Antman & The Wasp (Movie)

antmanwaspAntman & the Wasp. Technically I know there is a hyphen between Ant and Man but since this is a movie review and what’s more, it is MY movie review, I don’t particularly care. It is much easier to remember and search for “Antman” than “Ant-Man”. I mean, with my thousands of movie reviews, I need to make things easier to find, right? 😉

 

Before watching this movie, you definitely need to have watched Antman. My history with Antman was a weird one.  When I heard that the MCU was putting out a movie about Antman, as a solo hero, I was right there in the frontlines scoffing as hard as anyone. Some guy in a suit who can shrink or enlarge himself? Come on, how corny was that? Plus, given the quality of writers in Hollywood these days, I figured it would be a very lame story.  However, when I ended up watching it, it became one of my favorite recent MCU movies. A heist movie with a wise-cracking lead. And Evangeline Lilly. I’ve been a huge fan of hers ever since her “Kate” days in Lost. So the original movie surprised me a lot with how much I ended up liking it.

It was a no-brainer for me to watch this sequel once it came out on bluray/digital.

First off, the characters.  Paul Rudd makes Scott Lang. Since I’m not a comic book fan, I’m not comparing anything, which always helps. Lang is a down on his luck, no matter what, kind of convict. I mean, he is under house arrest for years for helping out the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. So the movie starts out with him living at home, trying to start up a security company for the guys who helped him and to entertain his daughter. He really comes across as the luckless guy who really wants to do good but no matter what he does, it turns out bad for him. He’s not a fighter, not an aggressive in your face, Knight on a Noble Steed kind of guy.  A girl teaches him how to fight, for goodness sake in the first movie and in this one, he doesn’t do the fighting. That leads over to the Wasp.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, aka the Wasp, is the fighter in this movie. Much like her alter-ego name implies, she is the one with the sting.  She is the one who does most of the fighting, whether against the Ghost or against the Hillbilly Boys and half the time she’s the one initiating the fighting. At the same time she’s working with her dad Hank Pym to build a machine to bring her mom back from the quantum zone. That is her goal and she is completely driven.

The other sub-characters didn’t jar anything for me. Michael Douglass, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, all big names that brought their skill to the story without overshadowing the main characters. Michael Pena as Luis, gives another excellent performance as the big mouth buddy of Scott Lang who just cannot keep his mouth shut. When the bad guys put him on the truth serum, man, that was one of the best parts for me. I am a fan of him talking while other characters act out the scene as if they were him. Since it wasn’t “new” like in the first movie, it wasn’t quite as funny but I still found myself smiling away.

The badguys were a bit of a letdown I have to admit.  The Hillbilly Gang moved the plot forward but I never felt like they were a serious threat. The Ghost was cool with her abilities but her obsession with killing Hope’s mom to steal her quantum energy bordered on monomania. She did provide a great foil for Hope in the fight scenes though.

The overall plot was the rescue of Hope’s mom and all the problems the heroes faced while doing it. Nothing earth-shattering or world ending. Sometimes I need the little battles to remember that people are people.

So the movie ended and I had enjoyed it tremendously. It was everything I wanted in an Antman movie. I watched the first mid-credits scene and can’t even remember what it was to be honest. Then came the final scene. It ties directly into the Infinity War but even so, I found it horrifying. It was bad enough with 3/4 of the team (Dr Pym, Hope, her mom and Scott Lang) suddenly disappearing into ash but the panning over the city and seeing nobody? It gave me shivers and honestly kind of ruined the mood.  That isn’t the tone of the Antman movies. It did guarantee though that I’ll be watching Infinity War at some point.

 

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Right Ho, Jeeves (The Jeeves Omnibus #2.1) ★★★☆½

righthojeeves (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Right Ho, Jeeves
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #2.1
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 212
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bertie comes back from the Continent with his Aunt and Cousin and things fall apart. Bertie tries to wear a white suit coat and clashes with Jeeves. Jeeves lets him have his way and solve everything on his own. So, Bertie’s cousin is engaged but the couple fights and calls off the engagement. A friend of Bertie’s is in love with a girl but can’t work up the nerve to even talk to her. This girl is a friend of Bertie’s cousin and is staying with them. Bertie is called down to the countryside to assist in giving a speech at a local boys school and hand out prizes. He avoids this by sending the love struck friend down with the promise that it will help him court the girl he loves. Bertie goes down to help restore bliss between his cousin and her fiance. He also finds out that his Aunt needs a lot of money from his Uncle to fund her vanity magazine, money which he already gave her but she lost in gambling on the Continent. Throw in Anatole the French chef who is threatening to leave and you have a problem only Jeeves can fix.

