Strictly speaking, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is not the worst-reviewed movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it’s close.

At present, Quantumania currently has a 48 percent score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Eternals holds a 47 percent. So Quantumania is the second-worst reviewed movie in MCU history, at least for now. (At one point, Quantumania’s score dipped down to 47 to tie Eternals, but it’s since rebounded slightly. It could still dip again if some late reviews crop up.)

For most of Marvel’s 15-year run as the producers of its own movies, it has been a critical darling — Eternals was the studio’s first film to ever get a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes. But clearly that has changed, at least for the short-term. Still, Quantumania’s screenwriter, Jeff Loveness, says he was taken off-guard by the poor critical response to the film.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Loveness said the poor reviews took him “by surprise” and left him “in a pretty low spot.”

Despite the reviews, Loveness says he remains proud of the film...

I’m really proud of what I wrote for Jonathan [Majors, who plays the villain Kang the Conqueror] and Michelle Pfeiffer [scientist Janet Pym] ... I thought that was good stuff, you know? And so I was just despondent, and I was really sad about it.

Loveness also claimed that what pulled him out of his funk was going to see a public screening of Quantumania, and watching the paying crowd respond enthusiastically to the film, an experience he compared to the end of the Preston Sturges movie Sullivan’s Travels. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it’s about a comedy director who decides he’s sick of making “unimportant” things and wants to make a serious movie instead. (It’s called O Brother, Where Art Thou? which is how the Coen brothers’ film got its title.) The director’s journey to tell the story of the common man in America eventually lands him in a work camp, where he witnesses the prisoners enthusiastically laughing at Mickey Mouse cartoon — which reinvigorates his passion for making comedies that uplift people’s spirits.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now playing in theaters everywhere. Marvel’s next movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is scheduled to open in theaters on May 5.

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