About the End Credits Scenes in Ant Man & The Wasp

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 is 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 film. There are posed dolls; there are miniatures sets; it’s nice and all. Since this bit of Title 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 surely 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?”

Nice. Ambiguity.

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?

Movie Rewatch Review – Ant Man

I really used to like the original Ant Man. I thought it was underrated, charming, funny, and a lighter take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And that’s how I remembered it until my rewatch last night.

What I forgot: since it came out, a lot more amusing  and enjoyable MCU films came along, ones that made me laugh harder, thrilled me visually, and set up characters I cared for in a visceral, deeper way. Now, having rewatched Ant Man’s 2015 origin story after having viewed top of the line films like Thor: Ragnarok, the Guardians films, Black Panther, Civil War, Spiderman, and Infinity War, I’m suddenly underwhelmed. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang does what he can, but aside from his sweet little kid, I didn’t feel much of anything for anyone else. I cared more for poor Antony the Ant than the cast of people, which isn’t a good sign.

And the plot. It was just about another set of guys in another set of suits. Really. A guy of dubiously good morality in a tech suit, plus a clearly definite bad guy in a meaner suit, exploiting the tech. Am I describing Iron Man or Ant Man?

We now have normal guys in suits up and down the MCU — Iron Man, War Machine, Falcon, Ant Man. (Batman is the same, but hey, different universe.) I’m not sure we needed to put Wasp in yet another suit, but it’s a gal, so that’s new. Yay?

Some indirect spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follows. 

Who else dons supersuits? Spidey finally has a cool tech version, and so does the Black Panther, but those are also dudes with legitimate innate superpowers.  And lest I forget, Bruce Banner now sports a Hulkbuster Suit, for days when the rage monster refuses to come out and play.

Back to Ant Man. What really sets him apart from the other suit guys are two things: he’s got an ant army, and can move back and forth between many sizes — from normal, to tiny, right up to gigantic (making him “Gi-Ant Man”), and then back down to the subatomic, in the Quantum Realm.

Now, let’s pick this apart. At a normal size, he’s really just a cat burgler with engineering skills wearing in a leather jumper. We didn’t see him do the Gi-Ant thing until the (far superior) Captain America: Civil War. His role in the Quantum Realm was so short that it wasn’t more than a cameo excursion. (Hopefully, in Ant Man and the Wasp we’ll get a lot more quantum goodness.) So, what did he really do in his origin story?

Well, Scott had a cool fight with Falcon: it was brief, but fun, and he was adorably fan-girly in meeting an actual Avenger. He had cute scenes learning to control the various ants and bonding with Antony. Um. Hmmm. He kissed a girl in an awkward transition. And the bad guy smushed some sweet little lambs, which I forgot happened and never want to see again.

So, what about those ants, anyway? I was able to stop the screen and write it all down. Keep in mind most of this entymological science is totally made up:

  • Crazy Ants (control electricity)
  • Bullet Ants (really painful bites)
  • Carpenter Ants (great for transport and flying)
  • Fire Ants (can get in and out of difficult places)

So when the critters show up in the next movie, you’ll know which ants do what, for what its worth. But what I’m really looking forward to is seeing how the Quantum Realm relates to the larger Avengers storyline. I mean, it HAS to. Because another stand-alone plotline would not be very satisfying after what Thanos just did to the universe.

It’s still a well constructed movie; it’s just not very exciting. I don’t mind a ‘small’ story — I often prefer it — but it has to be good.

Movie Rewatch Grade: B

Read more on RunPee: 

The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants

How the Quantum Realm Offers Possible Insights to Avengers 4

 

Movie review: Death Wish

I really liked this movie. Earlier, I was so bummed when I was told this was my movie for the week. I begrudgingly said yes, and stewed about it for days.

The movie started and I was literally glued to the screen. I’m not into action at all, but this movie had enough substance that I was hooked from the beginning. Bruce Willis was awesome. There was never a dull moment, and let me tell you this, you will root for him like crazy.

The only reason I’m giving it a B+ instead of an A+ is there was one tiny plot hole that is still kind of boggling my brain. I won’t say what it is because it would ruin some other points for you. It’s not a big deal, but I’m one of those OCD people; the smallest things bother me terribly.

I would recommend this movie. It’s a story where you root for the hero/victim and applaud when he pulls off some cool stuff, and boo when the bad guys are on screen. Our theater was full, and for quite a few moments there was laughter and yelling. It was a fun night at the movies.

