The latest Marvel title was expected to usher in the new phase of the MCU and leave audiences eager for more. However, according to the reviews, it has been received more poorly than well.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) enters its 15th year in 2023. In the fast-moving world of entertainment, it is already an achievement to have lasted this long, especially given that the MCU is still hugely successful, being the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Although famous directors have criticized it from time to time, and superhero fatigue has been predicted for years, Marvel films continue to enjoy strong box office results. That did not change in Phase 4 of the MCU, which many considered to be rather patchy.
However, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is expected to dispel any doubts. In Scott Lang’s biggest solo adventure to date, also known as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), we can expect an epic trip to the quantum realm, where Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) awaits as the new big MCU villain. He will also be a threat in the next MCU major event, “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” and possibly also in the following “Avengers: Secret Wars.” In the Multiverse saga, which spans MCU phases 4 through 6 and is all about the multiverse, Kang takes on the role that Thanos (Josh Brolin) played in the previous Infinity saga.
After phase 4 dealt with the aftermath of “Avengers: Endgame” and introduced a new generation of heroes, phase 5 is meant to bring a more cohesive MCU that will lead to the next two Avengers movies. However, the debut seems to have missed the mark, at least according to the critics.
On Rotten Tomatoes, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” received a very modest 53% positive rating from a staggering 135 reviews. That’s an unusually low number in the otherwise acclaimed MCU, where several titles often receive 90% or more positive reviews. In fact, it’s only the second MCU film in 15 years to be rated “Rotten,” meaning less than 60% of the reviews are positive. Currently, only “Eternals” (47%) has a worse rating than “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
Even films that have often been criticized, such as The Incredible Hulk (67%), Thor: The Dark World (66%), and more recent entries like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (74%) and Thor: Love and Thunder (64%), have received positive ratings. Across the entire MCU, there are only four titles that critics have classified as “Rotten.” On the TV series front, “Inhumans” (11%) and “Marvel’s Iron Fist” (37%) complete the list.
The consensus for the latest Marvel film is: “‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘ largely lacks the fun that enhanced the earlier adventures, but Jonathan Majors’ Kang is an exciting villain who should shape the course of the MCU.”
However, if you look at individual reviews, the opinions are mixed. For example, Inverse writes: “The problem with Quantumania is that it’s not a movie, it’s a block.”
IndieWire judges: “Maybe the movies should go small again; it may be the only way to save the MCU, which seems dangerously close to becoming too big to do anything other than not failing.”
On the other hand, there are also some positive reviews, like this one from Empire Magazine: “Colorful, original, and different, ‘Quantumania’ corrects the mistakes Marvel has made during three years of experimentation.”
Variety came to the following verdict: “‘Quantumania’ is as fun as it is bewildering, unyielding, and numbing, then fun again just when you think you’ve had enough; all of that gets thrown together.”
As is often the case, fans will have to make up their own minds. “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” wouldn’t be the first time that critics’ and audiences’ opinions have strongly diverged. The coming days and weeks will show whether this will be the case again, as the latest Marvel film is now showing in cinemas.