action, adventure, comedy, comic book, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 29th, 2018 Movie – Ant-Man And The Wasp

ant man and the wasp

Ok, I feel kind of bad for this but for the first time since 2008, I did not see one of the MCU movies in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Ant-Man quite a bit but when the sequel came out, there was just too much going on in my life for me to take the time to go see it. So I had to wait patiently for this movie to come out on video before I could watch it. As soon as I got it, I had to put it in because there was one burning question that needed to be answered; how does this movie tie in to Avengers: Infinity War. Well, let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Ant-Man And The Wasp.

The plot: Sometime after Scott Lang stopped Darren Cross (Yellowjacket), Hank Pym is talking with his daughter Hope about when her mother had gone sub-atomic to stop a missile and never came back. When Scott did the same thing to stop Cross but came back, Hank wonders if maybe his wife Janet is still alive, and shows Hope some old plans he had developed for a Quantum Tunnel, which he plans on building to try and find her. In the present, Scott Lang is finishing up his last days on being under house arrest for his role in helping Captain America. As he entertains his daughter Cassie, he is also helping his partner Luis go over the plans for their security system proposal when he accidentally triggers the perimeter alarm for his house arrest. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and his team search the house, as part of the terms of the deal Scott signed. As his team searches the house, Woo asks if Scott has had any contact with Hank or Hope, as it was his tech that Scott used, but Scott tells him that Hank hates him for getting involved with the Avengers and neither of them have spoken to him in the past two years. That night, Scott has a dream where he is back in the quantum realm and sees Janet, then finds himself in one of Janet’s memories. Waking up, Scott uses a secret phone to contact Hank and leaves a message about the dream but realizes how stupid it sounds and hangs up, then breaks the phone. The next day, Scott is eating when something buzzes by him and stings him, causing him to pass out. When he comes too, he finds himself in a car with Hope driving. Hope explains that they have left a decoy with his ankle monitor to fool the FBI, then explains that they are still mad at him but the only reason they are talking is because they need what is in his head. Hope takes Scott to their secret lab, and Hank explains that they had been building the tunnel for the past two years and had tested it the night before when a part overloaded. % minutes after the tested it, Scott called them which makes Hank believe that Janet had placed a message inside his head that they need to get. Scott still thinks it was just a dream he had but when Hope says the dream he described was how she and her mom always played hide and seek, Hank and Hope get excited. Saying Hank owes them for going to Germany and destroying the Ant-Man suit, Hank and Hope shrink down the lab and go to see a man named Sonny Burch, with Scott reluctantly going along but as they drive off, an almost invisible figure is watching them. When they reach the meeting spot, Hope heads inside, with Hank and Scott watching via ants that Hank is controlling, but as Hope speaks with Burch, he reveals that he knows who she really is and wants to change the deal they have. Burch figured out that they are involved in quantum technology and, knowing that it is the future in energy, has arranged for some buyers for their lab but when Hope refuses, he refuses to give her the part. Hope leaves but as Burch goes to leave, Hope returns wearing he Wasp armor and begins attacking Burch’s men, reclaiming the part they needed. As Hope goes to leave, the mysterious figure appears, constantly fading in and out of sight and tangibility. Realizing Hope is in trouble, Hank gives Scott a prototype Ant-Man suit and Scott goes in to help Hope but the figure disappears, then reappears in Hank’s van and steals his lab. Needing a place to hide, Scott takes them to his business office and they discuss what they can do. With all of the equipment they could possibly use to find the lab inside the lab, Hank says there is only one man that might be able to help; his former partner Bill Foster. Meanwhile, Ghost, as Scott and the others called her, takes the lab to an abandoned house, then gets inside a special chamber to help stabilize her condition. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the college that Bill teaches at and meet with Bill, who continually makes snide remarks to Hank while they talk. When Scott notices that Woo is there, he realizes someone must have spotted them and they leave but Bill tells them a way to find the lab as they leave. In the car, Hank says that the problem with Bill’s idea of using their suit’s regulators is that he got rid of the regulators in the new suits but Scott reveals that he did not destroy his suit like he originally told them. Scott had mailed it to Luis before he was imprisoned, then placed it in a trophy that Cassie had gotten him but when Luis can’t find the trophy, Scott realizes that Cassie had taken it for show-and-tell. Scott and Hope head to Cassie’s school but while they are there, Scott’s suit malfunctions, causing him to change sizes randomly. Scott and Hope are able to retrieve the suit and after trying Bill’s idea, they get a signal from the lab and track it down. As Scott and Hope prepare to head inside, they discuss their former relationship and Hope tells Scott that had she been there, he would not have been captured. The two head inside the house and discover the lab, as well as Ghost in her chamber, but when they go to grab the lab, Ghost awakens and knocks them out. Scott comes too and finds himself strapped to a chair, with Hope and Hank still unconscious and tied up next to him. The ghost appears and says her name is Ava and she won’t hurt him but needs what is in his head. As she goes intangible again, she gets upset and wakes Hope and Hank up, just as Bill appears and reveals that he was working with Ava. Ava explains that her father was a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist that was working with Hank but when they had a disagreement, Hank had him fired and discredited. Her father continued his work to restore his name but due to thae lack of proper safeguards, there was an explosion and her parents were killed while Ava was left in her noncorporeal state. Bill was still working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and worked to help Ava, but S.H.E.L.D. wanted to use her as a spy and assassin, then kill her. