Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018) Review

Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

Directed by Peyton Reed

Based on Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby & Wasp by Stan Lee, Ernie Hart, Jack Kirby

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, the titular pair work with Hank Pym to retrieve Janet van Dyne from the quantum realm.

My Opinion:

I’m going to make this quick as well as my review for Incredibles 2, which I’ll post tomorrow. Because…. I really enjoyed both of them yet have very little to say about them. With stuff like this one, I struggle to think of new things to say about yet another Marvel superhero sequel. Let’s be honest – they all follow the exact same formula. However, I enjoyed this one much more than I was expecting to and even more than the first one. I’ve now updated My MCU Movie Ranking list & this is right in the middle. And the end credits scene in this was one of the best yet.

I do love Paul Rudd, so that helps. And Chris Hemsworth, of course. I want an Ant-Man/Thor movie! I did like the first Ant-Man but thought this one improved on that quite a bit. Evangeline Lilly getting to kick some ass was a big help – I really liked these two together as a team. And then we also got the addition of GODDESS Michelle Pfeiffer, which also made me happy. Love her. And I also really enjoyed the “villain” in this one (Hannah John-Kamen) being one of those in that gray area (Is she really bad? I think we’d all go bad in her situation). As always, I know nothing of these comics so it probably helps my enjoyment as I don’t nitpick. I do believe her character was changed a lot but I liked this film version.


Like Deadpool 2, this sequel also ups the humor a bit. Ant-Man’s thieving friends have bigger roles in this, which was fun (but won’t be for anyone who finds those guys annoying). And, as I mentioned earlier, I thought the end credits scene was really strong – There was actually an audible gasp in the cinema at that scene. I quite often enjoy the origin stories the most when it comes to these superhero movies but prefer the characters themselves in the sequels as they become more developed. In this case, I think the sequel is a pretty big improvement in terms of making us like these characters more. And did I mention Michelle Pfeiffer?!? Michelle Pfeiffer rules. I think I actually enjoyed this one more than Deadpool 2. Crazy, huh? I may be alone in that opinion…

My Rating: 7/10

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Million Dollar Baby (2004) IMDB Top 250 Review

Happy Birthday to Clint Eastwood, who turns 87 today. This time last year, I did a week of Clint Eastwood reviews (you can see My Top Ten Clint Eastwood Movies HERE, updated to now include Million Dollar Baby).

I still wouldn’t exactly call Eastwood a favorite actor of mine but I’m glad that I finally explored some of his biggest films last year as I liked them a hell of a lot more than I expected to. Million Dollar Baby was still a big omission, however, so I’m glad I’ve finally watched that now as well. And, again, I like another Eastwood movie far more than I was expecting to! And, of course, the awesome Morgan Freeman is in it as well (who I would call a favorite actor & whose birthday is tomorrow – guess what Top Ten List I’ll be doing tomorrow…). 😉 Okay – I’ll shut up & review the movie now.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Based on Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner by F.X. Toole

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brían F. O’Byrne, Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome, Michael Peña, Benito Martinez, Grant L. Roberts

IMDB Top 250 Rank: 172 (as of 01/01/13)

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
This film is about an underappreciated boxing trainer, the mistakes that haunt him from his past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional.

My Opinion:

I avoided watching this film for years. I was like “It’s a boxing drama? Pass!”. (Kind of funny that I’ve just watched Rocky for the very first time the same week that I watched this. But I digress). Mainly, though, I avoided this because, when it came out, some annoying assholes decided to spoil the whole damn plot. So I’ve always known exactly how this ends. And that pisses me off. I know it’s not always possible to avoid spoilers but, in the case of this film, there was an uproar since what happens went against the beliefs of some people and they felt the need to warn the public (or something like that) before the film had even been fully released (if I remember correctly). Annoying.

Anyway! This is a great film. I expected to possibly find it contrived (films that try too hard to pull on the heartstrings & just come across as phony piss me off as much as people who spoil films). I expected to not be affected by this film since I knew the whole damn plot already. But it’s a good, heartfelt drama that came across as quite genuine and had fantastic actors playing likeable characters you wanted to see succeed. I sure as shit can’t say I exactly “enjoyed” it (holy hell! I don’t do well with serious dramas). But it’s not the overhyped Oscar bait I had kind of feared it might be.

