Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): Broader Comedy and a Connection (Review)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): Broader Comedy and a Connection (Review)

Ever since Edgar Wright was given the old “heave ho” from the original Ant-Man the tiny (and not so tiny) superhero’s fate has been open to debate. Certainly Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a like-able alternative to Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym but one can only imagine what Wright’s take on the whole thing would have been. 

Still, Bring It On director Peyton Reed was an inspired choice to helm the first outing of Ant-Man and he has proven with Ant-Man and the Wasp that he can blend his comic touch, yet again, with action flawlessly. The film delivers on a broader scale, in terms of comedy, (although it has lost some of the delightful dichotomies involved in that Thomas the Tank engine fight) and introduces a gender changed Ghost.

Of course the best bit about making Ghost a female is that the incredibly gorgeous and talented Hannah John-Kamen (who kicked bad-guy butt weekly on SyFy via Killjoys and recently did a star turn in Ready Player One) got to show off her excellent acting chops once again. Evangeline Lily reprises her role as Hank’s chip off the old block daughter, Hope and Rudd’s character’s three stooge pals return as well.

A quick nod to the splendid Michael Peña, who once again shows his comic genius is in order here.  He almost steals every single scene he is in which almost cements his return in future installments of this franchise. Everyone, including the “newcomers” – Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne and the brilliant Walton Goggins all bring something to the Marvel table. Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale and the always adorable Abby Ryder Fortson give us an Ant-Man verse we know and love. 

There is, of course, the inevitable tie-in with “Infinity Wars” and the eagerly waited second half of said film. While, in this reviewer’s estimation, it all may stem from that green stone that Dr. Strange coughed up to Thanos to save Tony Stark, it may well be the Quantum bits and Lang’s exposure to them that turns around the downbeat and upsetting of part one of Infinity Wars…

Ant-Man and the Wasp is built around Scott’s escape from the same trap that Janet Van Dyne (Pfeiffer) fell into 30 years before. But there is also the “Accord” law breakage that puts Lang on house arrest and the dilemma of Ghost, who become a major fly in the ointment of our heroes.

The comedy in this second installment of the franchise is surely a touch of genius on the part of Reed as helmsman. The hilarity is so contagious and spot on that good old Stan Lee’s cameo is quite tame. It also affects the gag from the first film about the tiny crashing items and their lack of fan-fare.

Douglas is still grumpy and funny in turns, Lily is still hot as ever as Wasp, even before she dons the suit and, John-Kamen kills it as the trapped between dimensions “villain” being driven mad by the pain.

There is not a lot wrong with the film and it is a mark of its success that one immediately wants to sit through the entire thing again as soon as it finishes.  Ant-Man and the Wasp ends on a huge cliffhanger, one that only those Marvel fans who remember to stick around after the credits start rolling will see, and it is a real “Debbie Downer” of an ending.

(It is amazing to see how many filmgoers leave before the credits finish. Have they learned nothing?)

Theories abound about the ending and the possible connection between the upcoming part two of Infinity Wars. We are reasonably sure that despite the negative vibe put off by the end of this film, Ant-Man and his new sidekick Wasp will be around to fight another day…

The film earns a full 5 stars just for its comedy alone. Rudd, Lily and Douglas make a great team, along with Fortson and the three stooges that accompany Rudd’s character once again. Cannavale has little to do and Judy Greer (a personal favorite since Cursed) is funny as Lang’s ex who’s had a change of heart.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is still playing at cinemas and is worth seeing on the big screen. This one is a keeper though and will make a great addition to all your other Marvel verse films.

 

Killjoys: How to Kill Friends and Influence People – Season Finale (Review)

 Killjoys - Season 2

Killjoys has really shaken things up in their season finale.  “How to Kill Friends and Influence People” kills off at least one long term character, if not two.  At long last, we learn why Khlyen wants Dutch to kill Aneela, his real daughter.  The true offspring of Khlyen is madder than  a box of frogs and dangerous with it.

This season has seen the death of Pawter Simms and now we see the man that Dutch loves to hate die;   done in by his own hand.  This sacrifice play makes his death a heart breaking affair. There is also another character that we love to hate, Seyah Kendry, who may be taking a dirt nap as well. (Although Seyah was still breathing when last seen in that Old Town alleyway.)

For an episode that ends on such a downer;  Khlyen dead, Seyah dying and Johnny heading off with Clara (Stephanie Leonidas),  and  Alice her weaponized arm, there are a number of amusing moments.

