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Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Plot Holes That Need Some Explaining

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" begins with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) at the top of the world. He's become a celebrity for saving the world with the Avengers, he's found the love of his life in Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and he's published his own book about his escapades. Meanwhile, his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) has been working with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to communicate with the Quantum Realm. This bonding with her newly-found grandfather figure seems like a great idea, until their experiments lead to them all getting trapped in the otherworldly Quantum Realm by the villainous Kang the Conqueror (a riveting Jonathan Majors), who has a secret past with Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).

The film itself is fun, with some great visuals and the true debut of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's new big bad, Kang, after the first season finale of "Loki" offered a tantalizing tease. Still, there are definitely some major plot holes in "Quantumania" that are hard to ignore, with some uncharacteristic behavior, narrative leaps of logic, power inconsistencies, and just plain weird choices.

Warning: Massive spoilers ahead!

What possible future would have led Baskin-Robbins Scott to the Quantum Realm?

As the climax of "Quantumania" kicks off, the titular Ant-Man has to shrink down in size and retrieve a special item, a power core that will allow Kang's multiversal ship to escape the Quantum Realm. Scott does this to protect his daughter Cassie Lang, who is being held hostage by Kang at the time. 

As Scott gets closer and closer to the multiversal power core, it creates a series of variant Langs to emerge out of him — due to the core creating multiple potential possibilities — which in practice means a rapidly multiplying group of Lang doppelgangers from divergent timelines. Soon after, Scott begins to lose his mind. One of the alternate Scotts that shows up is a Lang dressed in a pink Baskin-Robins work uniform -– as he was at the beginning of the first "Ant-Man" movie — incredulous at all the other Langs adorned in Ant-Man's high-tech superhero armor.

The thing is, it makes sense that there's a Scott who never became Ant-Man and continued working in the food industry, but what would have led him to the Quantum Realm? It seems -– especially when Wasp later gets involved -– that the effect is based only on immediate possibilities, not all possibilities. Without becoming a hero, Scott would never have had the opportunity to be in the Quantum Realm in the first place. And, if we're going the "all timelines" route, why wouldn't there also be a prison Scott, a casual dad Scott, and possibly even alternate Ant-Man costumes if we're going that far?

It's a funny sequence, but it makes little sense.

Why would Kang let Janet touch neural connector?

Before the story of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" even begins, we're reintroduced to Janet van Dyne –- aka the original Wasp — during her years trapped in the Quantum Realm, attempting to escape volatile alien creatures. She's suddenly saved by a mysterious visitor, who we'll soon discover is Kang, banished by his alternate universe variants and stripped of his tech and powers.

Later in the film, during a key flashback, Janet finally reveals to her family the story she's never told about the 30 years she spent in the Quantum Realm. She recounts how she helped Kang -– before knowing his true identity or motivations –- rebuild his multi-dimensional ship. She believes she's doing the right thing, and that the repaired ship will be a ticket home for herself and her new friend. But Kang's ship is connected to his mind –- it literally bends to his will — and when putting in the last piece to fix the ship, Janet sees what's in his memory. That's when she learns that he is a conqueror of the multiverse, wiping out worlds and entire branching timelines, having killed trillions upon trillions of innocent people.

One question, though: If Kang knew his thoughts would be contained within his ship, and that Janet could potentially access them, why wouldn't he have tried to prevent her from doing so? Sure, he probably felt she was no threat once he got his tech back -– and he was mostly right -– but it still seems like an oversight that someone with his intelligence and foresight wouldn't have made.

Why doesn't Scott go giant mode in the final fight?

The action-packed climax of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania" is big, bombastic, and exciting –- as befitting the cinematic introduction of Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror (since his first appearance on "Loki" was for the small screen, and he technically played a Kang variant called "He Who Remains"). Like a lot of MCU finales, there's a certain reliance on CGI bombast, but luckily the final battle of the film is a mano-a-mano fist fight between Scott and Kang. It actually feels more visceral and exciting than the action that precedes it, despite having technically less overtly explosive spectacle. The fight choreography is pretty good as well.

However, it does bring up an issue. Why doesn't Scott just ... grow into Giant-Man again to fight off Kang? To be fair, earlier in the sequence, we see Kang in full Conqueror mode, using his centuries-ahead tech to decimate the rebels storming his tower and take down Lang's Giant-Man persona. It makes sense that Ant-Man's Giant-Man powers might not be a match for Kang at full strength. But by the time we're watching the final fight, the film goes out of its way to show that Kang's tech gauntlets are damaged, so that he can't use them to immediately incapacitate Scott. But as far as we can tell, Scott could still turn gigantic, and it's a bit baffling he doesn't even attempt it.

How did Hank learn to fly the alien ship?

