Ant-Man and the Wasp: Exactly What It Needed to Be

I’ve heard some talk floating around the internet that Marvel’s latest instalment, Ant-Man and the Wasp was “mediocre” following the massive movie event that was Infinity War.

antman and the wasp smaller image

My response to that?

you don't get it

Y’all don’t get it.

Ant-Man and the Wasp was NEVER meant to be Infinity War. The same way the Captain America movies and the Iron Man trilogies are vastly different, it’s like comparing a watermelon to a grape. If you want a watermelon, you watch Infinity War. Neither one is “better” than the other, they are two different stories. You are welcome to have a favorite, but don’t try to compare such different fruits.

 If you want to take on an entire watermelon, go watch Infinity War. If you want some refreshing grapes, go watch Ant-Man and the Wasp. 

Okay, now I’ll back up my argument with something a bit more substantial than fruit. Here are 3 reasons why Ant-Man and the Wasp was exactly what it was supposed to be. *Spoilers ahead*.

1. Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne are still fairly new heroes.

If you’re expecting Scott Lang, Hope Van Dyne, and Hank Pym to be gallivanting around with the other Avengers, guess again. That little trip Scott took to Germany to join #TeamCap was AWESOME, but it really was an anomaly, same for Peter Parker. Scott Lang is still a newbie hero, and while he may be older than our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he’s still developing. And Hope Van Dyne make walk around with great confidence, but we have only had 2 movies to get to know her, she’s still a work in progress as far as the audience is concerned.

I know our Marvel universe has been building up to this climactic, dramatic place where Infinity War is raging, but as a character, Scott is still fairly early into his character arc, as is Hope. If you compare this second instalment to Iron-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (the best Marvel movie to date), and Thor: The Dark World it’s not that far off. Ant-Man and the Wasp are still building up to the place the other heroes have already come to after years of fighting.

This makes sense as newer characters like Peter Parker, Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne ARE the future of Marvel! Once the dust settles on Avengers 4 most of our older heroes will have been killed or hopefully retired. We have to be left with somebody!

I loved the lighter tension of this movie. Infinity War was exhausting to watch. I didn’t mind the fact our villains weren’t bent upon world domination or mass genocide. I loved the fact that Ghost got a redemptive arc. Sometimes you want to see the “bad” person saved. If someone had gotten Thanos turned around centuries ago we wouldn’t be in this stupid mess now.

ghost.gif

Lighter, that leads me to my next point.

2. Ant-Man IS SUPPOSED to be lighthearted and funny!

Something I love about the Ant-Man movies is how down-to-earth and approachable they are! Scott is a cereal and Skittles kind of hero, and I love that. It sets him apart from Thor’s stateliness, Steve’s intense moral compass, Tony’s champagne and AI world. Any elegance or class Scott lacks Hope fills in beautifully as she creates this beautiful gravity to these stories.

I love Luis and co. I LOVEEEE CASSIE! I love the playful creativity and freedom of these movies. In what other Marvel movie would it be completely normal to take out a goon with a massive Hello Kitty pez dispenser.

pez dispenser

Where else do you get to see a giant ant play the drums? In what world can you carry all of your matchbox size vehicles in a lunchbox?

Btw, have you considered the fact that it was literally on someone’s to-do list AT WORK to “go purchase matchbox cars for Ant-Man and the Wasp“? How do I get that job?

I don’t know about you, but I needed every single laugh I got out of this movie. It wasn’t cheap humor. It wasn’t degrading humor. It wasn’t chock full of inappropriate humor. This was the hilariously crazy mixed in with the adorably normal and I loved it. I needed it. 

Laughter is good medicine. Ant-Man and the Wasp was good for my health.

3. The personal stakes were HUGE for these characters.

No, they weren’t trying to prevent a worldwide genocide, but that doesn’t mean this mission didn’t matter.

Can you imagine knowing the love of your life, the beloved mama you lost has been trapped in another realm for 30 years? And after grieving her tragic loss for years, you find out that maybe, just maybe you can ACTUALLY get her out??? That would be fire burning inside of you that you could not quench!

Can you imagine losing your parents violently, and then existing between two realms for your whole life? Being used for horrible things because you are “special”, but ALWAYS being in pain? Knowing you are going to blink out of existence in just a few weeks? Oh! The loneliness, the terror, the torment, the grief!

