Marvel movies are often defined by their antagonists. Do you remember Thanos? Of course, you know, his terrifying purple mug made Avengers: Endgame impossible to overlook. But what about Ivan Vanko from Iron Man 2? No, neither do we. In Captain Marvel, who is Yon-Rogg? Completely forgettable.
The point is, if you’re producing a comic book blockbuster and want to compete with James Cameron at the box office, you need a solid baddie. Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania features one of the best in Jonathan Major’s muscly behemoth Kang.
The strange and crazy realm of the Quantum Realm is the setting for Paul Rudd’s small superhero’s third excursion. Scott Lang (aka the great shrinking Ant-Man) and his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) get sucked inside after a research experiment goes awry, and they are isolated from the rest of their family.
Hope Van Dyne aka The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) is Scott’s partner, as are her physics genius parents Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).
Fortunately, Janet has been here before, having spent 30 years confined in the QR before escaping, and she warns the others of any perilous traps or alien mercenaries to avoid. What she doesn’t tell them is that Kang, a secretive, all-powerful being intent on annihilating the universe, is her nemesis.
He’s hellbent on vengeance now that she’s returned to his country, which he commands with a leather-gloved iron grip. He’s hellbent on vengeance now that she’s returned to his country, which he commands with a leather-gloved iron grip.
Any further details would be a spoiler for the film but be assured that this is top-tier MCU fare. Earlier Ant-Man flicks felt tiny compared to their larger Avengers brethren, and even director Peyton Reed confesses the action-comedies were simply “fun little palate cleansers”.
Quantumania is unique. Lang’s hallucinogenic journey is darker in tone and more meaningful to the franchise’s grand storyline, more in line with the Russo Brothers’ finale epics Infinity War and Endgame.
To begin with, there’s a lot more. The new cosmic place appears to have very few actual rules and is home to a unique collection of eccentric “quantum people” – Martians made of broccoli, Bill Murray’s terrifying space lord, a warrior who fires lasers out of his face made of stars. Can’t comprehend the regional language? Drink this gloopy extraterrestrial’s blood to become a polyglot instantaneously.
Do you have no idea how to sail a rocket ship? Connect your arms to the controllers and fly with your head. There’s more than a hint of Star Wars about the area (hello, cantina), but with enough inventiveness to keep everything new and exciting.
Also, Read Our Blooming Youth: A Beautiful Demonstration Of Female Unity Hampered By Outdated Cliches
Kang, on the other hand. Majors’ calm yet authoritative dictator dominates every scene he’s in, blessed with the capacity to bend the cosmos to his whims (“time is not what you believe it is”). Kang, like Darth Vader, has a frightening presence, whether it’s quelling opposition with a single glare or dispatching foes with a flick of the finger.
In fact, he’s so engrossing that, following his first appearance roughly halfway into Quantumania, the other characters seem less intriguing in contrast. Although Rudd and Lilly are listed first on the poster, this is unquestionably the Majors show – has Marvel found its next great villain?