But Jeeves isn’t fixing anything since Bertie WILL insist on wearing the white suit coat. Thus it falls to Bertie to solve everything. Of course, he just makes it 100 times worse. Thankfully, Jeeves relents and solves everything BUT at the cost of making everyone hate Bertie and “accidentally” leaving the iron on the white suit coat.

Hijinks, wrong engagements, one spectacular instance of public drunkenness and sundry other mishaps occur, affording the reader an escape from the humdrum of life for a couple of hours.

 

My Thoughts:

You know, I have mentioned this before, but it really stuck out, AGAIN. Whoever put these omnibus editions together is a complete jackass. I hate them in fact. It is almost like someone who never read the books and is not a reader at all in fact, looked at the books and just randomly pointed them out and decided which volume each book would go in. It is just frustrating as it is obvious it is lazy no good incompetence that made such decisions.

Overall, I still enjoyed this. This was another novel instead of a short story collection but so much is going on that it almost might as well be a short story collection. There were times I felt like I had already read this but given that Bertie references these escapades in other books, turns out I was just remembering the references. Another reason to kick the jackass who put these together.

I have to say, it is incredible how much Bertie can wreck things. What’s even more astounding is just how dense he is when Jeeves fixes everything at his expense. Bertie pretty thinks “Oh well, at least I’m not getting married now” and is happy enough. Egads.

I think one of these books every 6 to 8 weeks is working out well. Enough time for me to forget any lingering animosity and to simply remember the stupidly funny stuff. That’s good enough for me!

★★★☆½

 

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Fail Harder (Caverns & Creatures #2) ★☆☆☆½

failharder (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Fail Harder
Series: Caverns & Creatures #2
Author: Robert Bevan
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 305
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Gang of merry losers runs into some other humans who have been sent to this fantasy world by Mordred. They team up with them and learn of yet another group, of middle graders, who were Mordred’s favorites and are sure to run rampant once they learn of his demise.

Katherine, Tim’s sister, is kidnapped by a vampire who has also been brought here by Mordred. He turns her before the group can rescue her but they do rescue her and kill the vamp. With the loot and stuff they raid from the dead vamp’s castle, they pay a dodgy magician to get Tim back to the real world so he can find Mordred’s dice and figure out how to get everyone back.

Tim makes it back, but still in his halfing body and finds Mordred still alive in the freezer. The dodgy magician, having a glimpse of our world through Tim’s mind, decides he wants to check things out and brings the whole Gang back with him.

 

My Thoughts:

You know, I barely even noticed the profanity this time around. However, the reason I didn’t was because of the crass humor and the complete stupidity of just about ALL the characters involved.

This group of people who got sucked into the fantasy world? They deserve to die. In fact, the United States is a better place if these people really did die. The fact that scum like them get their vote to count as much as mine, it infuriates me.

Yeah, I was pretty pissed off for almost the whole book. That is how pathetic these people were. So I’m done. I knew I was going to be done with this book one way or another, but my goodness, the amount of idiocy the characters packed into a mere 300 pages was astounding.

Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with them being hardcore gamers. I can sit around and play Magic the Gathering for hours on end. But I’m not an idiot who just does whatever he feels like whenever he feels like. I realize I haven’t pointed out specifics for you to judge for yourselves. But just think of someone you know who does what they want, when they want, regardless of consequences and you have this group. I’ve been using the term “stupid” but it is more along the lines of irresponsible in the worst way.

I still would like to thank Swords & Spectres for his very enthusiastic take on this series. For some non-frothing at the mouth reviews, check out his reviews. Maybe he can convince you to read them.

