Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania feels as weightless as an ant, in terms of storyline and visuals. Both fail the other: The Peyton Reed film is set in a world of gossamer gloop and fake-looking skies, which only adds to the sense that nothing in the story matters.
We say this as Ant-Man fans! You can listen to our deep-dive into the disappointing start of Marvel’s Phase 5 in the latest episode of the Low Key Podcast, featuring your hosts Keith Dennie, Aaron Lanton, and me:
Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania Box Office
Don’t get us wrong: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a hit. It has earned more than $167 million domestically, for a total of more than 363 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
But in its second weekend, Quantumania fell 69.7 percent in North America, which is the the worst decline ever for a title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Quantumania held on to No. 1 at the box office with $32.2 million in its second weekend, but seems to have ceded a lot of territory to Cocaine Bear.
We have to chalk that Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s slide to the underwhelmed word-of-mouth on the film. It has the lowest CinemaScore of the 31 films in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while that score, a B, may not sound so bad, THR notes that nearly 70 percent of Marvel movies have earned an A+, A, or A- CinemaScore, and of the five that have earned a B+ or B, four are among the six latest Marvel movies.
Ant-Man and the Wasp VFX Problems
One of the most consistent complaints about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are the VFX. While the VFX artists did the best they could with the timeline and budget they were provided to create the lava lamp look of the Quantum Realm, this Vulture piece suggests they should have been given more resources.
It includes interviews with VFX artists who worked on the film and said many resources were focused on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever instead of on Quantumania — perhaps and understandable decision, given that the first Black Panther was one of Marvel’s most successful films, and the pressure to make its sequel an honorable tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.
Nevertheless, one of the Quantumania VFX artists attributed the rushed pace of Quatumania visual effects to simple “human greed.”
Is Kang a Good Villain?
Almost all reviews of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania praised Jonathan Majors, who plays the time-twisting villain Kang, for rising above his material. We wrote here about what an excellent year Majors is having — next week he’ll star in Creed III opposite Black Panther veteran Michael B. Jordan.)
As we discuss in the podcast, the problem with Kang as a villain is that we really don’t understand how powerful he is, or what he’s capable. There are countless tell-don’t-show moments where people tell each other (and the audience) how dangerous he is. But they don’t play well with scenes where he needs Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him with things that should be, in the Marvel Universe, relatively simple tasks for a villain of his supposed powers.
The final battle of the film, the outcome of which we won’t reveal here, is also baffling, given all we’ve heard about Kang. Tne stakes of the film feel as confusing and elastic as the messy, fake-feeling boundaries of the Quantum Realm.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now in theaters.
Main image: Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.