(There is even a “Wilhelm Scream” in the scene where D’Avin and Fancy Lee face off the bank’s security guards.)

Killjoys continues the brilliant repartee between Lucy and Johnny. D’Avin uses Level Six Fancy Lee as a human shield, “Human shield b*tches.”  Dutch fights off the lion’s share of bank guards while Khlyen watches and Lucy gets very upset at the black goo  spilt on her decks.

In terms of action, “How to Kill Friends and Influence People” is chock a block with some great sequences. Johnny has an epic fight with two Black Root fighters and Dutch and Khlyen with those extra guards.  D’Av and Fancy Lee also take out their fair share of guards. Each reluctantly admiring the other’s work.

Alongside this change in direction which results in a splitting up of the team and the destruction of some of the green plasma, there is a bit of backstory. We learn why Khlyen zeroed in on his “little bird” and why Aneela went stark raving mad when she encountered the plasma. (She was too young.)

Khlyen develops a plasma “vaccine” which will kill the green stuff and not only free Old Town but will take out a slew of Level Six soldiers.  He and the Killjoys head off to find the source of the plasma. Destroying that will kill the remaining green goo on Arkyn.

Dutch finds the tree after ripping a page from Alvis’ book. The holes in the page work as a star map. The Killjoys find the tree and kill the source, using Khlyen as the delivery system.  The death of the Level Six upsets Dutch and she is comforted by Johnny.

Killjoys - Season 2
Dutch and Alvis

The destruction of the goo “cures” Fancy Lee and he is no longer a Level Six. Johnny and Lucy say goodbye after he shoots Seyah Kendry and Dutch believes that Aneela is still alive.  She plans to start a full fledged war and defeat all the Level Six’s.

This was a cracking end to the second season of Killjoys. It was a culmination of what makes the series work so well.  A touch of comedy, plenty of action and sudden shocking death.

The death of Khlyen means that the splendid Rob Stewart will no longer be part of the show, except for the possibility of flashbacks.  Stewart is a personal favorite so hopefully there will be plenty of walks down memory lane in season three.

Delle Seyah Kendry may not be dead.  Johnny shot her in the abdomen at close range but…

The woman is too strong to die so easily. Our last glimpse of the Qresh noblewoman in that alleyway shows the beginning of a smile.  She may yet survive to plague the Killjoys and hunt down her attacker Johnny Jaqobis.

As for John, it will be hard to imagine Lucy without her in-resident nerd.  These two have been brilliant this season. Tamsen McDonough  brought levels of depth to Lucy in season two  that  resulted in the character becoming more than human and touchingly funny. 

Season three will presumably focus on the battle between Dutch and Aneela, at least according to show creator Michelle Lovretta who said as much in an interview with  blastr.com.

Killjoys - Season 2
Aneela

Killjoys ended on a somber note but the possibilities are wide open for next season. Johnny with a new sidekick and Dutch declaring war on the entire Quad  means that this should get  even more  interesting.

CAST:

Guest starring   Mayko Nguyen as Seyah Kendry

Killjoys: Johnny Be Good – So Long Seyah (Recap/Review)

Killjoys - Season 2

Killjoys “Johnny Be Good” starts with dead bodies littering the streets of Old Town and Dutch being held in cuffs.  She is undergoing  questioning  about where Jelco is and the threat is, if he cannot be punished, Dutch will be.  Meanwhile D’Avin has Jelco and he tells the man if Dutch bleeds then  so does he.

Dutch has been given a concoction that makes her bleed if she lies.  The leader of the Killjoys bleeds quite a lot as she continues to evade the question of where Jelco is.

The night before,  Dutch and D’Av save Johnny and Pawter from Pree’s bar. Once the two wake up  they learn about the wall and its behavior modification settings.

Lucy gets the line of the episode in this exchange with Johnny:

Johnny: “Lucy put on your analysis pants.”

Lucy: ” I don’t wear pants.”

Johnny: “I know, I was just…”

Lucy: “I’m a spaceship John.”

Johnny: “Never mind.”

This is the last bit of real comedy in this episode.  As we continue the “flashback” to the night before,  things are grim and dark.  Johnny, D’Avin, Pawter and Dutch infiltrate Spring Hill on Westerly to kill Jelco and bring down the wall.

Once inside they find the complex deserted. Pawter and Dutch split off from Johnny and D’Avin. Johnny takes on the AI Julian and attempts to bring down the wall around Old Town.