★☆☆☆½

 

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The Lizard Man (Shaman King #3) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

lizardman (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Lizard Man
Series: Shaman King #3
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Wooden Sword Ryu and gang continue to look for their happy place. They find an abandoned bowling alley where Ryu sees Anna and falls in love. When he finds out she is Yoh’s fiance, everything comes crashing down for him as Yoh was the one who cut off Ryu’s pompadour AND broke his sword. This leaves Ryu open to be possessed by a bandit ghost that Amidamaru killed 600 years ago.

After lots of blathering, Yoh lets the ghost, one Tokagero, possess him to see what trust is all about. Tokagero has a change of heart and lets Ryu go. Ryu and gang clean up the inn where Yoh is staying as payment and Ryu’s latent shaman powers are released. Unfortunately, without a spirit OR a trainer, he’s left on his own. He asks the stars for a sign and a comet suddenly appears blazing across the sky.

The comet is one of a pair that herald the start of the fight for the title of Shaman King. We get a shot across the world of various shamans gazing at the comet and the book ends with Ren Tao claiming that he will be the Shaman King no matter what.

 

My Thoughts:

This volume relied almost completely on the Friendship trope in manga. Yoh and Amidamaru are as strong as they are because of their friends and even Ryu has friends to help him out. Once the nasty bad Tokagero realizes just how lonely he was, suddenly he’s alright once someone shows him some friendship. In one sense it was eye-rollingly corny but at the same time you can see the truth behind the trope. Friendships have allowed people throughout history to go beyond themselves and to do things they didn’t think they could. The flipside to that is that no one can hurt you more than a friend can.

Ryu moves up from a bit character to someone with shaman capabilities which means he is now part of The Team. It is fun to watch as people move into Yoh’s orbit without him even trying.

I also have to say that after reading this volume and still enjoying it so much that I’m going to be reading a volume every week and putting out a Manga Monday post each week for at least this month. Just so you know so you can avoid them or pay particular attention, depending on which way your interests lay.

Finally, that cover. That is just plain ridiculous and yet it captures the essence of the story told. Ridiculous AND funny at the same time.

★★★★☆

 

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The Pickwick Papers ★★★★★★

pickwickpapers (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Pickwick Papers
Series: ———-
Author: Charles Dickens
Rating: 6 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 943
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Samuel Pickwick, gentleman bachelor and amateur scientist, has formed a small group of like minded men and they all decide to go exploring the Countryside of England to expand their knowledge of their Great Country.

As such, the 4 Gentlemen, Mr Pickwick, Mr Snodgrass, Mr Tuddle and Mr Tuppman, set out to see what they can see. Along the way Mr Pickwick picks up a servant by the name of Sam Weller, the company meets an honorable countryman by the name of Mr Wardle, the 2 younger gentlemen of the group fall in love and marry the niece and daughter of Mr Wardle, Mr Tuppman is disappointed in love with Mr Wardle’s spinster sister Miss Rachel. Mr Pickwick becomes embroiled in breach of promise suit with his landlady due to the machinations of the dastardly duo Dodson & Fogg, attorneys at law and ends up spending 3 months in debtors’ prison for refusing to pay the fine, as it would all go to the lawyers instead of the landlady. Pickwick and Weller have multiple runins with their lowclass counterparts, Jingle and Trotter and are made fools of several times over. Sam Weller’s father comes into the story with his own adventures of his second wife, a widow who owns a tavern and is a strict adherent to the sect of Preacher Stiggleton, who preaches teetotally while cooling drinking pineapple rum punch by the hogshead.

These are but a part of the adventures the Pickwick Club has over the course of 2 years and at the end of the book everything turns out for the best. Marriages and children abound, bad characters reform, love and generosity overcome all hardships and obstacles and Mr Pickwick retires to a city house with Sam and his wife Mary to keep him in order.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, yes, I did give this 6 stars. I know circumstances played a part, ie, several dnf’s had my reading expectations abysmally low. But even without that, this was just a fantastic book.

It started a little rough and in a rather formal vein but that was for the first chapter only. Then it turned into Dickens’ more relatable style. I’m a Dickens’ fan through and through.

This was an interesting little plot-less book. I say little because even though the “official” page count is over 900 pages, when I used Calibre’s page count plugin, this was barely over 600 pages. I suspect the pictures and chapters each had their own breaks which artificially inflated the page count.

