Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

Ant-Man and the Wasp movie posterSynopsis
After Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) assisted Captain America during the Superhero Civil War, he was placed under house arrest for two years. As his sentence is about to finish, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), approach him with a new mission: help them rescue Hope’s mother (Michelle Pfiffer) from the Quantum Realm.

When Ant-Man was first announced, many predicted it to be Marvel’s first major flop. While it didn’t do tremendous at the box office, Marvel showed that they don’t make flops. It was self-contained, something of a commodity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, but more importantly it was humorous and exciting. Marvel looked to expand on that success, giving us more of the perfectly-cast Paul Rudd and giving the criminally-underused Evangeline Lilly a more dominant role. What resulted was a much needed small-scale story following the goliath that was Infinity War.

I didn’t picture Paul Rudd in a superhero role until Marvel showed me that was something I needed in my life. He quickly became my favorite part about Ant-Man (behind Michael Pena’s Luis, of course). Rudd brings the same charm that made his Scott Lang so enjoyable in the first film. His relationship between him and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and him and his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) was built upon what we saw in the previous film. Rudd handled these more intimate and emotional scenes just as well as the action and comedy scenes.

This sequel isn’t titled Ant-Man 2 but rather Ant-Man and the Wasp and there is a very good, albeit obvious reason for that. Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, gets a much bigger role this time around. And boy does Lilly take advantage of the extra screen time! She is fierce, she is tough, and she takes no nonsense. She is a good contrast to Rudd, tending to be more to-the-point and going in with a plan. The future of the ladies of the MCU is looking great!

Many have complained that the MCU’s weakest quality is its villains. That didn’t really bother me until Yellowjacket in Ant-Man. It was the chance to have the villain be a dark mirror to the hero. Both Scott and Darren Cross were trained by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and could show the difference in character who both have the same mentor. Instead, he became one the most generic villains in the franchise. Marvel seemed to have learned their lesson for Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). She is a much deeper villain, operating in that gray area, where you can see their point-of-view but know their methods are wrong, much like Killmonger in Black Panther.

Of course, they need to have that one bad guy who just screams “villain.” Enter Walter Goggins as Sonny Burch. I take back what I said about Yellowjacket being Marvel’s most generic villain. That title now belongs to Sonny. He served no actual purpose to the story other than to be the clear, black-and-white villain of the film. After a similar role in Tomb Raider, I hope Goggins doesn’t start getting typecast in this kind of a role because he is so much better than what these roles can offer.

In my opinion, one of the strengths of the first Ant-Man film was its scope. It wasn’t a globe-spanning epic, nor did it have Earth-shattering consequences. Rather, it was self-contained, and the only people it really affected were the characters in the film. This sequel does pretty much the same thing. This simpler story allows for some good character development. And like it’s predecessor, it gives us a nice break after the last Avengers movie, that I’m sure left many people shaking in their seat after the credits finished.

I thought Ant-Man and the Wasp was GOOD 🙂 The first Ant-Man film was a pleasant surprise but now the sequel had some expectations. Paul Rudd returns without missing a stride, Evangeline Lilly returns kicking ass in stride, and Hannah John-Kamen joins in as the villain who has made strides (I don’t know what I was going for there, I was trying to make the stride thing work). Ant-Man and the Wasp takes what is great about its predecessors, using lessons learned from the recent MCU films and returns a wonderful and worthy sequel.


Cast & Crew
Peyton Reed – Director
Chris McKenna – Writer
Erik Commers – Writer
Paul Rudd – Writer
Andrew Barrer – Writer
Gabriel Ferrari – Writer
Christophe Beck – Composer

Paul Rudd – Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Evangeline Lilly – Hope Van Dyne / Wasp
Michael Douglas – Dr. Hank Pym
Michael Pena – Luis
Tip ‘TI’ Harris – Dave
David Dasmalchian – Kurt
Hannah John-Kamen – Ava / Ghost
Walter Goggins – Sonny Burch
Laurence Fishburne – Dr. Bill Foster
Judy Greer – Maggie
Bobby Cannavale – Paxton
Abby Ryder Fortson – Cassie
Randall Park – Jimmy Woo
Michelle Pfeiffer – Janet Van Dyne / Wasp

