A SCENE from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

LOS ANGELES — Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, and his allies return to the big screen on Friday, years after the origin story in 2015’s Ant-Man, cameos in other Marvel films, and the 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the first movie in phase five of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. It takes the superhero and his resizing powers into the Quantum realm, a subatomic world where he meets new challenges.

Directed by Peyton Reed of The Mandalorian fame, the film stars Paul Rudd as Scott/Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/The Wasp, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne, and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. The third installment adds Jonathan Majors as the new antagonist, Kang the Conqueror.

Ms. Lilly’s face lit up when asked about her first time seeing the film set in a circular studio with high-definition panels.

“When we were in the Volume, suddenly there were thousands of LED screens building the world for us, creating the characters for us,” she said.

Reality melted away and brought her into the fantasy world that many children grew up reading about in the Marvel comic books, she noted.

The Volume technology used to bring the set to life is like an LED screen that wraps around an entire soundstage where anything can be projected, Mr. Rudd said.

“It was the most elaborate, unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen, and it does help because it gives you a sense, especially with something like this, where the environment is so specific and so imaginative and unfamiliar.”

Disney artists assembled new environments, creatures, buildings, and an entire internal history and logic to make the Quantum realm come to life.

It was key for Mr. Reed to be able to look at old science fiction books, comic books, heavy metal magazines, movies and things that he loved as a kid and as an adult to populate the Quantum realm.

Mr. Reed told the team’s artists that no idea was too crazy because “anything can happen in the subatomic world.”

At the center of the immersive world, Mr. Majors believed Kang’s role was to inform Scott of what was at stake in the Quantum realm “as well as what they’re really up against.”

Despite the eye-catching technology, most critics have given the film mediocre reviews, resulting in a “rotten” rating of 55% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Nick Schager, entertainment critic for The Daily Beast, wrote that “Rudd gets swallowed up by the consuming CGI insanity of his latest comic book extravaganza,” referring to computer generated imagery. — Reuters