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Tag Archive: Ant-Man


Review by C.J. Bunce

Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk haven’t done it.  Along with Captain America and Thor, now Ant-Man adds another Marvel Cinematic universe film that matches the spirit of its first solo film.  That’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, premiering this weekend in theaters across the U.S.  If you count Ant-Man as one of your favorite films of the MCU, you won’t be disappointed in the sequel.  As with the original, Ant-Man and the Wasp is the rare superhero movie that will appeal to all ages of moviegoers–not a single scene will pollute the minds of the littlest kid, and for the older generation that loved that classic sci-fi trope from The Incredible Shrinking Man, moviegoers don’t need to follow the MCU to jump right into this film.  Better yet, Ant-Man and the Wasp has heart like nothing else on the big screen from Marvel, except for Paul Rudd’s first adventure as Ant-Man only three years ago.

For those not paying close attention, this film takes place before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and two years following the events of Captain America: Civil War.  Each of the character-led superhero films have those elements special to that character.  The trademarks of Ant-Man return for this sequel: a slightly daft and bumbling hero (played by Rudd) enjoying his superpowers, a friend whose rapid-fire banter steals every scene (played by Michael Peña), a romantic co-lead ready to bust out and make her own name (played by Evangeline Lilly), even more cutting edge special effects that show today’s actors playing scenes looking just as they did 20 years ago, and the return of the great Michael Douglas with every bit the acting chops he had back in his The China Syndrome, Coma, and Romancing the Stone days as the incomparable Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man.  Rudd’s Scott Lang has only three days left under house arrest before regaining his freedom, as Dr. Pym and daughter Hope (Lilly) attempt to secure the last piece of technology required to try to reach Pym’s wife, long ago left in the quantum realm.  But they aren’t the only ones after this new technology.

The film doesn’t stop at mere fan service, bringing in three new characters that take the quantum universe story arc from the first film into new territory.  That’s Michelle Pfeiffer as Dr. Janet Van Dyne–the original Wasp, Laurence Fishburne as former Pym colleague Dr. Bill Foster, and a stunningly good MCU debut by Hannah John-Kamen–at last in a major big screen role after playing supporting characters this year in Tomb Raider and Ready Player One.  John-Kamen’s character has the same fierce grit and badass determination as Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, and like Valkyrie, we hope she’s back in the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War next year.  As with Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp brings the comic book page to life, and like Black Panther, the film has an antagonist you may find yourself rooting for.  And make no mistake, Lilly’s Wasp could take over the reins from Black Widow as Marvel’s lead superheroine.

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ant-man-trade-1    ant-man-trade-2

There’s an app even for that.

In the past few years the Marvel Comics line-up of secondary superheroes really kicked into gear in the publisher’s solo titles.  We’ve previously raved here at borg.com about Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye and Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow.  Another popular secondary Marvel superhero is the current Ant-Man, Scott Lang.  In comicbookdom there’s probably no superhero more put-upon than Lang’s Ant-Man.  His crazy backstory, the origin of his powers, and his inability to catch a break makes him instantly appealing, so much so that he’s the one that got his own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie last year.

Actor Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man was one of the highlights of this year’s Captain America: Civil War, and that same Ant-Man has headlined his own series this year with Marvel’s monthly The Astonishing Ant-Man.  And the entire year has been about Lang trying to explain to the reader how he ended up in prison.  Again.  Series writer Nick Spencer provided this year’s best humor in his choice of situations he dropped Lang into, his choice of team-ups and sidekicks, and loads and loads of superhero inner-monologuing and witty banter.

ant-man-spencer-rosanas

Whether it’s a single issue team-up with Captain America aka Sam Wilson or Ms. Thing aka Darla Deering, The Astonishing Ant-Man has been a fun read in a year full of drama-focused fiction and non-fiction.  Spencer plants Lang in today’s world with not a lot of situations that are grave in the way other comic book series are grave–Lang is plagued with plenty of First World Problems (although saving Miami from a Giganto is probably important to the locals).  But every month in different ways The Astonishing Ant-Man is full of the comic book fun you liked as a kid.  Artist Ramon Rosanas consistently created a visual treat full of Ant-Man doing everything we love–the little guy that saves the day, whether or not he gets recognized for it.  Then there are those personal issues–struggling between his ex-wife Peggy, his ex-girlfriend Darla, his ex-whatever Janice aka Beetle, and She-Hulk even makes an appearance.  Above all else is his efforts to stay a hero in the eyes of Cassie, his daughter-turned-criminal via the amazing new “Hench” app.