Grade: B+

Movie review: Red Sparrow

If you’re a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence — and who isn’t — there’s a lot to like in this movie. She’s the focal point of nearly every scene, superb in all of them.

Jennifer’s character (Dominika) has the very subtle expressions only a great actress could pull off. Even when she’s tortured, Dominika suppresses her expressions as much as possible. Jennifer relies on almost microscopic changes to her facial features, especially around her eyes, to communicate to the audience what her character is feeling.

The director used good closeups of Jennifer’s face during the movie so her expressions were sure to register with the audience.

The story was a little muddled, but not horribly so. I was a little lost here and there, wondering exactly what relevance certain scenes had to the plot. But, while we’re doing Peetimes it’s easy to miss things — so it could be attributed to that.

I can certainly say you need to stay focused on the movie to keep up, because not everything means what you think it means.

Grade: B+

Movie Review – Black Panther

Opening night at Black Panther felt like a celebration. All six showings at my cinema were totally sold out, and continued to sell out through the weekend. But, yes, the audience was ecstatic, completely into the event, dressed in traditional African attire, laughing, cheering, applauding, hooting, and generally having a great time. It makes me want to give Black Panther the highest grade. There’s nothing like a good party.

My A- is still a very good grade. But I honestly preferred the recent Thor – Ragnarok and Spiderman – Homecoming…those were better plotted stories, more tightly woven into the later Marvel Cinematic Universe, with sprightlier humor, and people I cared about.  [UPDATE: Black Panther got better with every viewing. It really is one of the best of the MCU. But after I saw Avengers – Infinity War, I now have to place IW a bit higher. Let’s just say Marvel knows how to craft a film, period, and gets better ever year.]

Black Panther (an origin story that suffers by introducing an entire NATION of new characters) moved along so quickly that I was often lost, and didn’t get to know much about anyone. The title character himself, with so much else this movie had to accomplish, had surprisingly little to say or do. The actual titular hero had more action in Captain America -Civil War.

However, Black Panther is a spectacularly gorgeous film. The cinematography, location shots, the CGI, the total aesthetic appeal — all was topnotch. There was an epic feel to the proceedings, decent humor (mostly from the scene-stealing Princess Shuri), and standout female performances by the aforementioned Princess, the Queen, the Girlfriend, and the General. The women were the best part of the narrative.

Wait, of course, through the entire credits. This is a Marvel movie, after all. The final movie stinger provides a long-awaited payoff.

Updated Note: With Avengers: Infinity War coming out this week, and Black Panther STILL in theaters, this is the first time we’ve had two MCU movies playing at once! I might make my movie day a double feature…

Movie Grade: A-

A Black Perspective on Marvel’s Black Panther

Black Panther’s Wakanda Fashion in the Real World

Read More Marvel Movie Features on RunPee.com

Full List (and comments) for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees & Winners

Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)

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Analysis of Inception

Warning: This is analysis is full of spoilers. This is meant for people read after they have seen the movie.

If you would like to read my movie review of Inception – no spoilers – then go here.

As soon as the movie is over you’re left wondering:

  • Is Cobb -Leonardo DiCaprio – awake at the end?
  • Or was this all a dream?
  • Whose dream?

It is brilliant writing to not only leave these and other questions open for interpretation, but to also include support for varying, even contradictory, interpretations. In this analysis, I’m favoring the idea that the entire movie takes place inside of different levels of Cobb’s dream. Although there is an intriguing possibility that we’re in Mal’s dream, throughout the movie.

I have watched the movie three times now. I’ll review some of the key points that I have noticed that warrant further thought.

  • We never see Mal (Cobb’s wife) jump. There are two scenes where we see her stand up and move to jump. Each time the scene quickly cuts to Mal falling.
  • Cobb walks up to his father-in-law’s (Miles) classroom and looks in through windows in the door. Then cut to Cobb sitting down inside the classroom – without Miles hearing him.
  • Miles asks Cobb why he doesn’t design the architecture of the dream himself. Cobb replies, “Mal won’t let me.” At that point Miles leans forward and says, “Come back to reality.”
  • There are numerous scenes in the movie where Cobb is supposed to be awake yet everything seems very dreamy. Such as when he squeezes between the buildings in Mombasa as he is running from Kobol security forces.
  • The old man who is overseeing the dreaming men says to Cobb, “They come here to be woken up. The dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise?”

