Ant-Man & The Wasp

Year: 2018
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Forston

WRITTEN BY CHRIS GELDERD

This 2018 American superhero film is the sequel to 2015’s ‘Ant-Man’ and the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Michael Douglas, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park and Michelle Pfeiffer.

One of the most under-rated Marvel superheroes launched in 2015 with his big-screen debut, bringing together a solid cast and adding more pieces to the MCU puzzle. In ‘Captain America: Civil War’, Ant-Man stole the show by becoming Giant-Man in an all to brief but highly entertaining appearance. Now it’s time for the inevitable sequel; one that not only surpasses the original, but lets core Marvel values shine brightly in a franchise currently clouded by recent doom and gloom.

Grab your popcorn and kick back. It’s time to have some fun once again.

This film belongs to Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly – it’s a film about partnership, about family, friendship and being. It’s ‘Ant-Man & The Wasp‘; equal heading, equal footing on marketing and everything in-between. Rudd doesn’t need to try too hard to be humorous, but he still manages to do it in a very heartfelt and endearing way, making Scott Lang stand out as one of the Marvel heroes simply wearing a super suit and uses his heart, head, and honour to fight evil, rather than gifted God-like superpowers.

On the other side of this duo, Evangeline Lilly holds her own across the whole film. She is ballsy, brainy and badass.  She’s a real humane hero who doesn’t become a damsel in distress. She clearly takes care of herself when the heat is turned up and, along with Rudd, shows some real heart and emotion that pushes the core themes forward. Rudd and Lily are equal, neither have greater ability than the other when it comes down to fighting the good fight, and none of them are there as a spare tool. It’s equality, and then some, and so much more enjoyable for it with them being together. The trailer used lyrics It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta’ sight.” Never a truer phrase in this case.

With a stellar supporting cast including veterans Michael Douglas (who has even more to do this time around thankfully) and the amusing guilty-pleasure comedy of Michael Peña who all add to the story rather than be expendable, new faces also add to the overall quality. Laurence Fishburne helps expand character relations and morals, Walton Goggins as our charming black market bad guy for hire and Michelle Pfeiffer as the original Wasp and wife of Hank.

Young Abby Ryder Forston as Cassie, Lang’s daughter, shines with as much warmth and wit as Rudd in her scenes and is a joy to see on screen. But it is Hannah John-Kamen who strikes a chord as Ava Starr – our ‘Ghost’ – who has a molecular instability thanks to reasons left to be discovered. She’s pushed as the villain of the piece, but is she? Director Peyton Reed tiptoes towards MCU cliché in her goals and actions, but each time pulls back from the brink to give us something a little different and unexpected. Her story is a sad one and while she is highly dangerous in what she does and why, it’s the journey she takes mirroring the heroes that add some great moments and thrills, thrills that come thick and fast, and help define “popcorn entertainment”.

We have a brilliantly choreographed car chase that involve trucks, motorbikes, Pez dispensers and Hot Wheels racers. We have a hotel lobby and kitchen fight, once more perfectly choreographed, that showcases Lily in full force. We also have eye-popping ‘Doctor Strange’-esque quantum realm travel and bone-crunching hand to hand combat. The whole pace of the movie is perfect, and the action compliments each development and progresses everything and everyone without being pointless.

There isn’t the need for city-wide destruction and mass genocide here. It’s a family-friendly film, but one that harkens a little more to classic Marvel themes before the stakes were as high as they could be and it felt things had peaked. ‘Ant-Man & The Wasp’ takes the threat of Thanos out of the equation for a couple of hours and reduces all pointless cameos and Avenger interaction to give Ant-Man both a fair stand-alone sequel but also presenting new ideas for the future of the franchise.

The humour is on top form where you will find yourself chuckling along a lot of the time without even knowing it thanks to the snappy character exchanges. Yet, fear not, the movie isn’t stupid nor does it rely on infantile humour to get the laughs. There is a lot of heart to this film – the narrative is more about family and faith over Infinity Stones and nuclear wars – so you will certainly be able to invest in the characters, what they do and why.

