Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania received a Rotten score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences disagree, giving it a Fresh score. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a reputation as the gold standard for Rotten Tomatoes scores, it has an even stronger reputation for being crowd-pleasing. While critics may not have embraced the third Ant-Man movie, audiences still gave it a high score, creating one of the biggest splits between critics and audiences in the whole MCU. As the official start of Phase 5, is this a sign of things to come for the MCU, or just an outlier before the MCU returns to its typical Rotten Tomatoes performance?
Starting with Iron Man, the MCU had an impressive string of Fresh scores from Rotten Tomatoes, earning 24 Fresh scores in a row with an average of 85 percent before Eternals earned the MCU’s first Rotten score. While audiences typically score MCU movies even higher than critics, it only took 20 Fresh audience ratings in a row before Captain Marvel became the first MCU movie to earn a Rotten score from audiences. Now, Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania is the second time the MCU hasn’t earned a Fresh score from critics in Rotten Tomatoes, but its audience score is as strong as ever.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Has the MCU’s 2nd Lowest RT Critic Score
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Eternals are currently tied at 47 percent in Rotten Tomatoes, although with 146 Fresh reviews and 162 Rotten reviews, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s 47.4 percent score is just barely lower than Eternals’ 46.8 percent from 190 Fresh reviews and 216 Rotten reviews. Reviews for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are still trickling in, so it could fall to as low as 45 percent, but as the only two movies in the entire 30-film MCU to earn Rotten scores, a few percentage points of separation hardly changes the significance of their low scores.
Including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the MCU’s average Rotten Tomatoes score is 81 percent, down two points from its 83 percent average pre-Quantumania. Rotten Tomatoes’ specially selected “Top Critics” gave Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania an even lower 38 percent score, which is also the second-lowest Top Critic score in the MCU, falling just one point below Eternals‘ 37 percent Top Critic score and 37 points below the MCU’s 75 percent Rotten Tomatoes Top Critic average.
Quantumania’s Audience Score is Better Than the Ant-Man Rotten Tomatoes Average
Despite the low Rotten Tomatoes score from critics, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania received a Fresh 82 percent Rotten Tomatoes audience score, ranking 17th, almost dead center, out of the 31 movies in the MCU. The first Ant-Man‘s audience score was four points higher than Quantumania at 86 percent, but Ant-Man and the Wasp was seven points lower at 75 percent, meaning audiences actually seem to prefer Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania over Ant-Man and the Wasp, which had a 40-point higher 87 percent Fresh score from Rotten Tomatoes critics.
The average audience score for the whole MCU is 82 percent, exactly the same as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s audience score, and the first two Ant-Man movies averaged 81 percent, which Quantumania beats by a single point. Obviously, reviews are subjective, so any mathematical edge one movie has over another in Rotten Tomatoes is hardly indicative of quality, which is especially true when critics and audiences disagree as much as they do with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but when a franchise is as consistent as the MCU when it comes to Rotten Tomatoes scores, Quantumania‘s relative rankings are an interesting anomaly.
Critics and Audiences Disagree on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania More Than Any MCU Movie
With such a low score from Rotten Tomatoes critic reviews and such a high score from Rotten Tomatoes audience reviews, it may not be much of a surprise that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now the movie with the biggest split between critics and audiences in Rotten Tomatoes. Previously, Captain Marvel was the MCU movie with the biggest critic/audience split, although in the opposite direction, with a 79 percent critic score and 45 percent audience score, separated by 34 points, but Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s 35 points of separation make it the MCU’s most divisive movie.
While Captain Marvel‘s split comes from a strong critic score and low Rotten Tomatoes audience score, Eternals‘ split is far more similar to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, with 31 points of separation (four fewer than Quantumania). Outside of Quantumania, Captain Marvel, and Eternals, most MCU movies have more consistency between Rotten Tomatoes critic review scores and audience review scores. Other than Black Panther (17 points of separation) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (12 points of separation), every other MCU movie has less than 10 points separating critic and audience review scores, with an average of seven points for the whole franchise.
Interestingly, disagreement between audiences and critics has been growing steadily with each phase of the MCU, according to Rotten Tomatoes. In Phase 1, critics and audiences only disagreed by an average of 2.3 points, in Phase 2 critics and audiences disagreed by an average of 3.7 points, in Phase 3 critics and audiences disagreed by an average of 8.5 points, and in Phase 4 critics and audiences disagreed by an average of 10.5 points. Considering Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania marks the biggest separation between critics and audiences yet, it’s fair to say that trend is already continuing with the beginning of Phase 5 of the MCU.
Poor reviews and low Rotten Tomatoes scores from critics don’t mean a movie is bad, just as good reviews and high Rotten Tomatoes scores from audiences don’t mean a movie is good, however, when the MCU has such a consistent behavior in Rotten Tomatoes, it’s notable when a movie like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania breaks that trend. As the movie that introduces Kang the Conqueror and kicks off Phase 5 of the MCU, its presence is sure to be felt on the universe going forward, even without the franchise’s top review scores, but it’ll be interesting to see how other upcoming MCU movies fare in Rotten Tomatoes.