A Small Addition to the MCU

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” a gradual start to phase five of MCU


Courtesy: Disney

Movie poster for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”

Delaney Cram, Editor

  Since “Ant-Man” first debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2015, the small superhero has had an ironically small fanbase. Compared with the clashing titans that dominate the MCU, Scott Lang’s alter ego just never seemed to hold up as well. He wasn’t one of the comic book heroes that children idolized before Disney started weeping obscure superhero films, and he didn’t make the same splash that other initially lesser-known superheroes did, like Black Panther or the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ant-Man’s inclusion in movies like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Endgame” was fun and brought about some much-needed comic relief in those heavier films, but making a full movie around the comic relief character tends not to work out as much, which is why I think “Ant-Man” as a franchise within a franchise has not been overwhelmingly popular. That being said, the writers of the first two movies seemed to understand this dilemma, and they leaned into it, keeping the movies relatively light and fun and good for the character they were portraying. That being said, my excitement for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania” was muted, seeing this movie as little more than a stepping stone to my anticipation for “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3” which will be premiering on May 5. 

  This film was exactly what I expected, if I’m being honest. After seeing the trailers, I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen, and the actual movie didn’t leave any surprises. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing: the concept of the film’s setting was creative and unique, and the cast was great, particularly with Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) and Cassie (played by Kathryn Newton) navigating their new father-daughter relationship after Scott was absent for five years. However, there was something that was missing from the series usual tone, and it wasn’t until after watching the film that I realized how this third installment differed from the movies preceding it. The first two movies are largely the comic relief of the entire MCU. The stakes are small and mostly focused on personal dramas between Scott and Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly). Most of the action in “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” consisted of various “heists” rather than all-out battles, and characters like Luis (played by Michael Peña) bringing a levity to events with a unique way of giving flashbacks. Unfortunately, this is not the same format that “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania” chooses to go with. In fact, Luis does not appear in the film at all. While there are other moments of comedy and new comedic characters, the film seems to have changed drastically from what the “Ant-Man” series was. It isn’t necessarily bad, but it was certainly jarring. 

  It almost seems incorrect to think of the three Ant-Man movies as its own series. After all, Ant-Man as a character also makes appearances in other MCU movies and the events that occur in this film in particular are impacted by the events that happened in other MCU films. The MCU is so popular because of how comprehensive it is, how, like the comic books that preceded it, it melds every character’s story together, truly making it its own universe. However, as more films have continued to be made, it has made it more difficult for someone to stumble across the MCU. Though “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania” is the third film in the “Ant-Man” series, it is the thirty-first film in the MCU. And as the lore of the universe has only expanded, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up. With this third installment of Ant-Man’s story, we are now fully immersed in the Multiverse Saga, where not only is it necessary for one to have an at least background knowledge of the main events in the Infinity Saga, but one also has to be familiar with MCU series released on Disney+, like “WandaVision” and “Loki” which deal heavily with the multiverse. While for this particular film, one doesn’t have to be an expert on either of the aforementioned shows, it does enhance one’s understanding of the more minor plot points. I love the MCU and I love the incredibly creative universe that it continues to expand. But, I can’t help but wonder how sustainable this will be, continuously expecting movie-goers to have seen so much content beforehand, even to films traditionally more light-hearted like “Ant-Man.” 

  This movie had some good moments. The world-building was immersive and fascinating, and the characters were loveable. It just felt like it was missing some vital part to it. If I had to really pin it down, I would say that some of the emotion was lost. But, for Marvel fans, I suspect we will be getting plenty of emotion and then some from the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3.”