Guess I’m Basic, Because Critics Hated Everything I Loved About ‘Quantumania’
Now I know how Eternals fans feel
This post contains minor spoilers for Quantumania.
On Monday, I walked out of my Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania screening elated. What a great time I’d just had! What a fun movie I’d just seen! Scott and Cassie’s relationship was so sweet! Kang was fucking awesome! God bless science fiction and comic books!
Then the reviews from other critics started to come in. People hated the story. They hated the characters. They were disgusted by the CGI. Some complained that it was humorless; others said there were too many jokes. The social media reviews tempered my expectations by reminding me that Quantumania isn’t an Avengers story, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of unmitigated loathing I saw on Rotten Tomatoes.
What happened? Did I see a different movie? Did I accidentally wear my silly goose glasses? Have I and 47% of other critics just succumbed to Marvel brainrot?
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I mean, the movie isn’t perfect. The editing is clumsy in some places. Some of the fight scenes dragged. And I love Marvel movies despite their CGI, not because of it.
But I was struck by how deeply other critics hated the exact things that I loved.
Take, for instance, the setting. The Quantum Realm is depicted as a glittery, psychedelic landscape filled with strange plant life and a forbidding subatomic sky. The city of Chronopolis arches into a dizzying bowl around Kang’s palace, giving the feeling that the land itself is unmoored. As Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne explains, there are universes within universes in the Quantum Realm, and the movie made me wonder how many even deeper levels the characters might find if they shrank again. Indeed, Scott finds himself in a deeper level when he shrinks down and finds himself in a probability paradox, where every choice generates a variant of himself. Quantumania was an action comedy that also happened to explore the idea of infinitely unfolding realities, and I loved that.
According to critics, though, the setting was just ugly. Okay.
I’m not saying everyone else is wrong, of course. I mean, I’m quantifiably in the minority here. But it’s left me a little unmoored. How can I like an apparently bad movie so much? I have advanced degrees from prestigious schools! I write smart things about smart films! I read lots of books!
As of this writing, audience reviews are coming in, and Quantumania looks like it’ll end up with the same Rotten Tomatoes discrepancy as Eternals, which earned a 47% critical score and a 77% audience score. If I’m mid, at least I have plenty of company.
And if you’re on the fence about seeing Quantumania … well, if you liked Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you may enjoy it, even if you’ll have to keep that information to yourself afterwards.
You can tell me, though. I get it. I understand.
(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)
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