The Civil War and Infinity War is coming. If there's anything Marvel Studios has been trying to hit us over the head with the past few years, it's that statement of fact. So it makes sense to introduce the audience to all of the players, particularly every member of the 'soon'-to-be-complete Avengers team. The most recent addition in the movie verse is Ant-Man!
I'll admit right off the bat that I didn't follow his storyline too much, or Wasp's. Even when I was younger I couldn't take the idea of him seriously. Changing your size while retaining your normal strength is one thing, but controlling insects (while making sense being that size) is something else entirely. And kinda gave me the creeps.
Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew!
But I felt the nerd obligation to see the film in theaters so there I went. Honestly, the trailers did make me interested. It seemed like they would take the concept of Ant-Man as the standalone hero and make it work for a feature length film. The result? It was...meh.
Logo via Marvel Studios
There wasn't anything particularly bad about it, but 'meh' is all I can really say about the whole thing. I honestly forgot that I had seen the movie a few hours after I got home, definitely not the norm when I usually go to see a Marvel film. I think that the main problem stems from a lack of creativity or spark of imagination in all of the wrong places.
The plot was one we've seen a million times and I don't feel that it fit well within the world of Ant-Man and the so-called genius scientist and technician our main characters are supposed to be. They show off Scott Lang's skills when he cracks Hank Pym's personal safe, but then try to make me believe that Pym baited Lang in the most convoluted way imaginable instead of simply contacting him directly. Pym could've hidden inside the house or even in the vault and asked Scott to help him right then and there instead of letting him just walk away with the suit. If Scott said 'no' to helping him then he could use one of his ants to plant something on him that he could say Scott stole. Then we'd still have the jailbreak scene, it would make for a cool introduction to the suit, and Lang can be guided how to use it the entire time by Pym. Solved! In the film there's no way Hank would know what would happen to his suit which is one of a kind and would be extremely dangerous if put in the wrong hands. What if Scott ended up selling it to get the money that he desperately needs? What if he never took the suit at all, being too disappointed at the lack of valuables? As for Scott, who would randomly put on a weird motorcycle suit and push buttons that could literally do anything WHILE you have the damned thing on?
Anyways, the rest of the film goes the way you'd expect it to, which isn't a good thing. After a training montage, Ant-Man gets ready for a heist, an idea which excited me as Marvel has never gone that route with a hero before. But the whole thing was underwhelming and asked me to care about things that they never bothered to make me care about in the first place. An ant that Scott named gets killed? Bummer. Scott and Hope get caught kissing? Oh well, good for them, I guess.
When it came to the acting department, Paul Rudd seemed to have a hard time finding his footing as a superhero the whole film. I think he's more than capable of pulling off a role like this and he did come close many times, but he wasn't given enough to work with in my opinion. Evangeline Lilly broke through the monotony a few times whenever she and Michael Douglas (playing her father Hank Pym) had scenes together and I genuinely liked how the two played their strained relationship. But in every other scene her character lacked, well, any character. Michael Douglas was by far the best actor of the ensemble. Being the veteran that he is that's not too surprising, though.
The villain, Yellowjacket (aka Darren Cross), was by far one of the weakest I've seen so far in the Marvel 'verse. His only reason for being the bad guy is because he's gone insane. Not from some traumatizing event caused by the hero (Yeah, Hank snubbed him but it never felt like it effected him to THAT degree) but because of some particle thing that happens just from being around the technology that made the Ant-Man suit. So why hasn't Hank Pym or his daughter gone insane? They've undoubtedly been around that technology far longer than he has! I'm pretty sure a line is said in passing somewhere where they say that he was already a bit crazy but that's a really weak premise to base any bad guy on. I'd get it if Cross's evil plan was more focused on destroying Hank Pym but from the very beginning he's more focused on making these suits weaponized so they can sell them to the military and of course Hydra as we learn later. He didn't even look particular villainous or intimidating, though throughout the movie I felt like he belonged in the wrong comic book franchise.
I will defeat you Superman! Oh-I mean Ant-Man!
