‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ Review: Don’t Judge A Superhero(ine) By Its Size

How can you release ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, both films critically praised by critics and audiences alike, and still release a movie that tops both or equals the quality of these stories?

Well, apparently, Marvel can.

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Because ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ isn’t only a palate cleanser after ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.

‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ is a great film about family and unique personalities, something that the studio has been able to pin down to a point were you’re not even interested about the powers a suit might have.

The story takes place a few years after ‘Ant-Man’, apparently slightly before ‘Avengers:Infinity War’. After Scott Lang helps Captain America against Tony Stark in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, he is placed under house arrest, ending the close relationship with Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne. When Hope and Pym find out a way to activate a device that transports you to the quantum realm, they recruit Scott once more while making sure the FBI still thinks he is under house arrest. All three will have to go under several attempts to open the quantum realm to save Hope’s mother, who went subatomical during a mission almost 30 years ago. Under the way, they’ll find a new compelling villain whose name is Ava, while they also deal with a black market dealer and the FBI.

The film does a really good job at explaining the stakes at hand and retelling the story of Janet Van Dyne and her disappearance, meaning that even a person who never saw the original ‘Ant-Man’ could easily follow the plot throughout the film. The explanation that sets up the whole plot from the very beginning allows the film to never stop, keeping its pace constant without rushing every scene. As we go through, Ant-Man’s involvement in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is constantly hinted at, so you don’t need to necessarily watch the film to know what is going on. A round of applause to the screenwriters who were able to handle this amount of exposition in a short amount of time and still make it interesting. This compares drastically to ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’, who was never really able to keep the story of Peter Quill’s father in a compelling way to get rid of to many scenes with exposition.

Because Scott Lang is under house arrest and Pym doesn’t trust him anymore, we se lots and lots of Wasp in the film. This is great to show her abilities besides the suit, because it really pays off after all the frustration Hope had of not being able to help during ‘Ant-Man’. The initial action sequences are filled with fun moments, easy to follow through, and very well directed by Peyton Reed. The movie is able to handle subplots that keep the main characters occupied while still evolving throughout the story, especially Scott trying to show Hank and Hope that he still can be useful for the mission.

Very early on we meet Ghost/Ava Starr, a villain with heart. She is mainly finding a way to stabilize herself, not making her a real villain besides the fact that she confronts the heroes out of frustration. This villain is one of the most empathetic characters from the Marvel Universe, so much that it competes with Killmonger’s ‘Black Panther’.

This movie differs from the comedic moments you might see from Marvel films, rather than the usual one liners, the movie focuses on great visual gags, especially in the final action sequences. I laughed from start to finish, while the movie still is able to deliver a lot of heart. ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ couldn’t be complete without Luis and the gang. They eventually become an important part of the mission. And who doesn’t want a good story from Luis’ himself?

The story of Hope’s mother keeps you interested to see if they will be able to achieve it throughout the film. The family story is the through line that keeps everything tight plot wise. ‘Ant-Man’ was all about Scott Lang and becoming the father his daughter thinks he is. ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ is about Hank Pym showing Hope he still cares about her and he always wanted to protect her after the disappearance of her mother.

Two end credits appear in the film. The first one directly relates to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and clearly shuts down a possibility for the superheroes to be saved. The second end credit is a fun one, but it also could show a possibility were Ant-Man and The Wasp could be crucial in the next Avengers film.

‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ just became my favorite Marvel movie since Guardians Of The Galaxy, and it will sure win your heart over. Yes, it is another superhero film, but Peyton Reed and the cast has been able to create a unique film that departs from the MCU, balancing the personal struggles of the characters with the really fun action sequences.

Book Review: Three Years In Wonderland by Todd James Pierce

The construction of Disneyland has become a vital chapter of Walt Disney’s career. This project has been documented and talked about in documentaries, TV specials, promotional material, and more. Some of the difficulties they had, including opening day, have been mentioned several times, but others have been left out of the multi-year planning of Walt’s theme park.

