Daddy/Daughter Marvel Movie Review, Quantum Edition

If you made it to the end of the last blog you will remember that I mentioned the possibility of a tiny update this weekend, and here it is. The official MonDAVEs review of Marvel’s Ant Man And The Wasp:Quantumania! Ha! See what I did there? Tiny update? ‘Cause y’know, Ant Man? He gets small? Whoo! Comedy!

Tessa: That is a solid joke.

Dave: Really?

T: Yeah.

D: Huh. Oh yeah, teenage daughter Tessa is here too and she will give us her thoughts as well. As always, we will both give our reviews on a scale of 1 to 5 and we will try to get away with only light spoilers if any.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar, this is Ant Man #3. During this adventure, the entire family gets sucked into the Quantum realm (see previous Ant Man movies for info on that), at which point they learn about Janet’s history of being trapped in the realm and all the adventures she got up to. Of course, she is brought right back into the thick of things, endangering the family (particularly Cassie), greeting old friends and new, causing a revolution, and getting Kang The Conqueror seriously ticked off. This will soon have major reverberations throughout the MCU, affecting multiple timelines, alternate realities and pert near anything else you can think of.

Now that you’re mostly caught up, let’s talk about it. Take it away, Tess.

T: This movie was pretty good. Phase 5 of the MCU has been hit or miss so far, when the movies are good they’re really good, but when they aren’t they’re mid and forgettable. In Phase 5, a movie has to have something extraordinary to be remembered as one of the good ones, or to be remembered at all. I feel like Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumania accomplishes that. This movie was mostly a segway to the future movies, setting up Kang as one of the main villains of the MCU from here on out, and I understand that. But I feel like this movie was missing the character development I felt it needed.

Films can focus on one of four things: Plot, Emotional Effect or Mood, Style/Texture/Structure, or Characters. In my opinion, this movie (along with pretty much all Marvel movies) was focusing on plot. Which is all fine and dandy, I just feel like I personally tend to like character driven films better. I like when there are characters to focus on and analyze as a viewer, which I thought this movie lacked. Sure, Scott and Cassie’s relationship was expanded upon, and Janet played a much bigger role than in the other two Ant Man and The Wasp movies, but the plot was so aggressively shoved in our faces. There was like ten minutes of exposition at the beginning, ten minutes of Lang family bonding at the end and the rest of the movie was about the plot. And to be fair it was a good plot.

Kang was set up as a new villain really well. He has the potential to be really threatening and he could be used in lots of cool multiverse and time travel plot lines. The quantum realm was actually really cool, and I liked all the characters we met there. However, they were not expanded upon at all. I can barely remember any of their names. This comes back to the main point I have, there was no character development. I understand that this is just a set-up movie, and I get they had to take out a lot of things because they wanted it to be more plot driven. I get that this was intentional, I just didn’t like that aspect very much. There was also no Luis, which is sad. But I liked most of this movie, and the cut scenes were pretty cool! I’m excited for what comes next with Kang the Conqueror and the Ant Man gang.

D: I agree with the character development point, although I think the mains were known well enough by fans of the MCU. It would have been nice to know a little bit more about the new characters we met , though, so that we cared a little bit more about their fates. I think perhaps that decision was made in an attempt to shorten the movies down timewise until we get to the big ensemble pieces later on.

I think this movie was quite enjoyable. It was a lot of fun, beautiful to look at, and I think it works as a transition piece. It was a good science fiction adventure movie, but I don’t think it was a good Ant Man movie. I feel like Ant Man works best in his small world, and as a part of the Avengers team. This film just feels a little out of place. With all the new worlds we were witnessing and the multiple alien species involved, it felt more like a Star Wars movie to me than a Marvel movie. That’s okay, I enjoy both, but it just didn’t feel right. But then, I thought that the Star Wars Rise Of Skywalker movie felt like Marvel, so what do I know?

Lastly, I think the cast were all very good, but I’m not so sure about Jonathan Majors as Kang. No disrespect as an actor, but I wasn’t thrilled with his performance here. Kang didn’t feel very menacing to me, but that may have been an intentional choice to introduce us to the more human, relatable side of the character before revealing his true evil in future installments. Still a very interesting character though, and it’s clear that Kang isn’t going to mess around.

