New "Ant-Man" Movie Has the Second-Worst Reviews in MCU History: "Truly Hideous"
It's only the second Marvel movie to receive a "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The reviews are in for the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie and… they're not great. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on Friday, Feb. 17, and reviews from critics have the film currently holding a 53 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it is in the "rotten" category rather than "fresh." It's only the second MCU movie to be considered rotten.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania—the first film of Phase Five of the MCU—is the latest in a string of MCU movies that haven't been received nearly as well as the ones from Phase Three, which ended in 2019, and those prior to that. Read on to find out what critics are saying about Quantumania, and to find out how it compares to some of the other Marvel movies.
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Quantumania has been called "hideous" and "a chore."
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the third Ant-Man movie following 2015's Ant-Man and 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly return as the titular characters, along with Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas. They're joined by Jonathan Majors as the new villain, Kang the Conqueror, and Kathryn Newton as Ant-Man's daughter, Cassie.
Reviews of the movie criticize the visuals, including the quality of the CGI, and call the plot convoluted, noting that the film is tedious to watch.
"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a chaotic, woefully unfunny mess that has forgotten why its hero was such fun," writes Kristy Puchko for Mashable. "The thrill isn't just gone, it's been buried beneath a swarm of plot contrivances and truly hideous CGI."
"What a chore this so-called entertainment is!" writes the Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang. "The moments of wit and feeling that occasionally steal into the frame … feel like emotional outliers in a flat, inexpressive void."
Writing for SFGate, Mick LaSalle says, "Ant-Man: Quantumania is a glum, tiresome exercise that follows the pattern of every run-of-the-mill superhero movie ever made."
Reviewers tended to praise one aspect.
Despite the overall negative reception, critics tended not to have a problem with the actors, particularly with Majors as Kang.
"If Kang is destined to become the central antagonist as the next batch of movies again build toward an Avengers-sized showdown, Majors is the one thing to emerge from Quantumania on which anyone could hang their hat," reads Brian Lowry's review for CNN.
Rolling Stone's David Fear said that Majors "understands how to communicate gravitas and ghastliness."
The SFGate review praised Majors and Pfeiffer over the other actors, and said that their flashback scene together was "the only living portion of the movie."
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Quantumania is the second-worst reviewed movie in MCU history.
Quantumania doesn't take the prize for the worst reviewed MCU movie—at least not yet. That honor goes to Eternals, which has a 47 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The 2021 movie is about a group of immortal beings, who reveal themselves after thousands of years in hiding in order to fight a threat to the future of Earth. The ensemble cast includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, and more.
The critics' consensus for Eternals on Rotten Tomatoes reads, "An ambitious superhero epic that soars as often as it strains, Eternals takes the MCU in intriguing—and occasionally confounding—new directions."
On the other end of the spectrum, the top-rated MCU movie is Black Panther (2018), followed by Avengers: Endgame (2019), Iron Man (2008), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
Many believe the MCU has gone downhill overall.
Phase Three of the MCU ended in 2019 with Spider-Man: Far From Home. It came out just three months after Avengers: Endgame, which marked the big final battle that included all of the stars most associated with the franchise. (Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans bid farewell to their respective characters, Iron Man and Captain America, following the film.)
Phase Four began in 2021 and kicked off "The Multiverse Saga," and many of the movies in this phase earned less favorable reviews and made less money at the box office. All but two of the top 15 MCU movies on Rotten Tomatoes were released in 2019 or before. (With the release of Quantumania, there are now 31 MCU movies total, along with several TV series.)
As for the box office, the COVID-19 pandemic naturally plays a role, but of the seven films released after 2019, the only one that ranks in the top 10 for MCU movies at the box office is Spider-Man: No Way Home.