We’ve just seen the first trailer for Captain Marvel, in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…and it honestly doesn’t show much. It lasts a little less than two minutes. It shows Brie Larson’s character (Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel) falling to the Earth, and then a variety of nano-scenes flash by. We see some super fast sequences, offering almost no solid clues for the story we’re so eager to see next March.
But, from my early thoughts, um…THIS is our hero, come to undo “The Snap’? Carol Danvers seems so…young, so inexperienced. Perhaps this is the point, in-universe, at this time. (The film is supposed to take place in the 90s, way before Nick Fury sends her that desperate pager call in Infinity War).
First trailers for the biggest blockbusters usually don’t provide much narrative, but I am sure I can pick this one apart enough for a quick post…so stop reading now if you are super sensitive to the mildest of spoilers.
THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING THE CAPTAIN MARVEL TRAILER: “…She’s falling a long way. LOL, she hit a Blockbuster Video store. Nice in-joke (it’s a blockbuster movie), and also this is supposed to be the 90s, so that’s a good bit of iconic flashback. And then there’s a mall scene…also very 80s-90s. I grew up in a mall myself. Nick Fury narrates: “Renegade soldier from above…space invasion”…Whut? Hey, Fury has two eyes! And I think that’s Phil Coulson! Man, that went by too fast — I had to back it up three times to make sure who that was. He hasn’t been in a Marvel film since The Avengers. Then there’s that ‘pager’ thing – Fury must have had it in his pocket for 30 years by the time Infinity Wars comes around…hmmm…it looks like a regular pager at this point, so I guess the super-tech follows later in the timeline. And, that’s kind of it. Besides Carol Danvers decking an old woman. I’m sure that makes sense somehow.”
I asked RunPee Dan to take a look at the trailer, to see his thoughts. Dan: “It doesn’t answer much, but it looks good.” He also noticed that when Captain Marvel stands up from her fall into the Blockbuster Video store, there’s a good shot of her walking right past the “Action” section. Heh. Good catch, that!
Ultimately, I don’t expect this early trailer to provide the answers we’re seeking to resolve the questions of Avengers: Infinity War. Probably only Avengers 4 — the as-yet-unnamed finale — will do that. (And it better!) This little preview gives us some hints, a teaser of possible directions. Notice the trailer doesn’t provide even one clue to Captain Marvel’s powers or skill set, except that she punches an old lady…so, yay?
Here’s the short trailer, for your viewing pleasure:
Here’s list of my favorite films, all of which are somewhere in the A range, or a high B. I didn’t actually include everything I’ve ever given an A to on RunPee, because they were often graded according to the target audience, and aren’t actually my personal faves.
Sometimes I want to upgrade a film too, over time. Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them gets better on every viewing, for example. I want to move in the database from a B something to like an A-, or at least an A. I was colored at the time, by my wanting it to be more like the other Harry Potter films. Which is why rewatch reviews really come into their own — you can have time to let a film settle, and see what emerges in time.
It’s worth discussing about how we at RunPee grade movies. Each one of us staffers in this family is different. Like I’ve said before, I often use a curve within a movie franchise. Almost anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe does deserves an A (IMO), compared to movies otherwise in its genre (or out of it). But…that’s adding my highly idiosyncratic enjoyment factor.
