Marvel usually sits well with critics, with only one exception…well, now two.
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know that, despite broad appeal and extreme popularity amongst fans, the movies haven’t traditionally done well with award shows but have done well with critics! As opposed to the now-defunct DC Extended Universe, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can boast that the vast majority of its titles are extremely well-rated by critics and audiences alike, with only a handful coming in below “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, until recently, there was only one that was “Rotten,” but now, one more Marvel title joins the ranks of the “Rotten.”
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Many Marvel fans have had their complaints about Phase Four. After over a decade of cohesive storytelling, all leading to the events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), the new Phase felt sort of aimless. There wasn’t anything tying each entry together, the stakes seemed lower, and three fan-favorite heroes were gone: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). The hope was and has been that Phase Five would be different, kicking off a new and more cohesive era.
For a while now, it has seemed like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) would be just that. Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is a lovable hero, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) is a formidable villain, and they even found a feasible way to bring MODOK (Corey Stoll) into the Marvel Cinematic Universe! The clips have all seemed exciting, and with the introduction of this variant of Kang (Majors), the beginning of the Kang Dynasty is well at hand! However, critics haven’t felt all that excited, it seems.
Though the film hasn’t been released to the general public yet, critics who have been given early screenings of the film haven’t held back in their reviews. Currently, the film rates a dismal 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, setting the record for the second lowest-rated film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just above The Eternals (2021), which stands at 47%. This is a pretty striking condemnation for the first film of Phase Five and does not bode well for the rest of the Phase.
For reference, this puts Quantumania below even Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), The Incredible Hulk (2008), and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), all of which were panned by audiences and critics alike. Despite the immense dislike for these titles, they still didn’t merit low enough reviews to be considered “Rotten,” which may well speak to the quality of film audiences can expect from Quantumania. That being said, cult classic films like Hook (1991), National Treasure (2004), and Taken (2008) also all rated “Rotten”, despite being extremely popular with audiences.
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What will the new movie bring? Fans will just have to find out! Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters in two days, on February 17, 2023. The sequel stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/The Wasp, Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet van Dyne, and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, and Corey Stoll as MODOK. Quantumania promises, if nothing else, the setting up of the “Kang Dynasty.
What do you think about Quantumania receiving such a low rating? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!