Marvel’s Most Disappointing Movie Finally Finds An Audience On Streaming
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the #1 streaming movie on Disney+
With the overwhelming critical and box office success of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it’s easy to forget that just a few short months ago, Marvel dropped a number three that was really a number two. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was one of Marvel’s biggest disappointments since the Spider-Man Clone Saga in the 90s—that’s a deep cut for all you old-school comic nerds out there—and had fans questioning if the House that Stark built was beginning to crumble. Well, don’t count Marvel out just yet because according to FlixPatrol Ant-Man 3 is currently #1 on Disney+!
Marvel’s diminutive hero and his fellow shrinky dinks are proving to be much more palatable when viewed from the comfort of one’s couch or bed. The reason for the Marvel fandom’s sudden acceptance of Quantumania could be due to several factors. It could be that Paul Rudd’s affable charm wins everyone over eventually or that people are just now realizing that Bill Murray has a role in the film.
Heck, it could even be that people are curious about Jonathan Majors after all the criminal allegations the actor is now facing. After all, there’s no such thing as bad press.
Whatever the reason, it looks like Marvel fans are finally interested in the continuing adventures of Ant-Man. And while that’s good for them, it doesn’t really help Disney recoup all the money Quantumania didn’t make the movies. Unless the third Ant-Man movie is driving new subscriptions—and there’s no reason to think that it is—then all its streaming success is nothing more than a gold star sticker with “Great Job!” written on it as far as Disney is concerned.
The third Ant-Man movie was again helmed by Bring It On! director Peyton Reed based on a screenplay by Jeff Loveness. Reed teased that a third film in the Marvel franchise would explore the quantum realm during press for 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. Both of the previous films had shown glimpses of the realm but only hinted at it’s true potential as a sci-fi action movie setting.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania follows superhero duo and romantic pairing Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne—played by Paul Rudd and Lost star Evangeline Lilly respectively—as they get sucked into the quantum realm by Kang the Conquerer, played masterfully by Jonathan Majors. Along for the ride are Scott’s daughter Cassie played by Kathryn Newton, and Hope’s parents, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet van Dyne (former Catwoman Michelle Pfieffer).
Throughout their adventures in the quantum realm, a sort of Marvel version of the Star Wars galaxy that can only be reached by shrinking to sub-atomic size, the quintet comes across several interesting characters, including Bill Murray’s Lord Krylar and Corey Stoll’s M.O.D.O.K. Stoll as many may remember played Darren Cross—AKA Yellowjacket—in the first Ant-Man film.
Cross, thought to be destroyed at the end of the first movie, was instead transported to the quantum realm and transformed by Kang into a Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing. M.O.D.O.K. is essentially a giant head with a tiny body, forced to wear a hover helmet/chair in order to have any mobility.
It all sounds like a fun, sci-fi romp on paper, but somehow didn’t translate well to the screen. Part of the blame can be placed on the shooting restrictions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to push things around and reschedule shootings. Meanwhile, the movie’s visual effects suffered thanks to another Marvel film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which stole most of the VFX workers that were supposed to be working on Ant-Man.
This led to substantial edits having to be made to Quantaumania so that scenes with unfinished VFX shots could be cut entirely. On top of that, the film made heavy use of Industrial Light & Magic’s StageCraft virtual production technology, the same equipment used in The Mandalorian and Thor: Love and Thunder. While the tech works fine with The Mandalorian, both Marvel movies ended up looking like a bunch of actors thrown into a PS4 game.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania cost an estimated $200 million to make and only grossed $476 million worldwide. While that seems like a pretty good haul—who doesn’t want to make double their budget?—it’s not as good as it looks. When the cost of advertisements is factored in, along with the 50 percent of the profits that go to the theaters themselves, any profit Ant-Man 3 made was a pittance compared to some of the other Marvel blockbusters.
If we’re being honest, however, the damage Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania did to Marvel’s reputation, their pride, and possibly even their future outweighs and money the film did or didn’t lose. Critical response to the film was largely negative, as evidenced by Quantumania‘s abysmal Rotten Tomatoes score of 47 percent. Audiences were slightly kinder, giving the movie a “B” on CinemaScore’s A+ to F scale.
The movie was the centerpiece of several think pieces about superhero fatigue, Marvel fatigue, and the just plain fatigue felt by the entire movie industry post-pandemic. Does the movie deserve all the crap it gets? The best way to answer that is to see for yourself. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is currently streaming now on Disney+