Here’s a long list of my A range, and most favorite films over time:
Alien and Aliens
Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back
Terminator (The first and the second)
Jurassic Park (Only the first)
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc
Back to the Future (The first)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Breakfast Club
Jaws (the first)
Overboard (The original)
A Fish Called Wanda
The Matrix (The first)
Harry Potter (I can’t really pick one from the eight movies we see. Each has their own style and merits…and together is one long story. For myself, I’d give the A+ to The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, and maybe The Half Blood Prince.)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Passengers (This one is controversial. I loved it, my mother loved it, and RunPee Dan loved it. But a lot of people aggressively dislike the movie, for reasons I shouldn’t describe here if you haven’t seen the film)
Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan and the Voyage Home. First Contact is great, might not be an A)
Logan (OMG is this sad. But wonderful, too)
The MCU (Like the Harry Potter films, Marvel’s Avenger superheroes have an intricately webbed series of stories. To pick out the A+ films is hard. I might only put Infinity Wars in that caliber. Maybe Thor: Ragnarok. However, the regular A films abound: Guardians of the Galaxy — one of my personal favorites, Black Panther, Iron Man 1, Avengers: Assemble, Avengers: Civil War, and Spiderman: Homecoming)
The Shawshank Redemption
The Lord of the Rings (The entire LOTR series. Not the Hobbit films, unfortunately)
Die Hard (The first)
Lethal Weapon (the first)
ET: The Extra Terrestrial
2001, A Space Odyssey
Blade Runner (The first)
The Shining (The original)
So I Married An Axe-Murderer
Mamma Mia (The first)
When Harry Met Sally
The Princess Bride
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Pitch Black (The first)
The Wizard of Oz
Monty Python and The Holy Grail
Airplane! (The first)
Ghostbusters (The first)
Live and Let Die (Bond movies are so subjective! This one is perfect, in my opinion. Yours will probably be different)
Shaun of the Dead
The Sixth Sense
Thelma and Louise
The Bourne Identity
The Little Mermaid
….Aaaand, I’m continuing this list right now. You might have an idea of what movies I consistently like: there’s a lot of sci-fi here, (almost) no horror movies, and very few old classics. For example, I never saw Citizen Kane — which is touted to be the best movie in in the universe . I should educate myself. (I did enjoy African Queen, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and Some Like It Hot. Is that a good start?)
I’m going to hang out with RunPee Sis next month, and she will introduce me to some horror classics, and hug me when I get scared. So maybe things like Psycho and Silence of the Lambs will join the list.
Anyway: I know I missed some important movies. Got some in mind? Comments can be added below!
Weird, weird, weird. Yes, in a film pointedly titled Strange, this is very bizarre stuff.
I haven’t seen the character in comic book media, but I imagine it took until our current technology to make all this mental scat look so good, so pretty, on film. Folding cities, broken mirror landscapes, characters running up and down against the laws of physics. This is stuff you’ve seen before, but it’s very cleanly done here. If you’re reminded fondly of The Matrix and Inception (and even Ant-Man’s foray into the quantum realm), then you won’t have trouble understanding the technology/sorcery of this movie.
Impressively, that isn’t the weird stuff.
What IS strange is the story. It is about protecting the psychic world, and that’s heady stuff. I wish it had been clever, though. It is still only about running around and fighting, ultimately…just with magical energy swords. I was hoping there would be a little more about your mind creating your reality, but nope.
So, here we go. Bennedict Cumberbatch channels Harrison Ford in a gruff American accent, weaving his Marvel origin tale from overbearing egoist to psychic world protector. Fine and good. But…why? I had to ask myself, with over two hours of world bending magical displays, why we needed to see this. Why be introduced to yet another Marvel heavyweight, when the MCU is already so cluttered? Why we needed a super strange reality that makes Asgard look tame, just when things are already so complicated, with an overloaded boat of new and old Avengers already on the scene?
In the final moments of the film, in a throwaway line, I got my answer. I’m sure you’ll see it, if you’ve been keeping up with the big Marvel arc. But I guess we can now get on with things.
Was it good? Cumberbatch tried his best to not make this silly, even in an outlandish outfit (I DID like his adorably helpful cape), with crazy-ass lines. The MCU now has actual sorcerers, yeah. Tilda Swinton did her fey thing and carried it off, for the most part. Chiwetel Ejiofor re-did his Operative gig from Serenity, and it was…okay. He’s usually so much better.
Mostly, somehow, it all felt very tired. Another origin story. Another reluctant hero called into service. And some really bizarre fight scenes that would have been thrilling if they didn’t go on, and on, and on….again and again and again. It’s like the movie was in love with its own magical conceit.
The mid-credits scene was very nicely done, quite straightforward and charming, and I wish the rest of the movie had been like that. I’m just tired of big effects and origins and new heroes, and diddling around with backstory. I’ll be old by the time the MCU gets everyone they want on board.
The comic book fans will probably be pleased with how Dr Strange performed. It WAS pretty.
Here’s my advice: you need to see this on the big screen, preferably in 3D, to appreciate the mind bending visual torrent. Don’t see this in a second run theater. If you have a really good television, wait for the DVD. But if you aren’t a huge fan of the MCU, or Beneditch Cumberbatch, you might want to skip this completely. I could tell you the relevance of the entire endeavor in one phrase (except I won’t, because that would be a spoiler).
