Review – Quick Henry, the Flit! (“Ant-Man & The Wasp”)

It sounds like a old 50’s title, like The Incredible 50ft Woman or Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, but it’s not! It’s a sequel to 2015’s highly successful Ant-Man that entered the MCU with a bang. This movie is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

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Who knew saving the world would come with such messy strings? Right after helping out the Avengers as Ant-Man, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) got arrested (remember that darn Socovia Accord thing?) and, is not only under house arrest, but under the ever-present watchful eye of the FBI’s Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). But while Scott languishes the days away playing with his precious little daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) and dealing with his crazy BFF Luis (Michael Pena), there’s top secret stuff going on by exiled Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lily), who’s now the kick-ass ‘Wasp’ superhero.

Hank thinks he can rescue his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the mysterious and deadly Quantum Realm using his new Quantum Tunnel, but it looks like Scott holds a mental key to her location. Ah, but you can’t have a rescue mission go smoothly, now can you? Enter not one, but TWO villains: Sonny Burch (Walter Goggins), a smarmy arms trafficker that wants a piece of whatever Hank is building, and meta-human Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen)–aka Ava Starr, a former SHIELD agent–who can physically ‘phase’ through anything. She wants Hank’s tech too, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Donning his Ant-Man suit again, Scott goes back to work to help Hank, and is joined by his new partner, the Wasp. And boy! Can she ever kick some major booty! Also adding into this conspiracy is Hank’s former partner, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), who isn’t too keen to see Hank after 30 years. But once the shrinking tech secret is out, everyone wants it, causing a cavalcade of clashing bad guys all over San Francisco in an exciting  third-act chase scene.

A whopping FIVE writers are credited to the screenplay (including Paul Rudd) and that means only one thing: a whole passel of plot holes (Cinema Sins is going to have fun with THIS one!), illogical physics, many WTH moments, and untied loose ends. In other words, don’t even TRY to understand what’s happening on the screen or you won’t enjoy the wild ‘n’ crazy antics of the story and it’s cartoonish fun. The fun is largely due to the reunited cast who work so well together that you can’t help but enjoy the charm, chaos, and hijinks they get into. Add this to amazing CGI SPFX, and you got yourself an afternoon of pure nonsense & entertainment.

Director Peyton Reed is also back again, bringing his humor and frenetic action filming to this otherwise pretty standard plot. Unlike the other dramatic and somber MCU films, Ant-Man & the Wasp delivers the laughs and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Thanks to Rudd, Park, and Pena and their scattershot ad-libbing, you get some decent belly laughs along with Lily’s and John-Kamen’s intense fighting skills. Michael Douglas even gets more mileage here with his biting wit and decades of acting chops. In one of those rare cases, this is a sequel that doesn’t suck, but still delivers on a pure popcorn-level.

Oh, there’s also the requisite Stan Lee cameo and a very cool mid-credits scene that made the whole theater gasp!

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) 
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Based on the novel by Richard Matheson, who also wrote many Twilight Zone episodes, this classic science fiction novella is generally regarded as one of the highest revered black and white films of the 1950’s. Told as a real tale and not camp or comedic like it’s awful 1991 remake, The Incredible Shrinking Woman with Lily Tomlin, this is one fine motion picture.
 
Businessman Scott Carey (Grant Williams) while on a boating vacation with his wife, Louise (Randy Stuart) is subjecting to a brief, but unexpected strange cloud that passes over only their craft and Scott. He’s puzzled by the phenomenon that disappears as quickly as it appears. However, six months later, Scott, (normally 6’1 and 190lbs) notices his clothes are too big. Way too big. As this weird trend continues, he believes he is shrinking and sees his doctor, Dr. Bramson (William Schallert) who gives him a clean bill of health and tells him he’s FINE! 
 
As time goes by, Louise dismisses his fears as silly, but Scott continues to lose height as well as weight. But then, his wedding ring falls off and Louise has to stand on her tiptoes to kiss him! As the months decline, so does Scott’s height. He goes to clinic after clinic where he’s probed, x-rayed, and subjected to every imaginable test they’ve got until they discover… they have no idea what’s wrong with him OR how to stop it! Uh-oh!

Scott soon becomes a media sensation, making him a national curiosity. He can’t drive a car any longer, he’s looked at like a freak (even by his wife), he lashes out at everyone except a carnival midget named Clarice (April Kent), who is his same size. Shrinking fast, Scott is forced to live in a dollhouse and it attacked one day by the family cat who, thanks to some bloody clothing left behind, looks like Scott was eaten. Louise thinks this and decides it’s time to sell the house and leave.
Meanwhile, Scott (now the size of an insect) falls into the basement and battles a giant spider for a crumb of bread. He defeats the bug, but continues to slip away into nothingness as he contemplates his place in the universe. Wow. With a tight, effective script by Matheson himself, this atmospheric and moody pic was directed with great care by Jack Arnold who, oddly enough, went on to direct such goofy TV series as The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, and Wonder Woman. Go figure.
Matheson actually wrote a sequel to this story with a happy ending called The Fantastic Little Girl (aka  The Fantastic Shrinking Girl) where Scott is found in the microscopic world (the Quantum Realm?) and begins to grow again.The acting is above par here with Williams and Stuart playing this very real and very scary. The glorious black and white cinematography by Ellis Carter is crisp and clean, while the SPFX (for the 50’s) still looks good today, despite NO CGI or green screen 
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