November 10, 2019

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Eight)

(View previous instalments here)

I’ve had three new alcohol-free beers awaiting review for a while, but I’m glad I waited until today to write this review rather than doing it yesterday, as I’ve snaffled a fourth! In order:

A Ship Full Of IPA


This is the alcohol-free beer carried by my local Loch Fyne restaurant. I’ve had reason to end up in said establishment on a couple of occasions recently, and on both occasions have treated myself to one of these with lunch. It’s absolutely delicious stuff, and easily up there with some of my favourite alcohol-free IPAs.

Estrella Galicia 0.0


This was the alcohol-free option available at Cabana at the O2. I went there to see Two Door Cinema Club, who were fucking ace, by the way. Unfortunately, it was such a good night that I have forgotten what this beer tasted like, and I didn’t take any notes. All I can remember is that it was a lager, and it was good enough that I ordered a second.

Inside the O2, the only alcohol-free beer I could find was Budweiser Prohibition, which, as I’ve mentioned before, is basically watery piss. It was so bad that I found myself tempted to get myself a pint of proper beer, a temptation which I succumbed to, and then later regretted.

Bavaria 0.0


I had this one in a (looks at photo) Indian restaurant… somewhere… we definitely had poppadums, and there were some people sat opposite me.

Don’t worry, this review isn’t going to be as light on facts as the previous one. I did have my notebook with me, and from what notes I made, I can convey to you that this one was very similar to the San Miguel. It had a fair heft of that worty flavour, enough that it would have been off-putting when I first started drinking alcohol-free beer, but by now I’m getting quite used to that, and can tolerate it in small quantities.

Shipyard “Low Tide”


And this was my latest discovery, last night in a Brakspear pub in town. Initial sentiments were fairly positive, though I did detect a tiny bit of cabbaginess in the aroma, reminiscent of the Nirvana Sutra. But as the evening progressed, I also noticed other off-scents. I have conjured up the words to describe these smells, and it gives me conflicted feelings – on the one hand, I have delight that I am able to describe it with such accuracy. On the other hand, the description itself makes me want to hurl. Here it comes.

You know at the end of the day, when you take off your trainers, and sometimes you think “hey, as a test of nerve, I’m going to stick my nose in there and take a real good huff?

This beer isn’t too bad as long as you remember to hold your breath before you lift the glass to your face.

Pete
  • Comments: 2
  • In which case it must be the latter, based upon the decor and the appearance of my dining ... - Pete
  • The Bavaria was either in the Haweli in Twyford, or Baranda in Wokingham. We've had a coup... - Karen
October 20, 2019

The MCU project: Spiderman: Far From Home [2019]

Spiderman: Far From Home is far superior at some points and far inferior at some points to the last Spiderman film. Far From Home was rather predictable at some points although there were some comedic scenes, such as when Peter Parker calls a drone strike on his school trip bus by accident because someone took a, let’s say, embarrassing picture of him.

The characters in the first film were much better as they were developed much more because in Far From Home there isn’t much development, we started watching the MCU films because me and Karen watched Endgame and we didn’t get much of it. It was better to watch the other films first, the same goes for Far From Home, the characters are explained in Spiderman: Homecoming.

The character playing Ned was definitely my favourite, same as the first film because he is the traditional person who isn’t as bright and makes dumb assumptions and just messes stuff up.

Sadly, as Stan Lee died a few months before the release, he didn’t have the nice moment when you see him on a train, working in a shop or floating around in space.

Bernard
October 17, 2019

The MCU Project: Avengers Endgame [2019]

Well, here we are, we’ve reached the endgame. Which is a huge misnomer, as for most of the parties involved, it’s just more game.