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Deadpool looking up

Review by C.J. Bunce

What Ant-Man was for Marvel Studios’ Avengers franchise, Deadpool is for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, proving that a good story and good delivery can outperform big budget, team-up blockbusters.  Ant-Man stepped away from the standard superhero movie tropes to give us a flawed human trying to do right by way of some good tech, and Deadpool went to the next step and took the superhero story that much further away from the norm.  As the #1 box office success of any Rated R film, it also proved you cannot predict what will fail and what will succeed.

But all the press that distinguished Deadpool as something completely new and different was really just feeding into the marketing hype.  Seemingly collectively shocked by the impending change-up of “the first Rated R superhero movie,” press and critics ignored so much.   From an over-the-top action standpoint was Deadpool that far different from RoboCop, The Crow, or V for Vendetta–all also carrying the R rating?  And from a crude humor standpoint, is Deadpool any different from the similarly hilarious Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, or if darkness is your thing Sin City or Watchmen–also Rated R?

The reality is that the success of Deadpool can be found in the melding of all the elements you need for any good superhero movie.  If you skipped this one or only watched it in the theater, now is a good time to revisit it on Blu-ray or DVD.  You no doubt missed some great elements during your first watch, and the special features that accompany the home release point out plenty that will likely elevate whatever view you already have about this release.

Colossus Angel Dust

The Blu-ray we reviewed included both the Blu-ray and DVD as well as a digital Ultraviolet code for viewing on your Vudu or Flixster account.  Deadpool includes the best behind the scenes coverage of any Blu-ray we’ve reviewed this year in its “From Comics to Screen… to Screen” segment.  Who knew how much stunt work was required for all the elaborately choreographed action sequences and how much was actually CGI?  Sure, we knew star Ryan Reynolds was in the “Deadpool red” supersuit for part of the film, but his two stuntmen really carried a lot of the film with one stuntman tearing his ACL for one of the less-involved sequences.  And like the movie’s in-joke, the two other X-Men that appear may well be lesser characters when compared to the team in X-Men: Apocalypse, yet the fact we get to focus on far fewer means we got to know Colossus that much better.  Plus director Tim Miller and costume designer Angus Strathie made sure Negasonic Teenage Warhead wore the classic X-Men yellow supersuit.

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Arnold Terminator Genisys

Well it’s been one long year, with plenty to do and see, plenty of good and not-so-good to read and watch, and as with last year we’re certain we reviewed more content this year than ever before.  This year was a big year for borgs in TV and film, so we had some difficult decisions to make.  All year long we sifted through all that Hollywood had to offer and honed in on the genre TV, films, comics, and other books we thought were worth examining.  We went back and looked at it all and pulled together our picks for our annual Best of the Best list.

Today we reveal the entire list–the best genre content of 2015–with our top categories Best Sci-Fi Fix, Best Fantasy Fix, Best Superhero FixBest Animated Fix,  and Best Borg selected regardless of medium.  A dozen properties garnered multiple mentions.

We hope you agree with many of these great creations of the entertainment industries, and wish everyone a great 2016!

Killjoys

Best Sci-Fi Fix – Killjoys (Syfy).  Surprised?  Killjoys pulled together great worldbuilding, characters and actors in a year of a dozen new sci-fi shows to provide us the closest thing to the next Firefly we’ve seen in a long time.

Galavant

Best Fantasy Fix – Galavant (ABC); Runner-up The Librarians (TNT).  It aired early in 2015 but nothing surpassed Galavant’s medieval high adventure and all-out Princess Bride-style fun.

the-cw-arrow-flash-crossover

Best Superhero Fix – The Flash (CW).  Of all the Marvel movies and TV series from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Agent Carter and from Arrow to Supergirl, nothing had us coming back for more each week like the superhero world in The Flash.