I think humor was the most prevalent of the emotions that Dickens was trying to call forth and my goodness, he did a grand job. Sam Weller, Pickwick’s man servant was a font of pugnacious, pugalistic one liners and retorts that had me in stitches. He was also a bit more knowledgeable about the world at large than his master and thus was able to guide him safely through some troubled waters.

Romance, pathos, politics, social justice’ing of the day (Dickens was dead set against the whole idea of Debtors Prison. But to be fair, he actually had solid reasons, not just vapid, idiotic, baseless, pointless and generally useless ideas like the sjw’s of today), hijinks and lots and lots of drinking.

Through it all, Pickwick navigates the adventures as best he can and we can cheer him on, groan with him, laugh with him (and Sam Weller) and generally love every second spent reading this book. I’m also giving this the Best Book of the Year tag.

★★★★★★

 

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The Inimitable Jeeves (The Jeeves Omnibus #1.3) ★★★★☆

inimitablejeeves (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Inimitable Jeeves
Series: The Jeeves Omnibus #1.3
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 237
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of stories about Jeeves and Bertie that center mainly around Bertie’s friend Bingo Little and his constantly falling in love and with Bertie’s two younger cousins who are identical twins.

Through it all Jeeves must put up with Bertie’s poor sartorial choices.

 

My Thoughts:

Chronologically, and in order of publication too I believe, this was the first Jeeves & Wooster book. I found the short story format much easier to deal with than the longer novel length. Also, while Wodehouse’s writing wasn’t quite as polished, I enjoyed Bertie more as a person, as he wasn’t always shortening things to their initials. This was Bertie in the raw and I enjoyed it.

Bertie’s cousins, who’s names I can’t even remember, are young scaliwags who end up getting kicked out of college and sent off to South Africa to serve in the British Government there. The hopes being that responsibility will straighten them out. This is all Aunt Agatha’s doing, as is much in this book. We learn, through one sentence, that Bertie’s parents are dead and he is immensely independently wealthy, which makes Aunt Agatha’s power over him all the more puzzling.

Then you have Bingo Little. My goodness, that man was falling in love and having problems in every story. In one story he fell in love with a communist for goodness sake! He does finally get hitched in the end. Bertie’s aversion to marriage is made plain throughout these stories and along with Aunt Agatha, is a building block of the whole series.

Jeeves plays a very small part in all of this. He’s simply the deux ex machina that solves things, except when Bertie refuses to listen to him in regards to style and fashion. But once Bertie relents, Jeeves simply solves everything. I’m not sure if it is amazing or just how pathetic everyone else is.

In any case, I found this very amusing and liked the short story aspect much more to my taste. I remain confused about the order of the books, as there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why they are so mixed up.

★★★★☆

 

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Critical Failures (Caverns & Creatures #1) ★★☆☆☆

criticalfailures (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Critical Failures
Series: Caverns & Creatures #1
Author: Robert Bevan
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 284
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A group of RPG gamers have put an ad out to a Cavern Master, as none of them want to do the hard work. A man shows up at the Chicken Shack, in cape and with all the other accoutrements a Cavern Master could need.

These gamers are jackasses. So they hassle the guy for wearing a cape and take their game playing very casually. This enrages the Cavern Master and has each of the players roll his special dice. This transports them into the game as their characters. The Cavern Master is interrupted by the sister of one of the players and her boyfriend. They too are transported into the game.

Shit happens and the gang gets separated, some in jail, some in the forest, more hijinks, mixups, etc. They all eventually get together, find out that the Cavern Master has done this to other people and trick him into a situation where he has to release them or die. Unfortunately for them, he dies and they’re stuck in the game world with no way to get out.

The end.

 

My Thoughts:

Swords and Spectres has been reviewing this series and I thought I’d try it. He did warn me about the profanity and folks, he was NOT kidding. These are 20 something losers with the accompanying attitude. Self-absorbed, filthy mouthed, caring about no one or anything but themselves. I was actually rather glad that they got theirs by being pushed into the game. Unfortunately, they are just as horrible in game as they are out of the game.

The humor was right up my alley and I kept snorting and laughing out loud but honestly, it was wicked crass and relied on a juvenile humor about death and body functions.

Even with that, I’l be reading the next book. However, since I’m pretty sure it is just more of the same, I expect to stop the series then.

★★☆☆☆

 

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