Johnny is halted by Julian the administration matrix for Spring Hill. Johnny  attempts to bypass Julian but the AI defeats him.

Lucy then takes on Julian and they provide the only other amusing moment in the episode. Before they enter the facility, Dutch tells Seyah Simms how upset she is about Johnny and her role in involving him in the battle for Old Town.

Pawter and Dutch try to shut down the wall using the controls on Jelco’s desk.  He shows up via a holographic image.  The two women split up, Simms stays and tries to crack the wall and Dutch searches for Jelco.

D’Avin goes to help Dutch with guards that Jelco sends and Johnny tries to free the controls so Pawter can shut down the mood enhancers. Dutch finds Jelco and also discovers a lot of Level 6 plasma equipment.  After the vast majority of Old Town is killed off, the survivors are earmarked for conversion to Level Six’s.

Simms asks Seyah Kendry for a master code to shut down the wall and she refuses.  Simms  uses the mood enhancers to force Old Town citizens to short out the wall.  Changing the setting to rage, the people run into the wall killing themselves by the hundreds to bring the structure down.

Dutch captures Jelco and forces him to reveal the game plan and she realizes that it is to mass create Level Sixes. Old Town denizens break into Spring Hill as Jelco bargains for his life.

D’Av sports Jelco out as Dutch fights off the Old Town rioters. Dutch is captured.

Back to the questioning of Dutch, Johnny tries to get her to cooperate as the rioting Old Town populace bay for her blood.  D’Avin finally reaches Big Borna (Natasha Bromfield) and using Jelco’s money, they buy a weapon that will destroy Spring Hill. 

They get the weapon and  D’Avin shoots it at Spring Hill.

Seyah Kendry arrives to negotiate a truce. A conniving b*tch to the end, she tells Pawter that in exchange for her standing and for all her property, Kendry will allow  Old Town its freedom. The two women go to sign the treaty and Kendry stabs Pawter. She collapses and Kendry unleashes her Level Six escorts.

Johnny grabs Simms and lowers her to the ground. He attempts to stop the bleeding to no avail. Seyah Simms dies.

The Level Sixes are killing everyone and D’Avin has to knock his brother unconscious so they can escape.

They head back to Lucy, where Jelco has been ensconced but find Fancy Lee (Sean Baekthere. The Level Six is holding a bloody piece of cloth and he says he let Jelco go.  Dutch asks why he would do that and Lee replies she will have to ask Khlyen.

Kendry has pulled a fast one with the documents and reveals Westerly has not won its freedom after all.

Killjoys - Season 2
The calm before the storm.

Michelle Lovretta has taken Killjoys to an incredibly dark place with the death of Pawter Simms and Kendry’s act of murder and subterfuge.  The Killjoys are reunited but this is short lived as Johnny will obviously be upset that D’Avin took him away from Simms.

The death of Pawter Simms is shocking and upsetting.  As Johnny asks Pawter to tell him how to save her, there can not have been a dry eye in the house.

This second season has been much darker than season one. Sure there are the wisecracks, Johnny has  a great line where he says he wants to “have my Dutch and eat my Pawter too.” Not a wisecrack per se, but pure Johnny Jaqobis. But these verbal jokes are simply whistling past the graveyard in this season.

Dutch revealing  her love for John  is the preamble to the death of Simms.  Her interest may just go beyond the old “brother and sister” tune she sang before and this may alter Johnny’s behavior when he wakes up later.

With Khlyen back in the picture it seems a certainty that The things will get even darker for the Killjoys.

Killjoys airs Fridays on SyFy and Space.  Tune in and see what Khlyen wants and how Johnny handles Seyah Simms’ death.

CAST:

Guest starring  Pascal Langdale as Jelco,  Mayko Nguyen as Seyah Kendry

Killjoys: Full Metal Monk – What a Beautiful Day (Recap/Review)

Killjoys - Season 2

After Sabine exited Killjoys last week, courtesy of Dutch, “Full Metal Monk” surpasses that action with a real  eye popping episode. (Sorry.)  D’Avin’s new ability to “control” the plasma in Level Sixes,  which seems to be pretty messy, opens the show.  Johnny and Simms end the show in trouble. “What a beautiful day,”  Pawter says as the fence around Old Town continues to affect them.

“Full Metal Monk” opens with Johnny still behind bars.  Dutch visits him but she is not there to release him. She calls Simms for that. Before leaving, Dutch tells Johnny he has split the team apart. Jaqobis explains that he loves Pawter and that is why he is helping her.