The best part of the film had to be the fight scenes. With such a specific power I was hoping they would get creative with the choreography and do something different from what we're used to seeing and they always delivered.
Ultimately, Ant-Man didn't have any real soul to it. It lost it's main voice as soon as Edgar Wright was out of the project and the script got three more writers working on it. Too many voices for any project means the end result will be a muddled mess and that's exactly what happened to Ant-Man. My hope is that Ant-Man will finally find his place amongst the rest of the Avengers in future movies, very much like how well the Hulk has been working in the Avengers franchise despite the lackluster films he'd been featured in before.
What did you think of the film? Am I missing something? Tell me in the comments below.
I'm on summer vacation this week, so there will be no post. I'm really not on a tropical beach, just in the middle of defeating Arkham's most wanted in Batman: Arkham Knight (amongst other games in my 'to beat' pile). See you next week!
Last week, the sum total for all fandom took place as it does every year in sunny San Diego. That's right, Comic Con International logged another successful convention in the books and I was back in my humid hometown watching it all go down via online news sites, social media and television.
Me following Comic Con news.
Since high school, I've always wanted to attend the massive gathering of geekdoom, but due to scheduling, funds and most recently, sold out tickets, I've been unable to attend. Which has left me as blue as a Smurf.
That's not a good look on anyone.
Although, with each passing year and great leaps in technological advances, it seems like making the pacific coast pilgrimage is less and less necessary. Need proof? Well, let's take a look this past convention and see if the fans got their time and money's worth.
Didn't even show up to the party. Rumor has it, that they're too 'Hollywood.' When the biggest player in the industry doesn't even come out to play, that for me, makes Comic Con less of a draw for me.
Yes, they were able to get Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, on a panel, but how interesting is that, when they can't even talk about the upcoming movie? Beyond that, what is the movie even about? Lucasfilm still hasn't released a new trailer nor did they give anyone in the audience a peek at any new footage. The only thing they did do was screen a behind the scenes video that they then released online immediately afterwards. If I spent 24 hours in line to attend this panel, I must admit, I'd be a little let down.
While they were more forthcoming with footage from their projects, including the upcoming Suicide Squad, someone in the audience recorded the footage and posted it online by Sunday taking away all exclusivity for the fans attending. I for one blame the Convention for this. They owe it to their exhibitors to have a better system in place to stop this from happening. The other thing they unveiled was the new trailer Batman v Superman which was also put out online by the studio right after its screening. Sigh.
GAME OF THRONES
Nothing. Not even a release date for the new season. It was just some cast and crew talking.
Give us more!
So if the heavy hitters aren't putting much effort into their presentations, does this mean that maybe Comic Con's importance is waning? I'd say so. With each company now building their own fan events and conventions, I foresee future Comic Con Internationals looking a lot like this one in the years to come. Which may be a good thing, since that means the event may have a chance to return to its roots as a comic book industry event.
From what I can tell now by speaking to some friends that have attended, the convention still offers comic book industry panels, events, and opportunities to network, but with so many similar conventions nationwide with lower costs and smaller crowds, it seems to me that I may now be able to cross Comic Con International off my list, without even attending.
Agree? Disagree? Debate below.
As we come to the end of 'Con Season', I can't help but feel like it has to go out with a bang! Like all of us geeks and nerds need to come together and be loud and proud of all of our greatest obsessions! In my book, there's no better way to do this than to go to the four day long Convergence Convention.
CONvergence logo via Convergence-Con.org
'Convergence' is exactly what it's name implies, a converging of fandoms from across the board. It's one huge party where every TV Show, Anime, Film, Book Series, Video Game etc. you could ever think of is represented and celebrated by the ones who love them most, hence why it's one of the biggest conventions in the Midwest. It's been going on since 1999 and is always held on the first weekend of the month of July, usually landing somewhere on the Fourth when it can literally end the season with a bang!