Can you imagine losing everything, your wife, your child, your freedom, regaining part of that and meeting a partner you want to spend forever with, and then losing it all again? And if you had a third chance? Wouldn’t you put everything you had into keeping that third chance?

This movie was huge when it came to personal stakes. Hank Pym was determined to get back the love his life, his true partner. Good thing, since the number of people who actually like him he can count on one hand. I can’t imagine the pain of being separated from a loved one that way, the agony he must have felt.

Hope wants her mama back. Her family fell apart when her mama disappeared. She lost both parents that night. All sense of security, joy, hope, laughter, gone! I know how it feels when your family is shattered so I can imagine how she feels. Not to mention, she had actually met this guy who is warm, funny, great with kids, and somehow complements her beautifully, and then she lost him too. She’s done losing people, she’s ready to get somebody back for a change!

Scott has worked his rear end off trying to re-establish his life so he can have a future that includes his daughter. I’m not a parent yet, but I know enough to know there are few motivators as strong as the motivators parents have. Plus, he found this amazing woman who he can have as both a superpartner, and a life partner. Yeah, he’s motivated.

This movie was hugely focused on partnership. Hope and Scott, they have a rhythm, a balance as partners. They need each other.

hope and scott

Janet and Hank, they belong together. They are better together.

This movie was about restoration. Restoration of partners. Of families. It was about healing a shattered little girl who had been in pain since her childhood. It was down-to-earth, it was funny, it was wacky and unexpected.

This is EXACTLY the movie I needed after the year I’ve had. EXACTLY the movie I needed after Infinity War. And the folks at Marvel knew that.

I hope you can laugh and enjoy yourself as much as I did. I hope you see the sweet heart and messages of restoration and healing in this movie. I hope you go home lighter.

4. Bonus…this movie is Giant-Man sized in terms of impact for Avengers 4.

The horror of that mid-credits, Infinity War tie-in scene settled in my belly like cold quicksand. The thought of being trapped in the Quantum Realm with literally no one on the outside to help Scott scared the living daylights out of me. Until I thought about it…

…and then I realized. What if Scott is actually the key?

I have a theory, one that I quickly found was shared by other Marvel fans. What if the Quantum Realm could somehow be connected to the Soul Stone where half of the world plus half of our heroes were sent after that dreadful finger-snap? If so, Scott could travel between worlds, perhaps even be the key to free those lost. And since Scott wasn’t one of those “taken”, he can still get out into the real world. Perhaps even bring vital information back to the remaining Avengers and Captain Marvel when she arrives. Every single hero we had left standing at the end of Infinity War serves a very specific purpose.

We haven’t even gotten to the potential possibilities presented by the “time vortex” Janet cautioned Scott against.

This is exciting stuff. Scott has proven himself capable in the Quantum Realm before, and as Marvel has taught us time and time again, nothing is ever insignificant. No hero is too “small”. And everyone has a vital part to play.

So, was Ant-Man and the Wasp mediocre?

Absolutely NOT! It was precisely what the Doctor ordered.

antman and the wasp gif

(Did Dr. Strange see Scott being a key player in the 1 scenario out of billions where they won? I guess we’ll find out next May).

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy:

Civil War: Why the Sokovia Accords Are a Waste of Paper

Civil War: The First Annual Avenger’s Football Game

Civil War: Why Vision Needed to Fail

Wanda Maximoff’s Room: Backstory in Less than 3 Minutes

If you’re a big Ant-Man fan, check out these awesome L-A-N-G tees! I have an entire ASSEMBLE collection, but I definitely need to add in a few heroes such as Hope.

*Available for US and EU buyers!

US TEE

EU TEE

_Hi, I'm Scott._

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Black Panther, Mostly Spoiler-Free Review

Black Panther is unlike any other Marvel movie you have ever seen. It is a story that is in many ways self-contained, fantastical, a fairytale of sorts. And yet, it is grounded in the heart struggles and deep questions that our world has been wrestling with since the dawn of time. Wakanda may not be real, but the battles it fights most certainly are.

I was deeply drawn in to these characters. They are complex, beautiful, mysterious. They are unlike anyone you have ever met before, and yet they seem like familiar friends. They surprise you regularly. The past and the present are entirely intertwined in this story, and that is something the characters themselves struggle with.