D’Avin and Turrin go to question a Level Six on the list and things get out of hand. D’Av is being choked by the man when the Six’s eyes pop out of his head. D’Avin is, understandably, freaked out by this turn of events.

Dutch and D’Avin team together allowing Johnny time to help Simms.  Dutch’s main objective is to find her “twin” Aneela.  Pawter and her Jaqobis brother try to find out how half of Old Town is going to die. Jelco contacts Seyah Kendry who orders him to activate the wall and to “handle’ Simms and Johnny.

(Kendry gets one of the best lines of the episode: “They’re like particularly stupid  children all sticky fingers and stubbornness.”)

Jelco does as she asks. Dutch and D’Av head to Leith to speak with Olan (Ricardo Hoyos). Unfortunately the student is, according to Alvis, broken.  The night before the lad tried to stab his little brother in the head. 

When Dutch mentions Aneela, Olan becomes wildly agitated. He has flashbacks and then  draws a map leading to Dutch’s twin. Alvis, D’Av and Dutch head to Arkyn, where Aneela is supposed to be.

Johnny and Pawter realize that the residents of Old Town have lost no weight. After Pree is mildly insulted by this line of reasoning,  the couple track down blackmarket food. They bump into Carl; the lone survivor from the prison.  He reveals that a “special” shipment of Company food is to be delivered  very shortly.

Simms’ only ally, Arun (played by Wynonna Earp’s Shamier Anderson) shows up to find out if Pawter has proof of the wide scale massacre planned in Old Town. By the time he arrives Johnny and Simms have been affected by the wall. Both appear intoxicated or high and Arun gets angry.

Killjoys - Season 2

Jelco arrives and shortly after shoots Arun dead. He then places the gun in Pawter’s hand and takes a picture of the two drugged lovers with Arun’s body.

At Arkyn, the monk and the Killjoys find another Khlyen cube. They enter and the cube plunges through the ground. When “the world’s worst elevator” stops they find a lot of corpses and a live monk.

Alvis puts it all together. There are 11 bodies and with the one live holy man, he realizes that these are the 12 monks who went to fight the devil. The monk is imprisoned behind a wall similar to the one around Old Town. Once he is released, the last holy man attacks Dutch.

It turns out that the devil fought by those 12 monks “back in the day”  was actually Aneela. The trio have to control the old monk and they explain that Dutch is not Aneela.  With Alvis’ help they learn that Aneela is Khlyen’s daughter. The old man asks to be killed and Dutch plunges the barbed spear into the old Six’s head.

Back in Old Town, Pree sings on as Jelco frames Pawter and Johnny for Arun’s murder. He also confirms that the food will poison at least half the population.  He also shows them that  the effect of the wall is counteracted by a device on the neck.

Johnny appears to be fighting the wall but he cannot sustain the battle.  Jelco takes his picture, along with Simms, in front of Arun’s body. Pawter holds the gun.

Jelco reveals that Seyah Kendry is behind what is happening in Old Town. D’Avin and Dutch learn that the wall makes people complacent. Johnny and Pawter walk through the streets of Old Town. A man has tried to fly and a girl dances barefoot on broken glass. Jelco announces that the Company is sending food.

Pawter says it is a beautiful day and she kisses Johnny in front of the wall.

Killjoys - Season 2

This episode started with Johnny behind bars and ended with him, and Pawter,  in danger of being poisoned or drunkenly hurting themselves.

Dutch is terrified that she really is Aneela and plans to kill her “twin” and Khlyen.  It will be interesting to see how Simms and Johnny get out of this one. Seyah Kendry is a nasty bit of work and there is no way that Jelco will not obey her orders.

Now that D’Av and Dutch know what the wall does, they will, no doubt head toward Westerly and Old Town to rescue Johnny and Simms.

The biggest question is why does Khlyen want Dutch to kill his daughter.  We may find out, but first there a rescue to attend to.

(On a sidenote, it was lovely to see Shamier Anderson from Wynonna Earp appear as Arun. Sadly, he did not last very long at all in Old Town. It was also a pleasure to see Julien Richings as the last monk on Arkyn.  The prolific character actor always brings much to any show he is on.)

Killjoys airs Fridays on SyFy and Space. Tune in and see what happens next in Old Town. Will Dutch and D’Avin arrive in time?

CAST:

Guest starring  Pascal Langdale as Jelco,  Mayko Nguyen as Seyah Kendry and Patrick Garrow as Turin.