Another strong reason this film seems to make great leaps forward to Marvel is the visual effects that stand amongst the best in the current franchise. There is no need for constant green screen and masses of CGI locations thanks to keeping things Earth based with practical sets and effects. The stand-out moments are the shrinking and enlarging of Ant-Man and Wasp. Split second transformations in the middle of breakneck fights are seamless and fluid, with the environment and characters reacting accordingly. Nothing feels jarred or loose. It’s tight, imaginative, entertaining and exciting. And when Ant-Man loses control of his suit’s regulator, there’s just more good fun to be had.

Ant-Man & The Wasp’ doesn’t try to compete with the juggernaut of ‘Infinity War’, it instead does the wise thing and distances itself far from it. If the bar to judge all MCU films hinges on ‘IW’, then you’ll find you miss out on these smaller gems that expand the forgotten heroes and their own stories.

However, for the ones who are worried, then don’t be. Events of ‘Infinity War’ are referenced in the film. How? When? You’ll have to find out for yourself and watch that Marvel cloud of doom and gloom smother the care-free fun you just had.

CHRIS’ RATING:

5

Marvel Unleash First ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Trailer

“An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Anthony and Joe Russo direct the film, which is produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay.”

It’s finally arrived! After months of fan speculation, numerous fake pictures and screenshots of release dates, Marvel have unleashed the first official trailer for the third ‘Avengers’ film, ‘Infinity War’.

The star studded film brings together every hero we’ve met in the last 10 years, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Guardians, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Black Panther. They’re all coming together to take on the Mad Titan, Thanos, who we’ve seen very little of and only ever really been teased about the threat he poses to Earth. Last time we saw him he grabbed his currently stone-less Gauntlet and declared “I’ll do it myself”.

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In the first post-credit scene, Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, and the Asgardians come face to face with a humongous ship. Fans speculate that ship belongs to non-other than the Mad Titan himself, and that this will tie in with the beginning of ‘Infinity War’.

The heroes also feature in the latest Vanity Fair issue, which includes photos of how some of the heroes will look in the film, but as many have noticed, some costumes (and weapons) don’t seem to match what we know going into ‘Infinity War’, which could mean that the Russo Brothers have plenty of surprises up their sleeves.

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The Avengers Trilogy Teaser Posters

Little Evil

Year: 2017
Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Evangeline Lilly, Adam Scott, Sally Field

Written by Sasha Hornby

Horror is one of the most polarising genres – some people are staunch horror fans, watching even the most bargain basement of offerings; others will write off any film with even a whisper of horror.  Horror, when done well, reminds us of our greatest fears and has a mileage well beyond release.  Be it demonically possessed children (‘The Exorcist’, 1973), quirky strangers in backwoods hotels (‘Psycho’, 1960), big-ass sharks (‘Jaws’, 1975), or the un-dead returning from the grave (‘Night of the Living Dead’, 1968), there is a flavour of horror to tap into every phobia.  

‘Little Evil’, the latest Netflix Original release, taps into some very specific fears – those of a man finding his feet in the new role of ‘step-dad’ and those of any parent who worries their child may be the antichrist.  Written and directed by Eli Craig, the writer and director of underrated redneck slasher spoof, ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ (2010), ‘Little Evil’ falls directly into the ‘horror-comedy’ sub-genre.  It stars comedy favourite Adam Scott as Gary, a man who has just married his perfect woman following a whirlwind romance, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly).  Not all is hunky-dory though, as Gary must now forge a relationship with his creepy step-son, Lucas (Owen Atlas).  

‘Little Evil’ wears it’s influences proudly on it’s sleeve, directly spoofing classics such as ‘Poltergeist’ (1982), ‘The Shining’ (1980), and most notably, ‘The Omen’ (1976).  Lucas wears the same instantly recognisable flat cap and little short suit that Damien wears in Richard Donner’s tale of an antichrist child.  And ‘strange things’ keep happening in his presence (such as his teacher throwing herself out of a window, or his birthday clown setting himself on fire).  And lets not even go there with the sock goat he uses to communicate in a growling voice to those around him.  

