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.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

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Thor: Ragnarok (Movie)

thorragnorakThe only reason I watched this movie was to see Thor and Hulk either fight against each other or with each other. That is it. I found both previous Thor movies to be unenjoyable borefests.

Part of that is that I never enjoyed Thor as a comic book character, so translating him to the big screen doesn’t make me feel all squirmy and wriggly inside.  The other reason is that I don’t like Natalie Portman, and it really isn’t even her fault. When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I had been waiting for a new Star Wars movie since I could remember and I got The Phantom Menace. I wasn’t immediately devastated, but the scarring process had begun and Amidala was the face of the The Phantom Menace as far as I was concerned. It also didn’t help that her character in the previous Thor movies I recollect as the girly girly slap slap variety. So it helped that she wasn’t in this one and the Hulk was. Hulk good, Jane bad!

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Ok, I wrote the previous before watching the movie. I just finished. Holy smokes, I had SO MUCH FUN watching this movie.

I found the humor right down my alley. Physical humor interspersed with lowbrow banter. There were several times that I just laughed out loud. Not a slight chuckle, mind you, but a full laugh that lasted for at least 5seconds.  There was nothing serious about this movie and I’m glad they didn’t try to simply put in spots of humor while making it a grim movie. This was pure comic book and I loved it.

The fighting exceeded my expectations as well. The fight between Thor and Hulk in the arena was great. Wreaking half the arena showed just how powerful both of them were. The big fight scene at the end where Thor goes full on Thunder God was pure awesomesauce. I’m just kind of sad that it took until the end of the 3rd movie to get to that point. But I’m satisfied now that we got there.

I liked the characters as well. Jeff Goldblum was as weird as ever, Hemsworth and Hiddle WERE Thor and Loki and Cate Blanchett as Hela? Yeah, now there’s an evil elf queen for you! Miss Valkyrie lady seemed like the token tough girl but she was head and shoulders above “Jane” in terms of enjoyment. Finally, Hulk. I didn’t like that he talked so much. I know in the comic books he goes through various levels of toughness and braininess, but in this movie, there was no explanation for how he turned into a veritable fount of verbosity. But him fighting things made up for it.

To end, I enjoyed this so much that I’m going to be watching the previous 2 Thor movies again to see if my initial feelings were off or what. This movie didn’t make me a fan of the whole franchise, but it sure made me want to watch any future Thor movies (who knows how many more Thor movies there will be, if any though).

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Doctor Strange (Movie)

doctor-strange-blu-boxWell, this movie didn’t start out the best for me.  It starts out in a dark room with darkly robed figures. I HATE movie sequences where I can’t see what is going on. One of those pet peeves that will ruin the whole thing for me. So I’m not definitely not going to be buying this. I didn’t care how the rest of the movie went, that beginning sank it.

Stephen Strange’s introduction was perfect. Cumberbatch did a fantastic job of showing Strange’s arrogance AND skill. In many ways, his rendering of Sherlock served him well in this movie. I did find his fall rather precipitous, but considering the time space of the movie, to stretch it out any more would have cut into the rest of the movie.

And that is where this movie just kind of “meh’ed” me.  His training time, eh, it was just so mediocre. Mysterious hints of the badguys doing some ritual, his training with weapons magical and mundane, his voracious learning. It was all pretty boring to me.

When the badguys begin attacking the Sanctum’s and Strange defends the New York Branch, gaining the help of the Cloak of Levitation, that was pretty cool. The whole out of body fight experience in the hospital though, it made me wonder just how much time had passed? I mean, my last recollection of Strange is as a whining, poor me, acolyte and suddenly he’s going head to head with The Bad Guy? Where’s the Ancient One? I’d like to know why she’s slacking off and letting Strange get his butt kicked.

The battle in the Mirror Dimension, well, that just struck me as  a total ripoff from Inception. Escher-style buildings and scenery make my stomach go “ughh”.  The climactic battle in Hong Kong really didn’t show me just how much of a threat Dormammu was supposed to be. Strange’s little time battle with Dormammu was clever, but it made Dormammu look like an idiot. How much of a real threat can something so stupid be?

Overall, I did enjoy my time watching this but there was nothing special that made me want to buy it. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m starting to experience Super Hero Movie burnout. Definitely a must-see though if you have plans to watch the upcoming Infinity War duology. Strange plays a big part in that with his Time Infinity Gem. Well, at least he did in the comics.

 

bookstooge