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, Bill helped Ava escape, and they had been watching Hank to see if he could help them when they learned of Scott’s message from Janet. Bill says that he wants to harvest the quantum energy that Janet has been soaking up to restore Ava’s body but Hank says that it will kill her if they do that. Bill goes to leave but Hank fakes a heart attack and Hope says his medicine is in the altoids container her carries. Bill goes to get the altoids container but when he opens it, a bunch of ants pop out and grow to human size. Then ants free Scott, Hope, and Hank, who are able to escape with the lab. As Hank, Hope, and Scott prepare to activate the tunnel and learn where Janet is, Ava wants to use Cassie to get Scott to get the lab back but Bill refuses to help her if she hurts Cassie so she says there are other options and leaves. Meanwhile, Burch shows up at Luis’ business and gives him some truth serum to learn where Scott is, only for Ghost to show up and disable his vehicle. Burch calls his contact at the FBI to tell him where Hank, Hope, and Scott are but tells him to give him the lab. At the lab, Hank and Hope activate the machine and Janet’s consciousness takes over Scott’s body, allowing her to help them locate where she is but she warns them that they only have 2 hours or else it will be another century before they will be able to try again. Luis calls and warns Scott about what happened and Scott tells Hank and Hope, who are upset and quickly work on powering down the lab so they can shrink it and leave while Scott grabs the Ant-Man suit and heads home so Woo doesn’t catch him. At Scott’s house, Cassie, along with her mother and stepfather, show up at Scott’s house and Cassie discovers the giant ant pretending to be Scott but keeps it a secret. When Woo shows up, Cassie stalls him and Scott is able to get back in time but Hank and Hope are captured. As they are being placed in a car, Burch’s man grabs the lab and puts it in the trunk of his car but Ghost appears and knocks him out and steals the lab. At Scott’s house, Cassie talks with Scott and asks if he is going to help Hope and Hank and Scott says he wants to but doesn’t want to hurt her and she tells him that he should help them. At the FBI office, Hope picks the lock to her and Hank’s restraints and they try to figure out a way out of there when Scott uses some ants to bring Hope’s Wasp suit, as well as an FBI uniform for Hank, and then cover the camera so they can escape, unaware that Burch’s men are following them. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the lab, thanks to Hank placing a new tracker on it. When they get there, Hank tells them that he will be the one to head into the tunnel, as he needs them to protect the tunnel and deal with Ghost. Scott uses the ants to disrupt the machine, drawing Ghost out and Hank heads inside, using some large ants to keep Bill at bay. As Bill explains his reasoning, Hank tells him that he will help Bill find a cure as soon as he gets back from rescuing Janet and Bill wishes him luck. Ghost attacks Scott and as she does, Hank heads through the Quantum Tunnel while Hope shrinks the lab, allowing her and Luis to grab it. They go to leave but Burch and his men show up and they are forced to drive from them, with Hope shrinking and growing the van to deal with the pursuers. Scott catches up to them while Hope deals with the last of Burch’s men but Ghost shows up and steals the lab, while causing Scott to crash the van. Hope and Scott work on getting the lab back but as they deal with Ghost, Burch manages to grab the lab. Hope chases after her and Scott, still having issues with his suit, follows after them. Meanwhile, Hank makes it to the quantum realm and goes searching for Janet but as he collapses from the strain of the realm on his mind, Janet shows up and helps him but as they go to return to the surface, the learn that the lab is still shrunk down and they can’t ascend. Back on the surface, Luis finds the remote for the lab in the van and grabs another car to drive and meet with Hope and Scott. When he comes under fire form Burch’s men, Hope rescues him while Scott continues chasing after Burch. When Burch gets onto a ferry to escape, Scott grows to giant size in order to get the lab back from him but as he places it back on the dock, he passes out from the strain on his body. Hope and Luis arrive and Hope dives into the water to save Scott while Luis goes to get the lab but Ghost shows up and knocks him out, then enlarges the lab. Seeing the lab has returned to normal, Hank and Janet begin the journey back, unaware as to what is going on. Luis is confronted by Burch and his men but Kurt and Dave show up and uses tasers to incapacitate Burch’s men while Luis knocks out Burch. Inside the lab, Bill tries to talk Ghost out of harvesting Janet’s energy but Ghost shoves him aside and starts the process, which starts tearing Janet apart. Scott and Hope enter the lab and stop Ghost, then begin fighting with her until Hank and Janet return, with Scott rescuing Hope while Ghost is struck by the vehicle. Hank, Janet, and Hope all embrace each other and when Janet sees Ghost, she approaches her and gives her some of her energy to temporarily stabilize her. When Luis warns them that the cops and FBI are approaching, Scott uses his suit to create a decoy so that they can get away, while he rushes home, where a suspicious Woo can’t prove he had left and takes off the ankle monitor, warning him that he will be keeping an eye out for him. Burch and his men are arrested, and since Luis, Kurt, and Dave were credited with the arrest, their company gets a huge contract that they had been working on. Ava tells Bill to leave her, as she had hurt so many people trying to save her life, but Bill says he won’t leave her and she embraces him. Hank and Janet are shown to be on a tropical beach, where Hank reveals he had shrunk their house and brought it with them for them to live in. Scott, Hope, and Cassie are enjoying a makeshift drive-in movie night, where Cassie reveals to Hope that Scott wants her to be his partner. Some time later, Hank, Hope, and Janet have made a smaller Quantum Tunnel and Scott travels into it in order to get some quantum healing particles for Ava but as they prepare to bring him back, Hope, Hank, and Janet are disintegrated, courtesy of Thanos and the Infinity Stones, leaving Scott stranded in the quantum realm.