In a film that is clearly more about the comedy than the horror, Adam Scott is predictably reliable.  He plays the part of concerned step-parent well, exhasperated by his new wife’s apparent obliviousness to her son’s menace.  He attends a step-dad support group in an attempt to burn his anxieties and doubts, instead only feeding them.  The support group includes Donald Faison, Chris D’Elia and Kyle Bornheimer, who are mostly fine, if a little disappointing.

Bridget Everett is the true stand-out here as AL, Gary’s work friend and member of the step-dad support group.  She is loyal, supportive, and truly funny to boot.  The fact she is a lesbian is never made the butt of a joke, and she is often the voice of action.  I’ve never seen Everett in anything prior to this, but looking at her IMDb, with roles in ‘Trainwreck’ (2015) and the recent ‘Patti Cake$‘ (2017), she is clearly and up-and-coming actress on the comedy circuit, and I, for one, am stoked about this.

The other stand-outs, though scarcely used, are Clancy Brown as the Reverend Gospel and Tyler Labine as videographer Karl.  Brown is a prolific voice and genre actor, who relishes the role of cult leader, fervishly working to open the gates of Hell and bring about the end of the world.  Labine is extraordinarily funny as the wedding videographer who fancies himself as an auteur, delivering some home truths to Gary.

Eli Craig knows his way around a horror-comedy script.  Between ‘Little Evil’ and the aforementioned ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’, he is in control of his references versus originality.  At 95 minutes, ‘Little Evil’ is about the right length, though I find myself wishing there had been more set-pieces.  The final act is completely ludicrous, but so saccharine, even the coldest of hearts will be warmed.

For ardent horror fans, or those who would recognise the ‘classics’, ‘Little Evil’ will at least raise a smile as it lovingly pokes fun at, whilst simultaneously paying homage to, the icons of the ‘creepy child’ sub-genre.  Distinctly lacking in horror though, and not really as clever or subversive as some of the great spoofs before it, it never quite hits the mark.  There’s a lot to like, but don’t watch for the scares or the ‘laugh out loud’ moments; watch for the pastiche.

Sasha’s Rating – 6.0/10

Production Officially Begins On ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’

Marvel’s official Twitter feed just confirmed that production has begun on ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’, and marked the occasion with a brilliant video which shows where Ant-Man and The Wasp will spend their down-time between takes.

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are both returning for their respective roles, but this time Lilly’s Hope van Dyne will don her mother’s Wasp costume, as teased at the end of the first film. It was also recently confirmed that Michelle Pfeiffer has been cast as the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, mother of Hope and wife of Hank (Michael Douglas).

Also recently confirmed as members of the cast include Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, and Randall Park, who has been confirmed to play S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Jimmy Woo. Michael Pena, T.I and David Dastmalchian are all returning for the sequel.

We also have an updated synopsis for the film, which is as follows: 

“From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.”

Director Peyton Reed has also just released a better look at the new logo for the film.

‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ opens in cinemas July 6th 2018

Michelle Pfeiffer And Laurence Fishburne Join The Cast Of ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’

During their presentation in Hall H, Marvel confirmed that Michelle Pfeiffer will play the role of Janet Van Dyne, mother of Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and wife of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who we saw briefly in a flashback scene during ‘Ant-Man’. Laurence Fishburne was also confirmed as a member of the cast, and is playing the role of Dr. Bill Foster, aka Goliath. 

Also recently announced as members of the cast are Walton Goggins, whose character still remains unknown, and Randall Park who is confirmed to play S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jimmy Woo. 

A new logo and some early concept art were shown during the presentation. 

Peyton Reed, who directed the first film, is back in the director’s chair for the sequel which is currently slated for a July 2018 release.

Written by Tom Sheffield