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Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania met with mixed reviews

By Joseph Frescott, Assistant Sports Editor

Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) kicked off with the release of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023. 

This film, which was highly anticipated by fans of the MCU, was met with mixed reactions by the audience and critics alike. 

Broadcasting alumni Ryan Boettcher has followed the MCU since the original Avengers, and thinks the most recent installment was average at best.

“I thought Ant-Man was enjoyable to watch with a group of friends,” Boettcher said. “But if we’re putting it on the list of best like Marvel movies, it’s nowhere near the top. It’s extremely mid, and I feel like it contributed nothing to the future of the MCU.”

Daniel Gron, a junior sports management major at St. John’s University, also had mixed feelings about the film. 

“If I were to give it a score out of ten, I would say it was six to me. It kind of gave me Sharkboy and Lava Girl vibes,” Gron said. “The script of the movie wasn’t really up to par. I get it was PG-13, but it was too childish for me.”

The critics have a similar sentiment, with IMDb giving the film a 6.4/10, while IGN scores the film a 7/10. Rotten Tomatoes shed light on the major difference between the critics and audience’s ratings of the film, as the critics scored it at 47 percent, while the audience had an 83 percent score.

Boettcher believes the critics got it right.

“The reviews were fair, but I think they have such high standards after Spider-Man and the other two Avengers movies that if anything doesn’t come close to those, they’re going to give it bad reviews,” he said. “So in comparison to other movies that were somewhat bad, but they get good reviews because they’re enjoyable, the Marvel movies get struck with harder reviews and harsher expectations because they want great movies.”

Despite the varied reviews, the movie had a strong opening weekend, grossing over $106 million domestically. The film’s second weekend wasn’t as promising, however, earning $32 million, a 69 percent drop-off. This marked the biggest sophomore weekend drop-off in the franchise’s history and was barely enough to remain at the top of the box office in its second week. 

This major drop-off at the box office has become a trend with Marvel’s most recent movies, as both “Black Widow” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” dropped over 67 percent after their respective debuts. 

Like most MCU fans, Gron thinks that Marvel has struggled to balance quality and quantity in recent years.

“Marvel has released so many TV shows and movies that it has been hard to keep up. I personally have not watched a lot of the shows,” Gron said. “I miss the days when there were just two or three movies a year.”

Boettcher shares in Gron’s criticism, believing the MCU may be in danger.

“I feel like [the MCU] is low-key falling off. They lost the big-name stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., and they’re struggling to find new stars. Jonathan Majors is very good in the villain role so far, but they still need another hero besides Tom Holland that they can build a franchise on,” Boettcher said. “I don’t think people like Paul Rudd are going to do it, so I don’t know what’s next for them, but they need to get a new main star to fill the gaps.”

Although Boettcher has his fair share of concerns, he remains hopeful for the future of the MCU. 

“I’m excited for Secret Wars, which is not the next major movie because the next one is the Kang Dynasty. Secret Wars is where there’s like different dimensions fighting each other, and the X-Men are supposedly coming in that one. I’m excited for them to expand past just the original Marvel group and now have Fantastic Four and X-Men come into play,” Boettcher said.

The MCU is set to release two more films this calendar year, including Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three on May 5, along with two Disney+ exclusive shows. 

Gron believes that the MCU must go back to where its roots are in order to replicate its past success. 

“They have to bring back Iron Man and Captain America. They were their two biggest superheroes, and things haven’t been the same since they left,” he said. “Bringing them back in the next Avengers movie would be incredible for both the fans and the MCU as a whole.”  

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