Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Review: A Grim Start to Phase Five.

Being the first film in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it felt like there was a lot riding on Ant-Man: Quantumania going in. 
While there were some jems in Phase Four, Spider-Man: Far From Home in particular, the majority of that phase felt aimless and misguided, with way too much of a focus on humor.
Quantumania could have served as a new beginning for the MCU but, unfortunately, it is just more of the same, sometimes in the worst of ways.
Directed by Peyton Reed, the film follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who, after playing a key role in reversing the snap in Endgame, is living a happy and successful life with his girlfriend Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton). 
However, after Cassie somehow creates a portal to the Quantum Realm, the three of them, along with Hope’s parents Hank (Michael Douglas) and Janet (Michelle Pteiffer), are sucked inside.
Now in the Quantum Realm, the five have to find a way to escape, while being pursued by the MCU’s next big bad Kang the Conqueror, who Janet has a history with, which she constantly refuses to explain, creating a large amount of frustration for the audience.

Ant-Man must escape the Quantum Realm in this latest film.

Although Quantumania is one of the worst reviewed MCU movies, one thing it has been constantly praised for is Jonathan Majors’ performance as Kang and for good reason.
Majors is excellent as the Conqueror and the film does a fantastic job of building him up to be a threat… which is admittedly diluted by the end, due to the fact that he struggles to defeat Ant-Man.
It’s like if Thanos was defeated by Spider-Man in his first movie appearance.
He would just not be as threatening. 
Despite this, I am still interested in the character and what he will bring to the MCU going forward. 

Jonathan Majors is amazing as Kang.

Along with Kang, one thing that I heard a lot about before watching Quantumania was the humor, although for the opposite reason.
So many people were saying that the jokes were terrible and robbed many scenes of all tension.
Honestly though, for the first half hour to forty-five minutes, I was not having this issue.
Sure, there were a lot of jokes and not all of them were funny but I never found the humor to be insufferable. 
Then MODOK (Corey Stoll) showed up and I understood what everyone was talking about.
I do not say this lightly but MODOK is straight up one of the worst characters in all of the MCU.
Not only does the CGI for him look atrocious but he is also the subject of some of the most unfunny “jokes” I have seen in a long time.
I was literally face palming when awful MODOK “humor” kept interrupting the third act battle. 

MODOK should have been removed from the movie. Not only does he look terrible but the writing and attempts and comedy surrounding him all fail spectacularly.

Speaking of that third act battle, there are so many dumb tropes, like characters constantly removing their helmets, villains not killing the heroes when they have them dead to rights, and the ending seemingly concluding on an impactful note only to retcon it at the last moment.
The editing is also so poor by the end that it makes a lot of the action hard to follow.
As well as this, the final battle sees no resolution to any of the characters’ arcs for the simple reason that no character has an arc in this movie.
Well, except for MODOK but his is so abrupt and terrible that I once again had to facepalm in the theater.
As for Scott Lang, the film ends with him being exactly the same person he was in the beginning.
Also, despite the movie being named Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it felt like Hope was barely in this. 
Hank Pym is just there as well and, while I did find Janet’s backstory with Kang to be interesting, it does not go anywhere by the end.
Cassie also represents a problem with the MCU lately and that is just how easy it is to invent futuristic tech.
I mean, in the first Iron Man, Tony Stark had to build his suit under intense pressure while being held captive by terrorists.
Now in Quantumania, we have a teenager just building a portal to the Quantum Realm in a basement, with their skills to do so not being established beforehand.

Cassie is suddenly a genius inventor in this film when I don’t recall her being established as one in the previous Ant-Man movies.

So, as you can see by my descriptions, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is a mess overall and a rather grim start to Phase Five.
While it does have some good qualities, most notably Jonathan Majors as Kang, the rest of the characters have no arcs, there is a lot of bad humor, and MODOK is the most insufferable comic relief character I have seen in a while.
I do have hope for Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume Three but, beyond that, I would say that the MCU is in trouble if it does not get its act together soon.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu Review: Probably Just for Fans.

When I first saw the trailer for Pokemon Detective Pikachu, directed by Rob Letterman, I honestly thought it was some kind of elaborate joke.
I had no idea it was based on a video game, and had no clue what they were trying to achieve.
Having now seen the film, I can tell that Detective Pikachu was a love letter film to Pokemon fans.
There are multiple fan service moments for the people who enjoy the game and series.
However, I am not one of these people.
While I did watch Pokemon as a kid, I am not, nor have I ever been, an avid fan.
So, take note that I do not fit into the intended demographic for this film before you read the review.
If you are a fan of Pokemon, then I am sure you will enjoy the film.
I even liked some parts of it, which I will get to later.
However, overall, I found Pokemon Detective Pikachu to be a film with a lot of problems.
The first twenty minutes were straight up boring for me, with many of the jokes failing spectacularly.
I quickly came to dislike many of the characters, including the main character Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), and his love interest, Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) whose introduction had to be the worst scene of the entire movie.
During these twenty minutes, I was practically praying that Ryan Reynolds’ Pikachu would show up to add something to the film, which thankfully he does.

Seeing Ryan Reynolds voice Pikachu is something I honestly never expected to see.

Reynolds does a good job as Pikachu and his interactions with Tim actually made me start to like him half way through the film.
Sadly, though, his presence is not enough to save the film for me.
Apart from Pikachu and Goodman, I cared for none of the other characters, and a lot of the jokes fell flat for me.
Then there are the twists, which are pretty predictable, for the most part.
Granted, I did like the last twist, but it did raise quite a few plot holes in the story.
This is not the only case of plot holes in the film though, because there are actually quite a few.
There is one action sequence with some Pokemon created by scientists, but there was no reason for them to be created because they did not tie into the villain’s ultimate plan.
Like I said though, there are some good parts.
Although a lot of the jokes did not land for me, there is a great scene where Pikachu and Tim interrogate a Mime Pokemon, which gets a lot of laughs.

The scene with the Mime Pokemon is the funniest of the movie, with a lot of great visual humor. 

Pikachu’s chemistry with Tim is pretty good but, again, I only started liking Tim half way through the movie.
Finally, there is the CGI for the Pokemon, which, while not fully realistic at times, feels appropriate for the film.
But, Detective Pikachu’s target audience is ultimately Pokemon fans.
If you are one, then you will most likely love this movie.
For me, however, while there are some good things about Pokemon Detective Pikachu, there are also a lot of bad that stop it from being good.