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New Escapist Column! On “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” as a Parable About the Legacies of Interventionism…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it seemed like a good opportunity to look at the movie’s thematic preoccupations.

Quantumania is something of a frustrating jumble of a movie. However, there are some interesting ideas nestled within it. Most engagingly, Quantumania feels like a movie that is about the legacy of foreign interventionism, dropping its characters into a strange realm that was forever altered by the pragmatic alliances made decades earlier. It’s a film about whether characters that call themselves heroes owe any obligation to help those less fortunate, particularly when that suffering is a direct consequence of earlier choices and actions. Quantumania doesn’t necessarily say any of this particularly well, but it tries.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On The “Ant-Man” Movies as the Most Marvel of the Marvel Movies…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the upcoming release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the way in which these films – for better and worse – feel like the statistical mean of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Part of what in interesting about the Ant-Man movies is how little they actually adapt from the source comics, largely marginalising characters like Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne in favour of porting over out-of-continuity characters like Hope van Dyne. They deliberately structure themselves to avoid key character and plot beats from the comic book franchise, and so offer the purest distillation of the adaptation storytelling of the comic book film franchise. The Ant-Man franchise is the Marvel Studios franchise that feels most generic, most cribbed together using the studio’s narrative shorthand.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #28!

Here we go again…

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Ronan Doyle for a discussion of the week in film. Topics of discussion include various seasons at the IFI, including both Aliens and Invasion of the Body Snatchers as seen during the IFI’s Dark Skies season and a discussion of their looming Orson Welles season. There’s also room to discuss Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash and bad MUBI advertisements. However, the real reason to give it a listen is to hear Jay and Ronan give Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again to podcast celebration that it deserves.

New releases include Teen Titans Go! to Movies and Ant Man and the Wasp.

Give it a listen at the link, or check it out below.

Non-Review Review: Ant Man and the Wasp

Marvel doesn’t get quite enough credit for its skill at scheduling.

Ant Man and the Wasp is an incredibly light film. Befitting its size-changing central characters, it might even be described as a very small film. In some ways, a distractingly small film. It doesn’t really have a central story so much as a collection of events and complications that occur as a variety of characters attempt to accomplish a number of varying small-scale objectives. It doesn’t really have a central villain so much as a collection of forces working in opposition to one another, locked in a handful of small-scale skirmishes over a variety of macguffins.

Ant Man’s reach exceeds his grasp…

None of this is a problem. Indeed, the relatively intimate stakes of Ant Man and the Wasp feel very welcome in this era of apocalyptic scale and epic urban devastation. At no point in Ant Man and the Wasp does a villain threaten an entire city, let alone the country or the planet or reality itself. That said, the disjointed and low-key nature of the film could easily be a problem under other circumstances; the central conflicts in Ant Man and the Wasp are never defined in any real detail, its characters never really grow, its outcome is never in any real doubt.

However, much like the original Ant Man worked very well as a contrasting counterpoint to the bombastic and bloated Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant Man and the Wasp benefits as a refreshing change of pace from Avengers: Infinity War. The film seems almost tailor-made to serve as light relief following the epic stakes and universal devastation of the summer’s other Marvel Studios release. It’s debatable whether this serves to make Ant Man and the Wasp a better film on its own terms, but it does make it seem much stronger in contrast.

“We need some theme music!”
“Nah, just a nice sting.”

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