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Updated: Mar 4, 2023

Phase Five of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe starts with a pleasant buzz – by being a set-up for The Avengers next major protagonist more than anything.

After the critically-divisive nature of a somewhat disjointed Phase Four, this does little to remedy that mindset, by being roughly at the same level as recent ho-hum MCU entries such as The Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder.

And with its more ‘epic’ narrative – it loses a little bit of that Ant-Man charm in the process.

Set several years after the Battle of Earth, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is co-habiting with his girlfriend Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) – happily living off the back of his Avengers memoirs.

But when it’s revealed that Scott’s political activist daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) has built a device that can make contact with the Quantum Realm, it opens up a portal that sucks all three of them – along with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) – into this subatomic universe that exists outside of space or time.

Here the pint-sized heroes encounter the ruler of the realm, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) – of which a variant of was introduced in the TV series Loki – who crossed paths with Janet, when she was lost here for thirty years.

But when Cassie gets imprisoned by Kang – whose right-hand man is Ant-Man’s arch-nemesis Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) who's been mutated into the cybernetically-enhanced MODOK – Scott is put in the unenviable position between saving his daughter, or using his ant-powers to steal the power core for the villainous warmonger.

The only problem is that if Kang gets his hands on this artefact, he’ll be able to escape the realm and wreak havoc across the universe. But with the rebels – led by freedom fighter Jentorra (Katy O’Brian) – and Pym’s army of ants on their side, the family isn’t going to go down without a fight.

And while initially the movie seems more akin to Disney’s sister franchise Star Wars – some of the alien elements simply don’t work. With its very space opera-esque setting, this does eventually evolve into a serviceable story that competently implements one of comic-book’s most well-known adversaries into the mix for forthcoming adventures.

It doesn’t really offer anything more than simplistic one-dimensional scripting and CGi-laden action set-pieces – with a few trademark noteworthy comedic interludes thrown-in – but at least ‘steadies the MCU ship’ to plant a solid flag in the ground for the next phase ahead.

But for naysayers baying for Marvel blood, they should stop making a mountain out of an ant hill – as the enigmatic Kang will make the Avengers assemble again.

ESP Rating: 3/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, David Dastmalchian, Katy O’Brian, William Jackson Harper & Bill Murray

Running Time: 2 Hrs 4 Mins

Director: Peyton Reed

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux

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