Quick Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp

The wife and I finally had some time tonight to sit down and watch a movie together. Lately it’s been hard to invest in anything other than TV shows or YouTube videos. However, as luck would have it, the holidays mean that we’ve got some time without a lot of commitments. On tonight’s agenda was Ant-Man and The Wasp.

We enjoyed the first movie when we saw it many years ago, and a bit part of that was due to the quirky humor of Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang. Having a character with such a fun approach to life is a breath of fresh air for such serious super hero action films. That same humor was on display again in the sequel, although at times I felt like Scott Lang was a sidelined character. This movie was most certainly not about him.

This movie is about Hank Pym and his quest to find his wife, lost in the quantum realm. But more than that, I felt like this movie was a way to show us that Hank really isn’t a great guy. Many of the problems of his life were his fault, including pushing people away, and using people to get what he wanted. This film doesn’t change that image of him, which left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. You want him to win, but at the same time, you kinda wish someone would just smack him around a bit and burst his ego.

Despite Hank, I enjoyed many of the characters in the film. I actually really liked the Burch side-plot, and loved how it allowed the X-Con gang to get more involved. It gave the movie a certain human element that showed that not all superheroes have super suits or powers. Sometimes, the ordinary guy can actually be a part of something good.

As usual the effects were top notch, and the production was typical Marvel style. Lots of big images and CGI effect scenes, that were done incredibly well. It’s almost to the point now that if a Marvel movie has only “adequate” CGI it’s considered bad. They’ve raised the bar for themselves over and over again to a point where everything they produce has to be excellent.

I won’t give much of the story away, but suffice it to say I mostly enjoyed the plot. There were a couple glaring plot holes that bugged me to no end, but I was able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy what I was being fed. In the end I still enjoyed the film quite a bit.

Obviously, there were a couple mid and post credit scenes that flow into Infinity War, and we’re all ready for that ship to finally sail. I’m a little concerned on where they might be taking the next Avenger’s movie, but hopefully it’ll be done well. Overall, Ant-Man and The Wasp is a fun addition to the Marvel Universe. Just like the first film, it proves that you can have a lot of fun action, and quirky humor, but still be a super hero movie that can fly with the best that Marvel offers.

Quick Review: Thor: Ranarok

The youngest and I went to see the latest installment of Thor the other night. My expectations for this film were relatively low, as I was just looking for a fun superhero romp. Critics had given the movie resoundingly positive reviews, so the chances were high that I’d have a good time. I’m happy to report that I did.

I’ll keep this review short and spoiler free, but suffice it to say, Thor: Ranarok was a really fun time with a lot of great action, and was a lot funnier than I expected. It’s apparent that Marvel decided to take an approach with this movie closer to Guardians of the Galaxy, than Iron Man or Avengers. There was a general levity to the film that was refreshing. It didn’t take itself too seriously, despite a rather dark and ominous villain.

The action and special effects were top notch as always, which is probably a bit easier to do when you’re not trying to recreate Earth. The scenes with Hulk were probably the most over the top, but they still worked well in context. If I had any complaint about this movie it would be that there was very little set up to remind you of where things had been left after Avengers 2. I felt like I could have used 2-3 minutes of exposition just to remind me where we were.

My only other complaint would be that the villain Hela was rather bland and generic. I liked a couple of the twists on her backstory, but her character arc was pretty typecast. It’s not to say that Cate Blanchett didn’t do a good job, but there wasn’t much that was original about her. In the end though that was OK, because this movie was more about Thor and learning who he is in the universe. This is done with style and humor, and it made for a really enjoyable two hours on a cold Minnesota evening.

Not a bad Thursday

It’s been a busy day, but a good day. It started with a nice run with my wife this morning. We don’t often run together, especially on pavement, as our speeds are just too different. However, I wanted to spend some time together with her before a trip she was taking this weekend.

I then drove her in to work and worked part of a day before driving her to the airport. I then took my iMac into the Apple store to see what the damage would be to get it repaired. As it turns out it’s not too bad. I’m getting the video card replaced for only a couple hundred dollars. That will hopefully end my screen artifacts issue, and give me quite a few more years of life on a solid computer.

Once I got done at the mall I headed home to spend the evening with my youngest son. We headed up to dinner at Leeann Chin’s, and then took our seats at the local theater to watch Thor: Ragnarok. I’ll post a review of it another time, but suffice it to say it was very enjoyable. The entire experience was even better now that my local theater serves beer as one of their beverage options. It’s just as expensive as at a sporting event, but at least there were some decent craft choices.

All in all, it’s been a good day. I have Friday off of work due to Veteran’s Day, so I even get to sleep in, in the morning. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make everything right.

Quick review: Spider-man Homecoming

Got a chance to watch a movie this past weekend, and my wife suggested Spider-man Homecoming. I have never been a huge Spidey fan, so I skipped this Marvel flick in the theaters. However, I can saw without a doubt that Homecoming was a lot more fun and inventive than I thought it would be.

First off… SPOILERS Proceed below the fold only if you have seen the movie or don’t care about being spoiled.

Continue reading “Quick review: Spider-man Homecoming”

Quick Review: The Defenders

The wife and I finally got done watching the latest in the Netflix Marvel extravaganza, The Defenders. In order to get to The Defenders we had to suffer through the mediocrity that was Iron Fist, but frankly, seeing how Danny Rand was portrayed in The Defenders made everything in Iron Fist make a lot more sense.

If you’re not familiar with The Defenders, this is a superhero team-up show that brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and all of their supporting cast. Throughout all of the previous series there have been whispers and confrontations with the mysterious group, The Hand. The Defenders completes this storyline by introducing the full leadership of The Hand, and the reason for all of their nefarious deeds.

One of the best parts of The Defenders is seeing the four heroes try and relate to one another. Each of these characters is so very different, that putting them all in the same room and having them work together was amazing and really well written. It’s obvious that these people will never be best friends with each other, but they form a working relationship of respect. It’s a team-up that gets the job done when everything is crumbling around them.

I mentioned Danny Rand before, and something that I noticed in The Defenders is that he was still the whiny rich kid. There would be deep rich dialogue between all the other characters, and then as soon as Danny came on the screen, the script would devolve. It convinced me that all of the annoyances of Iron Fist are actually there on purpose. They want his character to be this way because it allows them to put him in circumstances that highlight his stunted personality. In some ways it’s brilliant writing, but man can it be hard to watch.

The Defenders is only 8 episodes, but that’s all that is needed to get the job done. Of course the ending sets up the next round of seasons for each of the shows, and strongly hints at storylines that are ripped right out of the comic books. I’m excited to see what the next seasons of these shows have in store for us, and hope that we continue to get really great television for a while longer.