Phase Five Of The MCU Starts Off In A Manic Way With Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

Here again we have a case where the critics have it wrong. Despite the many negative reviews flooding the internet, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is another solid entry for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

As the third film in the Ant-Man franchise and the opening salvo for Phase Five of the MCU, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has a decidedly different tone than the previous Ant-Man films. Mostly gone are the quirky humor amd low-stake threats that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) faced. This time the stakes are dramatically raised as Scott aka Ant-Man and his friends have to save the Multiverse itself from the fearsome Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). This could be why the film turned off so many critics who expected the light-hearted and breezy tone of the previous Ant-Man films.

The film begins in San Francisco as we see what Scott Lang has been up to since Avengers: Endgame. It is shown that he has become a celebrity basking in his heroic role during the events of Avengers: Endgame and is enjoying life. However, his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) has gotten into trouble with the law and the two struggle to connect with one another. After a family dinner with Scott, Cassie, Hope and her parents Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Cassie displays her scientific genius by demonstrating her new invention, which is a device that lets her map out the otherdimensional Quantum Realm. But the device is used by someone in the Quantum Realm as a homing beacon and creates a portal that sucks in our heroes. Finding themselves stranded in the otherworldly Quantum Realm, our heroes soon learn of a tyrant called Kang the Conqueror, who is able to travel the Multiverse with futuristic technology, but is exiled to the Quantum Realm. As soon as Scott and his companions arrive, Kang pursues them because they hold the key to escaping the Quantum Realm.

Taking place nearly entirely in the Quantum Realm, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania veers hard towards wild sci-fi elements as our heroes meet bizarre-looking beings and explore a landscape that would only exist in dreams. It seems that director Peyton Reed was intent on outdoing James Gunn and the Star Wars films by presenting a unique and nearly undescrible world that was just mind blowing to behold. The film introduces many characters of assorted shapes and sizes, the standout was actually M.O.D.O.K (Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing), who was Ant-Man’s old foe Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) from the first film. Yes, M.O.D.O.K. is too goofy to be taken seriously as a villain, but with his giant, oversized head and tiny appendages, M.O.D.O.K. provides a lot of laughs.

There are many intense situations and developments that fly by at a rapid, manic pace that adds to a feeling of nervousness and discomfort. But Reed knows how to inject laughs and brevity at the right moments to give audiences a chance to breath. This was helped with the dominating presence of Kang. Majors pulled off a nearly impossible feat with his performance of Kang, who immediately joins the ranks of top-tier MCU villains. Kang is a captivating and terrifying foe with an intense fury that made us worry about Scott and his companions. This was a great presentation of a David vs. Goliath situation as Kang clearly overmatched Scott with his futuristic technology and raw emotions. After the lightweight villains from the last Ant-Man film, Kang was the right antagonist to face Ant-Man, as we were left wondering how could Scott fight this person who was out of his league.

As exciting and fast-moving Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was, its manic energy and intense actions could not hide all of its flaws. Sometimes situations and plot points happened too fast and weren ot given enough time to percolate. Being that the film has many characters, many of them do not leave much of an impact. Bill Murray was wasted in what turned out to be an extended cameo, but he provided some levity and humor with his appearance. While Scott and his companions have meaty roles and drive the plot, Hope/The Wasp faded into the background during much of the film, but she delivered several fist-pumping moments during the film’s final act. Unfortunately, the scene-stealing Luis (Michael Peña) from previous films was absent in this film and was sorely missed. Also, there is a nagging plot flaw in that Janet was previously trapped in the Quantum Realm for decades and confronted Kang before, yet she never mentioned this to her family, especially her husband Hank. That is just unbelievable and irritating in that earlier in the film she kept speaking cryptically about the Quantum Realm and Kang, even though her family insisted she inform them of everything she knew for survival’s sake.