T: Side eyeing that last paragraph, but I won’t argue. I give this a 4 out of 5.

D: I give it a 3.5 out of 5. Which feels a little low, actually, but I was probably too kind to the last Thor picture, so I guess this evens that out. Again, I enjoyed it, but it just didn’t floor me.

Alright, there you go. See you next time for more stuff.


Another Daddy/Daughter Movie Review! Black Panther:Wakanda Forever

DAVE: Welcome to another Marvel Movie MonDAVE! As usual, I am joined by a guest reviewer, my 14 year old daughter Tessa…

TESSA: What’s up?

D: Um, hi. You’re a little early.

T: Sorry Dad, that’s my bad.

D: No worries. Anyway, we will be giving you our opinions on the newest Marvel movie, Black Panther:Wakanda Forever, and rating it on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest. I will, of course, be using a scale of 1-5 Dave’s, whereas Tessa (with a change up) will be using 1-5 slays.

T: Oh my gosh, it rhymes. I love that.

D: Quality stuff here folks. Also, we try to keep these reviews relatively spoiler free, but a few minor spoilers may occur. Okay, Tess, you’re up.

T: Since Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played the original Black Panther, died a couple of years ago, everyone was wondering how the sequel will be handled. The movie starts immediately with a very powerful scene, showing Shuri trying to save her brother from dying of an unmentioned illness, which she ultimately fails at. We get to see how Wakandans handle funerals, dressing in all white instead of all black, which I thought was very interesting. The audience gets to see the many ways Wakandans and individual characters deal with grief and mourning, and we see firsthand on multiple characters the effects of loss, specifically Nakia, Queen Ramonda, and Shuri. The main antagonist, Namor, also experiences loss, which turned him into what he is. This movie does a great job at showing how much losing somebody close to you can effect your mental health and who you are as a person.

D: Agreed. The emotions behind this film are very raw. Bring your tissue, you will probably need it.

While the theme of dealing with loss is prevalent, this movie is also about maturation, and in a weird way, about unity. Both family unity and societal unity are examined to different degrees. The journey of Shuri’s character may be front and center throughout this film, there’s plenty of sub text to chew on as well. Broken people and broken homes figure prominently in this story. This is one of the more character driven films in the Marvel canon, but in the best possible way.

That being said, it is still an action heavy Marvel movie. It feels much more like a traditional Marvel movie than the last few have, which isn’t a knock on the Phase 4 movies (most of which I have really enjoyed), but this serves as an excellent close to the current phase of films.

T: Another thing I wanted to mention was the acting. Obviously Letitia Wright (Shuri) and Angela Basset (Ramonda) were great, but Danai Gurira (Okoye) really stood out to me. Okoye also went through a really interesting character arc in this film, and I think Danai was really good at conveying that.

D: Oh yeah, pretty much everybody brought their A game, which is probably the best tribute they could have made to Chadwick Boseman. If the story had been there but the acting not, it wouldn’t have been nearly as touching.

There are only a few negatives I can give this film. One is that it’s a little long, but then it’s a Marvel so, duh, of course it is. I also think it gets a little bit clunky in the middle while changing between plot lines. These are minor complaints, however, because the acting, story and surprises are more than good enough to get you through.

Oh, and Martin Freeman returns as well, and that’s always a fun treat.

Okay, Tess. Final thoughts?

T: All in all, this movie conveyed a very deep message about life, loss, and love. It also introduced Ironheart, which was pretty cool. And the cut scene is super cool, as it usually is with Marvel movies. This is definitely one of my favorite movies from Phase 4, and I’m excited to see what the MCU has in store. I give it 4.5 slays. It slays the day away!

D: Cool. I agree. I give it 4.5 Daves. It Daves the day away!

T: No.

D: Slays the Dave Away?

T: Just stop.

D: Okay.

MonDAVE on a Friday-y’all know what that means- Another New Marvel Movie Review!

Well, here we go again! Tessa and I have just returned from seeing Marvel’s new movie “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness” which will henceforth be referred to as “Dr. Strange 2” since that is way too long a title to keep typing out.

