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12 Sci-Fi Movies About Fantastic Realms To Watch After Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania

Clouded by director drama and famously derided by Zack Snyder as a "flavor of the week" in a 2017 interview, Marvel's "Ant-Man" franchise has nonetheless proven to have some serious staying power. Following two movies of his own and a major role in "Avengers: Endgame," Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) returns with his partner Hope (Evangeline Lilly) in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." 

But unlike the first two more modest installments, "Quantumania" takes the heroes into the depths of the fantastical quantum realm, where an entirely new and different world resides, populated by strange creatures and bizarre new allies and enemies. From there, the astonishing Ant-Man and the winsome Wasp encounter one of Marvel's most formidable villains, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), and must decide whether to aid his schemes in an effort to escape back to their own world.

If you've been amazed by "Quantumania" and the incredible, other-worldly places it's taken you to, here are a few more films to keep you in that small-minded, science fiction headspace. Get ready for a trip through time, space, and other dimensions — below are a dozen movies that explore fantastic realms in the spirit of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." 

12. Tron: Legacy (2010)

If you want to adventure into another unknown realm where few have tread, "Tron: Legacy" should be up first in your queue. Though it serves as a direct sequel to the iconic 1982 Disney adventure "Tron," it stands well enough on its own, where more modern VFX bring the digital frontier into the 21st century. It also stars Garrett Hedlund, reportedly a contender for the role of Captain America in the MCU before Chris Evans landed it.

Here Hedlund stars as Sam Flynn, whose father was a video game designer in the 1980s who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. When Sam learns that his father has spent all these years trapped inside the world of his video game "Tron," he too is pulled in, discovering an entire virtual world unlike anything he could ever imagine. Allied with a strange woman named Quorra (Olivia Wilde), Sam must seek out his father and help start a revolution, coming into conflict with a dangerous digital dad doppelganger who rules the realm, as well as the man who was once its greatest hero, now corrupted.

Captivating visuals, jaw-dropping action, and stirring adventure add up to one of the best legacy sequels in recent memory. Though it failed to ignite the new trilogy that had been hoped for, a third installment was announced in 2020 starring Jared Leto.

11. Annihilation (2018)

A team of scientists working together to traverse a mysterious, other-worldly realm filled with danger and death around every corner? Check. A trio of MCU favorites? Again, check. It all adds up to "Annihilation," a psychological horror film from writer/director Alex Garland, which in some ways is what you get if you infuse "Quantumania" with some cerebral sci-fi weirdness. The follow-up to Garland's 2014 Oscar Isaac-starring A.I. hit "Ex Machina," this one stars Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, with Isaac in a supporting role.

The film begins in the wake of the disappearance of Kane (Isaac), a scientist and military vet who had gone on a special ops mission, never to return. But when he suddenly reemerges under suspicious circumstances and begins suffering from a mysterious illness, his wife Lena (Portman) is determined to find answers. Learning about Kane's original mission, Lena recruits a team of highly-trained specialists to explore a region known as "The Shimmer" — an unexplained phenomenon that has been left at the site of a meteor strike and has been growing ever since.

A terrifying story that's full of equal parts adventure, wonder and high concept horror that defies the imagination, "Annihilation" explores the human condition as much as its fantastic realm. One of the biggest surprises of 2018, many underestimated it because it went direct-to-Netflix in many territories; it turned out to be one of the most stunning sci-fi journeys of the decade.

10. Inception (2010)

There are multiple Christopher Nolan films that would appeal to fans of "Quantumania" (including the outer-space epic "Interstellar"), but only this 2010 Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer takes its heroes into a fantastic realm of imagination. This time, imagination is literal, as Nolan crafts a breathtaking science fiction story that takes its heroes inside people's dreams. Despite taking place firmly on Earth, the world within the mind is full of spellbinding visuals to rival the Quantum Realm.

In the film, DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb, a covert operative who specializes in entering people's dreams to steal information. Typically hired for corporate espionage, he's on the run from authorities, framed for the murder of his wife; when a wealthy client comes forward with a daring and dangerous new mission (invade the dreams of his biggest rival not to steal information, but to plant an idea into his mind), he can't pass up the opportunity. If he can pull it off, Cobb's criminal record will be erased, and he'll be able to return to his family. Assembling a crack team, Cobb hatches an ingenious plan — but if it goes wrong, he could forever lose his very grip on reality.

Like "Quantumania," Cobb and his team are on a mission to another world — this one, a world of dreams where anything can happen. But once again, stunning twists and heartbreaking revelations leave our heroes scrambling to escape before all is lost.

9. The Cell (2000)

If you're up for something a little darker, a little more sinister, and far more twisted, track down "The Cell." If you're at all familiar with this one it's probably because it starred Jennifer Lopez just a few years after her breakout performance in "Selena." This 2000 sci-fi thriller was written by first-time screenwriter Mark Protosevich ("I Am Legend") and was the debut directorial effort for Tarsem Singh ("Immortals"). 