Rebels season 2

Best Animated Fix – Star Wars Rebels (DisneyXD).  Compare it to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and see if you think this animated Star Wars galaxy had an even better story and characterization, along with the return of its own group of original trilogy actors, compelling visuals and rousing music.

Terminator Genisys image

Best Borg – Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Terminator Genisys (Paramount).  Schwarzenegger created yet another borg that could stand up against his prior successful characters from the series.  A cool, moving character in a big year for borgs on screen!

Ava from Ex Machina - borg

Best Borg Movie –  Ex Machina (DNA Films).  Incredible storytelling and a small cast of talented actors provided a classic science fiction story and Oscar-worthy film about our favorite subject.

Humans series

Best Borg TV SeriesHumans (AMC).  On television the most in-depth look at life as a borg and among borgs has never been portrayed more dramatically than on this year’s surprise sci-fi hit series from AMC.

Star-Wars-Force-Awakens-Rey-Finn-BB8-running

Best Kickass Genre Movie Heroine – Rey (Daisy Ridley), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney); Honorable Mentions: Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), Terminator Genisys (Paramount); Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Mad Max: Fury Road (Village Roadshow)

Liv Moore

Best Kickass Genre TV Heroine – Liv Moore (Rose McIver), iZombie (CW); Honorable Mentions: Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Killjoys (Syfy); Helena (Tatiana Maslany), Orphan Black (BBC)

Want to know who we picked for best villain and best comic books of the year?  Take a look after the cut…

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Ant-Man and Antony

Review by C.J. Bunce

Good movies often ride on the backs of their earlier incarnations.  The Incredible Shrinking Man.  The Greatest American Hero.  Beetlejuice.  Innerspace.  Memoirs of the Invisible Man.  Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  The classic original Tron.  Sources you might not first think of like Wallace & Gromit’s The Wrong Trousers. Even Thoreau’s Walden (who hasn’t marveled at the coordinated work of ants, or fantasized about being very small?).  Marvel’s new hit Ant-Man borrows bits and pieces from all of these and more.  Yet it also adds something new to those, such as improved special effects, including make-up, CGI, and many action sequences.  It mirrors our place in the big world.  Throw in a hero battling a giant spider with a nail for a sword and I’m sold.

Ant-Man is a rollercoaster ride.  All fun and not too serious like the steadfast captain America arguing with the cocky Tony Stark over the roll of the disinterested Bruce Banner that we all have now seen too many times on screen.  Paul Rudd’s heroic Scott Lang has one motivation, yet he lacks the typical superhero ingeniousness to accomplish his goal.  That element endears the character to everyone and is the gateway to an ensemble cast effort that pushes the story forward.  You just know Lang is like Rudd, that same guy we cheer along with at Kansas City Royals games.

Michael Douglas looking 25 years younger in Ant-Man

Equal to Rudd’s role is a surprisingly strong performance by Michael Douglas.  Looking like the twin of his father Kirk these days, as Dr. Hank Pym he anchors the film with gravitas.  His role in the story is substantial and should require sharing top billing as co-lead.  His work here rivals all his prior best work in The Game, The Ghost and the Darkness, The American President, Falling Down, Wall Street, Romancing the Stone, The China Syndrome, and Coma.  An Academy Award nod is warranted for both Douglas as well as the CGI team that provided the single best use of facial modification to replicate his younger self (done in part by firm Lola VFX who made skinny Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger).  Tron: Legacy made a good attempt at what Ant-Man has perfected in its opening scene–we’re now ready for an entire film using this approach, an entire film starring a 40-year-old Wall Street era Douglas, for example, relying on the acting prowess of the veteran actor today.

Lang and Pym Ant-man

Evangeline Lilly’s role as Pym’s daughter is secondary, yet her role supports enough of the backstory that it makes us anxious for Ant-Man 2, previewed in two of the film’s end-credit codas.  Michael Peña portrays what could be an over-used stock Latino criminal by bringing some humanity and humor to the role.  Even the villain, played by Law & Order: LA’s Corey Stoll, is interesting although more loathsome than needed for the part.