"Quantumania" finds everyone in the insect-powered Lang/Pym/Van Dyne super-family sucked into the Quantum Realm by a vengeful Kang the Conqueror. This includes both Ant-Men (Hank Pym and Scott Lang) and both Wasps (Janet and Hope van Dyne), as well as Scott's daughter Cassie, who has her own suit. In their inadvertent descent to the microscopic cosmos, our heroes get split up, with Hank, Hope, and Janet landing in one area while Scott and Cassie find themselves in another.

At one point, Hank is thrust into piloting an alien space ship to escape Kang's glowy-headed goons, after they're betrayed by Janet's former friend Lord Krylar (Bill Murray). Since it's an alien ship, it has weird, organic controls with two gelatin-like worm creatures attaching to Hank's arm that lets him maneuver it. Now, it makes sense that Hank could eventually learn to use the unique Quantum ship controls, but it does stretch credulity how quickly he gets good at it. And even if he knows how the steering mechanism works in theory, there is no indication in any of the previous films that Hank Pym has any knowledge of piloting even regular, terrestrial planes or jets. You could tell an average person the controls on a regular human plane and they'd still be pretty lost on how to handle it. Even more incredulous is the fact that he pulls off stunt maneuvers, compounding all the other suspensions of disbelief the audience has to accept in this scenario.

Can Scott – even as Giant-Man – take that much damage?

2016's "Captain America: Civil War," established that one of Ant-Man's powers is the ability to become the towering "Giant-Man," a power that would be seen again in "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and "Avengers: Endgame." This grants Scott increased strength and durability -– he can be seen throwing pieces of planes and knocking out a Chitauri Leviathan.

So it's clear that Giant-Man can take a beating, and dish it out too. But how much of a beating can he actually take? Because in "Endgame," for instance, we never see him get hit with lasers or blasters, but presumably that would've done a number on him, especially considering that he was hurt by War Machine's missiles in "Civil War." While it's obvious that Scott is stronger and more durable in his gigantic state, there's no evidence that he's invincible. 

Furthermore, one of Kang's main advantages as a supervillain is his access to state-of-the-art tech from the far future that he can bring to the past (i.e. our present). Presumably, his weaponry should be more powerful than even that of Thanos, or at least more powerful than anything Scott has faced before. So the fact that Scott can just tank Kang's laser assault seems to stretch credulity. It's hard to fault a silly sci-fi movie for having outrageous action in its climax, but it does undercut the threat Kang will pose the Avengers in the future — seems unlikely he'd be able to take Thor out if he can't even take out Ant-Man.

Ooze juice universal translator makes no sense

While we'd seen glimpses of the Quantum Realm as early as the first "Ant-Man" film, but it was conceived at the time to be a more psychedelic take on a simple microbial world. There was no indication until later that there were other life forms living in there, let alone entire sentient civilizations.

However, once all the main characters reach the Quantum Realm in "Quantumania," it quickly becomes clear that this is a densely-populated alien world. Unsurprisingly, the quantum beings don't speak English. Luckily, all Scott and Cassie have to do is drink the bodily ooze of the affable, gelatinous-looking alien named Veb (voiced by David Dastmalchian, who was also in the first two "Ant-Man" films as Kurt).

Why would this work, though? Language is extremely complex, and biology even moreso. Without the proper input, it seems unlikely that words or grammar would make sense at all. To be fair, this is a general problem with sci-fi — see the universal translators in "Star Trek" or the Babel Fish in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" –- so it's nothing new. But this example especially egregious, as they could use Quaz's (William Jackson Harper) telekinesis powers to communicate, or some sort of tech, maybe even something Janet built. There are many ways to handwave this that would make more sense.

Why does M.O.D.O.K. look like that?

M.O.D.O.K., an acronym for "Mental (or Mechanical) Organism Designed Only for Killing" (which, as Scott Lang points out in the film, should actually be "M.O.D.O.F.K."), has finally been introduced to the MCU. First introduced in 1967's "Tales of Suspense #94", M.O.D.O.K. is a giant, floating cybernetic head, with little stubby limbs and an array of high-tech sci-fi weaponry. He originally was a scientist from Advanced Idea Mechanics (or A.I.M., because Marvel Comics do love their acronyms) named George Tarleton, who tried to increase his intelligence with mad science, which led to his iconic malformed appearance.

In "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," however, M.O.D.O.K. has no connection to A.I.M. (which in the MCU was Aldrich Killian's company in "Iron Man 3"), and is instead actually Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket (played again by Corey Stoll), who was last seen in 2015's "Ant-Man" being sucked into the Quantum Realm, left for dead. However, it's revealed Darren was resurrected by Kang and turned into the deformed cyborg M.O.D.O.K.

Unfortunately, unlike the comics, there's no specific explanation as to why Darren looks the way he does. Sure, they explain that Kang resurrected and experimented on him, but at least in the comics his big head is a result of his attempts to enhance his own mind. The physical afflictions to his body are seen as (albeit, in his estimation, acceptable) impediments. However, without that particular motivation, it seems Kang has hindered M.O.D.O.K.'s physical prowess for not much gain. He doesn't even seem all that smart in the film. He's still enjoyable to watch, despite some dodgy (and intentionally off-putting) CGI.

