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How Ant-Man 3 Became the Most Important Marvel Movie Since Endgame

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How Ant-Man 3 Became the Most Important Marvel Movie Since Endgame

Here Comes Kang

Firstly, there’s the introduction, proper, of Kang the Conqueror. Before Thanos snapped half the universe away, no one really had any expectations of Marvel’s villains. If anything, Marvel villains were a bit of a joke. Only a few, namely Loki and Killmonger, had any lasting impact on audiences. Now we’re craving another huge threat to tie the MCU’s disparate threads together, and with the next Avengers movie subtitled The Kang Dynasty, there’s no guesswork required when working out who that threat will be.

A Variant of Kang, He Who Remains, was first introduced in Loki, although Quantumania will be the first time Kang himself acts as a true adversary. You have to wonder whether Kang’s power levels will suffer should Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne do some serious damage to the time-traveler—which really begs the question: Is Ant-Man, as the somber trailers have hinted,going to die? Whatever the case, Quantumania will undoubtedly play a huge part in setting up The Kang Dynasty (both have been written by Rick and Morty alumni Jeff Loveness), and that makes Quantumania wildly important to the overarching MCU story. 

And Kang’s not the only new person being introduced in Quantumania. Characters played by Bill Murray, William Jackson Harper, and Katy O’Brian will have their moments while Quantumania also marks our first proper foray into the weird, psychedelic Quantum Realm, a world that could prove a lucrative new playground for future Marvel stories.

“It was a massive world-building endeavor, figuring out the laws of physics, the looks of these environments, the ecosystems, the creatures and sentient beings down there,” Reed told Total Film. “It’s just teeming with life and civilization, but [it] also has politics and oppression.”

Getting the Ant-Family Back Together

However, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s not just about beginnings. We’ve had two Ant-Man movies before, and there’s a story to continue. Janet van Dyne, Hank Pym, and Cassie Lang are all back, along with various other minor characters from Ant-Man’s past—and one villain who’s been completely reimagined. In other words, Quantumania’s still trying to fulfill the role of sequel, keeping any Ant-Stans happy they bought a ticket to an Ant-Man movie. Altogether, Reed has a lot of juggling to do to make a coherent movie.

And, frankly, Quantumania needs to be coherent. Marvel has, by most accounts, lost a fair amount of standing with cinemagoers thanks to Phase 4. Spider-Man: No Way Home, Shang-Chi, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever were winners; Black Widow, Eternals, and Thor: Love & Thunder proved tougher challenges for some audiences and critics. Meanwhile Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness played like Marmite; you love it or you hate it. Whether the scattershot quality will damage the brand in the long-term remains to be seen, but should Quantumania prove a dud, it’s another strike against Marvel right as it’s trying to start a clean slate. And at what point, after a few missed shots, will people stop watching?

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