As has already been revealed, Thanos’ plan in the previous film was to use the incredibly-credibly powerful Infinity Stones to automagickally cull half of the universe’s population, not because he’s a bad guy but because he knows that the universe is overcrowded and the solution to n billion people living in squalor is to just eliminate half of them so that the available resources can stretch further. He’s done this on a smaller scale in the past, a sort of trial run on individual planets, and apparently with proven success. Which raises the question – would those planets have been exempt from having their populations halved second time round? I suspect not. 

Anyway, I question whether Thanos ever actually went back to check on the results of his previous trials. Because he’s clearly not considered the following:

  1. With half the people available, communities have half the capacity to produce resources.
  2. Key knowledge will be lost, causing civilisation to take a step backwards
  3. Unless there’s any system in place to combat wealth inequality, such a catastrophe would impact the wealthiest top 5% much less than everyone else. It’s just another opportunity for the rich arses to widen their lead.
  4. The 50% population drop will soon snowball to much more, both as a consequence of immediate accidents (bus drivers disappearing out of existence etc) and medium term effects (disruption of health services etc)

But we’ll get to this in a minute.

At the end of the previous film, as Thanos clicks his fingers, we see moments all around the globe as half of the population crumble into dust before our eyes. I’ll not mince words, it’s bloody haunting. They’re clearly not in any pain, just experiencing a sensation of discombobulation. In my opinion it’s such a disturbing sequence that it really pushes the limits of the 12A rating, though I can think of plenty of brilliant ways that it could have been even more gut-wrenching, ways which I think were probably discussed around the writers’ table but rejected for going too far. As the perspective switches to each little cluster of our protagonists, you hold your breath as you wait to discover which ones will make the cut, and which won’t.

At the start of Endgame, the earth is in a bad way. The remaining Avengers are struggling to whip up the enthusiasm to do much avenging. Five years after The Event, humanity is failing to thrive, apparently not because of any of the good reasons I listed above that might explain it, but because Thanos underestimated our capacity for self-pity. We’re still moping about the place, and our remaining bin men apparently are unable to get out of bed in the mornings, as the garbage bags piled up in the street testify. Thanos is long-dead, having been killed in the aftermath of The Event by a vengeful Thor (who has since really let himself go). The Infinity Stones have also been destroyed.

This impasse is broken by the abrupt appearance of Ant-Man. He’s been missing for the last five years, presumed dead, but in fact was in the quantum realm the whole time experiencing weird time dilation nonsense. For him, the event is still fresh, and rather than being weighed down by the oppressive burden of despair, he’s got oodles of moxie and the kernel of an idea that involves using the quantum realm to time travel back, grab the Infinity Stones, and do their own finger-snap. “Can’t we just go back and kill Thanos as a baby” suggests one of the Avengers, quite reasonably, but apparently time travel doesn’t work that way, and the laws of physics prevent you from modifying the present by making a change in the past. Having established this rule, the writers then proceed to cheekily ignore it about eighty-five times during the remainder of the film.

Eventually the feasibility of this plan is established, and thus begins the second act of the film, and the remaining Avengers split into three teams to travel back in time and retrieve the stones. This nicely solves one of the problems that affected Infinity War, where having dozens of superheroes whistling about all over the place made it hard to keep track. Here, it’s all divided into bite-sized portions.

The quests for the stones don’t all go exactly according to plan, of course. One of the main hitches involves Nebula, Thanos’ daughter. Her proximity to past-timeline Nebula allows past-timeline Thanos to become aware of the current-timeline Avengers’ plans, and he does everything in his power to banjax them. Everything kinda spirals from there.

Now, let’s move onto something I really want to rant about. Bringing people back from death in film/TV/stories is a bit of a bugbear of mine. It’s a Pandora’s Box that can’t be closed. Once you’ve brought a character back from the dead once, it’s a plot device that will show its shadow again and again. From then on, whenever a character dies, the question automatically arises: “what about if we just bring them back, the way we did that one time?” To quote Red Dwarf, “death is no longer the handicap it once was” and it loses all of its impact.

