Marvel VFX Artists Explain Why Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Became an “Incoherent Effects-Dump of a Movie”

Image: Marvel Studios

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has made a nice amount of money at the box office since its release on February 17, 2023, but unfortunately for Marvel Studios, critical reception hasn’t been nearly as positive, with some reviewers calling the third Ant-Man film an “incoherent effects-dump of a movie.” Two VFX artists who worked on the feature have now provided a bit of insight on how and why that happened, with one telling Vulture under anonymity that Marvel opted to prioritize its previous feature, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, something that led to what sounds like a rougher production and worse visuals for the new Ant-Man. “Certain things were used to cover up incomplete work,” he alleged, while another artist criticized the director for not being clear and failing to shoot scenes properly.

From a Vulture report:

Jim* is a visual-effects technician who has worked on more than half a dozen Marvel movies and series and says many of his experiences working for Hollywood’s most reliable blockbuster factory have been positive. The effects house that employed him worked on postproduction for Quantumania and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the latter of which he says Marvel prioritized over the former.

For Ant-Man, there were a lot of editorial changes happening toward the latter third and fourth of the project that were just too late. There’s a point of no return. Why certain things were changed, why certain notes were nitpicked longer than they should have been — that’s on Marvel. But it definitely did cause a lot of tension, turmoil, and weight on everybody at [company name redacted].

Unfortunately, it is noticeable that there were shortcuts. Certain things were used to cover up incomplete work. Certain editorial cuts were made to not show as much action or effects as there could have been — likely because there just wasn’t enough time to render everything. There was a lot of shortening and rolling of shots (rolling is when you don’t shorten or lengthen a shot — you just move it a few frames in the cut). It really did feel like certain scenes were trimmed or otherwise altered to either save money, save time, or cover up the inability to get it done.

Conor* has worked as a VFX artist on several of the biggest superhero-movie franchises of the last decade — including a number of Marvel’s biggest blockbusters. During postproduction on Quantumania, the effects house employing him was concurrently working on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Maybe the director had an idea of what he wanted, but he wasn’t 100 percent clear. We had a rough environment that we were sticking a few main characters in. At that time, we weren’t told where the characters should be in that environment. We were just going with what felt right.

Then there were times when we were creating an actor’s entire action: Ant-Man moving across something. And you just think, Why didn’t they film it the right way or how they wanted in the first place? Why are we having to redo and re-create? Why do we have to Frankenstein together an actor’s performance? A quick shot that maybe takes two seconds would have to be redone 20 times to get the look that they want. There was a lot of reworking, a lot of inefficiency. I ended up taking over and reworking a large portion of other artists’ work — which is not how things usually go when you are working for other studios.

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