disney)

Kicking off their 2023 slate as well as Marvel’s newest phase, Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania was promised to be an important piece of the future puzzle. This adventure begins with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) or Ant-Man as we know him getting sucked into the Quantum Realm with The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and the rest of the Pym family. Inside of the Quantum Realm, Quantumania introduces us to Marvel’s newest big bad – Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), who we were briefly introduced to a version of in Disney +’s Loki. But is this really the essential viewing that it’s said to be?

For a sense of getting to know Kang, his motives, the lore that surrounds him as well as getting a taste of what the Avengers might have to face up against in the coming movies, it does feel like we’re gearing up to something exciting. Kang is clearly going to make for an exciting successor to Thanos as Majors delivers every line of the dialogue with a frighteningly charismatic malice, which is quite the accomplishment given the script is overall…not great.

After the tight writing on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it’s disappointing to see Quantumania venture straight back into Thor: Love & Thunder lows of silliness, though more jokes do thankfully land here. Things pick up in the second half when we get more scenes with Kang as well as Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne. Paul Rudd is as charming as ever, but though she hasn’t had a chance to shine up until now, it really is Pfeiffer who does most of the heavy lifting in terms of her fellow protagonists. Unfortunately, newcomer Kathryn Newton as the grown up Cassie Lang (Ant-Man’s daughter) fails to leave much of an impression and while Lilly has some brief moments is ultimately given very little to do as The Wasp this time round. 

But the most unforgivable character choice and possibly the worst aspect of the whole movie is side-villain MODOK, who we saw a brief glimpse of in the trailer. Without giving too much away MODOK will go down as one of the most baffling choices Marvel has made in a while and it really does a disservice to the great work done with Kang, especially in scenes they share together.

While the VFX isn’t bad, Quantumania loses a lot of what makes Ant-Man Ant-Man, with very little set around the usual streets of San Francisco and instead we get a gorgeous but ultimately forgettable green screen affair that has very little that makes it uniquely Ant-Man or even Quantum Realm feeling and could have been placed in Doctor Strange, Guardians of the GalaxyThor or even Star Wars.

Ultimately, it’s an easy enough watch and there is some great stuff here, but it’s also frustratingly difficult to ignore the bad. If you’re a fan of the MCU, it’s worth watching for Pfeiffer and Kang alone as well as two very exciting post-credits scenes.

Rating: 3/5

Ant-Man and The Wasp in Quantumania is in cinemas 17 February.