Come to think of it, I guess this means I should also update My Top Ten Best Picture Oscar Winners list at some point with both this & Rocky. That list includes all 50(ish) Best Pictures that I’ve seen and I have to say that both these damn boxing dramas potentially break into my top ten. Easily top 20 for sure. I’ll have to think about it some more! They’re certainly my favorite boxing movies (Raging Bull didn’t thrill me…). 😉

It’s a shame that Hilary Swank kind of disappeared into bad movie obscurity after this & Boys Don’t Cry (a movie that manages to be even more depressing than this one). Clearly these sort of heart wrenching dramas did suit her but you can’t blame her for trying other things – Starring in nothing but these sort of films would probably mess with your head eventually. I really liked her character in this. Her enthusiasm and single-minded determination are infectious in the same sort of way that made us all like Rocky Balboa and to want him to succeed.

Swank & Eastwood make a great team and their relationship by the end of the film is beautiful & heartbreaking. Million Dollar Baby probably gets somewhat ignored compared to Eastwood’s full-on “guy” movies & bromances but, as great as I think he was in dude movies with the likes of Lee Van Cleef, his mentor/protégée and ultimately father/daughter-like relationship here is a welcome change (and just as good & valid as the bromances). Swank & Eastwood make this film.

But there’s still some male camaraderie for anyone needing that as well. Freeman plays Eastwood’s ex-boxer friend (and… co-owner? or maybe just a trainer living in the gym Eastwood owns. feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Anyway, I love Freeman and he’s as great as always and another reason why I ended up liking this film much more than I’d been expecting. There’s a story on the side involving skinny little Jay Baruchel wanting to be a boxer & Freeman taking him under his wing. I really liked this story as well (plus that cool confrontation involving Freeman & one of the young boxers). The main story involving Swank is of course the most important but it was good to get a bit more to the movie besides just that.

I just have to end by saying: Oh man – I hated the f*%k out of Swank’s family in this! Which made her character all the more likeable. To put a horrible upbringing behind her & to try to live her dream is the uplifting sort of message people look for in a good story. Which is another reason why I think some people were probably angered by the ending of this film. What IS the ultimate message at the end? But life isn’t always fair & a Hollywood ending in real life is rare. I do watch movies for escapism and do prefer a happy ending but I also can’t get angry at a movie telling a story in a realistic way. I think some people felt cheated by this film. I think we were given a good film with powerful performances & a message of determination and friendship. It’s not an easy watch but it’s a good film I’m glad to have finally seen.

My Rating: 8/10

The Martian (2015) Review

The Martian (2015)

Directed by Ridley Scott

Based on The Martian by Andy Weir

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

My Opinion:

I finally saw this! Can you believe I didn’t see this one until now? Especially as I absolutely loved the book (which I reviewed HERE). Hmm. Yeah, it’s good! It’s of course not as good as the book (not many films are). I never enjoy a film as much if I’ve read & really loved the book and the same is true with this one. But I still really liked seeing the book brought to life.

First of all, I should say that Matt Damon did a good job. I was at first annoyed when he was cast as he’s not at all how I pictured Mark Watney but I managed to accept him as the character. I’m disappointed, though, that the movie really didn’t capture Watney’s great sense of humor. It tried & there was a bit of that but I still didn’t connect with the character in the film the way I did in the book. The movie was much more a “drama” than the book was but I suppose that makes sense as to make it too much of a comedy could have been a flop.

All in all, the movie was quite faithful to the book until the end when things were changed a bit & added. I can’t really complain – I’m happy it stayed as faithful as it did. I hated Kristen Wiig – she was the only mistake as far as the casting went. The film looked great & I far preferred all the scenes on Mars (as to be expected). The movie got a little cheesy at the end but I can forgive that as, if this was a true story and a man was really left behind on Mars, it would be a very big story and I believe the whole world would rally around him in the same way.

I was surprised to look this up on IMDB and actually see a lot of negative reviews. Really?! I can’t say I understand that. I got the impression that those giving negative reviews were either “bored” because of all the science or were bitching that the science was “wrong”. It’s a fictional story, for crying out loud – it’s just meant to be entertaining. And for those who were bored, I hope they don’t read the book because there’s waaaaay more talk about growing potatoes and making water. How dare they stick some science into a science fiction movie! Whatever. People suck.

I’m sorry – I’m distracted. I don’t feel like writing reviews much lately. I’ve just gone & started The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and I have no idea why as it’s 1,183 minutes long. I’m 36 minutes in. Does it get better?! Because, so far, I’d have to say that Once Upon A Time In The West was way better by this point. Well, at least the score is awesome. Yeah, I’m done reviewing The Martian, I guess. Here’s a summary!

