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'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania': Trailer, Plot, Cast, Reviews, Release Date

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure has had mixed reviews as Paul Rudd's Ant-Man takes on Jonathan Majors, who's the new MCU supervillain Kang.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
5 min read

Marvel's littlest hero is back on the big screen. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it scurries into theaters Friday, Feb. 17.

Quantumania is the third solo outing for Paul Rudd's size-changing hero Scott Lang, following 2015's Ant-Man and 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp. It's the 31st MCU film overall, but more importantly, it's the first installment in the MCU's Phase 5, introducing some huge changes in the Marvel movie series.

The trailer (above) reveals a high-stakes battle between Scott and the MCU's new major antagonist Kang, played by Jonathan Majors. Here's everything you need to know about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, including release date, cast, plot and trailers.

What do the reviews say?

In my Quantumania review for CNET, I welcomed the breezily bizarre return of Ant-Man, whose main superpower is "Paul Rudd's outsize charm, and whose main weakness is that everybody's always belittling him -- even the creators of his own movie."

The film currently has a score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and 49 on Metacritic, which means critics were roughly split down the middle about whether they liked the film or not. That's possibly a bit harsh for this solidly midtier Marvel movie, which loses some of the spark of the earlier Ant-films but is still more watchable than the ponderous Eternals or frustratingly flippant Thor: Love and Thunder

What's the Ant-Man: Quantumania release date?

Ant-Man 3 hit theaters Friday, Feb. 17.

Quantumania is the first major blockbuster to arrive in theaters in 2023. It's also the biggest blockbuster to tackle the smash hit success of Avatar: The Way of Water, which premiered in December and was only just dethroned by M Night Shyamalan's relatively lower-budget Knock at the Cabin. With Ant-Man's muted reception from critics, Quantumania may struggle to get anywhere near Avatar's success.

It's far too early to know when Quantumania will arrive on streaming service Disney Plus. But the the wait for Marvel films to stream is getting longer, so it'll be a while before the new Ant-Man adventure joins Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the rest of the Marvel movies and TV shows on Disney Plus.

Who's in the Ant-Man 3 cast?

Returning director Peyton Reed once again recruits Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, whose parents are played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas.

David Dastmalchian also returns, although he may be playing a different character than he did in the first two Ant-films. Lang's daughter Cassie is played by Kathryn Newton, star of Big Little Lies, Freaky, Pokémon Detective Pikachu and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Also starring are William Jackson Harper, Katy O'Brian and Bill Murray. Yes, that Bill Murray.

Scott, Cassie and Hope stand on a bridge and stare at something in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Scott, Cassie and Hope face a quantum realm threat in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Marvel Studios

What's the plot?

Having rescued Janet van Dyne from the quantum realm in the previous Ant-Man and the Wasp film, the Ant-gang ventures back into the itty-bitty teeny-tiny universe. This time Cassie is along for the ride, as Scott tries to regain the time he lost with his troubled teenage daughter. As seen in the trailer, he makes a deal with the evil Kang -- which goes horribly wrong, of course. 

Who's the bad guy?

Jonathan Majors follows his appearance in the final episode of Disney Plus Marvel series Loki, playing the villainous Kang. He may already have appeared as Kang, but this is a different version of the character: the Kang we met in Loki was a being called He-Who-Remains, who kept the universe from splitting into infinite parallel timelines, aka the Multiverse. Loki's interference saw the return of these parallel universes, and we saw the consequences in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The new film also features a first MCU appearance for MODOK, a comic character who goes by the name Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. A sort of cyborg brain, he's previously appeared in a Hulu comedy animated series, voiced by Patton Oswalt, and in the 2020 Avengers game. In Quantumania, MODOK is played by Corey Stoll, who previously played the bad guy Yellowjacket in the first Ant-Man film.

It isn't clear how MODOK or Kang wound up in the quantum realm, but it looks like this is just the start for the MCU's new big bad. The character who would become Kang was first seen in the Marvel comic Fantastic Four #19 in 1963, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Initially a criminal from the far future who traveled back in time and conquered ancient Egypt, he was later seen in further comics in which he was named Kang the Conqueror. His unchecked time traveling created many different versions of the character, and in the post-Multiverse Phase 5 MCU movies we're also definitely going to see more of him.

Does Quantumania have a post-credits scene?

Of course! There are two, and for once they actually set up the continuation of the MCU saga rather than introducing a slightly silly celebrity cameo. Find out more about Quantumania's mid-credits and post-credits scenes [with spoilers].

What's the book?

The film sees Scott Lang write a memoir of how he went from petty thief to world-famous superhero -- and the book is real! Titled Look Out for the Little Guy, it's available to preorder now (but doesn't come out until September, by which point the joke probably won't be funny anymore).

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer

Here's the first trailer, released in October, which opens with a more familiar Ant-Man comedic tone.

The second trailer, released in January, was a darker affair that emphasized the drama and adventure.

First reactions

Full reviews are out now, but initial reactions praised the film's weirdness and the magnetic performance from Majors.

Several critics agreed the film was a bit messy, including CNET's own Sean Keane who took a more measured view of the film.

What's next for the MCU?

We know Kang will be a major antagonist -- like Thanos before him -- because Phase 5 is building to a movie called Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in 2025.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Marvels come out in theaters this summer. And at some point this year, Loki season 2 will stream on Disney plus.

Here's the full list of the rest of Phase 5, from Quantumania to the next few years of theatrical movies and streaming series.

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

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