As usual, our scale is from 1 to 5.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 Daves.
Tessa rates it 4 Y’s. (Y, of course, stands for Yaaaas!)

Tessa, your thoughts.

T: That movie was wild. I feel like I have to go back and watch it again to be able to process everything that happened. Some things were really good and some things were really boring and unnecessary, but I actually thought a lot of the more gory stuff was pretty cool. The CGI was really good, and a lot of the world building they added in was cool too. And you know I love a good Wanda moment, and this movie contained lots of Wanda moments, even if some of her moments are downright concerning (my girl needs to see a therapist).

And now, for the stuff I didn’t like that much. America is amazing and I love her, but they gave her virtually no development or backstory or anything. She deserved way more screen time, and it’s possible she originally had more and those scene got cut, but with the content we got it was hard to root for her when we didn’t know anything about her. It was almost like they didn’t want us to root for her with how little they gave us. And yeah, she’s a side character, but she deserves a more fleshed out story than what she got. She just showed up at the beginning of the movie, and it took very little convincing to get Strange to be on her side, which didn’t make any sense. I get that we as the audience know as much about her as Strange does at the beginning of the movie, but I just wanted to see more. It felt like a missed opportunity, and she’d better show up later so we can learn more about her.

Also, throughout the entire movie I was confused about something or other. The first scene in the entire movie confused me. Bro, I’m still confused. That’s why I say I need to watch it again, because half of it didn’t make any sense. Overall, it’s not as bad as some people say it is, but it isn’t as good as some people say it is. It’s better than just okay, but not amazing, if you know what I mean.

D: I totally get your perspective and I think it’s fair, but I don’t quite agree with your final analysis.

You’re right in that the whole Wanda/Scarlet Witch storyline was very good, Elizabeth Olsen completely owns that role. She’s awesome. Benedict Cumberbatch (best name ever) is also very good in this film. He plays Dr. Strange so effortlessly that it’s easy to forget he’s acting, which is what makes him so good. I liked seeing multiple versions of the same character and the nuances he brought to each. It’s also nice to see a little more humanity creep in behind the very high wall that Strange builds around himself.

As far as the plot being confusing, I think it is a little bit, but purposefully so. I think anything important gets explained fairly well, and what is left open generally is there to add mystery and set up new adventures.

The effects in this movie were incredible too, which one would expect from not only Marvel, but a Sam Raimi directed picture too. As a Raimi fan it was nice for me to see him bring more of his bonkers style to the MCU, especially all the moments that reflected his horror work.

Speaking of, we should let people know that this while this is not a full on horror movie, there are some jump scares, a few tense moments and some scary visuals. I think using the word “gore” is a little strong, but it’s pretty in your face for a PG13 super hero movie. I mean, I thought it was cool, but small children or those who are easily disturbed may want to watch at home with the lights on, or just get a summary from a trusted adult about most of the third act. Again, it’s not super scary (it’s Disney owned after all), but there are a few fantasy/horror moments.

Having said that, I quite enjoyed the thrill ride/roller coaster movie that this turned out to be. It’s got a few flaws, but overall this is a great popcorn flick that helps expand the MCU nicely.

And we both can agree that it kicks “Eternals'” sorry butt.

T: That’s facts.

Thanks for reading everybody. See you soon.

MonDAVE on a Saturday? Must Be A Marvel Movie Review!!!

As is a surprise to absolutely no one who reads this blog, today my daughter Tessa and I went to see the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings”. Following is our official review. Light spoilers may follow, but not anything that will ruin the movie for you.

For those who may not be familiar, our rating systems are as follows: 1 to 5 Daves for me (1 being the worst), and 1 to 5 Y’s for Tessa’s review. Y of course standing for “Yaaasss”!

Tessa: 4.5 Y’s

I really liked this movie! I didn’t really know what the plot of this movie was going into it, just what I had gathered from the trailers, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really love the two main characters, Shang-Chi and Katy, they were a perfect best friend duo and Katy is definitely one of my new favorite MCU characters. There was some breathtaking cinematography and lore, and I’m super excited to see how they relate this to Doctor Strange and the MCU as a whole.

