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Plot Holes Are Ant-Man's Greatest Weapon In Quantumania (Not Pym Tech)

There's no debating that Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has one of the most unique sets of superpowers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like many of his compatriots, his abilities come from his suit. But unlike Iron Man and War Machine, he doesn't have laser blasters, or missile launchers, or the power to fly into space. What he does have is a predilection for shrinking, growing, and scampering around. And in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," he gets a major power buff in the form of some titanium-grade plot armor.

To be fair to Scott Lang, the MCU has rarely been a home for wild twists or unpredictable storylines. It's a superhero franchise aimed at one of the largest film audiences in history. That kind of blockbuster status doesn't exactly leave the door wide open for narrative experimentation, especially when you're trying to get kids into the theater. After all, who likes seeing their heroes get killed?

Even still, The MCU is fully capable of delivering powerful, emotional moments when it's at its best. "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Endgame" are great examples of that (though to be fair, they're also the series' biggest climax). The key is to treat the stakes with respect and give the protagonists real challenges when the story demands them. Unfortunately, that's where "Quantumania" falls woefully short.

The story of Quantumania is way too convenient

On its face, "Quantumania" looks like a major underdog story. A family of superheroes gets pulled into a strange world where their greatest enemy has already built an Empire. For the first half of the film, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) is only spoken about in whispers and vague allusions. Everyone in the Quantum Realm seems terrified of him, and Majors delivers a performance deserving of that fear.

Here's the thing, though: You can't just tell an audience how dangerous your villain is. You have to show it. During the big battle at the end of "Quantumania," Kang exhibits a truly frightening level of power, completely vaporizing whole squadrons of rebel fighters in seconds. And yet, when he faces off against Ant-Man and family, he's unable to land a single killing blow. Sure, he might've been temporarily thrown off by the giant ants, but hasn't this Kang variant killed countless Avengers in other timelines? By the end, he and Scott are just slugging it out with their bare hands.

This isn't the film's only offense when it comes to overly convenient plotting. Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) waits half the movie to explain anything about Kang to the others, despite having numerous opportunities. Cassie saves her suit reveal for an hour in, even though it's spoiled in the first five minutes. And every single one of our heroes makes it out alive, with only M.O.D.O.K. (Corey Stoll) — a comic relief character of debatable comedy — taking the fall.

Quantumania fails to make Kang a serious threat

At the end of the day, Ant-Man's plot armor in "Quantumania" could be easily shrugged off. It's just a silly superhero movie, after all, and the "Ant-Man" franchise in particular has always fallen on the lighter tonal side of things. The problem is that "Quantumania" isn't just an "Ant-Man" movie. It's also the film's that's supposed to establish Kang as the new MCU big bad, and at that, it fails heinously.

With all due respect to the "Ant-Man" crew, they're not exactly the franchise's A-team. Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, Doctor Strange — these are the names you might think of when imagining the best of the best. But if Kang can be defeated by a mildly dysfunctional family and some big ants, it's hard to imagine him standing a chance against the real Avengers.

Of course, that's exactly what he'll be doing for years to come. In addition to "Loki" Season 2, which will feature Kang prominently, and the upcoming "Fantastic Four" film, which could feature the villain, Kang is set to headline his own "Avengers" movie – "The Kang Dynasty" — in 2025. Presumably, he'll have a lot more opposition in those stories, but it's hard to see him as a threat after "Quantumania. Sure, there may be lots of him in the future, which ups the danger, but it also removes the punch of a single, compelling antagonist. Scott Lang makes it through "Quantumania" unscathed, but at what cost?