The MCU has had a tough 2023. There have been highs with the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Loki season 2, as well as the very low low of Secret Invasion. Somewhere in between those is where you’ll find Ant-Man 3. It’s fair to say that fans had little mania for Quantumania, but there’s one small shift that could’ve fixed everything – probably.
Quantumania took the MCU right into the depths of the Quantum Realm, with the core Ant-Man cast all present and correct. As we wrote in our Ant-Man 3 review, it’s a movie “that’s too concerned about the future to deliver in the moment”. But it could have been a bit different if it had chosen to focus on one of its other MCU characters: Janet Van Dyne.
“Scott Lang is not the main character of the movie. Michelle Pffeifer’s character should have been, and technically is,” wrote Marvel fan Aion2099 on Reddit. It might seem harsh to knock People’s Sexiest Man Alive (2021) off his perch, but there’s definitely some truth in what Aion2099 has to say.
“The movie would have made a lot more sense, if the whole story was told from her perspective. But they had to have Ant-Man be the main character in his own movie, so it kind of got shoehorned in to be his story, when it’s really not. That’s why there seems to be no lesson for him at the end of the movie, and why his motivations seem so weak.”
There’s certainly an issue with focus in Quantumania, which is very busy establishing stories for Marvel’s Phase 5, while also attempting to give Scott enough to do and tell a coherent story. Shifting the focus to Janet and her prior experience in the Quantum Realm would definitely have solved that problem, putting the spotlight on her and her relationship with one of the most terrifying Marvel villains, Kang.
As with so many of the new movies and Marvel series we’ve seen this year, Ant-Man 3 was caught between two needs. But it pushed too far in the direction of setting the table for the upcoming Marvel movies, sacrificing its own story in the process.
Perhaps we’ll get a definitive Janet Van Dyne movie one day. With one of the best actors of the 20th century on board in Pfeiffer, it makes a lot of sense to give her some room to shine. Now that could be one of the best superhero movies ever.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to get excited about, with Deadpool 3 coming in 2024 and some mouth-watering movies on the way as part of Marvel Phase 6. We’ll have our work cut out keeping the Marvel movies in order guide up to date.
For more on the best movies in the MCU, find out how Chris Hemsworth made Paul Rudd rethink his life choices while making Avengers Endgame and read our The Marvels review.