Summary:

The Martian, although of course not as good as the throughly entertaining book, still manages to stay pretty faithful and mostly captures the spirit of the book. It’s not quite as much fun as the book and takes itself too seriously at times but I can see why they made it a little more dramatic. Damon was good, as usual, but he’s one of those actors that I always just see as the real-life person. Not his fault, I suppose – it’s just that way with certain actors. So it was more “Matt Damon is stuck on Mars!” than “Mark Watney is stuck on Mars!” for me. Overall, it’s a sci-fi movie and I am rarely disappointed by sci-fi movies (except for Elysium, which I watched after The Martian! Ugh). I’d recommend this movie but, as you can probably guess, I’d most definitely recommend reading the book first.

My Rating: 7.5/10

**I’ve now seen all the Best Picture Nominees other than Brooklyn & Bridge Of Spies. Sadly, they both become available on DVD just after the Oscars so I won’t be seeing them beforehand. Still, I’ve done well this year! Here are My Best Picture Nominee Reviews & Ratings (from favorite to least favorite):

Room – 9/10
Mad Max: Fury Road – 9/10
The Martian – 7.5/10
The Revenant – 7.5/10
Spotlight – 7/10
The Big Short – 5.5/10

Ant-Man (2015) Review

Ant-Man (2015)

Directed by Peyton Reed

Story by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish

Based on Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas

Plot Synopsis:
Superhero ants.

My Opinion:

I finally saw Ant-Man! It was… okay. Everyone has reviewed it by now so the general vibe I got was that it wasn’t exactly the best superhero movie ever but it was a bit of fun anyway. Yep – that’s pretty much it.

First of all: Paul Rudd. I’ve talked of my love for Paul Rudd here a few times. I’d say he’s definitely the best thing about this and, had it been someone else playing Ant-Man, I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I mean, it’s about a tiny little superhero with an army of ants. It’s weird! The movie could have been a total disaster but I think they just managed to actually pull it off thanks to Rudd more than anything else.

With Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish writing this, I was hoping for a slightly better story (I found Cornish’s Attack The Block to be a pleasant surprise). The story was okay but it was kind of “same old same old”, as with most Marvel movies. I’m getting a tad bored with the superhero thing so I did appreciate that Ant-Man felt a little “different” (although nowhere near as different as Guardians Of The Galaxy, which is probably why that remains my favorite superhero movie of recent times & maybe my favorite ever).

You know what else I’m bored with? Reviewing superhero movies. I’m kind of glad to hear that Fantastic Four sucks so I don’t have to waste my time on that one. What else can I really say about Ant-Man?? If you love the Marvel films, you know you kind of need to see this as they’re all connected. As always, I don’t know a thing about the comics so I can’t compare but I doubt Ant-Man was anyone’s favorite character in the first place so I think Paul Rudd did a good job making such a potentially boring superhero so likeable.

Oh! Being a woman & mother of a young girl, I have to admit that my favorite element of the story involved Rudd’s scenes with his character’s daughter. She was so adorable! Nothing melts women’s hearts more than seeing a daddy protecting his daughter. Also, although you see it coming (which is fine as all Marvel films are pretty predictable), there’s a scene during the big climax at the end that was fantastic & saved the movie a little for me. I didn’t think Ant-Man was at all bad but the final half hour or so did really up my opinion of the movie as a whole.

Summary:

I know I sound a little bored with this movie but it’s just the overall superhero thing that doesn’t excite me so much anymore. They’re fun popcorn movies & I’m sure I’ll watch them all but I’m waiting for another one to surprise me in the way that Guardians Of The Galaxy did. I’d have to say I actually enjoyed Ant-Man more than some of the sequels involving Marvel’s much more famous superheroes (such as Iron Man). In fact, I’d almost say that I enjoyed this one a little more than Avengers: Age Of Ultron, although I think Ultron is a better film. I don’t know… Ant-Man is an enjoyable enough experience. I’m just happy that, of the two, Fantastic Four is the massive failure instead. I do love my Paul Rudd and am glad he did pretty well in this one.

My Rating: 7/10

Is There A Scene After The Credits? Don’t be silly – of course there is! Two, actually – a mid-credits & one after the credits. Fairly worth staying for…