About the Peetimes: This movie is full of plot and character development, making it difficult to find decent Peetimes. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s mostly the beginning of an action scene, so you won’t miss anything important.
While Thor’s hammer is now crushed, there are still some unanswered questions about who could lift it and why, and who is considered “worthy.” What is worthy, exactly? And why could an an artificial being like The Vision lift it so effortlessly?
Of course, there are the meta answers: the production team decided it would be a funny payoff to the Avengers: Age of Ultron “party game” where our heroes all gave it a whack. As Dan (owner of RunPee) states, “I don’t think there’s a ‘reason’ Vision can lift the hammer. It’s just there for drama, and perfectly set up by Joss.”
Well, yeah, Joss Whedon produced Age of Ultron, and he’s known for both witty banter and developing a satisfying payoff to amusing set-ups. So it could just be that Joss found it funny (which it is, no question). But he’s also a certified geek, like we are at RunPee. So a purely production-oriented answer isn’t enough for us. Surely Joss thought this out completely and has an in-universe reason. (For the sake of this discussion, I’m not indulging in comic book storylines about Mjölnir.)
However, with someone as “pure” as Captain America not lifting the hammer (although he made it jiggle slightly), and someone as genocidal as Hela holding/crushing it so casually, I have to wonder what ‘worthiness’ entails, and if that term even makes sense from a human standpoint. Maybe Asguardian worthiness is something very unique and specific…although in the first Thor movie, Odin made the concept sound just like what we would expect it to mean.
So, if Cap can’t lift the hammer, and Hela can, then where does Vision fall into this part of the narrative?
It’s possible that Vision, being an android and essentially a brand-new person, was like Data from Star Trek: a being of intensely curious intelligence, great innocence, and no personality flaws. That could well be seen as worthy. But it’s more likely the hammer, essentially being ‘magic’ and non-tech, didn’t recognize Vision as a person. The tool was never hinted to be sentient, so how would it even know the android was alive? It would more likely automatically pick up on a person’s soul/aura/katra/whatever. I’m positing Vision didn’t have a soul/etc, although in the MCU anything can happen. Plus there was an Infinity Stone at play, which makes its own rules. (I’m painting myself into corners here, I know.)
Which leads to wondering about non-living elements and their relationship with Thor’s deceased hammer. Can other things, like an elevator, airplane, helicarrier, or even a car, be able to move it? If Thor traveled in a plane and put the hammer down, would the hammer punch through to the ground, possibly pinning the plane under it? Am I over-thinking this?
I’d have to rewatch all the scenes where Thor is traveling (or in an elevator) and see if he ever put the hammer down. I imagine if the hammer can’t be moved mechanically, that Thor would have to have the weapon somewhere on his person at all times. The writers probably didn’t stress themselves too greatly over this matter, but bear with me. If indeed Thor isn’t carrying the hammer in every scene on the helicarrier, for example, then maybe tech can lift it (although Iron Man AND War Machine, working together, could not use their suits to move it, nor could Stan Lee get it to budge with his truck in New Mexico — maybe ignore those moments for now).
If the hammer can be moved/lifted by such non-living things as vehicles, then it would follow that Vision should have no problem with it. It’s hard to say what a satisfying answer would be. That probably depends on whether cold, rational logic applies in the MCU, and how big a fan one is of The Vision as a heroic character.
Too bad we didn’t see Ultron try to lift Mjölnir, for comparison. I’m going to say this: Hela handling the hammer makes this all really problematic. While I adored Thor: Ragnarok, Hela’s ability threw the entire worthiness concept out the window for the sake of an admittedly very cool image.
Who could pick up Mjölnir, beloved Hammer of Thor, God of Thunder? Who is considered worthy? What does worthy even mean in this context?
This topic is no longer relevant, post-Infinity War, but lists are fun, but the immensity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lends itself to fun lists. So…who besides Thor was able to wield the late, sorely-missed hammer? (And, by the way, the new Axe of Thor, Stormbreaker, doesn’t come with a ‘mighty-only’ caveat. So we assume anyone can lift that one, and not just Thor and Teenage Groot.)
Those lifting Thor’s Hammer (from the movies alone, not the comic books):
Thor: Mostly he can lift his own darn weapon, but sometimes he couldn’t. There was a time he wasn’t worthy, remember — he was a spoiled Asguardian godling in the first Thor film. But hey, Stan Lee couldn’t move it either, not even with a truck (in a cute cameo scene, below).