There was some amazing female empowerment and I feel like they really treated the female characters as people that can add to story and not just side characters, something that Marvel has always been good at. There were tons of little things that I enjoyed, like how the characters’ hair doesn’t always look perfect, and how they frequently speak in Mandarin. There’s tons of Asian representation, which I love. And seeing callbacks to old characters from more looked over movies in the universe was really fun, because I got to point at the screen and go ‘I know them!” like Thor does with Hulk in Ragnarok. The little details are another thing that adds to the movie’s awesomeness.

As soon as this gets on Disney+ it will be my new comfort movie, and I can’t wait to see future appearances by these characters in the MCU.

Dave: 5 Daves

I too came into this movie not knowing much about what I was about to see. If anything my expectations were a little low. I was expecting an entertaining action movie with a martial arts twist on the super hero origin story, and for the first half hour or so that’s what I got. That would have been satisfying enough, but as the movie unfolded it became so much more.

While this movie does expand on the “ten rings” mythology explored in Iron Man 2, it does so in a completely unexpected and interesting way. At its heart this movie is about family and the love that can exist even in the most dysfunctional ones (much like Black Widow, now that I think of it). It also shows human vulnerable sides of what could have been the film’s pure evil villain which is always a nice path to take. The action sequences are all well done and when the film blows up into pure fantasy, it does so in a way that is purely breathtaking. Add in a little bit of humor and appearances by a few old characters and we have the perfect, REAL kick off to phase four of the MCU.

I went in fearing I might be underwhelmed but instead was treated to one of the very best movies in the Marvel canon. Go see it. In the theater. It really is that good!

Thanks for reading. Back on Monday with more stuff.

MonDAVE on FRIDAVE-Special Black Widow Edition

So, no surprise, my daughter Tessa and I just got back from seeing Marvel’s “Black Widow” on opening night. Would you expect anything less? So, naturally here is our quick teenager and middle aged MCU geek review/first impressions of the film. Rating system will be the same as our previous Marvel posts, 1-5 Daves, and 1-5 Y’s (or Yaaaas!) MINOR SPOILERS await-tread carefully.

“Black Widow” is set sometime between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War”.

Tessa- I give this movie 5/5 Y’s!

It is definitely one of my favorite MCU movies now! The fight scenes are choreographed incredibly well, and it was very interesting to see elaboration on the Red Room. Yelena is definitely my favorite character in this movie, and Alexei was also a good character. I was kind of upset that he didn’t play a bigger role, since all the advertising made it seem like he would be a very important character, and then he wasn’t. He was kind of unlikeable when we first met him, which wasn’t a good first impression, especially since he didn’t have much of a redemption arc. He was mostly just comic relief.

Same thing with the Taskmaster. She was a looming threat throughout the first half, but once her identity was revealed her power ceased. But her identity was an important thing in Nat’s journey. And the cutscene left me speechless. I definitely want to see more of Nat’s family (especially Yelena) in the future.

And can I just say, I absolutely hate Dreykov. He’s sexist, a terrible person, and he doesn’t know the meaning of personal space. It’s important to have villains that are dislikeable, because it adds to the movie as a whole.

Dave- I rate this movie 4.5/5 Daves. Lots of special effects, exciting fight scenes, shadow governments a few surprises and a look at “family” relationships. What’s not to like?

As expected, we get quite a lot of Natasha’s backstory here, and yes, it does fill in some gaps and further explain what we already knew, but it also shows a little bit more of her private life as a young girl than I thought it would. Some may feel that it’s too little too late-and I went into this film thinking that may be the case as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself fully engaged with the characters, both old and new.

To me, this felt like Marvel’s version of a Bond film (minus all the love scenes), or maybe the Bourne franchise. So it does feel more like a spy movie than your standard super hero movie, but that is a welcome change. It is probably the most violent of all the Marvel films thus far, but when your main character is an assassin what do you expect? There is still quite a bit of humor in the film, though not as much as one may be used to from the Marvel machine.

And Tessa’s right, that after credits cutscene is a really good one (she totally cried!). And was it just me or was there a throwaway Alexi line that hinted at a multiverse or alternate timeline? Maybe I’m overthinking that one…hmmm…

Anyway, we both highly recommend this film. See it in the theater if you can-it was awesome on the big screen.