Lopez stars as Catherine Deane, a psychologist who works with a revolutionary new technology that allows her to enter the mind of coma victims to help them return to consciousness. But when Deane's work is discovered by FBI agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn), she is enlisted to help in his desperate search for a kidnapped woman. Her new mission: to enter the mind of serial killer Carl Rudolph Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio) and uncover the location of his latest victim, who has been trapped in a death chamber at an undisclosed location. But inside Stargher's mind, Deane finds terrifying traps and unimaginable horrors that will stop at nothing to prevent her from getting the information she needs.

A mind-bending suspense thriller that goes further than "Inception," it might not be the epic adventure of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," but it may leave you questioning your own reality. A film that has only gotten better with age, it received four stars from Roger Ebert, who called it "one of the best films of the year."

8. Tomorrowland (2015)

Disney and director Brad Bird attempted a big screen adaptation of the sci-fi-themed park "Tomorrowland" in 2019. Though there's no shrinking and no dreamscapes here, it does take its heroes into a wondrous realm far beyond the confines of the ordinary world. Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, and Kathryn Hahn, the film explores a startling parallel realm where even the smallest of actions could have dire consequences for our own reality.

The flick introduces Casey Newton (Robertson), a young girl out to locate the fabled realm of Tomorrowland. She eventually gets the help of the disillusioned Frank (Clooney), who had lived in this futuristic parallel world years before; when they find it, they discover that the fantastic, once-idyllic land is beginning to crumble. As they learn of its connection to their own world, they must save it by embracing hope and optimism for their own future.

A story about saving the world through another dimension, with consequences that shatter the mind, "Tomorrowland" has more in common with the "Ant-Man" threequel than you might think. Meeting with a lackluster box office and some mediocre reviews, it may just be one of the most underrated movies of recent years. It's clever story and dizzying visuals of a far-out futurist dimension, like the Quantum Realm, will leave you breathless.

7. Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Incredible shrinking explorers are nothing new in fiction; there were plenty of films featuring pint-sized adventurers before "Ant-Man." What's amazing, however, is that it's taken three films for the Marvel superhero to actually explore the microscopic world, and now that it has, comparisons can be made to one of the most legendary sci-fi adventures of the 1960s: Richard Fleischer's Hugo Award-winning "Fantastic Voyage." 

Like "Ant-Man," the adventurers in "Fantastic Voyage" take a journey down in size, but here it's for a desperate rescue mission of sorts. Set during the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, a Russian agent who has perfected shrinking technology defects to the United States, but is mortally wounded in the process. To save him, a team of scientists led by Navy captain Bill Owens (William Redfield) gathers a team of experts that includes a pair of doctors (Art Kennedy and Donald Pleasance) and a nurse (Raquel Welch) to shrink down to subatomic scale, using a military submarine to enter the defector's body and save his life from within.

Once inside, the team faces unexpected threats from the body's defenses, and the knowledge that one of their own party may be an enemy saboteur. A truly inspiring adventure and gripping thriller, "Fantastic Voyage" became a sci-fi classic that Variety called a "an entertaining, enlightening excursion through inner space."

6. Coraline (2009)

Should you be looking for a sci-fi/fantasy film with an incredible realm at the center of its story, you might want to check out "Coraline." It may lack the PG-13 thrills and deadly dangers of Kang the Conqueror in "Quantumania," but the fanciful quest that forms the heart of "Coraline" will instill the same sense of awe and imagination. Plus, written by the legendary Neil Gaiman, creator of DC's "The Sandman" and Marvel's "1602," it has a comic book luminary behind it.

A stop-motion animated film, "Coraline" follows the adventures of a little girl who doesn't get enough attention from her parents. When they move her to a new town she struggles to fit in, but her fortunes take a turn when she receives a magical doll from a new neighbor. This doll introduces her to a fantastical parallel world very much like her own, but with a number of strange, startling differences. Her Other Parents there have button-eyes like her doll, and they are far more attentive, giving her the love she so desperately craves. But when she refuses a disturbing offer to live there forever, Coraline realizes things aren't what they seem, and her Other Mother has sinister designs on her own world.

With some of the most charming animation you've ever seen, and a roster of talented voice actors including Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Keith David, and Ian McShane, "Coraline" delights. While you might think you're craving an over-the-top sci-fi superhero adventure, it's the perfect film for the littles to watch with you.

5. Avatar (2009)

Given that it's the highest grossing film of all time, there's a fair chance you've already seen James Cameron's 2009 masterpiece. But if you haven't, consider it on any shortlist of films to watch after finishing the third "Ant-Man" film. While you won't be able to see it in the original 3D format as it was intended, it's so much more than that a goggle-requiring gimmick. Even without the so-close-you-can-touch-it technology, the film's dizzying VFX immerses audiences in the world of Pandora, one of the most fantastical realms ever dreamt up at the movies.

On the distant alien world, a peace-loving people called the Na'vi know nothing of war, greed, or avarice. But when their lush realm is invaded by a sinister group of corporate mercenaries intent on mining their planet of its resources, the Na'vi are forced to defend their home. One of the soldiers, a paraplegic named Jake Sully, comes to understand the Na'vi and finds an appreciation for their humble way of life. Defying orders, Sully joins with the people of Pandora to repel a military invasion.

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, "Avatar" raked in an eye-watering $2.7 billion in its initial run. Though it took a decade for the sequel, "Avatar: the Way of Water" to materialize, a third and fourth film could be on their way sooner than later

4. Chaos Walking (2021)

While "Ant-Man and the Wasp" featured Scott Lang and his family taking an epic sojourn through an other-worldly realm hidden within our own, "Chaos Walking" took audiences somewhere a bit different. 

In this Doug Liman film, audiences are introduced to a fantastic world in the far future, one ravaged by disease and death, and plagued by nearly supernatural phenomena. In this place called New World, women are extinct and the surviving men are afflicted with The Noise — a curse that allows all living things to hear each other's thoughts.

In this New World, the people are embroiled in a great war, fought against a group of alien beings called the Spackle. In Prentisstown we meet Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland), a young man who comes upon a strange person named Viola (Daisy Ridley): she is a woman, something Todd has never seen before. It quickly becomes clear that Viola is being hunted, and it's up to Todd to keep her safe, but their travels lead to a shocking revelation that forces him to question everything about the world he knows.

A dystopian tale with a rich history and deep lore, "Chaos Walking" may sometimes feel like a sequel to a movie that hasn't been made yet. But thanks to charming performances from Ridley and Holland — plus Mads Mikkelson and David Oyelowo — the film presents a fully immersive, inventive world unlike any other.

3. Jupiter Ascending (2015)

If there's anyone who can craft an imaginative realm, it's the Wachowskis — masterminds behind one of the most groundbreaking, watershed sci-fi tales of the modern era. But while "The Matrix" took audiences into a simulated reality, "Jupiter Ascending" is an odyssey into the unknown reaches of the cosmos. Led by an ordinary young woman thrust neck deep into alien realms, the film is a spectacle as awe-inspiring as their best work, even if it never reached the same cultural impact.

Starring Mila Kunis ("That '70s Show"), "Jupiter Ascending" begins on Earth, where a young Chicagoan named Jupiter Jones becomes the target of interstellar hunters. But when she's rescued by an alien soldier named Caine (Channing Tatum), she's whisked away to a far-off world where she learns that she is actually a member of an ancient royal alien bloodline, and gifted with incredible powers she never knew. But the secret to her ancestry also reveals dark secrets, and a hidden Earth history that makes her home planet the target of intergalactic warlords.

Filled with social allegory, "Jupiter Ascending" is so much more than just a fast-paced outer space adventure. It's also a stinging critique of capitalism and consumerism, exploring the depths of mankind's worse impulses. Though it didn't light up the box office, the film is nothing less than an all-out sci-fi extravaganza, and while it's not going to win any awards, it's non-stop fun from start to finish.

2. MirrorMask (2005)

If you've seen "Quantumania," "Coraline" and some of the other more well-known similar sci-fi, perhaps its time to hunt down the surreal mind-trip that is Neil Gaiman's "MirrorMask," a movie directed by artist Dave McKean. The film stars Stephanie Leonidas, years before her leading role in the sci-fi drama "Defiance," and features the creative effects work of the Jim Henson Company.

Also focused on a young girl, this time it is Helena Campbell (Leonidas), the member of a circus family, who wants nothing more than a simple, ordinary life. When her mother is stricken with a serious medical condition, Helena goes on a literal guilt trip, waking up in a strange, other-worldly realm. There Helena meets bizarre figures, some of whom resemble people from the real world, including her parents. She is tasked with retrieving a magical relic called the MirrorMask that is said to be able to wake the Queen of Light, who lies in an unending slumber. Forced to face an army of deadly shadows that threaten to consume the land, Helena teams up with a juggler named Valentine to see the quest done.

With abstract visual splendor and a haunting story that mixes elements of "The Wizard of Oz" and "Labyrinth," Gaiman's dark fantasy transports the audience into another world. Though it received little attention on its release, it's been a cult favorite for years, rediscovered in the wake of the success of "Coraline."  

1. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

If there's any movie that will remind you of "Quantumania" from visuals alone, it might be "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets." With a pair of young heroes in advanced space suits on a journey to a far-reaching realm, it has much in common with the MCU threequel in story, look and feel. It also shares its comic book roots, as it is based on a French series called "Valerian and Laureline" by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres.

Directed by visionary filmmaker Luc Besson — whose previous sci-fi favorites included "The Fifth Element" and "Lucy" — this 2017 space adventure is a sprawling epic starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevigne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, and Ethan Hawke. Set in the distant 28th century, it details a massive city called Alpha where people from a thousand worlds all live together, watched over by the United Human Federation. But a mission to locate a rare device sets Major Valerian (DeHaan) and his best soldier, Sergeant Laureline (Delevigne) on a collision course with a deadly new enemy who threatens galactic peace.

A movie whose best moments are found in its boundless imagination, "Valerian" may be the wildest ride you'll take after "Quantumania." Packed from beginning to end with stunning alien vistas and truly alien worlds, it's a trip through space and time that assaults the senses.