Why wouldn't Hank bring up experimenting with the Quantum Realm?

It makes sense why Janet would be hesitant to bring up her experiences in the Quantum Realm. Beyond the guilt of missing decades with her husband and daughter (which she could have had back if she'd accepted Kang's offer) and her romantic entanglements with Bill Murray's Krylar, she's also the reason Kang the Conqueror regained his armor and tech and rampaged throughout the Quantum Realm.

And while it makes sense that Hank Pym wouldn't completely understand how emotionally, mentally, and psychologically traumatizing Janet's experiences in the Quantum Realm really were, it still doesn't make much sense that he would've kept it a secret that he and Cassie were experimenting with reaching out to it. He should at least know that it's something personally affecting for her, and furthermore, why wouldn't he ask her for advice? What possible reason was there to freeze her out of the conversations? It didn't even seem to be to stave off her feelings, as he and Cassie show her, Hope, and Scott the machine excitedly at the beginning of the film. He obviously doesn't expect it to bother her, so why not get her in the loop?

The obvious answer is a cheap narrative shortcut to add tension between them, as well as stretch out the mystery about her relationship with Kang. But it logically makes no sense to how the characters would -– and should -– act in that situation.

Not showing how Wasp's housing and re-forestation efforts are going

One of the most intriguing aspects of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" is a quick throwaway segment during Scott Lang's voice-over introduction (which we eventually find out is just an excerpt from his book, "Look Out For the Little Guy"). During this segment, we see that Hope van Dyne is now the head of the Pym-Van Dyne Foundation, and that she's using Pym particles to help with the housing crisis and to fix the environment.

Now, this is actually a great use of sci-fi tech, but as we've seen how the MCU handled Iron Man's supposedly groundbreaking clean energy arc reactor tech, there's a non-zero chance that nothing more will ever be mentioned about this in the grand scheme of the wider universe.

How will Hope's efforts affect the world economically and politically? While these are great ideas she's proposing, they would be vehemently opposed by the likes of real-estate companies who in the real world are buying up empty houses to be used as corporately-controlled rentals, rather than for affordable housing (and blocking attempts to make them public for the homeless and economically-marginalized, as reported in The New York Times). Fossil fuel companies who are continuing to block any New Green Deal proposals that don't benefit them directly (via CNN) would also be sure to stand against the Pym-Van Dyne Foundation. Thrilling superhero action? Maybe not, but it would certainly make for some compelling drama.

Why are there humans in the Quantum Realm who are surprised by Earth humans?

The Quantum Realm should, in theory, be fully inhabited by weird and unique-looking aliens, due to a presumably massive divergent evolution. However, like a lot of sci-fi and fantasy films, the dimension is instead mostly filled with humans. Not even humanoid aliens with inhuman skin or facial prosthetics — just literal humans.

Similar to Veb's universal translator, it is indeed a common sci-fi trope to have aliens that are just humans; however, this isn't '60s "Star Trek" being super limited by budget and prosthetic SFX tech, or "Star Wars" where humans are still considered humans. This is a huge, mega-budget franchise film from one of the largest studios in the world. They could certainly afford to make things weirder than they already do. It also takes away some of the grandeur and originality of the Quantum Realm a bit. Beyond not really making any sense in terms of science (though who cares about that in a comic book movie), it also misses the opportunity to put the main characters in deeper danger (which does actually hurt it narratively).

Hank Pym even mentions this while talking to Bill Murray's Krylar, who acts surprised and delighted at the arrival of "humans," despite looking exactly like them. Furthmore, Krylar gives no explanation for why they look so similar or what exactly differentiates them.

How can Kang be a threat if Ant-Man defeats him single-handedly?

Kang the Conqueror, as played by the stellar Jonathon Majors, is currently being set up to be the big bad of the current batch of MCU films. Unlike Josh Brolin's Thanos, Kang is someone who's so dangerous he can conquer and destroy entire universes and timelines, rather than just one. He even mentions multiple times that he's already defeated and killed a variety of different Avengers throughout the multiverse. He's so unconcerned with Ant-Man 's abilities that he confuses him with Thor –- "the one with the hammer" –- at one point.

However, while the film certainly shows Kang the Conqueror being extremely powerful, it kind of undercuts his threat when Ant-Man, of all people, defeats him in the end. To be fair, the rest of his family helps, but we're still meant to believe that Kang could've single-handedly taken on top-tier Marvel heroes with far greater super-strength and cosmic powers. How is that possible when we've seen him get defeated by the combined efforts of goofy C-list villain M.O.D.O.K., lower-powered heroes Ant-Man and the Wasp, and an army of highly-sophisticated socialist ants?

Again, Kang is indeed a threat in the film, and the mid-credit scene at the end of "Quantumania" establishes that there's an entire army of Kangs to be afraid of. But does he really feel like an Avenger-killing threat? Not quite.