Ant-Man Review

Ant-Man movie posterSynopsis
After getting out of prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) tries to leave his life of crime behind him. However, when he has trouble providing for his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), he takes a job with his old cell mate, Luis (Michael Pena). Inside the vault he breaks into, Scott finds the Ant-Man suit, hidden by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) decades before. Being impressed with Scott’s skills, Hank hires Scott to steal the Yellowjacket suit from his former protege, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), much to the disliking of his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

Ant-man was predicted to be Marvel’s first flop, both critically and financially. But let’s be honest, if they audiences would buy into a story about a space faring team consisting of a snarky kid stuck in the 1980s, a sexy green alien femme fatale, a red alien warrior who takes everything literally, a talking kleptomaniac raccoon, and a talking tree who only says one sentence, how hard would it be to sell a hero who can shrink and talk to insects? It may not have been a huge money maker for Marvel like many of their other films but you can’t deny it is a humorous, fun, and quirky movie.

After the gargantuan, globe-spanning epic that was Age of Ultron, it was nice to step back and have a smaller, self-contained story. There are many references to the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe (HYDRA, Iron Man, the events of Age of Ultron, even a fun fight scene between Scott and one of the New Avengers), but that is to be expected at this point. Marvel has built such a large world that references help place the story inside that world. It can be a catch 22 between letting the film stand on its own and using established characters and events to remind the audience where this world exists. Ant-Man does a terrific job of balancing these two sides.

For a film that is only around two hours long, Ant-Man was able to include a lot of Ant-Man history into the film. In the Marvel Comics, there are no less than three characters who have held the Ant-Man moniker. Hank Pym is the original and most well known, followed by Scott Lang (and a third named Eric O’Grady but he’s not important right now). Pym specifically has had a type of literal identity crisis over the years, taking up several costumes and code names, which include Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket. And he is short tempered, which has caused friction with other heroes. As a comics fan, it is great to see so much of the characters’ history effectively incorporated some way into the movie.

In their Phase 2 films, Marvel has mixed up what genre their movies are. They are part superhero but also something else, such as spy thriller or space opera, allowing each film to feel fresh. I have made it no secret that I am a huge fan of heist movies so I really enjoyed that aspect. The montage of the heist planning had a duel purpose of Scott, Hank, and Hope planning the heist but also quickly showing Scott learning how to use the suit and its powers. Two birds with one stone, if you will. Then the heist itself was pretty fun. Not many (if any) involve a the thief shrinking down and going through computer circuitry to accomplish their goals. It’s pretty unique and enjoyable.

Paul Rudd may not scream superhero material but he was the right fit as Scott Lang. The movie plays to his strengths and timing as a comedic actor, elevating the film. However, the stand-out star is Michael Pena as Scott’s partner-in-crime, Luis. His monologues about how he discovered the jobs for his group of Robin Hood-esque band of criminals is side-splitting. Michael Douglas is here to give gravitas and legitimacy to the film, like Glenn Close in Guardians of the Galaxy. That doesn’t stop him from doing a fantastic job. Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly do the best with the roles they are given but are not as strong as the other leads.

It would have been cool to see more of Pym’s history. His quarrels with SHIELD are talked about constantly and he regularly warns about the dangers of constant exposure to the Pym Particles (the device that allows the suit to shrink), but they aren’t really shown and are only given in exposition. Same with his relationship with Hope. If the audience would have gotten to see these stories, it would have helped show who Hank Pym was and why.

Other than Loki and maybe the Winter Soldier, Marvel hasn’t had great success with their villains, Ant-Man is no exception. In many of the past films, I have been like Elsa and let it go. However, I had a hard time doing that with this time. The film’s Darren Cross had a strong history with Pym which they tried to explain was his motivation but it could have been so much deeper and he could have been one of Marvel’s better villains (which is honestly not that tall a bar to hurtle). Instead, he has become forgettable like many of the others.