T’Challa is a beautiful character. He’s kingly, regal, and a strong warrior. The greatest strength of his character, however, lies in his gentleness and compassion. He makes compassion look like the most macho thing ever, and he uses his power to heal. I could scream at the world with how delighted that message makes me.

Nakia, she’s magnificent. Passionate, constantly in motion, and so strong. You feel the life and the heartbeat in her every look and word. I found her character to be so beautifully balanced, she was T’Challa’s equal, his perfect match. She was beautiful and vital to this story. I especially loved how they highlighted her compassion, something that many women carry but rarely get credit for. Her compassion changed the course of this story as it influenced those around her. Can I get an amen?

Princess Shuri. Hilarious. Lovely. Intelligent. Full of surprises. The dynamic between her and her older brother warmed my heart. Shuri is magnetic, you could see her winning the hearts of nations by just being herself. She’s like the Phineas and Ferb of Wakanda, and she will knock the socks right off of the other “brains” of Marvel.

Okoye. I think she is the character that intrigues me the most. General of Wakanda, their greatest warrior. I wasn’t sure how layered they would make her, I didn’t know if we would stop at just making her a warrior. But she was more than a warrior, she was deep. I felt like she represented an aspect of tradition, and yet it didn’t hold her character hostage. She surprised me with a rare sense of humor, an almost motherly attitude, and my favorite moment in the film involved something most unexpected with her character. She was fully a woman, fully a warrior, fully a Wakandan. Beautiful in every way.

Everett Ross. Well, if Bilbo showed up in Wakanda, this is what would have happened. Martin Freeman has played the same character in everything I have ever seen him in, and not once have I been disappointed. I think Ross was an important aspect of this film. The Wakandans were mostly raised with an air of superiority over the rest of the world, they hold the secrets no one else has. And they’re smug about it. Ross carries himself in this movie with a quiet confidence that remains unshaken, his faithfulness and steadfast courage take the other characters by surprise. He has a job, and he will get it done. I think his presence also did much to change the course of the story.

Erik Killmonger. He’s one of the coldest Marvel villains I have ever come across. He’s so full of hatred and bitter darkness it terrifies you. But he represents the opposite side of the coin from T’Challa. They are meant to be opposites even as they reflect one another, the contrast is there to be a lesson. Killmonger’s story moved you to a place of compassion, even if you abhorred what he became.

I still believe this to be one of the most violent Marvel movies I have seen. This is for two reasons.

(1) The violence is deeply personal. It’s hand to hand combat with sharp weapons. It’s full of betrayal, a life and death struggle for a nation and a set of ideals. Former allies turn on each other, and they do actually kill. This isn’t the Avengers fighting Chatauri, or drones, or Ultron bots. This isn’t even the Avengers fighting each other where the injuries could all be healed. These people KILL each other, and it is heartbreaking.

(2) It’s deeply raw in the emotions, which makes the blades all the sharper. I shook for hours after watching this movie. During the end climax I heard muttering, and looked over to see my mom praying tensely under her breath. It’s so intense you forget it’s not real. She was praying for T’Challa because it’s that intense.

This Marvel movie is so worth it. It takes on some of the hugest issues we are struggling with as a nation, and as a world; beautifully, this movie ends with the truth. It doesn’t deny the pain of past tragedies, you ache with that pain during the entire movie. Pain can move you to hatred, or it can move you to compassion. Both results are shown in brilliant colors in this movie, but we end in the right place.

I am so proud of the people who made this movie. It’s life-changing. It’s honest. It’s heartwarming and funny. And it puts value on the right beliefs. Beliefs that if carried out, will change our world for the better.

Wakanda forever!

*Deeper article to come later.

black panther car scene

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children: Movie Review

I just got back from this film. Definitely a walk on the darker side for me, I don’t typically go for darker fantasy.

Still, I cannot escape my fascination with Asa Butterfield (Jake), and if he is in a film that fits my moral standards, I am going to be there. I love watching him, not only because his eyes are mesmerizing, but there is this quality in his acting that he brings out every single time, in any character. This level of curiosity, concern, and protectiveness. He’s one of a kind.

So is this movie. It was, unique, to say the least. I would not recommend this film to younger viewers (under 13) as it is very dark and violent. Children are in mortal danger and other children have been brutally murdered.

Still, in terms of a creepy movie that won’t ruin your soul and will give you an engaging story, endearing characters, and a comfortable ending, Miss Peregrine will fit the bill.

