Jonathan Majors Towers Over a Tiny MCU Film in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Jonathan Majors Towers Over a Tiny MCU Film in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ...

Peyton Reed's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania" is the 31st Marvel Cinematic Universe film, the third standalone "Ant-Man" feature, and the first film in what is billed as the MCU's "Phase Five." And, of course, for Marvel fans to truly enjoy (or, really, to fully appreciate) what's at play in Reed's film, they must also be familiar with the brand's extensive television offerings.

All of this is tempered.

“Quantumania,” which is the first film in Phase Five, is hardly permitted to be its own thing, because it’s also tasked with introducing the big bad that will reign over the franchise for the foreseeable future. (Ants!)

Jonathan Majors, the rising star of "Quantumania," is full of genuine emotion, suffering, and fear, even if the most experienced MCU scholars will be confused by what exactly his Kang the Conquerer wants and, uh, is. However, watching Majors' Kang against Rudd's Scott Lang (AKA Ant-Man), his iron-willed partner (Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne), and his parents (Michael Douglas as Hank Py

Quantumania: "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

Jay Maidment is a well-known Canadian comedian.

Reed's film begins with a flashback that takes place before the movie "Ant-Man and the Wasp" (yes, you read that correctly), landing us in the Quantum Realm back when Janet was still stuck there. In our current timeline, Janet is back with her family after spending more than 30 years down in the QR, but she's barely told them about her experience.

The QR is, after all, a cool place? In the previous film "Ant-Man," other MCU artwork has suggested it's a brain-breaking hellhole, but here it appears to be colorful and trippy. Janet's little homestead soon becomes joined by an unexpected visitor: a nameless guy (Majors).

Cassie is a youngster who was recently imprisoned and is deeply interested in the Pym Particles' future.

Quantumania: "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

Marvel Studios' Courtesy

Cassie has built a tiny telescope that can communicate with the Quantum Realm, which is, as soon as Janet is horrified, a deadly one. The five people who are involved in the Quantum Realm, plus Hank's latest batch of super-smart ants, are destroyed and sucked into the Quantum Realm via Cassie's machine.

Loveness makes use of the QR-sucking to split the group — Cassie and Scott meet each other, the ants go out to See You in the Third Act, and Hope, Hank, and Janet are swiftly reunited — a clever way to cover a lot of ground and give everyone something to do. However, the world isn't enthralling or funny enough to keep our attention.

Scott and Cassie meet a group of QR refugees — why they exist is a separate story for another time, or another film — who include warrior Jentorra (Katy O'Brian), mindreader Quaz (William Jackson Harper) and jelly-bellied alien Veb (David Dastmalchian). Elsewhere, Janet's return to the Quantum Realm is met with joy (she seems very popular with some of the koo

Janet, what's the deal?

Quantumania, "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

Marvel Studios' Courtesy

Janet left the QR earlier, and we're told, she also left a massive rebellion against the evil Kang that —maybe? — she accidentally helped start in the first place. The final scenes of the film, however, are all lurching exposition (although the film could use a lot more informative exposition) as the groups battle their way to an all-star confrontation with Kang that will determine what happens to not only the QR, but the multiverse as a whole.

Kang is a formidable villain who delivers a stunning performance as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most terrifying bad guy to date. (The actor has already signed on for at least two additional MCU films, although we will not release them until two films into Phase Six.) It's so widespread that every iteration of Kang across the multiverse is focused on the same thing: conquering and cruelty.

Quantumania, "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

Jay Maidment has appeared in a number of films.

Is this Kang's iteration? It's a bit heartbreaking. Flashbacks showing him as a complicated character capable of great empathy and intelligence, but when past Janet discovers who he is, it's clear he cannot ever be released upon the proper sized world again. It's also the sort of mismatched sensibility that's inevitable when a franchise must consider the next seven (seven!) films.

There isn't much entertainment for everyone when Reed and Rudd and their crew dig into what makes Ant-Man so enthralling, because there's plenty of small-scale entertainment to be had. Not every superheroic adventure needs to be about the universe's fate — or, as this current series of MCU clips demonstrates, the entire multiverse — but as long as this franchise demands everything at once, the small, silly, sweet, and inventive film that "Quantumania" might have been would cease

On Friday, February 17, Walt Disney Pictures will release "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" in theaters.