The first instalment in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is about to change the multiverse as we know it.
We already know that phases four and five have been collectively dubbed “The Multiverse Saga”, but the second trailer for Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania laid bare some of the bigger ramifications characters’ choices will have for the fate of the universe going forward.
Dropping the comical tone of the first trailer, not to mention that of the first two films, this time Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is offered a simple deal by Kang The Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) – the result of which threatens to tear apart the very fabric of his world.
You can watch the trailer below, before we break down what it unveils about the film itself.
We waste no time getting to exactly what it is Kang wants from Scott. As our hero looks forlornly at images of the daughter he missed growing up due to The Blip, he’s given an offer he seemingly can’t refuse by his adversary.
“You’re an interesting man, Scott Lang. You’re an Avenger, you have a daughter… but you’ve lost a lot of time, like me. We can help each other with that.”
There’s already a surprisingly downbeat tone in the establishing seconds of the trailer too. Scott experiences all the glamour that comes with being an Avenger (high profile events, being recognised as a hero in the street), but his smile is more forced and disappears when others aren’t there.
Into The Quantum Realm
The Faustian bargain offered by Kang, a multiverse travelling villain who believes he’s more powerful than time itself, is to give Scott his missing years with Cassie (Kathryn Newton) in return for being freed from the Quantum Realm.
However, our hero is not going in alone, as the whole family get sucked into the dimension with him, including Cassie.
She’s a chip off the old block in terms of her expertise in all things science and engineering, and this will factor into her own hero origin story – we will see her face off threats as Stature for the first time.
We’ve already seen Majors play a different variation of this character, He Who Remains, in the Loki season one finale, but Kang is a different beast altogether.
Interestingly, the actor has described him as an antagonist of Shakespearean proportions and his theatrical initial appearance after 40 seconds of voiceover shows that he’s already having more of an impact with first impressions than Thanos, who was comparatively left in the background for several years and MCU phases.
From moment one, you’re in no doubt that this guy is a master manipulator, who has already bent the minds of our heroes to his will.
Double The Rudd, Double The Fun
From there, the rest of the trailer is set within the Quantum Realm, where Scott and Cassie are joined by the whole gang, including Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).
She was previously lost there for 30 years, so making her return again just seems a bit cruel – however, considering how underused she felt in 2018’s Ant-Man And The Wasp, we’re not going to complain about getting more Pfeiffer this time around.
Having been trapped here before, she’s the voice of reason, warning Scott that he can’t trust the man offering him a bargain. And she would know, having also missed out on years with her family that she won’t ever be able to get back.
While it remains unclear as to whether he accepts the offer of his own free will or if he was forced into it, there are several shots here that indicate Scott is suffering supernatural consequences as a result of taking it on.
Could the brief image of Scott splitting into two figures be part of the bargain? He wanted to experience the lost time – but a possible twist could be that only the creation of a second version of Scott would be able to make that possible.
What Lies Inside The Realm?
All sorts of weird and wonderful locations await Scott and co. as their adventure continues. There are the towering structures that seemingly belong to Kang (more on those later), as well as several surreal obstacles along the way.
Giant wormy things! Avatar-style creatures to ride on! It’s enough to make you wish we were still in the era of tie-in video games. This would own on a PS2.
The Dark Side Of The Bargain
Another sign that Scott was forced into accepting the bargain comes through Kang’s voiceover later in the trailer: “Let me make this easy for you. You will bring me what I need, or everything you call a life will end”.
While the initial offer is designed to play on Scott’s emotions, this suggests he’s only hearing of the consequences having accepted it – and if he doesn’t fulfill his side of the deal, he won’t be getting any of that lost time. On account of, y’know, being dead.
These are simple emotional stakes presented directly, even if large chunks of the narrative are still obscured (because why would they spoil the whole adventure?).
The cuts to Scott with Cassie and Hope (Evangeline Lily) suggest that everything we experience in the Quantum Realm will come second to the family drama itself, all of which hinges on this moral quandary.
“Witness the Beginning of a New Dynasty”
As this tagline lays bare, the Ant-Man threequel will have serious consequences for the MCU going forward, and this is the portion of the trailer where the full scale of Kang’s domineering powers appear to be unleashed.
Previously known in the comics as the “Microverse”, the Quantum Realm here looks reminiscent of Star Wars in scale – with Kang, naturally, the Darth Vader watching over giant armies and battleships, outnumbering the Lang Dynasty up against him.
As we get to the action-packed final stretch of the trailer, the dialogue becomes more cryptic. As Cassie appears to be attacked by Kang, she states that this is all her fault.
Is this her blaming herself for an unavoidable mess, or was she central in Scott’s decision to take Kang up on his offer?
Either way, it’s backfired massively: Scott gets an extra-terrestrial butt-kicking after telling the villain he’s not kept to his side of the deal.
We also see more side effects here, which could either be because of the small-print terms and conditions on the bargain itself, or due to the complications of being in this realm. Scott splitting into two, dissolving into worm-like entrails, is one of the more striking images.
And then there’s just the never-ending beating up he’s getting, with Kang snarling “you thought you could win?” whilst the rest of the family struggle to cope with the battle even as they stick together. The stakes have been set impossibly high.
Kang isn’t the only nemesis they’ll be facing though, with this second trailer giving us our first look at MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing), the AI-killing machine who has been bothering the Avengers in the comics for years.
Based on the first trailer, there was speculation that Bill Murray’s character would be the man behind the mask – but a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot around the 57 second mark seems to suggest that it will actually be the returning Corey Stoll.
In the first Ant-Man movie, his character Darren Cross was trapped in a suit and shrunk down. We didn’t see him die, which suggests this villain origin story has been retconned to now become a mutated version of that previously introduced character.
“I Don’t Have To Win… We Both Just Have To Lose”
The trailer ends with what we can only assume is a red herring, but is tantalising all the same: Scott making a sacrifice to save not just his family, but the universe.
And with a shot of a royally p*ssed off Kang, we reach the end. Now we’re just counting down the days until we can see it.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is released in UK cinemas on Friday 17th February.