It’s no great masterpiece of tight plot, but your interest in the characters and their fate will keep you watching this film. All of the children actors were incredible. Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), was fascinating. She was almost musical in her mannerisms, confident in her actions, and vibrant in her style. I enjoyed her thoroughly and wouldn’t mind cosplaying as her.

The scenery was beautiful or horrifying by turns. Every mood was captured appropriately.

The villain was not exactly what I could term terrifying, he was actually on the casual, almost nonchalant side. He was not the most horrifying of the evil things, so, his lightness was okay. It was almost relaxing to have a nonchalant villain who just did his thing and seemed amused with those people in his way.

Some parts of this movie were just plain bizarre, but if you relax and anticipate weirdness, you should enjoy this film.

Here are some more specifics if you want to know whether or not this movie is appropriate for your family. *warning, some spoilers, I will keep my terms as general as possible

Sex/Nudity- One child’s peculiarity is invisibility, whenever they need him to be completely invisible he has to become naked. Naked and invisible, chilly, but not really an issue.

One female character removes her outer clothing, a male character glances away as if unsure, but she is only going down to an undergarment layer the equivalent of a tank top and shorts. The scene is non-sexual and purely practical.

2 sweet and brief kisses between older teenagers.

Violence/Gore- Prepare yourself, this is a long section.

Multiple characters are shown lying dead with their eye sockets empty. The evil creatures need to feed upon the eyeballs of other “peculiars” in order to accomplish something.

A character picks up a bloody object. Another character is found holding an even bloodier object.

Characters are shown dead.

Characters go through something like an electric shock, which leads to a disturbing body transformation.

Monsters are shot with crossbows, or stabbed with objects.

A dead child is kept in a room, his eye sockets empty.

A child has a knife held to their neck to be used as leverage. The child is fine.

One character does lose their eyeballs on screen, this is not a beloved character.

A villain tries to drown a child, the child is shown underneath ice. The child makes it.

A villain tries to freeze another child. That child appears to be dead, but is revived.

A character is grabbed violently through a window and never seen again.

A character who’s “peculiarity” is to animate things to life creates disturbing little toys, toys that then fight each other and “die”. This character does end up using their power to accomplish good and is better by the end of the film.

A large battle between skeletons and monsters takes place.

Language/Profanity- One oh my g**, maybe 2 at the most

crap

Frightening Scenes- It starts out frightening, it is frightening throughout, it is weird, but the ending is comfortably peaceful and happy.

Heroes/Role Models- There are many heroes in this film. Miss Peregrine’s role in life is to protect “her” children. She puts their safety above her own.

Jake is not a heroic figure to begin with, but he grows into an intelligent and strong protector, embracing his destiny. He also enables the other Peculiars to become braver and use their gifts to defeat evil.

Abe has been protector of the Peculiars his whole life.

Talking Points

  • How can we be brave?
  • What does bravery mean?
  • How can we use our gifts and talents to help those around us?

I enjoyed this movie, despite it being outside of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t be opposed to a sequel, but we shall see what happens.

Happy October!

 

 

Star Trek: Beyond- Parental Review

The third installment in the incredibly popular reboot, Star Trek: Beyond was everything I could have hoped for and more.

This movie was the cleanest movie yet and a heck of a lot of fun. A great story paired with great characters, humor, and the clever cunning of the Enterprise crew which has been a delight in every film.

This movie was unique in that the writers switched up character pairings into new sets that we haven’t seen before. This enabled us to get a fresh view of characters in a way that was fantastic. Bones and Spock, people, those scenes were absolute gold.

While I don’t appreciate and endorse every personal choice made by Kirk’s character, I do love  him. My favorite thing about Kirk is how intensely he loves his crew and how he will do anything for them. He has grown a lot in his sense of maturity, there is a heavier gravity to his character in this film than the previous two. But never fear, the traces of the rascal are still there. He’s unorthodox in his methods, and that’s why he’s the best captain Starfleet has.

Spock was delightful in this film. His emotional progression has been steady and engaging for all three movies. I liked him in the first film and I have not stopped. His awkward way of putting things is one of my favorite aspects of these movies. His facial expressions have only gotten better each movie. I do hope he and Uhara eventually tie the knot in this series, I have enjoyed the deep love and maturity of their interaction.