With that said, the film did allow most of its main characters to develop. Scott learned some much-needed humility as he faced someone way out of his league. Unlike the last film, Scott does not come off as an idiot and has more of a heroic presence, which made us root for him more as he fought Kang. Meanwhile Cassie took the place he had in the first film of being someone who was just learning how to use her size-changing abilities and her idealistic nature contrasted well with her more pragmatic father. Douglas provided some good laughs and helped to our characters while Pfeiffer was given much more screen time than and contributed heavily to the plot.

Still, out of all the film’s characters, Kang was a true standout and he needed to be. Ever since Thanos was turned to dust, the MCU has lacked a true successor supervillain that threatened the entire MCU. Thankfully, Kang was able to demonstrate why he is already one of the MCU’s most terrifying villains and the audience cheered as the final title card announced that he would return. By the way, the two post-credits scenes were great, though the first one was the better of the two since it matched the outlandish nature of the film.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a promising start of Phase Five of the MCU and a welcome change of pace for the Ant-Man franchise. It showed us why Scott Lang is a great hero being that he was clearly the underdog who refused to give up, while the characters around him provided solid support and held our interest. Most of all, this film was a triumphant debut for a top-tier villain.

José Soto

The Lineup For The MCU’s West Coast Avengers

Recently while promoting his Disney+ TV show, Hawkeye, actor Jeremy Renner mentioned that he would like to continue playing the title role in a live-action version of the West Coast Avengers. For anyone who is unaware, The West Coast Avengers was a Marvel Comics spinoff title from the main comic book, The Avengers. Originally a mini-series created by Roger Stern and Bob Hall, the title was popular enough to warrant a regular series that lasted for 102 issues in its original run.

Hawkeye was the team leader of an expanded Avengers team situated in the west coast of the United State. The original lineup included his wife Mockingbird, Iron Man, Wonder Man, Tigra, and later on, Hank Pym. Other notable superheroes that joined the team included Moon Knight, the Thing, Spider-Woman, the Vision, Scarlet Witch, and U.S. Agent.

If Marvel Studios were ever to do an adaptation of the West Coast Avengers, what would be its lineup? Will it closely mirror its original comic book counterpart or will it be radically different to showcase currently popular heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? Here is a viable roster for the MCU version of the team, which largely includes heroes based in California as shown in their MCU films:


Played by Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye would be the team leader as in the comics. In the TV show, Hawkeye, Renner has shown he has the role down pat to portray the archer as a seasoned leader with the field experience needed to lead a team. His role as the leader of the West Coast Avengers would allow Hawkeye to stand out and have a stronger presence unlike the original Avengers films.


Scott Lang as played by Paul Rudd is a natural fit in this team since he is considered, along with Hawkeye, to be an underdog. It does not hurt that Rudd is incredibly popular these days and adds star power to a potential West Coast Avengers film. Ant-Man could fill in the role of comedic relief while demonstrating with his abilities and character that he is not to be taken lightly.

The Wasp

Having Ant-Man’s natural companion as part of the West Coast Avengers’ roster is a must. Unlike the more comedic Lang, Hope Van Dyne as portrayed by Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man and the Wasp, would be deadly serious combatant who fully utilizes her shrinking and growing powers. At the same time, the Wasp would be a good foil and romantic partner for Ant-Man.


Of course, he has to come with the mystical ten rings that will give him that extra oomph in the power department. Ten rings aside, Simu Liu has a natural charisma that will let him shine in an MCU West Coast Avengers film along with his character’s crowd-pleasing fighting skills and mystical background.

Captain Marvel

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Captain Marvel’s west coast connection comes from her adventures in Los Angeles in her debut film, which could serve as the hero’s new home base on Earth. Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel may be too overpowered, but she could serve as the emergency back up in case of a dire need.

War Machine

Even though Iron Man was a founding member of the West Coast Avengers mini-series, he was not Tony Stark. During this time, James Rhodes took over the Iron Man duties because of Stark’s ordeal with alcoholism. With Stark deceased in the MCU, Don Cheadles’ War Machine would easily fill in that super-tech hero role.