Odin: Mjölnir was his before it was Thor’s. So yeah.
Captain America: Well, actually, this one is a bit dodgy. In Age of Ultron, Cap barely budged it. But it was still the coolest scene in Avengers 2, when all the heroes gave it a wack. Plus, check out the expression on Thor’s face when Cap moves it by a hair. Of all the Avengers heroes, The Captain would seem to come closest to worthiness. Keep in mind that ‘worthy’ is a squirrely term. It could mean all manner of things. Is being true, honest, and pure? Being very nice? I’d have to rewatch the first Thor and catch what Odin said about it, because I’m not sure what makes Thor psychologically unique among all his great and stalwart friends.
Vision: Again from Ultron, the moment the sentient robot/infinity stone wielder casually hands it to Thor is worth the price of admission alone. Why could The Vision do this, besides offering a great payback to the prior set-up? Can an artificial lifeform be considered pure? Was it his combination of absolute youth and infinite knowledge? As a combination of Ultron, Jarvis, Stark, and Banner…um, no…I don’t have anywhere to go with this. Maybe the hammer no more registered Vision as a person than if an elevator lifted the hammer from one floor to another. Vision fans, give me something to go on here.
Hela: From Thor: Ragnarok. Why Thor’s evil sister was “worthy” makes no sense, but she crushed that weapon like a plastic party favor. Maybe you just need to be in Thor’s lineage. Or her evil was so pure the hammer deemed that worthy in itself. Her smooshing of Mjölnir is a neat image, but it all falls apart if you think about it.
I’m going to go on a limb and say Eitri, also from Ragnarok. That’s the Giant Dwarf who forged the thing. It’s hard to forge something you can’t move. But I wasn’t there, so what do I know?
Random Observation: This doesn’t relate to Mjölnir…but Thor, God of Thunder? Thunder? Thunder is just a sound. Lightning is what Thor’s specialty is about. I guess God of Lightning doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely. Whatever. But we do know, as Odin scolded, that Thor is not the God of Hammers.
Here are some of Mjölnir’s best clips:
The classic party scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron —
Vision’s big ‘hammer-time’ scene —
Hela has a little fun —
In one of my favorite deleted scenes, Thor reminisces to Korg about his lost and lamented weapon —
And in our introduction to Mjölnir, the clip where everyone in New Mexico tries to get that hammer from its crater —
Spoilers for Infinity War, and of course Ant Man & the Wasp…don’t bother reading if you haven’t seen those two movies. This will all be gibberish to you anyway if you’re not up to date. Onward…
So, that ending in Ant Man 2. It’s nice that Scott Lang finally has a superhero partner, and an ad-hoc family…but with Hank, Hope, and Janet suddenly Snapped away by Thanos, how’s he going to get out of the Quantum Realm? Is he stuck there now, for decades (or possibly forever), just like Janet Van Dyne before Ant Man 1?
Well…doubtful. That’s not how Marvel works. And there’s probably a darn good reason there was a fluffy Ant Man movie right after the seriously universe-changing and dire events of Infinity War. I assume something about the Quantum Realm (the QR) will be crucial to undoing the victims of the Snapocalypse…or why this superhero again, and why now?
Previously, the first Ant Man movie was a light, comedic pallet-cleanser after the serious events of Captain America: Civil War. This could be the same kind of thing going on…but I tend to doubt it’s just that. Ant Man isn’t that big a crowd draw, not after such momentous and box-office pleasing films of late, like Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War. In fact, AM&TW is the only late-phase MCU film to earn the kind of paltry box office amounts we’ve seen since the original Phase One movies (check the Wikipedia). Nobody’s been begging for another Ant Man film.
At the time, I was also curious why we had to “start over” with such newer origin properties like Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Black Panther, after taking so much time carefully setting up ensemble-cast driven stories in the main story arc. Especially since Spiderman and Black Panther, as part of Civil War, didn’t even need stand-alone films. Post Infinity War, it all makes sense now. And we’re getting yet ANOTHER origin story movie in Captain Marvel, coming out in March of 2019 (with that Infinity War post credits scene, we can even guess why).