Ant-Man And The Wasp met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.” During the scene where Hank, Hope, and Scott first meet with Bill Foster, Bill says that he worked on the “Goliath Project” with Hank and had grown to 21 feet. In the comics, Bill Foster was Hank Pym’s assistant and would indeed become a super hero known as Goliath, who took part in Civil War as one of Cap’s allies but would be killed by a robotic version of Thor. The movie was a box office success, earning $622.4 million off of a $195 million budget.

I really feel bad for not seeing this in theaters because this movie was just as funny as the original. The acting was good, with Paul Rudd (Scott), Evangeline Lilly (Hope) and Michael Douglas (Hank) doing great jobs in their roles. Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet) and Laurence Fishburne (Bill) were also good, while Hannah John-Kamen and Walton Goggins (Burch) made for some interesting villains in Ghost and Burch respectively. The story was pretty good as, aside from the aspect of Scott bing under house arrest, it was essentially a stand alone movie that did not need to rely on anything from the other movies. There was simply the part at the end where the Hank, Hope, and Janet disintegrated that showed the events were occurring roughly at the same time as Thanos’ attack on the universe. One thing about the movie I did like was the various moral decisions that constantly came into play during the movie. I mean, you had Scott wanting to stay on the straight and narrow so he wouldn’t get his chance at probation revoked and losing the chance to spend time with his daughter, but also wanting to help Hope and Hank rescue Janet. Then you have Bill Foster, who wants to save Ava but in the end, doesn’t want her to risk harming Janet, though Ava is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself, including threatening Cassie until Bill warns her against it. The special effects were great, with the constant size changing during the fight scenes, as well as the car chase scenes, were incredible to watch and really well timed. The visual imagery during Hank’s journey into the quantum realm was also incredibly beautiful, even the tardigrades (water bears). A fun movie to watch and a good way to ease back from the emotions of Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

August 30th, 2017 Movie – Shooter

shooter

Once again, I find myself watching a movie that is based off of a book that I never read. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and thinking it was just another generic action movie. At some point I got bored and ended up getting a used copy of it as a spur of the moment purchase. So I ended up watching it and almost immediately afterwards, decided to buy the book that the movie was based on just to compare the two. As is usually the case, I liked the book better than the movie but you can judge for yourself as I watch today’s movie, Shooter.