Wonder Man

The last two members shoule be new characters to the MCU and the Hollywood-based actor Simon Williams naturally must be included in the roster. Wonder Man would provide the needed Hulk-level super strength for the team. Also, Nathan Fillion should play him since he was seen as the actor in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 when he turned up in a couple of movie posters as part of the film’s many Easter eggs.


The other founding member of the West Coast Avengers should be Tigra aka Greer Grant, the former Cat. She has a unique look and skill set with her tiger motif although how she should be presented in live-action is a mystery and may involve radically altering her. As to who should portray her, there are many solid actors, such as Megalyn Echikunwoke, who could project the physicality of Tigra and a ferocious, yet kind nature. Too bad Zoe Saldana already has a role in the MCU, because she would be perfect.

Should anyone else be in the MCU version of the West Coast Avengers? Be sure to leave a comment!

Starloggers Asks Which Superheroes Should Appear In The Next Avengers Film?


Art by Marko Djurdjevic

Art by Marko Djurdjevic


Work is underway for a sequel to last summer’s mammoth blockbuster The Avengers. There is so much speculation about not only the film’s plot but if new superheroes will join the ranks of the Avengers. Our contributors were asked who should appear in The Avengers 2.

Annette DeForester: “Wonder Man as long as Nathan Fillion plays him. His character could set up another sequel that would feature Vision and Ultron. Sean Bean would be perfect as the Black Knight. If the rumors about Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch appearing in The Avengers 2 are correct then that would be fabulous! She (Scarlet Witch) is one of my favorite superheroes.”

C.S. Link: “Spider-Man, he seems to fit in with the group and many stories take place in NYC. Also, I’d pick Nova, he’s a cool character.”

Evan Rothfeld: “I’m not up on who’s who in the world of superheroes. Quicksilver? He looked like a cool guy and the Scarlet Witch, she was babe-licious. I would say in general, Doctor Strange, just as long as he’s not like that New Age wimpy version done in that ’70s TV pilot movie.”

GEO: “These are the characters I want to see in the sequels: Vision and Scarlet Witch, plus Quicksilver, who is Scarlet Witch’s brother and the siblings are founding members of the second lineup. Captain Marvell and Ms. Marvel, that way we can have the Kree-Skrull War! antmanWonder Man; his brain patterns were used to create the Vision’s brain. Tigra, she’s exotic, feline and would be as popular as Neytiri from Avatar. Black Panther, who is pure royalty and ties in with Captain America and his shield, which is made of vibranium and can only be found in Black Panther’s kingdom. And of course, Ant-Man/Giant-Man and the Wasp; they’re a great bickering couple.”

Jennifer Drucker: “My number one choice would be Spider-Man and then Wolverine. But Stan Lee’s the real superhero and he needs a better cameo in the next Avengers film.”

Jim McLernon: “I would like to see Ant-Man and the Wasp the most but only as long as they use the storyline where Hank Pym beats up on Jan as what happened in The Ultimates–and as long as Captain America beats Hank up for being a wife beater. Since they won’t do that I’d like to see Spider-Man and either the She-Hulk, Daredevil or War Machine as the new Avengers.

José Soto: “If the studios can work out an agreement then go with Spider-Man, that film would redefine the term blockbuster. But two people missing from The Avengers were Giant-Man and the Wasp. They’re two of the original founding members, have a good storyline and need to appear in the sequel.”

Lewis T. Grove: “I’ve always liked Hercules, and She Hulk could be a breakout character for The Avengers 2. I don’t understood the adulation for Ant-Man, he’s so uninteresting, although I liked his role in The Ultimates as Giant-Man.”

schwarmaWaldermann Rivera: “I have three picks aside from the obvious. Quasar, I liked that comic book from the late ‘8os and he would fit in with that cosmic angle Marvel is shooting for with Guardians Of The Galaxy. Valkyrie, not only does she tie in with Thor but could set up a Defenders film! Then do Spider-Woman before Sony snatches up the rights to that character…it will be the closest we’ll get to a spider character appearing in an Avengers film.”


