Okay, maybe it’s a misconception to say that “Quantumania” is a complete left-field turn for the franchise. While the plot holds all sorts of ramifications for the wider world of the MCU, the heart of the story remains entrenched in Scott Lang’s attempts to repair the estranged relationship with his daughter, Cassie (Kathryn Newton). Before Kang shows up, the film follows a very similar structure to past Ant-Man adventures, where the diminutive hero remains mostly concerned with securing his family’s safety at all costs. And even after Kang arrives on the scene and completely upends the stakes of the story, the script gives us one thrilling throwback sequence to the previous two “Ant-Man” movies that propels “Quantumania” into its final act: a heist.
After Cassie’s experiments into exploring the Quantum Realm go horribly wrong and signals a potential way of escape to the banished Kang inside, our heroes find themselves trapped in this microscopic world — with only Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) having any expertise whatsoever of the threats they’ll soon face. Hopelessly split up into two separated groups, it’s only a matter of time before the creepy MODOK (that’s Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, natch) descends upon them, reveals himself as a returning, deformed Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from the 2015 movie, and delivers Scott and Cassie right into the menacing hands of Kang.
Having spent years exiled in the Quantum Realm after Janet’s sabotage of his multiverse-traveling ship, Kang finally sees a way out … and he’ll need Scott’s help. Blackmailed into recovering the power core that Janet used Pym Particles to put beyond Kang’s reach, Scott ventures down in the film’s trippiest sequence and, with some timely help from Hope (and, uh, himself?), barely makes it back unscathed with the power core in hand.