Movie Review – Doctor Strange

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).

Grade: C+

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. 

10 Ways Ant Man Could Escape the Quantum Realm

“Hey guys! Guys? This isn’t funny anymore!”

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.

What theory do you like? Have one of your own?

Read Also: 

The Five Movies You Need to Watch To Understand Infinity War

Every Character Unaccounted For After Infinity War

Every MCU Superhero Category, Ranked

Best to Worst  MCU Movie, Ranked

 

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 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?”

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 Review – Ant-Man and the Wasp

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.

Grade: C+

And now, the long wait until March 8, 2019 when Captain Marvel comes out.

Peetimes:

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.

Related on RunPee.com: 

How the Quantum Realm Might Save the Marvel Universe in Avengers 4

Ant Man Rewatch Review

Ant Man and Sexism: Real Ant Science

The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants

Assuming the MCU is in our universe, every ant we see in the film Ant Man is female. All worker ants are sterile female clones. Male ants are called drones, and are only used for breeding, then discarded. Queens stay in the nest. This is how ant society works, and if you study ants at all, it works well for them — it’s geeky fun science stuff. But to mention this kind of insect reality in the Ant Man movie would be a little uncomfortable.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd, in a charming role as the Ant Man) names his ant sidekick Antony, a male name. Not that this matters at all to the insect in question, or to the movie even. But I think it’s still interesting to consider in these films that all the ants are female.

Wasp society is similar — if you’ve ever been stung, it’s by a female. The stinger and the ovipositor (egg layer organ) are the same thing. So putting Hope and Janet in Wasp suits seems more satisfying.

Yellow Jackets, which are a hornet, are also a type of wasp. Again, the ones you see are female. So the bad guy is wearing a female suit as well. That character seems like he wouldn’t be up to wearing “insect drag” — but none of this matters to the film or to us as viewers.

Again, I am not trying to say there are gender or sexism issues here — the real reason Hank would not put Hope in the Ant Man suit was from fear of losing her, like he lost Janet. It wasn’t a case of sexism. (Seemingly he had no problem with his wife in a Wasp suit and they worked together developing the entire project. )

I used to study social insect behavior in Tucson, AZ. For what it’s worth, I’m just adding some neutral perspective. I prefer stories to use actual science and it impresses me when they do. The Bullet Ants, Crazy Ants (controlling electricity?), etc, is made up nonsense. But if they stick to the rules they themselves establish, I’ll be content.

After all, as far as we know there is no Vibranium in the world. No Wakana, which uses the Vibranium tech to incredible heights. But so far, they are consistent in how said tech is presented, and yay to that.🙂

Read the RunPee Rewatch Review of Ant Man

The Quantum Realm In Ant Man 2 Offers Answers for Avengers 4

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

 

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man 2 Offers Answers for Avengers 4

People are wondering why the big beautiful Avengers 3 – Infinity War is being followed so closely in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by, of all heroes, the Ant Man. With Ant-Man and the Wasp smashing across theaters July 6, we’ve barely had a moment to absorb the calamitous events of the Infinity War. Where, as you might have heard, a LOT OF STUFF happens. (If you haven’t seen it yet, GO NOW.)

Ant Man and the Wasp, strangely, will be the 20th film in the MCU. If you’ve been up to date with the Avengers, you might be curious why one of the lower ranking MCU heroes — who’s been on hiatus since Captain America 3: Civil War (on ‘house arrest,’ just like Hawkeye) — is the next star in this ten-year-old lineup of films. Why him? Why now?

Most people across the internet guessed that Ant Man and the Wasp was intended as a palette cleanser, serving up a comic, lighter fare to audiences — just like the original Ant Man in 2015 did for the heavier Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. But there may be more going on this time than previously assumed.

———-

Spoilers for Avengers Infinity War to follow. Plus idle speculation about Ant Man and the Wasp. 

It seems like we NEED an Ant Man story right now. Remember the Pym Particle, and Hank Pym, and the Quantum Realm (QR for short)? The QR wasn’t a huge part of Ant Man in 2015, but we do know Hank’s wife is stuck there, and that Scott Lang somehow escaped it. He should have been trapped, “forever shrinking.” There’s a lot we don’t know about such a vast, and yet tiny, playground. Fans have assumed Scott and now Hope (as the Wasp) will be going back and getting Hank’s lost wife in their next outing.  Sounds good, right?

But what if the QR provides a way to undo Thanos’s big universe killing snap, somehow? Who else might know a few things about the QR?

Possibly Dr. Strange, who’s seen and done many “strange” things, especially in his own movie. He has a connection to space and time that goes beyond the Time Stone. And while he’s dust now, he did look into over 14 million timelines to see the ONE that works out for the good guys. Maybe he saw that Ant Man and the Wasp have something to do with this, on a sub-particle level.

Okay, who else might come into play? There’s the 21st movie in the MCU queue: Captain Marvel. At the very bitter end of the Infinity War, Nick Fury seemingly sends a page back in time to Ms. Marvel. What are her powers? Without using the comic books for reference, we have to assume there’s something Fury thought she could do to save the universe…and maybe bring back those who turned to ash. It’s possible the Quantum Realm, outside normal space and time, has to do with this. In which case, bringing the Ant Man back now makes sense. Maybe there’s more than just a need for lighthearted comedy on the larger MCU plate.

