After the uneven highs and lows of Phase 4, Marvel is moving into Phase 5—do you ever picture Marvel’s multi-phase plan looking like a totally out of control tweet thread? Like, Phase 5/347—with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania coming in February. Last night, they dropped a new trailer during the college football playoff game, introducing the core conflict for the final chapter of the Ant-Man story, at least as far as Paul Rudd is concerned. We get to see more of Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, and it appears Scott Lang makes a fool’s bargain with an obviously evil dude in order to gain back some of the time he lost with his daughter, Cassie (played now by Kathryn Newton). This makes a lot of sense, because if you go alllll the way back to Ant-Man, Scott’s backstory is that he ended up in jail after a well-intentioned but foolishly executed Robin Hood plan after his corrupt former employer swindled customers. So, it makes sense he would do something else well-intentioned but ultimately foolish. Scott is not the smartest Avenger.


I’m a little bored of the Big Epic Dark tone of the trailer, though. Remember when the Ant-Man movies were fun little adventures in the MCU? Now, Ant-Man is saddled with setting up the “Multiverse Saga”—everything is sagas, when can we be in our Inconsequential Anecdotes Era?—which is supposed to be the next big nemesis story in the MCU. I love everything about how Majors is playing Kang, but man, Scott feels like the wrong intro character. It made sense for Loki, the cleverest semi-Avenger, to be the first character to encounter a version of Kang. Loki is all about possibility and potential, and Kang, with his understanding of the multiverse, is also about those things, so the tone and style of the intro tracks perfectly. 

Also, there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of the villain MODOK, the all-head, tiny-feet flying guy. No one knows who is voicing MODOK in live action, but speaking of fun little adventures, there is a super fun animated series on Hulu called Marvel’s MODOK in which Patton Oswalt voices MODOK, here imagined as a family man in a mid-life crisis. It’s GREAT.


I guess the point here is that Ant-Man IS overmatched, and he doesn’t necessarily have to save the whole day, just ensure “we both lose”, as he says in the trailer. But I really like the Ant-Man movies, thus far, as boppy incidental stories that play well on their own and don’t over-rely on the wider MCU lore. But we’re going full lore with this one, which is sort of a drag. SOME part of the MCU should be allowed to exist just as a fun side quest that doesn’t have to serve Big Lore.