It keeps circling back to why Ant Man again, and why now. With half of all life forms now turned to ash, fans have to assume the 4th Avengers film will be about rectifying this catastrophe.
Dr. Strange saw ONE lifetime in over 14 million that led to our heroes winning. If the QR is vitally important, then so is an Ant Man story. We’ve talked about this before on RunPee.com. It’s also quite possible Scott was protected by the QR from the Snap itself. So — moving on — how will Scott get back?
Here are some reasonable ideas: (Note: lacking evidence otherwise, I’m going to assume anyone we haven’t seen dusted is still around.) (Note the Second: I haven’t consulted any of the comic books, so this is all conjecture based on the 20 MCU films.)
1. Luis. He’s in the front of the van housing the Quantum Tunnel. It might be as easy as him flicking a ‘retrieve’ switch. That would set the cliffhanger to a speedy (if not hugely satisfying) solution, so we can get on with the rest of the Avengers 4 and their immense cast.
2. Luis drives the van to someone else who can help. Bill Foster and/or Ghost know exactly what to do with a Quantum Tunnel. (Plus, using them here would justify the somewhat pointless inclusion of them in a movie already over-packed with characters and plot dynamics.)
3. Scott gets himself out. Option One: he did it before on his own. He can futz with his regulator and “quantum-leap” himself back to normal space/time.
4. Scott gets himself out. Option Two: Janet made an obvious point of mentioning Time Vortices in the QR, and told Scott to avoid them. Why mention these for no good reason, so suddenly at the end of the film? Sounds like a major foreshadowing hint. We have no idea what a time vortex can do, but perhaps they act like wormholes to bring Scott back…although, to when and where is uncertain. This could lead to a time-travel element in Avengers 4.
5. Scott gets himself out. Option Three: Janet’s been in his head for a few years now by the current space/time, but by QR standards, she is likely always still there, essentially possessing him. Either she, or her remnant, or just the ‘quantum memory’ will help him find a way out.
6. Dr. Strange did something — yes, he’s ash. But he’s also a master of the mystic arts and previously Wielder of the Time Stone. Since he is essentially disjointed from normal time, he could be/have been/will be/will have been doing something magically to get Scott back. (Someday we’ll work out the right grammar for time travel paradoxing.) Perhaps the QR even kept Scott safe during the Snap, and that too was part of the plan.
7. See above, but insert Wong. He’s as skilled as Strange, and guarding the NY temple. He could be asked to help, maybe by Luis. I’m placing a lot on Luis here, aren’t I? Or maybe Wong grasps the situation from his own mystical meditations.
8. Cassie might have a role. It’s nearly impossible to avoid spoilers about future films unless you avoid the entire internet, but I’ll be vague: I’ve heard Scott’s little girl won’t always be so little, and might have a more intense role to play. Plus, she’s a determined and smart young person in her own right.
9. Captain Marvel might just take care of this herself, after getting Nick Fury’s page…
10. The Cosmic stuff. There’s a lot of things in space that could send a message to interstellar travelers like the Guardians/Revengers/Ravagers/Giant Dwarves, etc…or to gods like Thor, or strongly powered unaligned aliens we haven’t met yet, or even randoms like The Collector and The Grandmaster. Or the hinted at with “Adam” from the post-credits Sovereign scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Or even a semi-conscious pull from the Infinity Stones — say, the Soul Stone — to bring “balance to the Force.” Yes, I’m lumping nearly everything weird in this category. Call it a ‘catch-all’ option for a wild universe of infinite, interdimensional possibilities.
First off, it’s a Marvel movie, okay? You simply may not leave your seat until the lights come up. In this case, Ant Man and the Wasp are no different. Make your friends — and even strangers — “hold onto their butts.” (Ten points to Gryffindor if you remember where that quote is from.)
Spoilers for Infinity War and Ant Man & The Wasp ahead!
Some extra scenes/tags/stingers are fluffy fun, some add to the plot, and some hint at what’s to come. Some tease you in a sort of parody way, or just send you off with a little laugh. We’ve got a fine stew of all that in Ant Man 2, the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
My advice: don’t leave until the bitter end.
As the credits roll, for two minutes we see scenes from Ant Man and the Wasp as miniature models, highlights from the films. There are posed dolls; there are miniatures sets; it’s nice and all. Since this bit of Fancy Credits begins exactly as the movie ends, we don’t call this kind of thing an extra. It’s neat to see, though, with some good music to enjoy while you wait for the big anticipated mid-credits scene.