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Ant-Man costume from clip 2015

Marvel Studios has released a clip of a full scene from Ant-Man, this time showing Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his discovery of the Ant-Man suit.  It’s not a high-action scene, but conveys the general tone we can probably expect from Marvel’s next B-team superhero story.

It also reveals a nifty, subtle twist:  Somebody is using ants to either carry monitoring equipment or somehow send images back to a certain watcher from afar.  Michael Douglas’s Dr. Hank Pym?

Check out this heist clip from Ant-Man:

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Gentle Giant Ant-Man SDCC 2015

As we find every year, Gentle Giant is back again next week with several great exclusives for San Diego Comic-Con 2015–something for everyone.  The finest pieces come from Marvel Studios’ new Ant-Man film and classic Star Wars characters.  The Ant-Man sculpt, shown above, is a top-notch rendering of Paul Rudd’s character in costume.  This statue is limited to only 500 pieces.  It is 4.25 inches tall–not ant sized but big enough to appreciate.

Gentle Giant prototype Boba Fett SDCC 2015

Next is this stunning bust of the prototype for Boba Fett.  Every version of Boba Fett that gets turned into a toy or collectible simply amazes, and this all white version just makes us all want to see this character in action.

Deadpool Gentle Giant SDCC 2015

Deadpool fans will appreciate this interpretation of Deadpool by Gentle Giant artists.  It’s Deadpool as he may have looked in Secret Wars.  This figure stands 12 inches tall.

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Ant-Man Rudd

The next movie in Tier 2 of the Marvel Universe is coming our way and finally giving us all good reason to get excited with its latest trailer.  It’s Ant-Man.  Paul Rudd plays the irredeemable Ant-Man opposite Academy Award winner Michael Douglas and Lost and The Hobbit’s Evangeline Lilly.  Could it in be the next surprise hit–the next Guardians of the Galaxy?

After the first teasers (revealed earlier here) for the film we didn’t know what to think.  But after viewing this weekend’s new full-length preview, we’re thinking this tiny superhero may make for a solid summer blockbuster.  Just check out those action scenes with Ant-Man and Yellowjacket.

And the dialogue looks to be pretty smart and funny, too.

Yellowjacket b

After the break, check out the first full trailer for Ant-Man: 

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Paul Bettany Vision

Marvel Studios must have felt like Santa Claus yesterday.

Yesterday Marvel previewed four costumes for characters being pulled from the comic book page to the TV and film: from the superhero side Fantastic Four’s Thing and Netflix’s Daredevil, and from the villainy camp Ant-Man’s Yellowjacket and The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s Vision.

Today Netflix releases its entire first season of Daredevil for convenient binge-watching.  Lawyer Matt Murdoch (played by Charlie Cox) has a new red suit.

Daredevil costume

Marvel revealed both the new Thing from Fantastic Four played by Jamie Bell and Paul Bettany’s Vision (above, top).  Of all the reveals we’re thinking the cybernetic Vision is pretty striking.

Corey Stoll will play Ant-Man’s nemesis Yellowjacket in Marvel’s Ant-Man opposite Paul Rudd.

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Netflix Daredevil

The CW Network revealed Brandon Routh’s latest supersuit–for his role as The Atom, Ray Palmer’s alter ego from the DC Universe playing out this month Wednesday nights on Arrow.  Unlike the classic Captain America-esque suit, this live-action version has more in common with the classic Marvel Ant-Man garb.  It’s a cool outfit and seems to fit his role on the show, much different than anything else seen in the series so far.  We’re sure Routh, awesome as Superman and everything else he tries, will make it work.

Check it out:

Brandon Routh Arrow as The Atom Ray Palmer February 2015

Look for Routh in the supersuit for the first time on the February 25, 2015, episode of Arrow.  He’ll then be in a team-up with Grant Gustin’s running man on a future episode of The Flash with the most comic book title yet: “All-Star Team-Up.”

Netflix has also released the first full trailer for its new series, Daredevil.  So far it looks like it could be as good as Ben Affleck’s movie version (good or bad, depending on whether you liked that effort or not).  Check it out for yourself, after the break:

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