Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania!Now that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has brought an end to the trilogy, here are all three Ant-Man movies ranked from worst to best. Marvel Studios has turned Marvel’s smallest character into a major movie franchise that has become an important of the Marvel Cinematic Universe story. Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang debuted in 2015 with his first solo film, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the latest chapter of the franchise. It marks his fifth appearance in the MCU overall thanks to pivotal appearances in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame.
The Ant-Man movie franchise has never been one of the MCU’s biggest hits, but the films have carved out their place within the wider universe. This is largely do the continuity of the creatives involved in the series. Director Peyton Reed has helmed every Ant-Man movie after taking over the first film once Edgar Wright left the project. Thanks to his individual story and connections to the wider MCU, Paul Rudd’s superhero has still established himself as a favorite of fans thanks to his comedy and size-changing powers. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania continues this, and it means its time to rank the Ant-Man movies from worst to best.
3 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Upon its release in February 2023, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania divided audiences as viewers checked out what is arguably the worst Ant-Man movie. Enjoyment of the third film in the series could vary, but expectations were high as it began Phase 5 of the MCU. This came with a decision by Marvel Studios to make a very different entry in the franchise than those in the past. Some major supporting characters were left out as the trilogy capper’s focus shifted to a Quantum Realm-based story that introduced Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) as the MCU’s next big villain.
This was not an inherently poor decision – Thor: Ragnarok reinvented the Thor franchise to great success – and the shift for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania did work in places. It is essentially Marvel’s version of a Star Wars film for much of the runtime thanks to setting the story almost entirely in the Quantum Realm. This ups the scale of the franchise and allowed Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) to have a prominent role. Furthermore, it successfully makes audiences understand that Kang and his variants are villains that will definitely test the Avengers in the Multiverse Saga.
The disappointment of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (and why it is coming in last in this Ant-Man movie ranking) is because this all meant doing less of things that made the franchise unique from the other MCU movies. The film is less funny than previous installments and does not utilize the size-shrinking powers as effectively. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania might not be a bad film per se, but it is the most overstuffed of the franchise. It seems that playing a bigger role in setting up the MCU’s future came at the cost of allowing the Ant-Man movies to exist in their own little corner of the franchise.
2 Ant-Man and the Wasp
Released in theaters in July 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp comes in second place when it comes to the Ant-Man movies being ranked from worst to best. The movie was put in a difficult position of coming out just a few months after Avengers: Infinity War left audiences in disbelief after Thanos won. The Ant-Man sequel decided to largely avoid connecting to that story, telling an adventure that takes place days before or concurrently with Thanos’ arrival. Ultimately, Ant-Man and the Wasp proved to be a fun distraction from the larger universe that leaned even more into the franchise’s comedic tone and size-changing action.
There are plenty of highlights of Ant-Man and the Wasp when it comes to its characters and story. The film elevated Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne to co-lead status by making her Wasp at long last. It wasted little time proving Wasp is one of the most powerful Avengers, validating those feelings after the first film that she could have been the franchise’s lead. However, Ant-Man and the Wasp also is sure to give Scott a funny and heartfelt story, with Paul Rudd acting like Janet van Dyne one of the most memorable sequences. It even delivered a sympathetic villain with Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who also has unique powers visually.
Of course, Ant-Man and the Wasp is not a perfect movie. The surprisingly small role for Michelle Pfeiffer is disappointing, while the decision to lean even more into the franchise’s comedy means that there are several jokes and gags that do not land. However, it retains a sweet base on Scott’s life and relationship with Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson), builds on the consequences of Captain America: Civil War, and ultimately played a key role in setting up Avengers: Endgame‘s time travel.
When it comes to having the Ant-Man movies ranked from worst to best, it is only logical to have the original Ant-Man placed first. The 2015 release came with little expectations in terms of how it would connect to the larger MCU or even how good it would be after Edgar Wright left. Ant-Man ultimately came together quite nicely under director Peyton Reed, as the story managed to firmly establish him as part of the MCU, but Marvel did not rely on these connections too much despite Ant-Man’s relative obscurity.
There is an understandably grounded nature to the first Ant-Man movie that helps root the film in the real world, but it also is not afraid to be silly when necessary. This really shines through Scott and Cassie’s relationship, but the various scenarios that Paul Rudd’s character finds himself in as an ant-sized hero also utilize this. Some of this is credited to Edgar Wright and the action sequences he planned before leaving, but the real fun of Ant-Man’s powers comes through in the final act – where a Thomas the Train toy becomes a huge danger to him and Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll).
Like the rest of the Ant-Man movies, there are flaws with the first film, such as underdeveloping Yellowjacket and not giving Hope a larger role. However, the first Ant-Man ultimately proved to be just what the MCU needed. It is low-stakes in comparison to the rest of the franchise, which allows it to be very different from solo films for Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, or even Doctor Strange. If nothing else, the first Ant-Man movie deserves to be at the top for introducing Luis’ hilarious storytelling sequences.