Casting Call For The Next Avengers

As The Avengers racks up at the box office, speculation has naturally turned to the inevitable sequel. Aside from an official announcement by Disney and Marvel Studios, very little is known about the sequel. But as with most follow ups, new characters are introduced to keep things interesting and an Avengers 2 wouldn’t be an exception to this thanks to Marvel Comics’ abundance of characters. The Avengers team has been made up of many different superheroes that would make exciting additions to the core roster used in The Avengers. So who could be tapped to play some of these heroes? These are our picks:

Henry Pym/Giant-Man/Ant-Man: Lately there has been speculation about efforts to greenlight an Ant-Man film. Well, Marvel Studios may want to table that for now and use this original Avenger in the sequel. One way to go is with the controversial character development of having Pym being an abusive husband wracked with insecurities. This may or may not turn off mainstream audiences expecting another rousing adventure but if handled correctly, Pym could be an interesting addition. For the actor to play Pym, Marvel should go with Aaron Eckhart. He looks heroic and sympathetic but can play conflicted characters as seen with his performance as Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. Plus, he’s played a scientist before in The Core, which is Pym’s occupation. Alternate actors: Adrian Pasdar; Damien Lewis; Josh Brolin.

Janet Pym/The Wasp: This diminutive superheroine goes hand in hand with her husband Henry. As a founding member of the Avengers, Janet is rich, spunky and her wasp stings carry some surprising punch. In other words, the actress to portray her has to be beautiful, with a bit of an aristocratic flair while being tough yet personable. For this reason, Elizabeth Banks should play Janet Pym. She’s had experience in the superhero movies with her portrayal of Betty Brant in the Spider-Man films, but now that she has more clout as an actress she can have a more substantive role as the Wasp. Alternate actresses: Rachel McAdams; Eva Green; Noomi Rapace.

Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch: It would’ve been funny to have Scarlett Johansson playing the Scarlet Witch just for the bad puns. But since that won’t happen, this mutant who can alter probability needs to be portrayed by someone that is beautiful and can give off a slightly exotic and mysterious flair. If Joss Whedon is involved with the sequel he can turn to Firefly alumnae Morena Baccarin. It’s so easy to imagine her doing Wanda’s dramatic hand motions to shoot her hex bolts. Alternate actresses: Lynn Collins; Mila Kunis; Gemma Arterton.

Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver: As Wanda’s headstrong brother, this super-fast mutant can be cocky and disruptive but harbor a troubled soul. Sam Witwer is doing an excellent job playing a conflicted vampire in Syfy’s version of Being Human so this role should suit him nicely. Besides Witwer’s got that expressive eyebrow that Quicksilver shows in the comics. Plus, he’s had experience playing tortured characters in live-action superhero TV (as Doomsday in Smallville). Alternate actors: Zachary Quinto; Andrew Lee-Potts; Aaron Paul.

Victor Shade/The Vision: WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD-the idea of hiring Clark Gregg to play a resurrected Agent Coulsson that turns into the Vision is very popular with fans across the Internet. But purists will argue that the Vision is really an android that was once the original Human Torch so using Coulsson would deviate from the unemotional artificial being’s roots. Also Gregg has said in recent interviews that he doesn’t expect to return to that role. Filmmakers can go that route but if they wish to have him be closer to his comic book role then another actor is needed. Christopher Eccleston has the right look and acting ability to portray the Vision. His roles in 28 Days Later and as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who are excellent showcases for his talent. Alternate actors: Guy Pearce; Zachary Quinto.