The reason I mention this is that one of the main emotional hooks in this film is utterly annihilated by this reasoning. Venturing into spoiler territory now, there are two deaths of principal characters in Endgame, one of which occurs in very similar circumstances to the death of one of the principal characters in Infinity War. These circumstances are explicitly described as being irreversible – a sacrifice that can never be undone, intoned with gravitas by Hugo Weaving, so you know that it’s the real shit. Buuuuut… the character who died in Infinity War gets brought back through time, so is now alive somewhere in the universe. There’s a huge paradox here, of course, in that they are now no longer present on the original timeline to sacrifice themselves in Infinity War, but this sort of stuff is hard to reconcile so the writers don’t even try. This is one example of the 85 ways in which this film’s attempt to handle the big time travel challenge exhibits as much competence as a baby with a full nappy. More to the point, it contradicts the promise that the sacrifice is irreversible, and so while all the characters are bawling their eyes out over the parallel death in Endgame, I’m just thinking “yeah, nothing that a spot of time travel can’t fix”.

There’s one other scene that I’d briefly like to rant about, and that is one mind-blowingly cheesy scene in the final battle where all of the female superheroes coincidentally find themselves in the same place at the same time, and perform a synchronised charge in slow-motion. Now, if you know me, you know that I’m of a fairly feminist leaning, but this was one of the most cringeworthy things I’ve ever seen. I’m sure it was a well-meaning attempt to celebrate the strength of these female characters, but it’s awfully executed and serves no plot purpose. If anything it just reminds you how male-centric the rest of the series has been, that something like this brief scene has to be forced instead of happening organically.

Karen mentioned, at the start of her review of Infinity War, how she and Bernard saw Endgame in the cinema and felt like they weren’t getting the most out of it, because everyone else in the auditorium had all this background knowledge and they had very little. She confirmed to me, while watching Endgame this second time, how yes things make a lot more sense this time round. To be honest I’m amazed that they managed to make any sense of it whatsoever before, because the amount of assumed knowledge is astronomical. If I try to imagine watching this “blind”, so to speak, I feel like almost every single line of dialogue would have you scratching your head in puzzlement and looking for a nearby expert to help you out.

As I said at the start of the review, this is in no way an endgame. Nothing has happened in this film that can’t be undone with one lazy writer and one sloppy time travel plotline. The huge dramatic moment at the end of the previous film has been annulled. The MCU wheel continues to turn. More films are in the works for 2020 and beyond. But before we wrap this film review project up, there is one more film in the saga, and that is Spider Man: Far From Home.

Pete
  • Comments: 3
  • Yep, I agree with everything you've written here, swisslet. And nice nod to "Yesterday" - ... - Pete
  • Do not mention The Event. - Karen
  • Some of the timeline McGuffin made me very cross as the scriptwriters are trying to have t... - swisslet
October 1, 2019

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Seven)

(View previous instalments here)

A very special instalment here – for my birthday, Karen and Bernard bought me a 24 pack of alcohol free beers from the Nirvana brewery. Nirvana, like Big Drop, are a UK craft brewery dedicated completely to alcohol-free beer.

Karma (hoppy pale ale)


This was the first one I opened. It erupted out of the bottle like a geyser, causing a small puddle on the table. Once I wrangled it into the glass, it was magnificent to drink. This one’s up there with the Infinite Session pale – it’s very smooth with a nice well-balanced range of flavours throughout. I think that what will end up letting this down is simply the cost of it – it’s £2 per bottle plus postage on top of that, whereas picking up something like Infinite Session in the supermarket works out at more like £1.30 for a similarly sized can. Still, there’s no reason why I couldn’t buy a box of these, keep them in the garage, and dip into it occasionally when I fancy a bit of a change.

Sutra (classic IPA)


Compared to the Karma, this doesn’t quite please me as much. The flavour is a little sharper, and not in a good way. My main objection to this was a mild smell of cabbage. Only very mild though – it’s nowhere near as offputting as the stale cigarette smoke smell of Big Drop stout, or the damp dog of Thornbridge Big Easy. But it’s there, and it’s enough to slice a sliver off of the overall score.

