With Ant-Man 3 taking audiences to the Quantum Realm, the MCU threequel has had to rely on largely computer-generated elements, something which has garnered criticism amongst fans.
After the latest Quantumania trailer, Twitter was quickly awash with complaints about how the movie looked. These points of contention ranged from broad criticism like the whole thing looking "ugly" to more specific critiques like actors looking out of place with odd lighting on colorful backgrounds.
However, despite all this, Marvel Studios has not been shy about speaking on the upcoming threequel's visual effects work.
A Deeper Look at Ant-Man's CGI
Speaking with Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania production designer Will Htay pulled the curtain back on CGI in the upcoming film.
Htay said that while designing the world of the Quantum Realm, the Quantumania team did not want it to "be too CG-heavy" but ultimately knew "[they'd have to rely] on VFX and CGI:"
“When [director] Peyton Reed came to me we started talking about the Quantum Realm being this vast epic, world within worlds, he wanted it to feel like it was huge. What we didn’t want it to be was macro photography, we didn’t want it to be too CG-heavy. Even though we knew we’d be relying on VFX and CGI ultimately."
The goal, knowing that though, was to "try and make [everything] as real and tangible [as possible]" despite being CGI:
"But what we wanted to do is try and make it as real and tangible in places as possible. So that when we go down there with our protagonist we can feel it and touch it and smell it and that we want it to feel like it is this real place that’s hidden beneath the Multiverse.”
VP of Production & Development at Marvel Studios Stephen Broussard noted that for the upcoming blockbuster, director Peyton Reed and the rest of the creative team had to design a whole new world and all the elements that make it unique:
“At every angle we’ve asked ourselves what’s the Quantum Realm version of this? What’s the Quantum Realm version of aliens? What does technology look like down here? What does society look like down here, what does religion and politics?”
In the same interview, Wasp actress Evangeline Lilly teased this largely CGI world, calling out things like "vicious suns that can eat you" or "water dripping upward instead of downward:"
“Vicious suns that can eat you, blobs that can morph, broccolis that can fight in battles, buildings that are part of a freedom fighter brigade. You look across the landscape and [don’t] see anything you would expect to see on planet Earth. Things like gravity functions differently so you have water dripping upward instead of downward, and you have clouds that don’t move in any way that resembles our reality."
Lilly called the entire project "as silly and fun as it will be sweeping and epic and beautiful:"
"It’s going to be as silly and fun as it will be sweeping and epic and beautiful. It's going to be very elegant and very graceful.”
What is Hiding in the Quantum Realm?
While other MCU projects have had the luxury of largely taking place on Earth, Quantumania has to define an entirely new world while telling an interesting story with its titular hero.
It's a tall task, but not one that Marvel is unfamiliar with. The Hollywood giant has done this a number of times, creating unique - and VFX-heavy - worlds like Asgard, Wakanda, or the general cosmos.
And yes, some of the CGI criticism may be warranted. Marvel Studios has been under the microscope ever since reports of the conditions VFX houses have had to work under on an MCU movie came to light.
So now - even more so than before - every frame of these Marvel Studios projects is being poured over by the general public. Marvel seems to have a visual effects problem that it is actively working out, and it has little to do with what actually makes it on-screen.
Audience members will have to make their own minds up on if the Quantum Realm looks up to snuff, but one cannot forget the fight that is happening behind the scenes with Marvel and the effects teams they rely so heavily upon.
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on Friday, February 17.