© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania' launches a new villain in Marvel's 31st movie

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The diminutive superheroes Ant-Man and the Wasp returned to theaters today in "Quantumania." For those not keeping track, this is the 31st Marvel movie and the start of the middle section of Marvel's Multiverse Saga. Critic Bob Mondello says, more interestingly, it's the start of a new villain.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, is bopping down a San Francisco street as the movie gets started, musing on his great good fortune.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

PAUL RUDD: (As Scott Lang) I used to ask myself a lot of questions. Scott, you're an ex-con. How are you an Avenger? That doesn't make sense. But everywhere I go, people tell me the same thing.

RUBEN RABASA: (As Cafe Owner) Thank you, Spider-Man.

MONDELLO: This is pleasantly self-deprecating, but also gets at something that's been bothering the insect-oriented contingent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nobody takes their guy seriously. This time, though, Lang and his family are kicking off a whole new storyline set in a place they spent the last film getting Mom back from.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

MICHELLE PFEIFFER: (As Janet Van Dyne) You know how dangerous the Quantum Realm is.

EVANGELINE LILLY: (As Hope Van Dyne) We all do, Mom. Nobody's going to the Quantum Realm.

KATHRYN NEWTON: (As Cassie Lang) That's why we made this.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS: (As Hank Pym) Your daughter built a subatomic Hubble Telescope in a basement.

MONDELLO: Mom is proud until she realizes the telescope operates more like radar, bouncing signals and reading results.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

PFEIFFER: (As Janet Van Dyne) Wait. Wait a minute. You're sending a signal down to the Quantum Realm. Turn it off now.

MONDELLO: Too late. The whole family gets sucked in. And small, as in subatomic, is about to get big, as in extravagant. Turns out Mom forgot to mention to Lang and family that she'd been interacting with a whole populated world in the Quantum Realm, multiple civilizations lorded over by a guy who tends to blast first and ask questions later. Lang, meet Kang.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

JONATHAN MAJORS: (As Kang the Conqueror) You're an Avenger. Have I killed you before?

RUDD: (As Scott Lang) What?

MAJORS: (As Kang the Conqueror) They all blur together after a while. You're not the one with the hammer.

RUDD: (As Scott Lang) That's Thor. We get confused a lot - similar body types. Who are you?

MONDELLO: He is evidently the baddest of the bad and will be for a few more films, judging from the upcoming title "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty." Thanos only wanted to destroy half the universe. Kang appears interested in exactly doubling that carnage.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

MAJORS: (As Kang the Conqueror) You will bring me what I need, or everything you call life will end.

MONDELLO: Kang is played charismatically by Jonathan Majors, who's having quite a year. He just wowed Sundance audiences as a troubled bodybuilder. He'll soon be a troubled boxer in "Creed III." And here, he's a troubled supervillain.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

MAJORS: (As Kang the Conqueror) I will take my revenge on those who banished me, and I will burn them out of time.

MONDELLO: Director Peyton Reed has surrounded him and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man family unit with lots of digitized stuff - rideable flying manta rays, a desert and cantina that, considering the filmmaker's involvement with another Disney franchise, you might call "Ant-Mandalorian" (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

DOUGLAS: (As Hank Pym) Holy [expletive]. That guy looks like broccoli.

MONDELLO: With lushly artificial-looking digital backgrounds, foregrounded, a few actors make impressions - William Jackson Harper, quirky as a mind reading empath, Michelle Pfeiffer, fiercely analytical as an exposition-spouting Mom.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA")

PFEIFFER: (As Janet Van Dyne) I can rewrite existence and shatter timelines.

MONDELLO: But as the final credits rolled through the cast, right down to Woman with Dog, I realized "Quantumania" only had about as many credited actors as credited production assistants. That feels like the wrong balance for the successor to a couple of Ant-Man flicks that were light and human Marvel palate cleansers. For series purposes, Marvel may need this to be a main course heavy with worldbuilding, but scale has a tendency to overwhelm humor. And gargantuan is rarely fun, especially if you were hoping for antic. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRISTOPHE BECK'S "THEME FROM ‘QUANTUMANIA’") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.