“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” is the foundational installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Phase 5, spearheading the beginning of the sequel to the critically acclaimed Infinity Saga. Following the relatively poor reception of Phase 4, has the film begun the new phase with a bang?

“Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” is the sequel to 2018’s “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” which earned $622.7 million at the box office five years ago. The film sets off after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” which took place chronologically in the year 2023. Our hero, Scott Lang, played by award-winning actor and comedian Paul Rudd, has been busy after helping to revive half of the universe and subsequently protecting the world from the mad titan himself: 2014’s version of Thanos.

However, Lang has been busy doing everything but superhero-ing. He is enjoying his life as a celebrity, traveling and signing autographs. Subsequently, his inaction as a superhero has caused friction with his daughter, who he hardly recognizes, given he was stuck in the Quantum Realm during the five-year time-skip between “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

The trailers promised a thrilling ride through the mysterious and foreign Quantum Realm while our heroes attempt to find their way back home, and they delivered greatly on said promise. In all honesty, the diverse characters and scenes are heavily inspired by the Star Wars franchise. Many of the characters are uniquely designed to resemble, well, aliens and monsters. Not in your typically green martian kind of way, but the film does a great job of immersing you into a whole other reality with just the character designs alone.

Lang and company find themselves in a world where they must ask themselves their own tough questions and find themselves the answers. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without the big bad himself, Kang the Conqueror.

Jonathan Majors reprises his role as He Who Remains; more specifically, a variant of He Who Remains. If you’re not quite sure who this character is, check out the Loki show on Disney+.

In this film, Majors plays the variant Kang the Conqueror, a cosmic warlord bent on multiversal conquest. To be blunt, Majors steals the show in virtually every scene he is in. The emotion, facial expressions, as well as the clear internal and external anguish he puts on display left me invested in this character’s story; even though he’s the villain fighting against not just our heroes, but the multiverse as well. While watching I genuinely felt that this truly is a conqueror who was willing to do whatever it took to win. His chilling backstory with Janet van Dyne, mother to the Wasp in Hope Pym, acts as a driving force to the narrative as well, which reinforces the tough decisions our characters must make as they traverse the Quantum Realm.

Although the film is very entertaining with a masterful cast, it isn’t without flaws. Most of the film entails masterful CGI, at least compared to previous films’ rushed CGI. However, there are points throughout the film where the CGI looks rushed and even cartoonish. Marvel has gotten their fair share of criticism over the years following their tight schedules and abundance of projects affecting CGI quality, but this film is a step in the right direction.

Viewers will also notice that the plot itself is relatively simple as well. So, if you’re a lover of complex narratives, this film may leave you wanting more. The film is meant to further the story of Ant-Man and his family of superheroes, but ultimately, the film is meant to set up the future of the new saga within the MCU. So, make sure to stick around for the mid and post-credit scenes.

Kang, or variants of Kang, are set up as key players in the future of the MCU. I for one am excited to see more of Jonathan Majors and what other variants he’ll be able to masterfully portray. Don’t think this is another MCU story where the villain dies and that’s all she wrote, Kang’s story is just beginning. 

Overall, I believe the film has sufficed as a steppingstone into the next saga of the MCU. It isn’t the best, but out of the three “Ant-Man” films, it’s definitely the most important. Perhaps you’ll feel the same, or like some major critics, you won’t. You’ll never know until you take your journey into the Quantum Realm.