Tantra (pale ale)


This beer is aiming for a more “Old Speckled Hen” type traditional pale ale. As is so often the case with alcohol-free beers, if you try to go malty then you end up with that sweet worty flavour instead. Fortunately, this one doesn’t do too bad a job. While it would be startling and a bit unpleasant to someone not used to alcohol-free beers, it’s not too overpowering once you get used to it.

Kosmic (stout)


This is definitely the best alcohol-free stout that I’ve had so far. It’s not perfect – I prefer my stouts to have a creamy mouthfeel, whereas this one is a bit on the fizzy side – but it’s eminently drinkable. It’s a little bit sweet and malty, but not to the point of being sickly like some of the other main offenders. It’s possible that, now that I’m getting used to the alcohol free beers, my tolerance for that worty flavour is rising slightly.

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier


Time for a little intermission! Yes, we interrupt our sampling of the Nirvana box, before I’ve had a chance to try all five, because I found myself out at the Castle Tap in Reading. In fact, this night was a bit of a bender – I had two Nanny States at Valpy St Bistro before we moved on to the Castle Tap, where I had a Big Drop Pale Ale (which I’ve reviewed before, and is still just as lovely) and one of these, a Paulaner wheat beer.

This reminded me very much of the Patronus from Lidl, with that very dense fruity flavour. However, I must admit that I struggled to finish my pint. I can’t be sure whether this was because it was even denser and sicklier than the Patronus, or if it’s actually exactly the same beer but with a different label, and I was just feeling a bit full up from it being my fourth drink of the night.

Anyway, huge night out, total legend, smashed off my face, wheeeeeey! Lads!

Ananda (buchabeer)


Here’s something very different, very different indeed. This is created by blending their Tantra pale ale with green tea kombucha. I’d never had kombucha before, so I had no idea what to expect. The overall result here is very sour – not toe-curlingly so, but the basic effect is that of something not dissimilar to pineapple juice. It’s interesting if you fancy something sweet, sour and fruity, but given that it doesn’t taste like beer and doesn’t have any alcohol in it, to all intents and purposes, it’s not beer. Obviously it contains some of their Tantra pale ale, so yes technically it is beer, but given that it neither walks like a duck nor quacks like a duck…

Pete
September 29, 2019

The MCU Project: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

You may recall that we began this project after Bernard and I had been to see Endgame, and realised that not only were we missing a bit of background, but that other people in the cinema genuinely cared about the fates of these characters. It was fine as a bit of standalone school holiday entertainment, but apparently we could get more out of it if we tried harder; and here we are. Nobody can say we haven’t been trying.

So, do we care? We are nearing the end, and the Event that has been hinted at in post-credit sequences and accidental podcast spoilers is approaching. For those who are following this with as little attention as I have, here is what I have gleaned about what is going on in this movie:

The Infinity Stones are powerful devices giving the owner control over time, reality, life, death etc etc. Thanos is a supersized bad guy who plans to collect them all in order to cull half the population of the universe, in order to make better use of resources.He explains this with such deep sincerity that we understand that, like a Tory Prime Minister, he genuinely and inexplicably believes that he is doing good.

The Avengers are a motley collection of heroes whose superpowers come from such varied sources as deity, mysticism, and exposure to radiation or similar. Their role is to protect the planet/universe, but because they are all such mavericks and largely without military training, they often cause as much chaos as they resolve, and hence are largely outlawed and unwanted by the authorities. Male Avengers vie with each other to be the Alpha1 and female Avengers kick ass in super-tight outfits, with never a complaint about chafing.