Simon Williams/Wonder Man: He’s one of the most powerful, yet self-effacing superheroes in the Marvel universe. The actor who portrays him should be personable while slightly buffed, someone that audiences can relate to since Williams is a down-to-earth type. The best choice for that role would be fan-favorite Nathan Fillion. Putting aside his association with Joss Whedon, just look at his performances, he can play heroic with a touch of humility. If picked, he would add so much to Williams’ character that could make him as much of a breakout character as the Hulk was in The Avengers. Alternate actors: Josh Holloway; Karl Urban; John Barrowman.

T’Challa/Black Panther: As the ruler of the African kingdom of Wakanda, Black Panther is actual royalty thus requiring an actor of such stature to portray him. At the same time, T’Challa is a very hands-on kind of guy who can hold his own in a fight so the actor needs to look physically fit. Hands down the perfect choice would be Chiwetel Ejiofor; he’s very regal, dignified but with a hard edge to him. Look at his work on the Serenity film for comparison. Alternate actors: Richard Brooks; Jamil Walker-Smith, Michael Early.

Hercules: Thor’s jovial rival is uber buff and enjoys a good fight. Hercules can provide some welcome comic relief for an Avengers 2. If not, they can use the character in a future Thor film. The actor who looks perfect for the part is True Blood’s Joseph Manganiello. As a werewolf on the show, Manganiello is pretty honorable, with a heroic and sensitive side. The question is can this actor be funny? Alternate actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Bernthal; Brian Austin Green.

Dane Whitman/The Black Knight: The Arthurian hero with his mystical sword and flying horse would be an interesting addition to the movie roster. The actor needed to play him needs to be athletic, do a British accent, and have a dash of nobility. This role should go to Karl Urban who has been appearing in several notable genre works. Look at the way he looks as Judge Dredd with his helmet and get a sense for how he would be as the Black Knight. Alternate Actors:  Orlando Bloom; Colin Firth; Jamie Bamber.

Sam Wilson/The Falcon: Best known as Captain America’s partner during the ’70s, this winged superhero could be introduced in a future Captain America film then used in The Avengers 2 or 3 or vice versa. Laz Alonso has played a wide variety of strong roles throughout his career (best known for his work as the mighty warrior Tsu’tey in Avatar) and would be a terrific choice to play a solid and sympathetic hero with a dark past. Alternate actors: Jason George; Mehcad Brooks; Morris Chestnut.

Greer Grant Nelson/Tigra: Originally introduced back in the ’70s as the Cat, Greer was transformed into Tigra through sorcery and science. The actress who should portray this feline-based heroine should be athletic, beautiful and able to give off a feline quality with a hint of savagery. Zoe Saldana would be puurfect for Tigra (sorry couldn’t resist the pun) being that she’s had a resume filled with heroic action parts like Star Trek, Colombiana, The Losers and Avatar.  She may not want to do a role that may be compared to her stint as Neytiri in Avatar. So a good alternative would be Jessica Alba who has many of Saldana’s qualities and has played superheroines before (Fantastic Four, which would reunite her with Chris Evans, and as the lead in Dark Angel). Alternate actresses: Anna Ortiz; Frema Agyeman.

Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk: The female version of the Hulk isn’t like her gamma-fueled cousin. Funny, scrappy and easy on the eyes, She-Hulk needs to be played by someone who can convey her personality. Angie Harmon has had a picture of herself doctored to show her in green skin as a way of auditioning for the role. However, Sara Ramirez who projects beauty while being tough and sporting a rich mane of hair would be an ideal choice to play the jade giantess. Alternate actresses: Lynn Collins; Moon Bloodgood.

Just for kicks…

It’s doubtful if the following characters would be used, except for Jarvis, but just in case, here are prime choices to play these Avengers and associates:

Jarvis the Butler: Richard Jenkins

Hellcat: Rachel McAdams

Ms. Marvel: Lauren Cohan

Captain Marvel/Pulsar: Frema Agyeman

Starfox: Josh Hartnett

Peter Henry Gyrich: Sam Neill

Jocasta: Dichen Lachman

Moondragon: Any actress willing to shave her head for the role.

José Soto (special thanks to GEO)