Uhara was the same beautiful, classy, and intelligent woman as always. She is one of the best female characters I have seen on screen. My favorite thing about her is that she is not just her body, she is so beautiful, but that is merely the lovely frame holding her heart, soul, and spirit. I plan to write more on her in the future.

Bones. Oh my word! Bones has always been hilarious with his poor-timed pessimistic lines, but this movie gave him more of a spotlight. It was awesome. He was perfect. I won’t say any more for fear of spoilers, but seriously, Bones was the MVP of this film.

Chekov. Oh Chekov, seeing him was bittersweet given the recent death of the actor, Anton Yelchin. I was happy to see that he did have a more prominent role in this film and got a lot of screen time beside Captain Kirk. No one could know that his death would happen when making this film, but this movie couldn’t have been made in a better way to preserve his memory.

Scotty. Simon Pegg co-wrote this film and you can tell. It has a distinctive flavor that is unique from the previous two, while also being cohesive. Scotty was very sweet and we go to see a new side of his character in his interaction with new alien girl, Jaylah.

Sulu was on top of things as usual. He has guts and focus that make him perfect for his role. He has never been my favorite, but he is a strong asset to the team.

Jayla. I had rather expected her to be a kick-rear, emotionally sterile character that is good in a fight, but not really enjoyable. She was actually much more approachable than I had anticipated. Her character was young and vulnerable, and actually quite funny. I hope that she will be in the next film.

This entire cast is made up of strong men and women characters, and even better, a stronger team who are all pulling for each other. No sacrifice is too much. That relational aspect has been incredible in every one of these new Star Trek films, and it was the thing that held them together during the chaotic events of this movie. The characters of these films have shown both their strengths and their moments of vulnerability. They are well-rounded and engaging.

One of my favorite things in this series, the aspect that really drew me in first, is the colorful visuals. They are stunning! To often space looks boring and black. Sure, planets are colorful, but often space travel seems dull and boring. Star Trek has always been a visual feast that I have enjoyed.

Now, here are the nitty-gritty details to help you decided if this film is suitable for your family.

Sex/Nudity- During Kirk’s Captain’s log entry, he mentions the potential situations arising from having a crew made up of both sexes, leading to a small montage:

You see crew members give each other meaningful looks.

One couple is kissing and walk into a room where they shut the door behind them.

A door opens and a man is shoved out, shirtless. And fully-clothed but indignant alien girl throws his shirt at him in a huff. This montage is very brief.

Kirk is shirtless when washing his face.

A camera angle zooms in on Zulu’s left hand at one point, revealing a wedding ring and a photo of a little girl. During a stop-off at a space station, Zulu goes running up to a man and little girl, his partner and their daughter. They embrace and walk off together with the child. No kisses are exchanged.

Violence/Gore- There is a lot of blasting, explosions, people are sucked out into space, some punching, etc.

The villain’s minions blast people with a green blaster that seems to age and suck the life out of them, leaving them gray and lifeless. You only see a closeup of one person after they have been shot. A main character is threatened with a similar weapon and the edges of his face begin to gray, but he is not killed and is fine.

Two people are hung upside down in a machine that sucks the very life out of them. They scream in torment. The sounds are the most disturbing part.

A  minor character is disintegrated. Later on another character is disintegrated, but it is not horrifying.

Kirk and the villain exchanged blows that leave them bloodied.

A character has a shard of metal stuck in his torso after a bad landing. Another character rips it out and quickly cauterizes the wound while the injured character yells. It’s not graphic.

Language/Profanity- The cleanest one yet. I only heard a few words and only one or two times per word.

kicka**

b*s*a*d

h***

d***

oh my g*d

Two uses of the word horses***. Used for comic relief during a moment when one character is in a lot of pain.

Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking- An alcoholic toast between friends celebrating a birthday, and then later champagne at a party. Everyone drinks responsibly and there are no drunken scenes.

Frightening Scenes- A ship is attacked violently and taken down, people are killed, at least 3 violently, the villains are aggressive and show no remorse, a city is attacked and people are screaming.

Heroes/Role Models- There are great many heroes in this film. As I have said before, the love and teamwork displayed by the crew of the Enterprise is inspiring and beautiful. The characters are willing to make sacrifices to protect those that they love. Each person knows their role and does it well so that the whole team can function. They are brave in the face of long odds, and they are willing to protect the innocent. No one is ever left behind. They are creative and resourceful.

