Ant-Man And The Wasp Is A Lighthearted MCU Entry With Big Laughs, Adventure And Sight Gags

Ant-Man and the Wasp is the sequel to the better-than-it-should-have-been Ant-Man and the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film after Avengers: Infinity War. Following the somber feeling from that epic MCU film, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a welcome lighthearted film.

Paul Rudd reprises his likeable role of Scott Lang/Ant-Man, a former thief and fledgling superhero who dons a special suit that lets him control his size. Due to his actions in Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang is under house arrest, which explains why he didn’t appear in Avengers: Infinity War.

He is contacted by his former lover, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily), and her father, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), for help in rescuing Pym’s wife, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). As seen in the first Ant-Man during a flashback and this sequel, Janet used a similar suit like Scott’s to shrink down to subatomic levels and was lost. In Ant-Man, Scott shrunk down to this level but was able to return to our realm and it turns out he has a some kind of link with Janet.

What’s impeding his efforts to help out the Pyms are his complications from his house arrest, dealing with criminals who want to steal the shrinking tech and a mysterious figure called the Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). The last character was affected from exposure to the quantum realm and now phases in and out of reality like her namesake. So, now the Ghost wants to steal the tech herself to cure her affliction, and is the primary antagonist.

Honestly, the villains are the main problem with this film. They come off as more like annoyances or obstacles than genuine threats. The film tries to make the Ghost somewhat sympathetic, but it’s hard to feel anything for her. As for the thugs (led by Walton Goggins), they are just one-note villains who do not seem very imposing. This is quite disheartening considering that the MCU films have lately featured interesting foes. It seemed like Marvel Studios was taking to heart the criticisms about the MCU villains being weak, but now this film is a setback in that regard.

It’s a shame because the sequel did not need these villains. At its heart, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a fast-paced rescue film with lots of laughs. Much of that humor comes from Paul Rudd’s comedic timing and the scene-stealing Michael Peña, who returns to his role of Luis, Scott’s friend and ex-con. Peña is a breath of fresh air and livens up most of the scenes he appears in. Many scenes with him and Rudd are hysterical and frankly, an entire film could be made with just the two characters interacting with each other.

The other actors also do well with their roles like Paul Rudd, who is a natural choice for playing the slightly silly everyman type. Lily’s Hope Van Dyne more than proves that she is a powerhouse of a hero and we’re left wondering why did it take so long for her to appear as the Wasp in the MCU. A lot of gravitas is added by Douglas, and in smaller roles Pfeiffer and Lawrence Fishburne as Pym’s former colleague.

There are many enjoyable features in this sequel. It moves briskly, exudes adventure, wild sight gags, and as noted before, is quite funny. It’s just too bad that the filmmakers felt the need to shoehorn in the weak villains. They took time away from the narrative flow and the rescue efforts. Also, we don’t see as much of the quantum realm as we would have liked. This mysterious and fascinating reality was teased in Ant-Man and it deserved to be explored more given that it may factor in the next Avengers film.

Perhaps if a third Ant-Man film is produced more time could be spent in the realm. One thing that is worth pointing out is that the stature of Ant-Man has certainly increased since his first outing. He has now become an established hero in his own right within the MCU.

Other than that Ant-Man and the Wasp is a refreshing and goofy pallet-cleanser for the MCU. Some may consider this film to be an inconsequential filler, but it’s a big-hearted change of pace for fans looking for some escape this summer.

Lewis T. Grove

Being Human & Its Different Path

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Syfy’s Being Human was cancelled a couple of weeks ago after a four-year run. I didn’t find out about it until the other day and when I did it saddened me greatly. I never expected that kind of reaction and it made me realize how much I’ve come to enjoy this remake of the cult BBC hit of the same name.

The original version of Being Human is quite excellent and worth seeking out. When I first heard that Syfy was doing a U.S./Canadian version of the program I was very skeptical. How could they recreate the charm, quirkiness and chemistry that the original actors had? For anyone who hasn’t seen either TV show, Being Human is about a vampire, werewolf and ghost sharing a place of residence. Yes, it sounds like a joke in the vein of “a priest and a rabbi walked into a bar” but Being Human had this sincere quality that made it endearing.

The show focused on the characters, they were the most important thing on Being Human. This emphasis being human ukhelped flesh out the characters and did so by having them deal with the mundane things so they were very relatable. We cared about them when they were in trouble or going through an emotional crisis. Their dilemmas and how they dealt with them was one of the tenets of Being Human. In the show, the supernatural characters tried to hang on to a semblance of normalcy and their humanity. They didn’t relish being who they were, they wanted to be as human as possible, though in the end that was ultimately impossible. But they emulated the best parts of what makes us human–our compassion and empathy.

So I really doubted the American version of Being Human would successfully emulate those aspects.

After watching a few episodes, I have to admit I was very glad to be wrong.

Of course, the new version of Being Human couldn’t quite replicate that core essence of the original; at least at first. The first season of the show largely followed the storylines of the first season of the original show and it was kind of clunky because it had a longer season (13 episodes as opposed to six episodes in the original season). Still it was well acted and written enough to keep me watching.

Things  became very interesting for me during its second season. Being Human branched off in different directions plot wise from the original show. This meant that the new version became unpredictable and fresh. The characters explored new territories and had unique personal arcs.

sally and corpseTake the ghost in the trio. In the original version, the ghost Annie Sawyer (Lenora Crichlow) remained a ghost for that show’s run and became a powerful poltergeist able to interact with the material world. In the new incarnation, the ghost now named Sally Malik (Meaghan Rath) was resurrected last season but turned into a flesh-craving ghoul as her flesh deteriorated. This season she returned to her ghostly state but with a witch’s powers.

Aiden Waite (Sam Witwer), the vampire character in the new version of Being Human has had to contend with a vampire virus that wiped out most of the world’s vampire population, a reunion with his supposedly long-dead wife, and mentoring a new leader of the remaining vampires. John Mitchell (Aiden Turner), the UK version, hasn’t had to deal with those issues during that show’s run.

When it came to the werewolf of the group, Josh Levison (Sam Huntington), the character’s arc followed a similar path as the original werewolf, George Sands (Russell Tovey). Both turned their future wives (Kristen Hager and Sinead Keenan) into werewolves and got them pregnant. The major difference is that the American couple lost their child through miscarriage, while the UK couple didn’t. Also, Josh has tried to come to terms with the werewolf within him and had a curse earlier this season where he remained a werewolf long after a full moon passed.

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All these differences really helped to make the current version of Being Human stand out from the original. It wasn’t a rethread and its unpredictable nature kept me tuned in. This doesn’t mean that the original is flawed only that this version of the show wisely went into an alternate path. Sometimes I wondered if both versions of the characters somehow existed in the same universe and it’s too bad there weren’t any kind of crossovers or cameos by the original actors.

When the new show’s production team strove to make this version of Being Human different they still kept what made the original so endearing. The focus on characters and their struggles with their souls and the perfect balancing act of being BH4wry and dramatic. It never went into histrionics and events and character reactions felt so natural and genuine. It’s a testament to the acting abilities of the main actors, kudos go to all of them. They didn’t have an easy job, but they pulled it off, they made many people, including me, forget about the original actors. It was all these elements that made the U.S. version of Being Human heartfelt and special. Unlike many of these supernatural TV shows on the air now, it’s human quality made it stand out from the rest.

Annette DeForrester