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ant man and the waspMarvel / Disney

“You can do it. You can do anything. You’re the world’s greatest grandma.”

The third Marvel-based movie for this year (I’m counting Deadpool 2, even though it wasn’t a Disney-generated Marvel movie), and this one is a sequel to 2015’s Ant Man.

While I surprisingly enjoyed the first Ant Man, it still was what you would call a stand-alone, almost filler type of movie that Marvel put out. And while the response was positive, and the inclusion of the character in Captain America: Civil War was supremely satisfying, the sequel wasn’t exactly something I was counting down the days to go watch. Still, I was looking forward to watching this with the Exalted Geeks. We did so on the Sunday after it opened, instead of the Saturday, which is our normal modus operandi for doing these; the reason being is that everyone was at the Shakespeare On The Green in Omaha that Saturday, so we just shifted to Sunday. Anyway…

After a flashback involving the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, getting lost into the Quantum Realm while taking down a nuclear missile, we come across the former second Ant Man, Scott Lang, having some bonding time with his daughter at his place of residence. He’s been on house arrest since the events in Captain America: Civil War, and is nearing the end of his sentence indoors. Then one afternoon, he has a dream where he was Janet van Dyne playing hide-and-seek with her daughter, and so he leaves a message on Hank Pym’s phone, which leads to Scott getting kidnapped by Pym and Hope van Dyne to help triangulate the location of Janet so they can mount a rescue mission. Only, there’s the issue of Scott’s house arrest and the possibility of him spending 20 more years in the slammer if he’s caught, as well as both a black market tech dealer and this phase-shifting thief that goes by Ghost that’s making things a bit more complicated with the rescue mission.

Ant Man And The Wasp was a very enjoyable movie, with the standard breathtaking action bits, some mind-blowing sequences in the Quantum Realm, and just the right amount of comedy mixed in at the right places. The scenes between Scott Lang and his daughter was touching and quite believable, with Scott trying to explain why doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when it seems his loved ones always get punished as well. The inclusion of Laurence Fishburne was fantastic, as he could fill the part of someone who would conceivably go toe-to-toe against the likes of Hank Pym. Of course, the best scene in the entire movie goes to the interrogation of Luis, a favorite of mine since the first Ant Man movie. Every scene he’s in is gold. Pure gold. He needs to be in the upcoming Avengers movie next May, if he wasn’t one of the casualties of Thanos’ elimination of half of the universe’s population, that is.

Overall, Ant Man And The Wasp was a highly enjoyable comic book action flick. It doesn’t add to the overall grand arc that Marvel has been building for the past ten years, but it’s a nice brick in the wall. Recommended for a matinée, at least.

Movie Review: ANT-MAN

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I’m going to disintegrate you!”
Playing Disintegration by The Cure.”

Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym recruits the talents of Scott Lang, a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.

At this point in the game, I’m just going to concede to the glaring fact that I prefer the movies over the comics Marvel is putting out nowadays. Not that I read everything Marvel released to begin with—I kept my interest in a tight Spider-Man and Deadpool circle, with occasional branching out to other random titles that caught my eyeballs at the time. Until they killed everything for me by way of that One More Day/Brand New Day, Peter-Makes-A-Deal-With-Satan-To-Reset-Continuity-Because-The-EIC-Didn’t-Like-Mary-Jane crap. Yeah, I’m still bitter about that. But anyway, with most of the Marvel stable of super-heroes, my interest in them has been largely due to the big screen adaptations of late, outside of some badly written Wikipedia article.

In the case of Ant-Man, this was another Marvel movie I initially was going to wait for the DVD release to watch, as my vested interest in the comic book hero was nil. But, so it was with Guardians Of The Galaxy, and that movie was awesome enough that I lamented not having seen it in the theaters when I had the chance. So, I decided to take advantage of the Early Bird special, where the tickets were a bit over half off the regular price, and caught Ant-Man 9am on the Saturday after its official release.

And now that I’ve taken in this movie, I have to say that, while I got a lot out of it seeing it on the big screen, I think I could have waited for the DVD release, in this instance. This is not to say that it’s a bad movie; far from it. I just found that my enjoyment of watching Ant-Man probably wouldn’t have been diminished much had I not watched it on the big screen, as opposed to the mid-sized external computer monitor screen I have in my cell at the Haunted Victorian. This is because Ant-Man is a superhero movie that’s a bit more driven by character development rather than by the special effects.

Again, don’t get me wrong, the special effects were fantastic, making very good use of embiggening the environment to make it a whole new battleground that’s normally invisible to the naked eye. These all lent to some rather entertaining fight and battle scenes here and there. But, as I said, the special effects are merely the icing on the cake, in this instance; the character development in Ant-Man was very, very well written, with the actors giving some rather good performances. Michael Douglas was a very good choice for the older Hank Pym, lending some weight to his fractured relationship with his daughter, as well as his one-time protégé and movie baddie, Darren Cross (as I’ve heard someone else in another review mention, after seeing Corey Stoll playing Cross in this movie, why he wasn’t tapped to play Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman V. Superman movie is beyond even my level of comprehension); Paul Rudd seemed to be having some fun with the Scott Lang/Ant-Man roll, as the former convicted felon trying to find some redemption so he could be with his daughter. He could have easily went with the two-dimensional “dark, angsty antihero” portrayal, but this guy has a sense of humor, and is much more an optimist about things, which is a nice switch from the brooding we’ve been getting in superhero movies recently. But, I gotta tell you, my hands-down favorite character in this movie happens to be Scott Lang’s former cell mate/best friend/heist team member Luis. I mean, sure, this guy is merely a side character, and he’s onscreen for maybe a fraction of the time as the main guys, but if you’ve already seen this, then you would understand why I’m kinda wanting to see a story about that guy. His cadence, the way he goes about painting a verbal picture that makes you go, “wait, what?”, just made me smile whenever he came into the scene. I wanna see more of him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to come, please.

As far as the story goes, Ant-Man is basically the same structure as the first Iron Man movie, conjoined with the Batman Beyond origin and dropped into a 1960s heist caper movie. The story was engaging, at no point did I think the movie was dragging along, the effects were very well done, and outside of the obligatory Marvel Movie Universe tie-ins I found Ant-Man to be a rather good stand-alone flick without it seeming like mere filler, which was what I admittedly thought it was going to be when I heard they were making the movie months ago. Still, I maintain that, if you wish to watch it now while it’s still fresh in the theaters, make it a matinée or the Early Bird pricing, like I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t fault you for waiting for the DVD release itself. Recommended, regardless.