Besides being ginormous, Convergence sets itself apart from many conventions by having actual lore behind its mascot, Connie the fembot. There's a Professor Max who created multiple robots seen at the con (Including Connie herself) and Connie's younger sister, Mark 2 (All hail, Mark 2!) who tried to take over the Con back in 2010 when the theme was 'Bring On The Bad Guys'. It was amazing, you should have been there! Speaking of themes, each year has a different one. This year's theme was 'DoublePlusGood', all about dystopian futures and Connie allowed Mark 2 (All hail, Mark 2! Sorry, force of habit...) to host this just this once. The website has the full story on their lore which you can find HERE.
This year, I brought a newbie with me for not only her first Convergence experience, but her first Convention experience EVER. That being said, I wouldn't bring another ConVirgin to Convergence to pop their proverbial 'cherry'. I'm not saying it should absolutely never be done, there are always exceptions, but there is just so much being crammed within a four day period that the uninitiated will most definitely experience some form of sensory overload. Heck, I still need to take breaks throughout the weekend and I've been going for nearly a decade. This is a convention that needs a gameplan, I've known friends who'd bring printed schedules to see and do everything they wanted. Seriously.
Convergence has your convention staples like panels, stage performances, demonstrations, gaming and crafting. But they like to go a bit beyond what you'd probably be used to. Because ConV takes up the entire Doubletree Hotel and spills into neighboring ones, there are a ridiculous amount of panels that cover nearly every topic. Demonstrations can range from scientific to learning how to play cricket (super fun, by the way) and there's an entire room dedicated to crafting your heart out called 'Quantum Sandbox'. Performances range from musical like Harmonic Convergence to improv performances by Fearless Comedy and beyond. As for the gaming? Well, it's everywhere. Not just in the rooms between ConSuite but up on the 22nd floor of the hotel where there are rooms dedicated to card games, RPGs, and one awesome game called Artemis Online that I got to try out!
I've mentioned that this convention is pretty big, so just try and imagine their Dealer's Room! Trying to navigate through it can be daunting but everywhere you turn you're going to see something and say “OMG, that's awesome!” or “I need that. Right now. Take all my money!”
You said it, Fry.
Masquerade event, which has impressed me numerous times with its wide array of costumes and skill level of the participants. However, IMO, the real masquerade is out in the halls of Convergence. Costumers seem to love to bring their 'A' game even going from one panel to another, you can run into giant robots, Lego Han Solo and Batman or even Groot!
I can't even begin to tell you everything that I've seen just from walking to go get some soup at Consuite. Don't worry about going hungry, by the way, Consuite has you covered with as much free soup, rice, and PBJ as your heart desires (They serve a few surprises now and again too).
Once your day at Con is spent and you're ready to crash there's only one thing to do, that's right, party until you pass out! (Please don't actually pass out, that was a figure of speech. Always drink responsibly at any convention!) Convergence has two levels of party rooms with a wide range of themes and drinks to try. Some of them will even have their own little blink-and-you'll-miss-them events that you have to see to believe! Connie even joins in the fun at Connie's Space Lounge with awesome music, dancing, activities and smoothies!
My final consensus is that if you feel your Con season needs to end with more fanfare and you need a break from the humdrum Fourth of July getaway then you should seriously consider checking out Convergence. I guarantee that you'll get the celebration you never knew you needed!
There's probably tons of things I left out (It's a big Con, people!) so please leave comments below telling me all the things you did or saw at Convergence this year! Or e-mail stories/pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share them here.
For more info on CONvergence, visit their website HERE
Once in a great while, the powers that be who control television and films have a true moment of lucidity where they realize what viewers truly want and then, wait for it, they actually deliver! Shocker! This is certainly how I felt upon hearing that one of favorite shows from back in 2006 was going to be coming back on the air, Heroes: Reborn! It'll be a mini-series rather than a full season or a revamp of the show, but I'll take what I can get. Things like this rarely happen after all, still, as much as I love the show, I feel as though the higher ups could have given us something even better than more Heroes.
If you were alive in what's known as the 'Oughties' and were wondering what the heck everyone was talking about when they said things like 'Save the Cheerleader, Save the World', then listen up! But afterwards you should really check it out on Netflix.