Killjoys: Heart-Shaped Box – Sabine in a Bag (Review)

Killjoys - Season 2

When is a Level 6 not a Level 6? When she is a Black Root. Killjoys “Heart-Shaped Box” put Sabine in a bag twice. Once literally and the last time metaphorically. Although  Sabine did die after having sex with D’Av in last week’s episode.  She was rejuvenated even after losing a flood of green goo,aka plasma. It may well be that viewers have not seen the last of Sabine.

(We honestly hope not as she and D’Avin make a great looking couple and for a “Black Root” this  gooey at the center “double agent” is too gorgeous to be written off so soon.)

All bad puns aside, it turns out that despite Dutch believing otherwise, Sabine as not working for Khlyen but looking for him.  Her flirtation, which lead to almost deadly coitus, with D’Av was so she could find the missing “rebel” and then kill all the Killjoys.

Fortunately for Dutch and her team, sex with D’Avin forced a huge amount of the green plasma out of Sabine which, in essence, also drove out a lot of the Black Root.  This does not stop Dutch from questioning (aka torturing) Sabine to get answers.

D’Av finally talks her into letting Turin (Patrick Garrow) question Sabine instead. At this point the Killjoys and the head of RAC believe her to be a Level 6. Creepy Phil is Turin’s “interrogator” and Sabine kills him before Phil can kill her.  It turns out that the Q&A man was a Level 6.

Later, Sabine and D’Avin link minds in an effort to identify all the Level 6 operatives. The two “visit’ a snow covered place with a “mirror box” that Sabine claims is a refuge for Level 6 agents on the run.

Killjoys - Season 2
D’Av and Sabine

Sabine tells Dutch and D’Avin that the migration of the green plasma has allowed her to “feel” for the first time in years. (She is, in fact, 89 years old. The goo apparently works well as an  anti-aging device.)  She knows, however, that as the plasma regenerates in her system, the “Sabine” part of her will be lost.

She urges D’Av to have sex with her once more to allow her to “feel” one last time. He refuses but does let her go. Dutch is not overly pleased when she finds this out but relents somewhat after D’Avin reveals that he put a tracker on Sabine.

It is Dutch, just prior to her return, who learns that the Level 6 is really a Black Root. She has an altercation with another “root” and kills him.  Johnny Jaqobis takes a solitary warrant out a woman who helped design the wall around Old Town.

He learns where the controls are, in Jelco’s private office, and he heads to Spring Hill to find them. Johnny is caught by Jelco and his men after the woman told him of Jaqobis plan. The younger Killjoy brother is held prisoner  as a result.

Dutch, in the meantime,  follows Sabine and the two fight “to the death”  at that snowy location.  The Killjoy leader puts a round right between Sabine’s Black Root eyes and then goes to the mirror box.

Killjoys - Season 2

She discovers that it is a “Khlyen refuge” but not for Level 6 agents to use. It was built for her. Dutch finds another “kill” box and this one has her twin’s name in it.

D’Avin and Dutch talk about the box and Sabine. Dutch  reveals that she did not check to see if the woman was dead. As Dutch tells D’Av she wanted to give her a “fighting chance” we see Sabine being dragged off by two men.

Killjoys had  few comic moments this week. Sabine being put in a bag so D’Av and Johnny could smuggle her out of Pree’s bar was the funniest bit of the episode.  After last week’s more comic rendering of the show, this week was a definite downer.

D’Avin loses his “perfect” match and Johnny looks pretty beaten up sitting in that circular jail cell. The most interesting thing about the episode was learning of  Khlyen’s “rebellion” after he took charge of young Dutch.  We have yet to learn why but obviously there is something very special about the Killjoy leader.

Another bit of information shows that Level 6 and Black Root personnel can be killed. A silver twisty, and barbed, spike shoved in the “brainpan” will do it. Although there is a question of whether Dutch’s shot to Sabine’s brain killed her or not.

Show creator Michelle Lovretta wrote this episode and she manages to expand the Killjoy mythos while expounding the Level 6 and Black Root issue.  There is still a lot going on peripherally in the verse. The company and its walls are still to be explained and Jelco continues to be a problem. 

Killjoys airs Fridays on SyFy and Space TV. This is a cracking television program.  Action, strong female protagonists and a slick plot line that impresses equals great telly. Check it out.

CAST:

Guest starring Tori Anderson as Sabine and Pascal Langdale as Jelco.