Some background first : Ant Man and The Wasp takes place roughly before/during/around the momentous events of Avengers: Infinity War. Maybe most of their timelime happens during Thor: Ragnarok, which leads directly into Infinity War.
Seriously awful things happen in the last 20 minutes of IW. I saw it five times in the theater and still bawled like a baby. Peter Parker and Teen Groot destroyed me, especially.
So when I say that I and the audience GASPED out loud in the crucial mid-credits scene of Ant Man 2, I mean it viscerally. It was a gut-punch that surprised us all. It was almost (ALMOST) worse than what happened in Infinity War. This reminder hurt.
It’s not like the Ant Man crew are my favorite superheros, and while I’d hoped this ‘small stakes’ lighthearted film would connect to the larger MCU, I was, by the end of the movie, lulled into a sense of contentment. By then, I’d totally forgotten about The Snap. As the directors planned. When The Snap returned, during the mid-credits, making ash of Hank, Hope and the newly-freed Janet — simultaneously stranding Scott Lang in the Quantum Realm — I actually yelped in the theater. A huge audience “Nooooooo!” showed I wasn’t the only one lulled into complacency.
And that is exactly what the Marvel studios bank on. Light, fun movie? Check. Awful last minute universe continuity meant to shock the audience — double check.
So, Scott is left alone in the Quantum Realm (to be fair, Luis, Bill Foster or even Ghost could retrieve him, and maybe he was immune to The Snap by being out of space and time…theories abound), but that doesn’t take the power of the moment away when Hope, Hank, and Janet disappear. Mic drop. End scene.
If you wait for the final, post credit extra, you’re treated to a hint of the world status, Post Snap. Streets are empty, while sirens sound in the distance. We pan through Scott’s empty house, in several rooms, see the TV switch over to the Emergency Broadcast System…and finally land on one of Scott’s giant ants playing his drums. Dire as things are, it’s still an Ant Man movie, providing a grace of comic relief, after the brutal reminder of the state of the universe.
The final nail in the coffin swiftly follows, when the screen fades to black and we see the title card: Ant Man and The Wasp Will Return.
Then a beat passes.
And a question mark pops up, to show: “Ant Man and The Wasp Will Return?”
Then lights come up and you’re left feeling like you saw a cutely made, well-done late phase MCU film: a rollicking good time with refreshingly small stakes (sans the very end).
So, now what?
My theory is that people we didn’t see dissolve are still with us. So, Luis is still in the front of the van. Bill Foster and his Ghost ward know how to operate the Quantum Tunnel. Getting Scott out may be a simple affair, and his knowledge of the Quantum Realm might hold the key to undoing Thanos’ damage.
It’s a long wait til 2019’s March release of Captain Marvel and the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4, due later that summer.
I do have a burning question: How did Hank Pym and family not know Earth was under attack by massive waves of alien monsters in Wakanda? You’d think this wouldn’t be the time for starting a risky new quantum experiment. Personally, I’d be glued to the news of world events.
And for that matter, in Infinity War, how did Nick Fury, of all people, not realize his planet was in a serious state of war? Shouldn’t he be dialed in to everything the Avengers say or do, at all times? Running around panicking in NYC, he seemed strangely out of the loop.
Here is the Mid Credit Scene from Ant Man and The Wasp, mixed in with the real-time last moment of Avengers: Infinity War. (2.3 minutes long.) You might need a tissue.
Coda. Final Scene:
What do you think happens with Scott, the Quantum Realm, and the Post-World Snap?
Loki, God of Mischief, once had a very bad day with the Hulk (“Puny God”), way back in the MCU’s 1st Avengers film. This is when our favorite anti-villain was the Big Bad. He’s come a long way since then. We saw, even as late as Thor: Ragnarok, that he’s still terrified of the Hulk, but seemingly more nervous about being melted by the Grandmaster. So when the Grandmaster told him to sit and watch his Gladiatorial Games, he sat, even though all the color drained from his skin and he fidgeted unconsciously. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe knew where his discomfort arose, and smiled inside, remembering Tony Stark’s one-up line to Loki’s Chitauri Army boasting (“We have a Hulk”).