Dreamy Names
The character Ariadne is the architect who is tasked with designing the dream. The terms maze and labyrinth are used repeatedly to describe her role in the story. Writers oftentimes pick the names of their characters to subtly describe their characters. It turns out that the name Ariadne comes from Greek mythology. She is the daughter of the King Minos of Crete. She helped Theseus overcome the Minotaur. If you recall that myth involved a labyrinth as well. Karl Kerenyi observes that her name is merely an epithet and claims that she was originally the “Mistress of the Labyrinth.” ( Wikipedia reference )

The character Yusuf is the dream doctor in the story. This name also has a dreamy reference by way of the Quran: The story – of Yusuf – begins with a dream and ends with its interpretation ( Wikipedia reference ).

If Ariadne and Yusuf are real in the movie, i.e. Cobb is awake, then Christopher Nolan (writer/director) is being hackishly heavy handed in using such a blatant references – which I don’t believe to be the case. But if Cobb is dreaming throughout the movie, then it is Cobb who is writing the story and his subconscious chose the names for these projections from his memory of Greek mythology and Islam.

That argument comes down to this: Christopher Nolan is either writing a story about a man who can share dreams and is trying to get back home, or he is writing a story about a man who is writing the story subconsciously about trying to get back home? If you were a brilliant writer – which Nolan is – which would you choose?

The Inception of Totems
At the very beginning of the movie Cobb is explaining to Saito:

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? Virus? Intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient and highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold in the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood, that sticks. [Pointing to his forehead.] Right in there somewhere.

Later, back in reality, while in the helicopter, Saito asks, “Inception. Is it possible?Arthur says that true inspiration is impossible. But Cobb interrupts and says, “That’s not true. ”

At the very end of the movie when Cobb and Ariadne are in Fischer’s subconscious Cobb gives her the An idea is like a virus speech and adds, “The smallest seed of an idea can grow to define, or even destroy you.”

It’s at that point that we discover that Cobb implanted the idea in Mal that she had to kill herself to wake up to reality. And he feels guilt over that.

However, Cobb also mentions earlier in the movie that the idea for a totem came from Mal. She implanted into him the idea that a physical object could be used to determine if you were awake or dreaming. And we know that the spinning top that Cobb uses was originally Mal’s totem. Cobb picked up her totem in the hotel room before she carried out his inception and jumped. In a sense, they exchanged inceptions right then.

At this point I’m unsure about the effectiveness of the totems. I don’t see how that could actually be used as a concrete test to determine if one is awake or dreaming. Which might be the point: you can’t tell.

The Kicker
And here’s the kicker that Cobb is dreaming throughout the movie: he is the only one who resists waking up from someone’s dream when they awake. At the very end – I’m pretty sure – Cobb and Ariadne are in Fischer’s subconscious, trying to dig him out. But Fischer wakes up when the defibrillator revives him. And Ariadne wakes as well. So how can Cobb remain in Fischer’s subconscious when Fischer is no longer there? I’m either missing something, or that’s one of those unaccounted plot holes or it’s an indication that we’re in Cobb’s dream throughout the movie. I’d wager that it’s not the middle thing.

This generation’s Blade Runner
Blade Runner asked us to question: if we had the memories, and even dreams, of someone, would that makes us that person? (That’s the simplistic version.) As a good friend said immediately after the movie, “Inception is this generation’s Blade Runner.”

The dreams in Inception aren’t your regular dreams. We don’t have the ability to share our dreams. We are alone with our own projections and subconscious. But what if we could share our dreams? How would that be different than reality? For reality is a shared interpretation of what our senses perceive. (Yes, I’m guilty of majoring in philosophy, with an emphasis in epistemology.)

Just like we don’t yet have androids that count electric sheep, we also don’t have the ability to share dreams or enter shared virtual realities. But even now, we can already seriously debate what is real. When, and if, we do have shared virtual realities, these issues won’t be philosophical anymore. They will be practical everyday questions. And how we answer and deal with these questions will reshape everything we know.

Are we in a simulation right now?
If you were a software developer with god-like computing power, you could create a virtual reality that is indistinguishable from reality. If you did so, what would it look like? A universe composed of myriad copies of identical objects – check. We have protons, photons, electrons, etc. Quantized space and time – seems likely. Objects only exist if they are perceived – exactly as Quantum Mechanics dictates.

Yes, if you look at the Universe through the eyes of a software developer, it looks like we are inside a simulation right now. Check out Morgan Freeman’s Through The Wormhole episode 1, Is There a Creator? if you would like to see more about that possibility.

What do you think? What have I missed? Anyone else looking forward to watching this again, and again, and . . . How do you think the sequel will start? With an alarm clock waking up Cobb?  🙂