Ant-Man is the most refreshing MCU films since The Avengers. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas are perfectly cast as the Ant-Men Scott Lang and Hank Pym, while Michael Pena steals every scene he appears in. The light, not-serious tone and self-contained story let this film be accessible to a large audience and is a nice break between the previous Avengers film and the sure-to-be-epic scale of Captain America: Civil War.


Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 2: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter SoldierGuardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.


Cast & Crew
Peyton Reed – Director
Edgar Wright – Screenplay / Story
Joe Cornish – Screenplay / Story
Adam McKay – Screenplay
Paul Rudd – Screenplay
Christophe Beck – Composer

Paul Rudd – Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Michael Douglas – Dr. Hank Pym
Evangeline Lilly – Hope van Dyne
Corey Stoll – Darren Cross / Yellowjacket
Bobby Cannavale – Paxton
Judy Greer – Maggie Lang
Abby Ryder Fortson – Cassie Lang
Michael Pena – Luis
David Dastmalchian – Kurt
Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris– Dave
Wood Harris – Gale
Haley Atwell – Peggy Carter
John Slattery – Howard Stark
Martin Donovan – Mitchell Carson

And I’m back. I know I wasn’t really away, you know with the usual weekly features and my entry in the Film Emotion Blogathon, but after the Christmas in July Blogathon and Anniversary Week 2, I needed a break to catch up on some gaming and overall do-nothingness. Besides the blogathon entry I was able to put together in the time between getting off work and my soccer game that night so it was almost no time at all.  This is the first of several films from earlier this summer I have lined up.  Next will be Inside Out followed by Jurassic World.  After those, I will catch up on some awards and review the horrid Rage. Until then, cheers. 🙂

PS, Splatoon is so ADDICTING! Do any of you play? If you do let me know, maybe we can organize a time to play together.

Trailer Round-Up – 4/19/15

I can’t even begin to explain how epic this week was for movie trailers.  All in one week we got new trailers for Ant-Man, Terminator, Quentin Tarantino’s next movie, Star Wars, Superman, Fantastic Four, and more.  I’m so blown away.  It’s hard to imagine all this epicness can be contained all in seven days.  Go check out all the awesomeness below.  To jump to a specific trailer, click on it’s link below.


Official Synopsis: Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in
scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Ant-Man crawls into US theaters July 17,  2015. Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Judy Greer, Cory Stoll, Hayley Atwell, Michael Pena, and John Slattery.


Terminator: Genisys #2

Official synopsis: When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline. Now, Sgt. Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future…

Terminator: Genisys hits US theaters July 1, 2015. Directed by Alan Taylor, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Byung-hun Lee, J.K. Simmons, and Matt Smith.


The Hateful Eight

Official Synopsis: In The Hateful Eight, set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff.   Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…

The Hateful Eight rides into US theaters in 2015. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, it stars Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demian Bichir, Time Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern.


Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens Teaser #2

Synopsis: Continuing the Star Wars saga where Return of the Jedi left off, Luke Skywalker aims to restore the Jedi Order while Leia and Han Solo work with the New Republic against the remnants of the Galactic Empire and a new potential threat.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shoots into US theaters December 18, 2015. Directed by JJ Abrams, it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Andy Serkis.

When Marnie Was There

Official Synopsis: Anna hasn’t a friend in the world – until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn’t all she seems… An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognizes – and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna’s first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays – and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed…

When Marnie Was There will be in limited US release on May 22, 2015. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, it stars the English voice talent of Hailee Steinfeld, John C. Reilly, Vanessa Williams, Geena Davis, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine O’Hara, Kiernan Shipka, Grey Griffin, Ava Acres, and Raini Rodriguez.


Every Secret Thing

Synopsis: A detective looks to unravel a mystery surrounding missing children and the prime suspects: two young women who, seven years ago, were put away for an infant’s death.

