Ant-Man: The Little Superhero That Could

There’s a never-ending charm to Ant-Man’s shrinking powers. In the summer blockbuster game, it’s go big or go home. The world’s ending. Shit’s blowing up. The good guy’s gotta stop the bad guy. Cue half-hour finale. 2015’s Ant-Man is all of the above except refreshingly, cheekily scaled back. Peyton Reed’s film has no other ambition than to charm and entertain the hell out of you. I didn’t admire it then. I respect the hell out of it now.  Continue reading

Infinity War – Destiny Has Arrived

Infinity War is a film that should have cups of water waiting for you by the exit. Throw in some orange slices too. Marvel’s superhero marathon is the die-hard fan’s wet dream – a mammoth show-stopper featuring the MCU’s all-stars in a crossover for the ages. But a marathon is still a marathon. Infinity War isn’t the best Marvel movie, but it’s certainly the MOST Marvel movie where characters crowd the frame to the point that the frame can hardly contain them. It makes previous crossovers look tame, and there is no going back. This is what these films have been nudging toward, a fusion into the very medium that inspired them.  Continue reading

In Defense of Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’

If there’s any action director we took for granted, it’s Guillermo del Toro. Few recall that he did Hellboy. Even fewer remember Blade II. Admittedly, this is a hard thing to raise hell over especially with his recent Oscar-winning glory, one felt by critics and devoted fans. Del Toro is a critical darling who’s achieved occasional box office success, which is perplexing considering he’s done both the superhero and the summer blockbuster. Of his mainstream films, I can’t think of a more sorely overlooked summer movie than del Toro’s Pacific RimContinue reading

The Strength of ‘Black Panther’

That Black Panther exists is a dream come true. It’s progressive from concept to execution: our first modern black superhero, one supported by a cast of women, and contextualizes discussions of race, exclusionism, and cultural responsibility at a time of profound nationalism and political divide. One could argue that Black Panther would’ve been a success no matter what, but the fact that the film chooses to say something so pivotal about the world is what makes Black Panther Marvel’s strongest movie to date. T’Challa may need his strength taken away to prove his worth, but director Ryan Coogler and his crew flex their strengths as filmmakers to showcase the storytelling wonders of representation.  Continue reading

We Need to Talk About Justice League

There’s a pivotal moment in Justice League where a weary Bruce Wayne champions Diana to lead the team, not him. The film wants to prove otherwise (THE LEAGUE NEEDS BATMAN). Thing is, the idea isn’t half bad. Wonder Woman is a far more efficient warrior; her steadfastness not only gets the job done, it saves Batman’s life. The film wants its team and its hierarchy, the same way Warner Bros. wants an Avengers-level success (so much so they brought in Joss Whedon). But there is no need for either aside from the machine-churning mentality of the studio blockbuster and a larger, interconnected universe – the new norm in franchise filmmaking. 2017 pushed the superhero into its golden age with stellar entries in the genre, making Justice League the sole casualty of the bunch.  Continue reading