Movie Web has this to say about our conjecture: “At this point in time, it seems that the exploration of the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man 2 will play a large part in Avengers 4, leading to a journey through time and space to reverse the snap of Thanos. Time travel was the guess from most fans of the MCU, but it seems that some interdimensional travel will be closer to what actually happens in the final movie of phase 3. The real question will be how they implement the Quantum Realm in Avengers 4 and who is able to come back.”

In this piece on Movie Web, they explore this idea more, focusing on Captain Marvel taking her own trip to the QR, and tying directly into Ant-Man’s oeuvre.

Inverse.com takes everything a huge step further, implying that Ant Man might not be a second string hero at all, but could potentially be the most powerful superhero. (I’d like to add that this doesn’t refer actually to Scott Lang, but potentially anyone using the suit to enter the QR.)

Here’s what Dr. Spiros Michalakis, quantum physicist, wrote in 2015: “[I]f someone could go to a place where the laws of physics as we know them were not yet formed, at a place where the arrow of time was broken and the fabric of space was not yet woven, the powers of such a master of the quantum realm would only be constrained by their ability to come back to the same (or similar) reality from which they departed. All the superheroes of Marvel and DC Comics combined would stand no chance against Ant-Man with a malfunctioning regulator.”

What this means: The Ant Man 2 movie might not be as fluffy as it appears. The trailers look fun and silly, the posters seem light enough, and the first movie had admittedly smallish stakes. Plus, it was almost entirely comedic. But right now, things in the MCU are dire. Ant Man and the Wasp might be a sneakily serious story, and of greater import than anyone previously suspected.

We’ll find out next week.

Read the RunPee Rewatch Review of Ant Man

Ant Man and Sexism: Real Ant Science

 

Best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Here’s RunPee Jilly’s list of the best-to-worst films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since so many of these movies are good, and there are so many of them, I’ve chosen to rank the films by “tier”. Top Tier, Middle Tier, and Bottom Tier. (And one that is simply Bad.) I’m not going to stress over exactly which ones are better than the others within the tiers.

Keep in mind this list only goes as far as The Black Panther at this point in time. This is pre-Infinity Wars. Keep mindful also: this is my personal opinion of the best/worst MCU films — I expect everyone will have their own list. Scribble down your top to bottom tiers in the comments below.

Top Tier

These are the BEST MCU offerings, IMO (of course). The most cohesive plots, solid connections to the through-story, best character pieces (whether solo or in ensemble form), prettiest filmation/scenery, and most enjoyable films that hold up to re-watches. Notice that the ensemble pieces largely wound up on top.

  • Avengers: Assemble — (Top notch; Joss Whedon got everything right. Including Shwarma, mmmmm.)
  • Captain America: Civil War — (Basically an Avengers ensemble piece, and perfectly executed. The airport set piece is as good as the hype surrounding it. More like this, please!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1 — (My personal favorite movie in the entire MCU. And one of my new top five all-time films. I need this movie when I feel down. The humor, characters, music, and general story are everything I look for in a fun, feel-good, groovy film.)
  • Thor 3: Ragnarok — (I have to admit, I didn’t think anything in the MCU would approach the likability factor of GotG 1. Well…this one does. Chris Hemsworth is hysterical, for one thing. And while ostensibly a solo film for Thor, it’s more like an ensemble piece for the spacefaring MCU characters. I expect the Grandmaster’s ship  – nay, now Thor’s ship – is how we scoop up the Guardians in time for Infinity Wars.)
  • Spiderman: Homecoming — (Everything in this movie went right. And the villain, usually the sore spot in the MCU, just rocked it! <—- finally)
  • Black Panther — (Beautiful scenery, good characters, solid storytelling and a compelling connection to the larger universe).
  • Iron Man 1 — (The movie that kickstarted the entire decade’s-worth franchise…and rebooted the bank-ability factor to a personable, funny, and charismatic star that redefined how Superhero films could be writ. Can’t forget this moment: “I am Iron Man.” And the world leaned back in their seats, satisfied.)

Middle Tier

  •  Captain America: The Winter Soldier — (I know. This one is top tier for many. As a spy movie, it’s just not to my taste, and this is MY list.)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 — (I wanted to place this one in the top tier, but will concede it doesn’t hit all the marks it should have. If the first GotG is perfect, this one does show up and make the effort, in spite of not quite getting somewhere great.)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — (Another one just shy of greatness. I wanted to place it top tier, but there are just better ones to choose from.)
  • Ant-Man — (not an ‘epic story’, but fun ‘small tale’ with decent humor and a strong likability factor.)

Bottom Tier

  • Thor 1 — (Not a bad movie; just not awesome. The MCU was still figuring out their formula.)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World — (This one is easily one of the least exciting Marvel films, but on a rewatch it’s better served.)
  • Iron Man 2 — (Dull.)
  • Iron Man 3 — (Dull again, bummer.)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger — (It’s okay. Like Thor, movies with Cap improve as his trilogy progresses.)
  • Dr. Strange — (I wish I could place this one higher. It’s just a bit derivative and…well…strange. Not likable or particularly exciting…but we HAD to have the Gem of Amarra in place for Avengers: Infinity War).

Just Bad

  • The Incredible Hulk — (Edward Norton’s outing is the bottom of the MCU barrel. I can’t even sit through this film in its entirety. I’m ashamed to admit it…but, well, there it is. I love Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, but anyone else falls flat.)