This movie is a series of action sequences in which various members of the crew meet other members with whom they have not interacted before, most notably any scene with Peter Quill and Peter Parker, or Thor (“Pirate Angel”) and Rocket (“Rabbit”). These are the moments where the best of previous movies is paid forward, making it worth the bother of sitting through all the earnest exposition and endless fighty bits.2 At one point, Dr Strange advises Tony Stark that, “it’s not overselling it to say that the fate of the universe is at stake.” But the thing is, it is overselling it. These movies are at their best when we can enjoy the journey, knowing that the destination is the prevention of an outcome so immensely catastrophic as to be meaningless. In most cases, the outcome is inevitably prevented in the end; but not in all cases. And the journey is most enjoyable when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Various lives are traded for various infinity stones, as the Avengers repeatedly fail to grasp the trolley problem. This theme is repeated so frequently as to become tedious, unless you’re emotionally invested in all these relationships, which I’m just not, as you may have figured by now. I could go on, but not without spoiling the ending, in which, gasp, something totally unexpected happens.

Special mentions should be made of Steve Rogers’ very nicely trimmed beard; and Tyrion the Giant. I wouldn’t say you should watch it just for those things, but they helped.

  1. with the adorable exception of your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman []
  2. I particularly enjoyed the fight scene in Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, when they destroyed a Costa Coffee where I once had a very nice hot chocolate while waiting for the sleeper train. []
Karen
  • Comments: 1
  • I was a little distracted by how much Steve Rogers looked like Commander Waterford in The ... - Pete
September 28, 2019

The MCU Project: Thor Ragnarok [2017]

One of my favourite parts of Thor, is the part which was turned into a meme, Thor has been captured on Xandar by the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldbum, is where Loki meets Thor, Jeff Goldbum asks Loki who Thor is and Loki says, “I have never met this man in my life”To sum up the plot, Thor has been gone for ages, Loki is now king, weird sister Hella (who is the goddess of death) appears and says she is the heir to the throne, she turns out to be about as bad a leader as Boris Johnson and threatens the entire population, her with an axe, but Boris Johnson, with food and medical shortages.

We also see the Hulk / Bruce Banner / Mark Buffalo and Doctor Strange / Steven Strange / Benebatch Cumberdict and, as a hologram video message thing, we see Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff / Scarlett Johanson (I cant think of a funny name)

You can barely tell around 80% of the movie was improv because it was so good. You can also see, when Hella and Skurge are in the basement underneath the castle in Asgard, you can see the Tesseract and the Infinity Gauntlet, both items used in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. When Thor becomes a gladiator, he has his signature long hair cut short. In ancient Roman history, slaves who were sent to gladiator school and trained as gladiators had their hair cut short.

Bernard
September 16, 2019

The MCU Project: Captain Marvel [2019]

The project is coming closer and closer to the end. With more and more references to “The Event”, it looms like a slithery sea creature or perhaps a foul odour. Due to the team-based nature of this review series, this is the penultimate review that I will be contributing. The time has flown by.

Captain Marvel was released earlier this year, and at the time I remember being vaguely aware of a certain amount of the usual kerfuffle that seems to surround any big-budget film with a female lead. You know, lots of people saying “I’m not sexist! It’s just not a very good film and she’s not a very good actress!” When’s the last time you saw someone say that about a film with a male lead? Exactly. Anyway, I put it down to just the usual fragile white men being fragile, and paid it no more mind.

The opening of the film introduces us to Vers (pronounced “Veers”), a highly trained soldier for the Kree empire, another of those alien races that are basically humanoid shape with one small difference, usually something bumpy on their head, though in this case, their blood is a delightful shade of bluey green. She’s under the tutelage of her mentor, who’s not only humanoid-shaped, but looks like the spitting image of Terran actor Jude Law. He’s teaching her that to fight she must learn to control her emotions, to not use her awesome super powers at every available opportunity, but instead fight with her fists like some sort of dummy. There’s an obscure reference to “your past which fuels you” – one of these days it would be hilarious if a film dropped a line like this, and then just never did anything with it. You know, make it clear that so-and-so has a mysterious past that defines them as a person, and then just completely “forget” to fill it in. Actually, now I write it down, an example comes to mind: Book in Firefly. His mysterious backstory is never revealed in the TV series (though apparently it does get filled in in one of the official comics).

