Riding the wave of excitement for the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on November 11th Marvel dropped a pair of trailers for some upcoming projects earlier this week. The first was the trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third and potentially final installment of the Ant-Man trilogy. The next day we were gifted the trailer for the mysterious The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special as well as the pleasant surprise that the special will be releasing on Disney+ on November 25th.
We’ll be talking a lot more about Marvel and the MCU in the future but to summarize: I’m a big fan of what they managed to create, particularly Phase Three. However, since 2019’s Endgame they’ve had just about as many misses as they had had in the ten years prior. Granted they’ve been creating A LOT more content and have begun actually diving into the world of TV (shut up, I know Agents of Shield and blah blah blah) so their odds of missing the ball increases with the more times they swing. Lately us Marvel fans have been spending a lot of time watching origin stories and unfamiliar characters such as Eternals, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, Werewolf By Night, and the painful She-Hulk: Attorney at Law so to see some familiar faces return is a welcome change of pace. Yes I know Doctor Strange and Thor returned earlier this year but the consensus on those two seem to be that they underwhelmed audiences.
Back to the trailers, let’s lead off with the bigger of the two projects:
The Ant-Man films are among the more divisive in the MCU. The original was silly, self-aware, and seemed to be one of the standout projects that shifted the MCU to have more of a comedic tone. Plus the casting of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang was questioned by many at time but he’s become one of the more reliable characters both as a leading man in his own films and as comedic relief in Civil War and Endgame. The other thing to note about this franchise is that while they may not have the draw of an Iron Man or Captain America, there is often a lot of critical information in these films that set up other MCU projects. Case in point: Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s explanation of the Quantum Realm ultimately delivered the Avengers solution to defeating Thanos in Endgame.
As the film’s title suggests, we’re back for Quantum Realm in this installment. The beginning of the trailer matches the comedic tone of its predecessors though I will say it’s the first time I think we can all say “Damn, 53-year old Paul Rudd is starting to look like 53-year old Paul Rudd.” We catch up with the Van Dyne/Pym/Lang gang and get our first look at Kathryn Newman as the grown up Cassie Lang. I haven’t seen her in much but she does steal one scene in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (one of my favorites from the last decade) and to stand out in a cast of Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Woody Harrelson is no easy feat so I think she’ll be a welcome addition to the MCU.
As the trailer goes on we learn that Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne left out some critical information about what she saw during her time stuck in the Quantum Realm and chaos ensues. From there we get a deeper look inside the QR which looks a lot more like something out of one of the MCU’s cosmic properties like Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok. We don’t get to see much in terms of what to expect or where the story is going, although we are reunited with Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conquerer, but this is clearly going to be much different from the first two Ant-Man installments.
Obviously this is just a trailer and I hope we’ll get more of an explanation in the film but Janet’s whole “oh yeah I forgot to tell you all this important and potentially world-ending thing until now” seems like a pretty cheap plot device but again, we’ll see. Aside from that, I’m intrigued. We know Kang is going to be a major part of the MCU moving forward, the next Avengers film is named The Kang Dynasty and doesn’t arrive until 2025, plus we saw him unleash the multiverse at the end of season one of Loki (season two drops next summer) so yeah, he’s gonna be sticking around. I’d say seeing Majors as Kang is probably the thing I’m most excited for in this film, his performance in the season finale of Loki is up there with anyone throughout the history of the MCU so I’ll take as much of him as I could get.
One glaring issue with the trailer was the lack of presence from Hope Van Dyne, a.k.a. The Wasp. You know, the person in the title of not only this film but the last one as well? Sure, Evangeline Lilly is in the trailer but she has no dialogue and is given nothing to do, the only great shot we see of her is a quick flash of her presumably coming to after being sucked into the QR. Feels a little odd to not use more of her but again, this is just a trailer and we’ll for sure see more between now and the February 17th release date.
I love the Guardians of the Galaxy. Seeing the first film was one of the best experiences I’ve had in theaters. It was so unexpectedly awesome. The cast was perfect, the visuals and action were incredible, and the soundtrack is perfect for throwing on Spotify when your family comes by for a BBQ. Volume II didn’t quite live up to the hype but I’d say still ranks in the upper half of MCU films. Their scenes were one of my favorite parts of Infinity War and their cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder was a nice refresher into how great these characters are. I watch this trailer and have one thought: this is either going to be incredible or just plain stupid, nothing in between.
I love the premise: Star-Lord is still grieving Gamora so the Guardians come up with a plan to bring him back to Earth to celebrate Christmas. It’s so simple yet with the mind of writer/director James Gunn at the helm we know he’s going to give us something we aren’t expecting. My prediction is that this ends up being more of a bottle premise for Drax and Mantis and their hunt for (no spoilers but if you’ve read this far you know who I’m talking about.)
This is the second Marvel special to be released on Disney+, the first being Werewolf By Night which I feel has largely flown under the radar but was pretty solid overall. By looking like one of those old Vincent Price Halloween specials it fits the mold of the MCU always looking for new genres to dip into while playing to its strengths. I think these one hour specials can be a great way to introduce new characters instead of throwing eight episodes at the wall and seeing what sticks. I’m sure we’ll see Gael Garcia Bernal again in the MCU, I have no idea where, but that special told us everything we need to know about that character for now. Now back to the Guardians…
By the time Volume III will be released next spring (May 5th to be exact) it will have been six years since their last standalone film. Since then has been a there some behind the scenes issues with the studio and writer/director James Gunn who spent his Disney vacation creating the best film the DCU has released and its hit spinoff TV show. Chris Pratt is no longer the loveable goofball he was when the first film came out, Dave Bautista has made it clear that he’s done playing Drax after the next film, and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora (spoiler alert) died but was reincarnated via time travel. So there’s obviously a lot going on and it will be interesting to see if the special leads directly into the film or if it will be more of a one-off sort of thing.
Luckily we won’t have to wait long for the special as it drops on November 25th on Disney+.
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