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One Of The Good Guys Is The Real Villain In Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

Contains spoilers for "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania"

For a movie that's so determined to introduce the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next Big Bad on the big screen, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" has a villain problem. Don't worry, the problem's not Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), or any of the hordes of other Kangs the post-credits scenes introduce us to. Sure, he's a much more traditional villain than the comparatively chill Kang variant we meet in "Loki," but that's just par for the course for a villain who even other Kangs think is a little bit much. 

The problem's not necessarily MODOK (Corey Stoll), either. Though his screen time is limited, he manages to have quite an uplifting arc that provides the original "Ant-Man" villain with one of the most surprising MCU redemption stories yet. Even Bill Murray's one-scene wonder turn as Janet van Dyne's (Michelle Pfeiffer) cheerfully slimy ex Krylar is a fine cameo, if that's what you're after. 

No, the real problem is the villain the movie doesn't even really designate as one. There's one particular "Quantumania" character who undermines the heroes at every turn, and withholds important information that could have saved the day numerous times. In fact, the character's lack of communication skills is directly responsible for the ant-family's entire predicament. Despite this laundry list of offenses that would make her an antagonist in virtually any other movie, the character escapes consequences scot free. What's more, she's actually treated as a hero, and the other protagonists are with her all the way. 

That character is, of course, Janet van Dyne — an incredibly shady operator, and quite possibly the worst communicator the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever seen. Here's why she's essentially a villain in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

Kang might be the bad guy in the grand scheme of things, but Janet is a far more immediate problem

Janet van Dyne has all it takes to be an extremely instrumental protagonist in "Quantumania." She knows how to negotiate with the Quantum Realm's various residents, how to pilot its airships and ride its animals — oh, and how to lead a full-on revolution against the tyrannical ruler, who just so happens to be an old acquaintance of hers. 

That makes her a truly magnificent and valuable well of knowledge for a group of heroes who find themselves stranded in a strange land. Unfortunately, Janet opts to share none of it with the others. Instead, she spends the majority of the movie treating her ultra-intelligent former superhero partner (Michael Douglas) and hyper-capable current superhero daughter (Evangeline Lilly) like they were four years old, towing them around the wacky landscape and only begrudgingly sharing the occasional piece of information. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), the guy who literally wrote a book on saving the universe after taking a jaunt in the Quantum Realm? They're separated for most of the movie, but based on how Janet and the others snarked about Scott's celebrity status and bragging earlier in the movie, she probably wouldn't be any different with him, either. 

Janet makes her family drink random ooze without explaining it's an universal translator. She makes Hank pilot a spaceship with jelly tube controls without a word of explanation. She arranges a meeting with a powerful Quantum Realm resident without bothering to mention that he's also a former lover, and absolutely refuses to say anything about Kang — the brutal warlord whose mind she actually once read, learning all of his secrets in the process. Not cool, Janet, considering that the others might possibly like to know a thing or two about the villain who's actively hunting them. 

Janet might not be actively villainous, but her actions still hurt the heroes

In all fairness, it's clear that Janet's not a malicious force in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." It's painfully obvious that she's absolutely tormented by the many things she did to survive in the Quantum Realm, and is deeply haunted by the fact that she inadvertently unleashed Kang on its residents.  

Nevertheless, the fact remains that her decision to keep everyone in the dark makes the heroes' lives infinitely more difficult than they should be, especially since she'd seemingly decided to tell them the whole story just before they were sucked in the Quantum Realm. Why walk back on that decision when they're in the actual Quantum Realm

It's not like Hank, Scott and others can go to some other expert, either. They're stuck with Janet, know that she's hiding something, and are likely acutely aware that she's not only the leading human authority on the subject of Quantum Realm — she's the only one. She survived in the place for three decades, and became familiar with most every aspect of this strange mini-universe.

You can antagonize in more ways than one. At the end of the day, Janet's complete and utter reluctance to divulge any information about the Quantum Realm is often an even bigger challenge for her extended family than whatever timeline chicanery Kang's cooking up at any given moment — and a far more concrete threat, too.