Vers and her mentor and the rest of the Kree soldiering team go on a mission to rescue one of their agents who has infiltrated a group of Skrulls, who are the enemies of the Kree. This is a dangerous mission, and it is stressed that it’s important to follow the protocols TO THE LETTER. Vers checks her cuticles and mumbles “yeah, whatevs.” She’s a maverick, and I use this specific term because it sets up a joke in the next paragraph.

The mission goes somewhat awry. The Skrull are shapeshifters, and one of them turns into a shami kebab. Vers doesn’t notice that there are now three shami kebabs on her plate, not two, and hilarity ensues. They capture her and start sucking out her memories using the same memory-sucking machine that all these villains seem to have access to. This gives us a delightfully convenient opportunity to share some of Vers’ memories with her. But are they memories or dreams? In one of them, we see Vers working on an air force base, and it’s eerily reminiscent of Top Gun, even down to the colour filter used on the lens. This is now the bit where I make the joke that “maverick” was setting up, but I haven’t thought of one yet, so I’ll either come back and fill it in later, or just leave this rambling sentence in place and hope that it elicits a little pity laugh.

With this flashback montage we discover a key element of what makes Vers who she is – all her life, she’s been patronised because she’s a girl, and told that she can’t do things because she’s a girl. All this stuff is clearly going on on Earth, so the big open mystery now is: why is Vers apparently a Kree? Please to be explaining the blue blood? Or are the memories not to be trusted? Tantalising.

Vers manages to escape the Skrull, and flies down to Earth in a fantastic spacesuit with a brilliant helmet that somehow protects the form of her hairdo, so when the helmet does it’s fold-away trick, her hair just ploofs down into place without any awkward tufty bits or flat spots. I want one. The escape pod is a less impressive feat of engineering, and completely burns up on re-entry, unceremoniously dumping her into a branch of Blockbuster video, which tells us that this film is either set in Bend, Oregon, or the mid-nineties. The appearance of a digitally-youthened, ocularly-complete Nick Fury, heavily implies the latter.

I’ve reached the point in my review where I realise that I’m just giving a commentary of the plot, and feel the need to disrupt the flow, so let’s take a carefully-timed tangent.

The fact that this film is set in the mid-nineties does provide the opportunity for some gentle humour. Dial-up internet, beige box computers, Windows 95 doing its chunky grey thing, all of these are played for laughs. It’s quite a sweet film, all things considered, with 90% of it being Captain America levels of seriousness, but interspersed with occasional moments of comic relief and some really touching interactions between the characters. DYOCNF serves many roles in this film – on the one hand, he becomes Vers’ good friend, but he is also the relatively-naive SHIELD agent to act as the audience surrogate for Vers’ exposition. One of the most “fuck yeah” comic moments is when Vers follows a Skrull onto a train, and once she’s identified the form into which the Skrull has shapeshifted, a magnificent fight scene ensues.

We also at one point meet a cat, called Goose (which I refuse to believe is not another deliberate Top Gun reference). DYOCNF is clearly a cat person, but the Skrull seem to believe that it is a terrifying creature that will kill them all. Silly Skrull, eh? Anyway, the cat stows away on their ship and you just know that all sorts of funny feline shenanigans will ensue. Cat lovers are really getting their money’s worth with this film.

As the film reaches its denouement, various truths emerge, including Vers’ true history and the realisation that not all those around her are as they seem. She also discovers that her powers are greater than she initially thought, and once she’s unlocked those (the standard MCU “level upgrade” moment that happens in a few other films where the hero usually gains access to new tech) then none of her foes stand a chance, and it all starts to feel a bit unfair, but undoubtedly very superheroey. For some inexplicable reason, she allows the main bad guy to escape, when she could have annihilated him effortlessly, but I guess that’s one of those situations where the long-term plot requires it. The film ends with some huge setups for The Event, as well as a moderately satisfying but somewhat mundane reveal of how Nick Fury lost his eye, and how The Avengers Initiative got its name.