Way back in 2006, a hyped new show aired on NBC and promptly became a huge hit! The simply titled show, 'Heroes', was about a group of people around the world who were discovering that they had super powers after a solar eclipse.
One thing that immediately made the show unique was it's focus on each character and their reactions to newfound super powers they possess. Each person we meet has a life with different jobs or families and therefore they each have particular paths they'll have to take. So while we see the typical 'Ugh! I hate my awesome powers for some reason, I want them gone!' storyline that's become way too commonplace in my opinion, we also get a refreshing look at people who are excited about their new powers and try to learn more about them.
I'd have the EXACT same reaction, Hiro.
The show also explores what people would do with their powers and how they themselves would change, if they decide to change at all. For some the answer is to become a hero and fulfill that need to do more with their life, for others it might be for selfish gain or to get accomplish something that was out of their reach before. Heroes also explored the concept of what having powers would do to someone who has mental health problems or addictions as well and it's fascinating to watch.
However, Heroes captivated it's audience for multiple reasons besides having multiple well-rounded characters. While I mentioned the detailed character arcs, the series progressed in a similar fashion to a comic book. Focus was placed on certain characters or events in one episode and then changed with each new 'volume' that aired. Meanwhile, any overarching storyline in the series was hardly talked about or was at least alluded to. By 'overarching', I mean the main plot or threat that they all would have to face or fight. For instance, the threat of the Chitauri Army that the Avengers will have to face. They know Loki has something going on but they don't know what it is, there's a bigger picture as to why they all have to be gathered together in the first place.
Heroes takes it's dear sweet time giving ANY kind of information as to what the hell may be going on outside the lives of our 'heroes'. The first season had a mysterious feel to it that was shrouded in an almost supernatural kind of mythology. Symbols repeatedly showed up in passing, such as the Helix, and an all powerful corporation lurked just outside our peripheral vision that may or may not have had anything to do with the powers everyone started experiencing. Then we had a truly terrifying villain who stayed in the shadows just long enough for his reveal to be quite a satisfying one. And even then we still didn't know exactly what he did with his victims until season 3.
One of the creepiest/hottest villains in the history of television.
Everything about the plot of Heroes was masterfully built up so that us viewers would watch religiously to see what happens next or if we would finally get a glimpse of the bigger picture behind all of these stories. The show went on to last four seasons, but the ratings steadily declined with each one until it's cancellation and I'll admit that at this point even I wasn't watching anymore.
So you're probably wondering what could have happened to make an exceptional, refreshing show that was miraculously loved by both fans and executives wither and die. Two words: Writer's Strike.
In the midst of the second season, story lines that had already been planned out needed to be cut short and wrapped up for fear that the strike that occurred in late 2007 would continue into the the third season of the show. This meant that incredibly stupid things happened in the following seasons that were neither creative nor logical.
Spider-Mohinder, Spider-Mohinder! Does whatever a Spider-Mohinder can!
So with each season they had to build upon the drivel that they churned out during the writer's strike, resulting in the final season being a boring mess. All of our questions from the first season got answered, but they were profoundly disappointing. Any mystery we had about the characters or over arching story was gone because now we were being told too much. What started out as an intellectual and even philosophical take on superheroes and the mythology surrounding them became a shallow way to entertain the masses. A show that once paid homage to the world of comic books now made a joke out of it.
It's hard to say whether this new mini-series will continue the nonsense of the later seasons or if it will try to go back to the feel of the first. Everything that happened from the second season onward is considered to be official 'canon' now so it can't be ignored, unfortunately. But at least a once unstoppable franchise has the opportunity to redeem itself to fans that still hold on to hope and envision what could have been.
Hint hint, nudge nudge, Fox!
I'd recommend you watch the first season, for sure. If you want a study in how to drive a show into the ground than continue watching the following season for a fascinating, yet sad, example of just that.
What's your opinion of Heroes? Do you think there were other reasons for its' cancellation? Tell me in the comments.