Tag Archives: superhero film

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” misses some big points

“Black Panther” was a cultural event and now a Best Picture nominee. “Avengers: Infinity War” is bringing to a close the 18 MCU films preceding it in a climactic, dynamic ending. Marvel is dominating the box office and hitting peak artistic merit as well. How will the Infinity gauntlet saga end? Will “Black Panther” win Best Picture? There are so many great storylines. What a great run.

Oh, wait. Another Ant-Man movie came out.

Right. Forgot about that one.

After spurning his girlfriend, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), and her father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), to fight with Captain America in “Civil War”, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is recruited back into the fold to help save Hope’s mother, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Phantom Zone. In their way however, are the mob boss, Sonny (Walter Goggins), and the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), each desperate to get Pym’s shrinking technology for different reasons.

The first Ant-Man film, directed by Peyton Reed as well as this film (after a fairly public withdrawal from Edgar Wright), was a standard origin story. It was fine with some pretty fun sequences that made it pop at times. In comparison though to the other MCU films (the “Civil Wars”, the “Ragnaroks”, the “Guardians of the Galaxies”), it felt rather pedestrian.

It’s sequel is even more substandard.

The impetus for the film seems mostly to be because there needed to be another film. Scott’s character development is minimal at best and the “villain” adds nothing emotionally to the story. In fact, the film should instead have focused only on the extraction of Janet, a simple search-and-rescue plot. Instead, there’s too much happening with too many underdeveloped characters.

Even the action scenes are hitting the same notes over and over again. In the first film, it was fun to see tiny superheroes fighting against a giant Thomas the Tank Engine. But that gimmick is repeated over and over again. Giant ants. Giant “Hello Kitty” pez. Giant Ant-Man. Kid-sized Ant-Man. It gets old real quick.

The chase at the end is rather fun, but all in all, the film exists because it has to, lacking any spark to inspire meaning. It can’t overcome the feeling of just being filler.


“Deadpool 2” a lot of fun

The first “Deadpool” film broke the mold on what a successful superhero movie could be. You didn’t need a stand-up, morally righteous caped crusader who fought for the right thing. You could have a trash-talking, fourth wall-breaking, crude protagonist in an R-rated, violent film. And it can make money. Lots of money.

So for a sequel, it’s important to make something the audience is familiar with while trying to keep its originality. “Deadpool 2” is mostly successful at this venture, still delivering a fun movie that falls into some common traps of the superhero genre.

Directed by David Leitch, “Deadpool 2” continues the story of Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). After a traumatic event in the film’s opening sequence, Wade goes on a mission to find his purpose, discovering a teenager named Firefist (Julian Dennison) who is being hunted by a time-traveling mutant badass, Cable (Josh Brolin). Determined to save the youngster, Deadpool creates a team including the super-lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz) to hilarious effect.

The character of Deadpool remains as crude and as funny as ever, with quips, dirty gags and violent killings galore. It’s not as ingenious as its predecessor because we’re not shocked by the vulgarity and blood as we were the first time. It gives the film a general sense of been-there, done-that to an extent, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

The plots for Deadpool films are generally secondary and that is the case here again. The viewer doesn’t much care if Deadpool succeeds in his mission to save Firefist. We’re here to see gags and action and laugh. It’s almost a shame that the plot is not totally outlandish as this might serve the character better. Perhaps a recently-formed X-Force team that goes on a killing mission against the gangs of New York leading to mass slaughter or Deadpool being cloned and going to battle against himself. There are plenty of off-the-wall premises that could really push the envelope into weirdness and absurdity.

As such, “Deadpool 2” suffers somewhat because he is now one of the big franchises he so successfully parodied. There’s a disconnect between trying to make fun of the Avengers, the X-Men and the DC Universe while at the same time also being on the same tier as them. New characters are introduced such as Cable and Juggernaut, Universe-building with X-Force comes to fruition and there will inevitably be more merchandise, more spinoffs, more movies. The original “Deadpool” worked so well because it bucked trends. “Deadpool 2” wades back into them somewhat.

“Deadpool 2” is still a fun time for fans of the character however, and it has an engaging story that feels bigger than the first film. Seeing Cable and Deadpool together onscreen at last is a treat, and there are plenty of funny moments and engaging action sequences. For those with a taste for the genre, it satisfies the craving.