Ant-Man and the Wasp went into general release on Friday, July 6. The opening weekend estimate is that it earned $85-$95 million and that’s impressive. It was expected to do well, of course, because this is a Marvel Cinematic Universe release, but still impressive. Rotten Tomatoes rates it 86%.
Saintly Wife Barb and I were at the world premiere of the movie and saw it in Imax. I have not been a devotee of Imax in the past for various reasons, but I have to admit the presentation was amazing. I may have to rethink my theater habits.
Now that the movie has entered general release, I can talk about it in greater detail. This sequel has everything that made Ant-Man one of my favorite Marvel movies. Despite the trippy adventures within the Quantum Realm, this is a seriously down-to-earth story centered on family. Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a good father to his delightful daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the Wasp/Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are trying to find and rescue Hope’s long-missing mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm. Those are the obvious families.
Yet Scott Lang’s formerly criminal associates (Michael Peña, T.I., David Dastmalchian) are like unto a family themselves. We even get a paternal vibe from Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) and the Ghost/Ava (Hannah John-Kamen), the desperate young woman he tries to help. All these family elements resonate with me. Indeed, I wish the movie had also given us more Judy Greer (Cassie’s mother) and Bobby Cannavale (Cassie’s stepdad), who I have loved in virtually everything they’ve ever appeared in.
The multiple threats in the movie are the weapons dealer who wants Hank’s tech, the perils of the Quantum Realm and the federal agents who have placed Scott under house arrest and are hunting Hank and Hope. I’m a bit conflicted about Homeland Security agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) being played as such an inefficient dweeb, but part of me responds such government mockery.
There are incredible action scenes throughout the movie. The heat, often playful, between Scott and Hope, is heartwarming. Hank Pym is so deliciously prickly that I want to be him when I grow up. (This would please my wife who has had a crush on Douglas since Streets of San Francisco.) Comedy-wise, Peña steals the movie whenever he narrates important back story.
This is an incredibly well-written, well-acted movie with special effects that are totally on point. The rivalry between Foster and Pym is a nice touch; I’m hoping Fishburne has a bigger role in the next Ant-Man/Wasp movie…and yes, I know you saw what I did there. Gotta earn my “special thanks to” credit somehow.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is my pick of the week. I’ll probably see it again in the next few weeks.
I am tired to my bone marrow of comics creators and publishers who try to emulate the super-hero comics of the 1970s. At their best, most of these efforts come off as echoes of the past. Some of them, intentionally or not, are just plain insulting. Like, for example, whatever the heck Fantagraphics thinks it’s doing. Yet, every now and again, someone comes along and does a comic that adds modern sensibility to 1970s vibe and, in doing so, creates something that is both comfortingly familiar and crackling fresh.
Tap Dance Killer #1 [Hero Tomorrow Comics; $3.99] is evidence that writer/publisher Ted Sikora has mastered this combination. Quoting from the TDK’s Facebook page: “Nikki St Clair is a mega-talented actress who is cast in a horror-show musical as the TAP DANCE KILLER, but something changes in her causing this quadruple-threat performer to go full ‘method’ on the streets of Cleveland!”
Hero? Villain? Complicated? Nikki is all of these. Sikora takes us into her fragmented psyche through flashbacks, her dangerous days in prison and her life after escaping prison. She’s been targeted by the Cleveland mob. She has her own support group of sorts and, though I don’t trust them, I look forward to learning about them. And then there’s the big question: how much of the real Nikki is in and in control of her TDK persona?
Nikolaus Harrison captures the 1970s style of super-hero art. His work would have considered well-above-average then. This comic has good storytelling, vibrant colors that work with the storytelling and solid production values.
Tap Dance Killer #1 gets my recommendation. You’ll enjoy it. And, hey, while you’re here, I’ll also recommend Apama: The Undiscovered Animal and Hero Tomorrow, the independent film that started it all.
Know a creative youngster who’s into comics and maybe want to try their hand at making their own? Have I got a very cool comic book for them?
Kid Space Patrol by John Zakour and Tayah Payne with illustrations by Scott Roberts [$12.99] is two books in one. The Kid Space Patrol adventure stars twins Layla and Mahdi, their mom and their lizard as they travel through space righting wrongs. My impulse is to say they fight evil, but, for a comic aimed at middle readers, KSP has a different approach to conflict. Once they suss out what’s going on in the situation, the twins come up with a novel way to end the problem. It’s clever stuff with a lively style of art that I think will inspire the book’s younger readers to try their own hands at drawing comic books.
Wait a minute, Tony! You said “two books in one. What’s the second book?” I am so glad you asked.
After the comics story, Zakour, Payne and Roberts conduct a nifty “how to” course in making comics. Their tutorial offers very sound tips and is very easy to understand.
Kid Space Patrol would make a great gift to the comics-loving young kid in your life. I recommend it.
I’ll be back next week with more reviews.
© 2018 Tony Isabella