It’s not everyday a god gets beaten to a pulp. In Ragnarok, we see he didn’t forget it.
So it came as a nice call back when Loki joined up with his brother Thor and the Revengers, gloating to Thanos, “We have a Hulk.” It’s a great moment that should have paid off in Thanos getting smushed into gravy. Except it didn’t work that way.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AVENGERS INFINITY WAR
Loki had one small moment to feel excited about being on the same side as his brother, but it didn’t last long. Thanos smashed up the Hulk himself, with no weapons sans fists and attitude. Thanos clearly was never in danger, and as the Maw said, “Let him have his fun.” Loki paid for that mistake a few moments and one miscalculation later (“No more regenerations.”) Sadly, I suspect this is one death that’s going to stick, whatever else happens with the Snap-apocalypse.
Loki does stand up to Thanos, gets over his fear of the Hulk, and dies a hero’s death (he’d be headed to Valhalla if there were any sober, working Valkyrie left). Loki, you are already missed.
So what’s the deal with the Hulk? Once he gets the snot kicked out of him on the Asguardian ship, he’s flung to Earth, and spends the rest of the movie in hiding. Hulk won’t come out, no matter how much Bruce Banner begs, pleads, demands, or hits himself trying to get angry. The Green Guy had enough of Thanos and his ilk and is…what…afraid? Why is he afraid now? He’s been smacked around before, as recently as on Asguard in the Ragnarok. But that was against some kind of immortal giant. Thanos is his own size. I think it comes as a huge shock to Hulk that he could be flung around like a rag doll, the way he’s used to doing the flinging. So, yeah, he’s afraid.
Which is an interesting point. Loki, like his brother Thor, was thousands of years old. He was mature enough to legitimately grow out of his Hulk fear. But Hulk is basically a toddler. Put together all Hulk’s time on the mortal plane and it equals not much. Maybe two years on Sakaar, plus a little time here and there on Earth, when Banner wasn’t trying to keep him bottled up.
He’s a child. A big green whiny baby. It’s not even his fault.
This isn’t to denigrate Hulk’s Avenger status. But it seems he needs to have his sulk and work through it. After all, it wasn’t until his time on Sakaar that he really learned how to talk, or play nice with others. And he probably HATES Banner, who will be the reason for Hulk’s death one day (due to old age), and who only lets him out when there’s someone to be smashed.
In essence, Loki got to have a mature arc at the end of his millennial life. He got over his Hulk fear and sacrificed himself for the good team. Hulk is still just too young to understand much of anything — plus, rage makes it hard to think straight. He might need to take some time on Earth (the place he said everyone “hates him”) as himself and do a walkabout, smell some flowers, have a picnic with Black Widow…basically, Banner needs to let the Hulk out of his cage. The two need to come to terms with their shared life.
Once this happens, Banner can leave the Hulkbuster suit behind and let his rage monster do his thing. I don’t see any other solution. And while I feel bad for the Hulk to be so afraid, I feel worse for Loki and for ourselves.
RIP, Adopted Odinson, God of Mischief.
Make a Hulkbuster Lego set, or show off your own Loki attire:
We all know about Stan Lee. He’s one of the big name co-creators of Marvel Comics, is a co-producer and co-writer for the movies, and seems to be a little bit nuts. He’s been inducted into the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame. He’s also, in one way or another, in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since Iron Man 1 introduced the modern superhero film. For a man who’s 95 years old, we’ve kind of got a wee crush on him and his wacky humor.
Just for fun, here’s the entire complication of Lee MCU cameos, from 1989-2018, plus a special appearance in the fabulous music video Guardians Inferno. You’ll have to sit back and enjoy all this as a sort of mini-movie, since it takes a half hour to view it all. We’re not including his X-Men Marvel cameos here, or from any prior Marvel franchise (those other Spidermen, or the Fantastic Fours), or even the ones in Deadpool, since this article is long enough. We’ll pull those together for another time.
2015 – Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (THIS is Stan Lee’s favorite MCU cameo. The reason? It’s a subtle two scene event, where he asks Thor for a drink, who responds by saying it will kill him…and then is later seen being carried out. Blink and you’ll miss it.)
2015 – Ant Man
2016 – Captain America 3: Civil War (This is the infamous “Tony Stank” Fed Ex scene)
2016 – Dr. Strange
2017 – Lee’s two-part cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 (Seeing both makes his ‘secret character‘ make sense.)