‘Three Years In Wonderland’ narrates the untold story of Disneyland, shining light on one of the key talents that had been erased from history: C.V. Wood. This Texan businessperson was Disneyland’s first manager, as well as a planner that helped Walt and Roy during the early stages of the project.

C.V. Wood has been a lesser known character from the history of Disneyland because wasn’t fond oh him, thus erasing him from any official historiography. Even though C.V. Wood had many wrongdoings, there’s no doubt that his help was invaluable for Disneyland.

Todd James Pierce does a marvelous job documenting the life of C.V. Wood, from its early years to months before working with Walt. The beginning chapters flesh out Wood’s personality, business career and track record, showing the reasons why he would later have conflicts during the development of the Disneyland project. Later, the history of Disneyland is retold with this very important character in key moments from the development. These details are exhaustively researched, portraying the relationship between Walt, Roy, and Wood. The inclusion of the Texan businessperson even affects the opening of Disneyland, thus explaining some of the many other problems faced during what is known as Black Sunday.

Even though this book is mainly targeted at theme park fans, Todd James Pierce did an amazing job at writing a great book for anyone who doesn’t know anything about the history of Disneyland. This is what makes ‘Three Years In Wonderland’ a great read. The author didn’t just fill the gaps; he tells the story from the dry beginning and showing how the official history blends in with the omitted chapters. This book on the creation of the first American theme park will be cherished by theme park fans and historians alike for years to come.

Music Album Review: You’ll Find Me On Main Street By Tammy Tuckey

Many artists release their own take at Disney songs from the parks, films, and TV. Most of these albums are just a rendition of songs without a clear concept or through line. Tammy Tuckey has released ‘You’ll Find Me On Main Street’, an album that blends popular pieces to more personal songs, all with a clear concept.

Tammy Tuckey is the host of ‘The Tiara Talk Show’ podcast, who has interviewed many Disney artists from different areas and projects. With her ability to find obscure or unknown talent from Disney for interviews, she has a surprising number of artists who collaborated in many songs.

‘Tomorrow’s Child/ New Horizons’, a piece filled with hope that relives the nostalgia of a beloved attraction, kicks off the album with an arrangement that seamlessly blends both songs. The song also includes many technical flourishes, showing Tammy’s vocal skills. Subtle details and nuances make the track feel like it was made in the 80’s, an artistic decision that helps you transport to Epcot during those golden years.

Next song is ‘Someone Like Me’, a track from the Doug musical that performed at Disney-MGM Studios during the 90’s. I never heard of this piece, but it is a welcome addition of the album. It keeps the nostalgic mood of Horizons, slowly bringing up the cheer. The theme of hope transforms into joy as we head over to ‘The Great Outdoors’, a theme park classic from the Magic Kingdom. Tammy is accompanied with Byron Berline, the original banjo player from all the iterations of The Country Bears. This iteration of the song doesn’t derive too much from the original track.

In the middle of the album, the best track shows up. ‘Two Brothers’, featuring Ali B Olmo who sings the original track from The American Adventure, has some great interesting touches that transform the piece into the emotional track it is. It’s slow pace and simplicity bring this track to the main stage.

’Strangers Like Me’ is one of my all time favorite Disney movie songs. This cover uses percussions from the great Mike McKee that brings an energy on par with the original. The arrangement feels less grand, focusing more on the percussions and the vocals with offers a different taste for the track.

‘Celebrate The Future Hand In Hand’ and ‘Remember The Magic’ close the album with the same message of hope and joy that is introduced in the beginning. Each song has its own style that gives the lyrics a different message. This album portrays hope and moving forward in a way that is needed in the current moments of uncertainty.

Overall, ‘Youll Find Me On Main Street’ is an album that decides to deliver more than just a tribute of beloved songs. Tammy Tuckey takes the tracks and give them a structure so that they fit in the concept of the album. This is why it deserves a listen from many fans whose hopes are also reflected in these songs.

‘You’ll Find Me On Main Street’ is her debut album and is available on iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify.