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Ant-Man 3 Shows That Time In The Quantum Realm Is Not As Linear As Seemed In Avengers: Endgame

The following article contains spoilers for "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

The "Ant-Man" movies have always played around with the idea of the Quantum Realm. The first two films keep their distance from truly exploring this new dimension, but they do travel to this realm briefly to rescue Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and at the end of that movie, they send Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to check it out further. Unfortunately, he gets trapped there after his friends get dusted from Thanos' snap. 

Ant-Man gets rescued at the beginning of "Avengers: Endgame" only to discover that five years have passed. His daughter is now all grown up, but he doesn't have time to dwell on that as it's up to him to go to the Avengers and let them know about the possibilities of this new technology. He provides the team with the necessary materials to pull off the time heist. Through all this, a very important piece of information comes across. Namely, Scott Lang was only in the Quantum Realm for five hours based on his perception of time. However, on Earth, five years had passed.

This contrasts with the way time appears to not pass in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," where the end of the film sees the characters return right back to where (and when) they were at the beginning. This seems odd, particularly since Scott warns Cassie about the potential passing of time during the film, warning her that if they stay, she might never see her mother again. 

However, this isn't a mistake — if it was, they wouldn't have addressed these seeming "rules" in the film itself. Rather, it appears that the rules of the Quantum Realm weren't rules at all, making this unique location all the more mysterious. 

Quantumania shows us the Quantum Realm, but makes it even more mysterious

It's unclear exactly how long Scott Lang and crew were in the Quantum Realm — it feels like it must have been a day or two. They do an awful lot during that time, from finding the initial residents of the Quantum Realm to getting imprisoned by Kang (Jonathan Majors) to Scott pulling off the multiversal engine heist to the massive war that breaks out between Kang's forces and the revolutionaries. 

By the logic seemingly established by "Avengers: Endgame," at least two years should've passed on Earth. Instead, the opposite seems to have occurred: this time around, while a day or two happened in the Quantum Realm, it seems that only minutes (or hours) passed on Earth.

However, this isn't a plot hole, because here's the catch: our heroes weren't in the same part of the Quantum Realm. The movie leaves the rules of this place mysterious, and further hints that there could be numerous Quantum Realms inside of Quantum Realms, which is why this location looks so different from the glimpses we caught in prior movies. The point here, it seems, is to clarify that the Quantum Realm simply does not play by the same guidelines as the universe outside it, and the deeper you dive in (aka, the smaller you get), the weirder and less relatable it becomes. 

With this in mind, it shows that even now, after an entire movie has taken place in the Quantum Realm, the wacky place itself has only become vaster and more ambiguous than before, leaving plenty of room for exploration in future MCU films.