2017 – Taking place between GotG2 and Avenger’s Infinity War, this video is just plain fun, giving Lee his full celebrity due (not a canon part of the MCU).
2017 – Spiderman: Homecoming
2017 – Thor 3: Ragnarok
2018 – The Black Panther
2018 – Avengers 3: Infinity War. This is leaked footage and pretty new, so it’s not as clear:
2018 – Ant Man and the Wasp — JUST IN!….UPDATE, next day: this is no longer available…blame Disney, who went in and blocked it. Poopers.
Allrighty. Here’s another version. Let’s see how long this one lasts. The scene is short and cute:
More will be added as the saga continues and the clips become available. Sources say Lee hates to fly, and it’s getting harder for him to do these appearances, so he shoots a bunch of them back to back now. I hope he sticks around long enough to see the saga through. (Although at this point at the box office, it may never end. Everyone reading this could die before it’s done.)
Which is your favorite Stan Lee cameo? Comment below!
When leaving the theater my overall feeling was that I liked the movie — I gave it an 8.8/10 in the RunPee User Poll — but the more I think about it, the less I like it.
What I liked
The movie had plenty of funny moments and the action was decent. Actually, the action had most of the humor. And the father-daughter relationship scenes are heartwarming. The relationship dynamics between Scott, Hope, and Dr. Pym works really well. There’s conflict and regret, along with trust and support. The creators did a great job in that department and should have expanded on it.
The quantum realm stuff was pretty cool. I love that they included a scene with tardigrades. (Tiny animals in the cellular world.)
It was also a nice touch how the quantum probe they built got smaller in quantum jumps. Meaning, it didn’t get gradually smaller, it got smaller in discrete steps: quantum.
(There’s a common misconception that quantum equals small. That’s not necessarily true. If you could travel in quantum jumps it would mean you would go from one place to another without traversing the space in between. That quantum jump could be a micrometer or kilometer.)
What I don’t like
I think the problem is, overall the MCU movies have done a great job building a believable unbelievable universe. What I mean is, we accept the existence of Infinity Stones, and that all of them united in a gauntlet can give the wearer unfathomable power at the snap of their fingers. Most of the technology is fantastical, but we buy it because it works in the story. However, in Ant-Man and the Wasp there are a lot of inconsistencies I find annoying the more I think about them.
For instance: when Scott is gigantic we find out he has trouble breathing. He says at one point, “The air feels chunky,” and then passes out. That’s a great limitation on the technology. I can totally accept that when he’s big he has difficulty absorbing normal sized oxygen atoms when he breathes. It’s a nice nod to the realism of the physics/biology involved. But then they totally ignore that principle when the ants are enlarged. It’s like the creators want us to think that Scott has a limit, but it doesn’t apply to the ants. I’m totally okay with breaking the laws of physics/biology to create a story. But once a limit is introduced, the story should stay consistent to it. That’s just a pet peeve of mine.
By the way, if you’re interested in the physics/biology of animal sizes I highly recommend these videos by Kurzgesagt. (If you’re unfamiliar with Kurzgesagt, then you may thank me later for introducing you to them.)
What Happens If We Throw an Elephant From a Skyscraper? Life & Size 1
How to Make an Elephant Explode with Science – The Size of Life 2
And that’s not even the worst part. My biggest gripe of the movie is the Ghost sub-plot that just fell way short of Marvel’s standards. I hate to say it, but the acting by Hannah John-Kamen in some of the scenes was the worst acting in any Marvel movie to date. I can’t solely blame the actress. I think the directing had a lot to do with it.
Besides the bad acting, the Ghost sub-plot felt like a forced drama to make the plot more difficult than it needed to be. And if that wasn’t enough, we get the technology arms dealer Sonny that convoluted the drama even more. At least the Sonny character adds a dash of humor.
If I were asked to place this movie somewhere in the MCU oeuvre, I’d say it belongs somewhere in the bottom 3rd.
And now, the long wait until March 8, 2019 when Captain Marvel comes out.
Finding good Peetimes was pretty easy for this movie. There were long establishing shots that were very easy to summarize.
The first and third Peetimes are the best. I only made the second Peetime an *emergency* Peetime because the story jumps between 4 distinct scenes, making the synopsis longer than I’d like.