The plot: On a mission in Africa in a country they are not supposed to be in, Gunnery Sergeant Bob Lee Swagger and his spotter Donnie Fenn are keeping watch over a US team as they head back to Ethiopia, taking out a military patrol vehicle when as it approaches them. When a second, larger force is spotted chasing after the US team, Swagger begins shooting at them, taking out several of the men/drivers and forcing the enemy force to focus on trying to attack them, rather than chasing after the other soldiers. They call in what is happening but the base in Ethiopia shuts down the channel, as the base commander deems them expendable. When a helicopter shows up to help the opposing forces, Donnie is killed but Swagger uses a CheyTac Intervention to take out the helicopter. 3 years later, Swagger is living in a self-imposed exile in the Wind River Range portion of the Rockies in Wyoming with only his dog as company when he is approached by Colonel Isaac Johnson. Swagger is dismissive and tells them to leave but after Johnson shows him his Congressional Medal of Honor, he convinces Swagger to give him 5 minutes to talk. Inside Swagger’s home, Johnson tells him that he needs Swagger to plan a presidential assassination, explaining that the received intel on a possible assassination attempt that will occur in one of three cities and they want Swagger’s help in preventing it. Bob tells them he won’t do it and takes a picture of their vehicle’s license plate to check their identity. After the seeing if the shot that Johnson talked about was possible, Swagger decides to help out and after going to the three cities given to him, tells Johnson that Philadelphia is the likely location. Johnson convinces Swagger to help him in spotting the possible sniper’s location and they head to Philadelphia, where the arch bishop of Ethiopia is giving the President a medal. As the President arrives, local police officer Stanley Timmons arrives at Johnson’s command post and introduces himself to Swagger, who comments about Timmons’ holster being unsnapped. When the President gets up to the podium to speak, Swagger tells them the sniper is loaded and about to fire so they should take him out now but as he turns to face Johnson, Timmons shoots Swagger. At the same time, the sniper fires but hits the arch bishop, not the President, causing a panic at the scene. Swagger falls out of the window and manages to escape, while Jack Payne, one of Johnson’s men, berates Timmons for missing him. The injured Swagger makes his way to the street, where he encounters FBI Agent Nick Memphis. Memphis draws his gun on Swagger but Swagger manages to disarm him and after telling Memphis he didn’t shoot the President, he restrains Memphis then takes his gun and car. As Timmons calls in a manhunt on Swagger, Swagger ducks into a car wash to try and stall being detected while he works on stopping the bleeding from his injuries. When the reports come in on his location, Swagger attempts to escape and after a collision with a truck, crashes into the river. Divers are called in and find the car but there is no sign of Swagger, who holds onto a rope on the side of a barge to get out of the manhunt zone and get ashore on the other side of the river, where he steals a truck and drives out of the city. After stopping in a small town, Swagger knocks out the power to a local shop so that he can buy some supplies and not get caught. After buying the supplies, he sneaks into a auto garage and uses the supplies as a makeshift field medical kit, then does his best to patch himself up in order to stay alive. Meanwhile, Agent Memphis is demoted by his superior for “embarrassing the agency” and placed in the tipline call center. When he receives a call from the clerk about what Swagger bought, he tries to tell another agent but the are dismissive of his theory. Swagger makes his way to Kentucky and pays a visit to Donnie’s widow, Sarah, to ask for her help. Though she is reluctant at first, Sarah agrees to help Swagger, who had gone there thinking she was a nurse but learns she had given up on that idea after Donnie died. Back in Philadelphia, Memphis is talking with fellow agent Alourdes Galindo and telling her his suspicions about Swagger’s guilt and says he wants to speak with Timmons, as he doesn’t believe his story, but Galindo tells him that Timmons was killed by a mugger. As Memphis continues to investigate, he checks out the church and notices some holes in the floor, which he learns were from a tripod mounted remote controlled sniper weapons system. Back in Kentucky, Sarah performs the necessary surgery on Swagger to remove the bullets and then agrees to help him in his plan to flush out Johnson. Sarah goes to Philadelphia with Swagger and he tells her to meet with Memphis and hand him the photos of the plate and VIN number for Johnson’s car. Swagger is watching their meeting but as Memphis leaves, Swagger is approached by two cops and forced to incapacitate them and escape. Memphis begins looking into the information that Sarah gave him and, with Galindo’s help, learns that they are connected to some high end military contractors but as Galindo is telling Memphis this, he ends up being kidnapped by a team of contractors. They torture him for information, then attach a device to his arm to make him shoot himself but Swagger rescues Memphis and after the two talk, Memphis agrees to help Swagger. They travel to Athens, TN to speak with a gun expert and ask him how to fire a bullet from one rifle and make it match the grooves from a different one. He then asks if anyone else could have taken the shot and the expert tells him of one other man, Michael Sandor, and Swagger realizes that he met the man. Memphis calls Galindo to ask for her help in tracking down Sander, just as Johnson decides to draw Swagger and Memphis out by offering him up. Johnson then meets with Senator Charles F. Meachum, who is in on Johnson’s operation, and Meachum tells him to make sure Swagger is killed so Johnson has Payne go and grab Sarah as insurance. When Galindo gives Memphis Sandor’s location, Swagger and Memphis go buy some supplies to make some homemade explosives, then Swagger gives Memphis a crash course in being a sniper/spotter. They head to Sandor’s house, and Swagger makes his way inside, taking out the guards along the way. When he finds Sandor and questions him, Sandor tells him about how military contractors had killed a village in Africa for the purpose of allowing an oil pipeline to go through it, then buried the bodies under a pumping station. He then informs Swagger that he was assigned to cover their escape but he wasn’t supposed to survive. Outside, a team arrives to kill Swagger and Memphis warns him while inside, Sandor tells Swagger that Johnson has Sarah before he kills himself. Swagger tells Memphis to get to a pre-arranged position and start detonating the explosives as Swagger shoots his way out of the house and the two manage to kill the team sent after them. Memphis calls the FBI to tell them he has Swagger in custody but that he can’t bring him in just yet. As soon as he hangs up, Swagger receives a call from Johnson, who had been listening in on the phone call and they arrange to meet, with Johnson agreeing to bring Meachum to the meeting and Swagger will give him the recording of Sandor’s confession in exchange for Sarah. Johnson, Payne, Sarah, and Meachum arrive on the mountain and they see a figure approaching when the figure is shot. Suddenly, a second shot rings out as Swagger kills the sniper, then kills two more counter snipers, while the figure, revealed to be Memphis, continues up to the mountain and removes the metal plate that protected him from being killed. As Payne yells out that Swagger can’t shoot him without risking his shooting Sarah, Swagger shoots the shotgun from his hand, then shoots his arm off. Swagger then approaches the group and after having Memphis disarm Meachum and Johnson, Sarah grabs Meachum’s gun and kills Payne. Swagger and Meachum then talk and as the FBI approaches, due to Memphis telling them where they would be, Swagger burns the recording, as if it was still out there then he, Sarah, and Memphis would be killed over it. Swagger is taken into custody and brought before a meeting with the Attorney General, Memphis, Memphis’ superior, and Johnson. Swagger admits that the gun the FBI found was his but after he places a bullet in it and shows that it won’t fire, he explains that he swapped the firing pin in all of his guns before he left, making it so that none of them would fire if stolen. Memphis then shows the Attorney General images from the file of the mass grave, but the Attorney General says that since the crimes occurred in another country, he had no jurisdiction over the matter and Johnson walks out of the room. The Attorney General approaches Swagger and speaks with him briefly before telling him he is free to go and orders him released. Some time later, Meachum and Johnson are talking in Meachum’s hunting cabin when Swagger kills them and causes the cabin to explode. Swagger then makes his way down the mountain, where Sarah is waiting in a car, and they drive off together.