I really enjoyed this film and was near-glued to the screen throughout. It had a pitch-perfect blend of action, humour and gravitas, with no overlong expositionary dialogue, and relatively few immersion-breaking violations of the laws of science and logic. I suppose it’s true that if you look at Vers’ story in isolation, there’s nothing terribly innovative or surprising there, but it’s the interactions with other characters which give this film its edge.

I’m feeling very eager for Infinity War and Endgame now.

Pete
  • Comments: 1
  • It's all about the cat though, isn't it? sidenote: Goose is my wife's favourite character... - swisslet
September 11, 2019

The MCU Project: Ant Man and The Wasp [2018]

Ant Man and the Wasp [2018] is the second Ant Man movie from the MCU oeuvre, and you may remember how much Pete and Bernard enjoyed the first movie, and how I fell asleep. So I bring to this movie a sense of confusion, and spend the first 15 minutes feeling completely lost.

It begins with a recap scene in which Fully Grown Michael Douglas (FGMD)1 loses his wife (not Catherine Zeta Jones, although IMDB tells us that he wanted her to play this part, but Michelle Pfeiffer) when she goes sub-atomic in order to save something from something. In the next scene, Scott Lang/Ant Man2 is being an amazing dad in a cosy domestic setting, and we learn that he has three days remaining of his house arrest. I take it we all know what that implies for the plot of the movie?

Yes, shortly after learning this, we see him leaving the house in his pyjamas in the company of a woman who doesn’t like him. She assures him that their business will be concluded by lunchtime.

There follows much minification and embiggenment of cars and houses and salt cellars. Suddenly the woman who doesn’t like Scott Lang/Ant Man needs to be rescued, and FGMD hands Scott Lang/Ant Man a “prototype” Ant Man suit, with a glint in his eye such as the one seen in the eye of Willy Wonka when Violet Beauregarde eats the dodgy chewing gum and turns into a giant blueberry. Hilarious mis-sized antics ensue.

This is purported to be an Action Comedy, and does indeed have some amusing moments. My favourite was when Bernard pointed out how much Larry Fucking Fishburne resembles Dr Pockless3. Have you ever seen them in the same room? I haven’t.

At one point, Scott Lang/Ant Man asks the question, “do you guys just put the word ‘quantum’ in front of everything?” which is a good demonstration of how futuristic technology is discussed, using nonsensical combinations of words that viewers are never intended to understand. I was particularly intrigued to know how Michelle Pfeiffer’s mascara survived 30 years in the quantum realm. I consulted Pete and Bernard, both known to have a better grasp of science than myself, and they replied “because it’s the quantum realm.” I asked them why, then, did she age (a bit)? “Shuddup,” they said.

Three out of the four female characters in the movie have serious daddy issues; and given that the entire premise of this film is the rescuing of a female character, it’s clear that the marvellous minds at Marvel learned nothing from Black Panther about female empowerment. The smaller rescue of FGMD’s daughter Hope (the one who doesn’t like Scott Lang/Ant Man, although there is a tedious romantic subplot shoehorned in, so it turns out that she protested too much) is an important plot point, and the other adult female character Ava/The Ghost also has to be saved.

Nonetheless, I managed to keep my eyes open and pay, ooh, let’s say about 60-70% attention to this movie, which makes it one of the more enjoyable of the project so far.

  1. seriously, you’re going to have to read Pete’s review of Ant Man to make sense of this []
  2. or Scott Lang/Ant Man/Crap Bag, but that’s a bit of a mouthful []
  3. and not only for his sartorial elegance []
Karen