Every Secret Thing gets nation-wide US release on May 15, 2015. Directed by Amy Berg, it stars Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning, Danielle Macdonald, Common, Nate Parker, Colin Donnell, Amy Tribbey, and Bill Sage.


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice flies into US theaters March 25, 2016. Directed by Zach Snyder, it stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Christina Wren, Gale Gadot, Jeremy Irons, and Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa.

Fantastic Four #3

Official Synopsis: The Fantastic Four, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

The Fantastic Four makes its way into US theaters August 7, 2015. Directed by Josh Trank, it stars, Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, and Reg E. Cathey.


I know there is a lot to take in. Which of these are you most looking forward to?

Trailer Round-Up 1/11/15

Dumb job, always getting in the way of my blogging. Several trailers have been released recently that I have wanted to post. So, I guess it’s time for another Trailer Round-Up! In this TRU, you will discover Marvel’s newest superhero to hit the big screen, Chappie gets a second trailer, Liam Neeson must protect his kid from Ed Harris, Olivia Wilde brings animals back to life, Jessica Biel gets a nail stuck in her head, and Ryan Reynolds goes Dr. Doolittle.  To jump to a specific trailer, click on it’s link below.


Official Synopsis: Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in
scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Ant-Man wil be in US theaters July 17,  2015. Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Judy Greer, Cory Stoll, Hayley Atwell, Michael Pena, and John Slattery.

Chappie #2

Official Synopsis: Chappie tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.

Chappie will hit US theaters March 6, 2015.  Directed by Neill Blomkamp, it stars Hugh Jackman, Sharlto Copley, Sigourney Weaver, Miranda Frigon, Dev Patel, Ninja and Yolandi Visser.

Run All Night

Official Synopsis: Brooklyn mobster and prolific hit man Jimmy Conlon (Neeson), once known as The Gravedigger, has seen better days. Longtime best friend of mob boss Shawn Maguire (Harris), Jimmy, now 55, is haunted by the sins of his past—as well as a dogged police detective (D’Onofrio) who’s been one step behind Jimmy for 30 years. Lately, it seems Jimmy’s only solace can be found at the bottom of a whiskey glass. But when Jimmy’s estranged son, Mike (Kinnaman), becomes a target, Jimmy must make a choice between the crime family he chose and the real family he abandoned long ago. With Mike on the run, Jimmy’s only penance for his past mistakes may be to keep his son from the same fate Jimmy is certain he’ll face himself… at the wrong end of a gun. Now, with nowhere safe to turn, Jimmy just has one night to figure out exactly where his loyalties lie and to see if he can finally make things right.

Run All Night runs into US theaters April 17, 2015.  Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, it stars Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Vincent D’Onofrio, Joel Kinnaman, and Boyd Holbrook.

The Lazarus Effect

Official Synopsis: When a team of research students mapping the human brain accidentally kills one of their own, they unwittingly unlock a deadly force by reanimating their colleague. Fighting for their own lives, the team must contain their colleague in the lab before she is unleashed on the world.

The Lazarus Effect storms into US theaters February 27, 2015. Directed by David Gelb, it stars Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Sarah Bolger, and Donald Glover.

Accidental Love

Official Synopsis: A small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, DC, where sparks fly when she meets a clueless young senator who takes up her cause – but what happens when love interferes with what you stand for?

Accidental Love rolls into US theaters February 10, 2015.  Directed by David O’Russell, it stars Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhall, James Marsden, Paul Reubens, Catherine Keener, Kirsten Allie, David Ramsey, and James Brolin.

The Voices

Synopsis: Jerry is a cheery, if somewhat odd factory worker who is uncommonly attached to his talking pets- an evil cat and gentle dog. Things take a horrific turn when his therapist advises him to pursue his crush, and she stands him up on one of their dates. With his cat and dog acting like the angel and devil on his shoulders, Jerry must choose between trying to lead a normal life, or going down a darker road.

The Voices will be in US theaters February 6, 2015.  Directed by Marjane Satrapi, it stars Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, and Adi Shankar.

Which of these are you most looking forward to?