Shooter received mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With an implausible story and numerous plot holes, Shooter fails to distinguish itself from other mindless action-thrillers.” The scene where Swagger shoots a counter-sniper through the rifle scope and hits him in the head is based on an infamous kill by U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, who killed a counter-sniper in Vietnam by shooting him through the scope and hitting him in the eye. Shooter was a modest hit at the box office, earning $95.7 million off of a $61 million budget and years later, would spawn a TV show based off of the movie.

I still think the book was better than the movie, but this was a decent movie in itself, despite the general feeling of being a generic action flick. The acting was good, with Mark Wahlberg (Swagger) and Michael Pena (Memphis) doing great in their roles and showed great chemistry acting off of each other. I also thought that Danny Glover (Johnson), Ned Beatty (Meachum), and Elias Koteas (Payne) did a great job in their roles. The plot was a pretty good thriller, feeling a little bit like The Fugitive in the whole innocent man trying to prove his innocence, just with more guns involved. The aspect of Swagger finding out that he unknowingly helped cover for black ops contractors doing something illegal added more motivation to his actions and helped give a better sense of purpose to his wanting to prove his innocence. The special effects in the gun fights were good for the most part, though in some cases they were toned down according to the sniper expert involved in the film. It is fairly generic movie but good enough to keep you entertained if you want to give it a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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