Talking Points

  • Why is being on a team so important?
  • How can we be good team members?
  • Can we be brave for those we love, even if it means we might get hurt?
  • How do we make sure no one is left behind?
  • Are you willing to make sacrifices for those you love?
  • Are you willing to protect those who cannot protect themselves?
  • Where do we find our identity?
  • How can we persevere and find the hope to keep moving forward?
  • What do we do with fear?

I enjoyed this film thoroughly and I look forward to the next one. Good news, Chris Hemsworth has been confirmed to be in it. To what extent, we don’t know yet, but I cannot wait.

I hope this movie enables you to go where you have not gone before and enjoy a fantastic story! Live long and prosper!

*****

Check out my other movie reviews here!

Captain America: Civil War – Parental Review

Finding Dory – Parental Review

Ghostbusters- Parental Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghostbusters- Parental Review

I don’t watch many ghost movies where there are actual ghosts and not just some faker trying to scare everyone. I had never seen the originals, and so unlike many Ghostbusters fans from the past, I was able to see this movie unbiased.

(see the official trailer for Ghostbusters)

I’ll be honest, this is not the film you go to see if you want a tight story, easily followed character progression, and any sense of realism. It’s a far-fetched tale with ghosts, slime, and ridiculously dumb receptionists. One of the most realistic elements of the film was Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) back and forth battle with the Chinese restaurant over the number of wantons in her soup.

Still, I rather expected this going in. I mean, it’s a movie about ghosts where four women are wearing coveralls and zapping paranormal beings with bright shafts of light. You don’t walk into that kind of film expecting realism or a deep message. So, instead I set my expectations accordingly and I ended up enjoying the movie for what it was.

The characters of this movie were actually pretty engaging and funny. Kevin-the-receptionist played by Chris Hemsworth was incredibly delightful. I have only ever seen Chris in more serious roles where he plays a fierce warrior, but I have heard that he is naturally funny. I loved getting to see this goofy and cutesy side of him. He was perfectly adorable and added a nice sparkle to the film. I only wish they had used him more.

The ladies, Erin (Kristen Wiig), Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Patty (Leslie Jones) were each unique and funny in their own way. Their witty banter was cute and engaging. I was annoyed with the amount of cussing and crass language thrown into the dialogue. It was unnatural in how it was fit in, and it felt like a cheap way to be edgier. The characters were funnier when they were just talking about normal things using words safe for all ages.

*I’ll cover this in the language section of my review, but be warned, both Imdb and Common Sense Media failed to cover that subject correctly. We went to the movie after looking at the reviews anticipating far less language than was actually in the film. I have no idea why they did such a poor job covering it as they are usually pretty thorough, but be forewarned especially if you are considering bringing your children.

I know a lot of fans of the original Ghostbusters films were incredibly disappointed with this remake. I can see how they could be disappointed, but like I said before, I have never seen the old ones and was able to enjoy this film unbiased.

Now, here’s the info you’ll need in order to make a decision about whether or not this film is beneficial for you or your family.

Sex/Nudity- There are a few designs that the receptionist has drawn up to be potential logos for the Ghostbuster ladies. He’s drawn a few designs of ghosts with big boobs. The ladies are somewhat embarrassed and explain that is not the image they want to project.

One of the ladies finds Kevin to be very attractive and makes a few, slightly suggestive comments that will probably go over younger viewers’ heads.

Some dancing, either to loosen up before a big speech, or in celebration of a victory. It doesn’t feel overly sensual, it’s mostly goofy, but there will be pelvic movement.

A female mannequin with nothing on is possessed by a ghost and featured prominently for a minute. It’s not a detailed mannequin, but it is clearly female given the chest shapes.

Violence/Gore- The women blast ghosts with bright rays of light and destroy them.

A ghost posses a main character for a time and she attempts to throw another woman out of the window. She is relieved of the ghost after being slapped very hard by her friend.

A man is thrown out of a window by a ghost. It’s obviously implied that he was killed, but nothing is ever shown.

A gruesome story is told at the beginning of the movie about a woman-now-ghost who murdered her servants.

A man commits suicide by electrocuting himself. This is a part of his plan to become a ghost himself.

A woman walks up to a ghost and attempts to communicate with it. The ghost hovers for a time and appears calm, but in a split second turns very violent and spews slime all over the woman. This is a startling scene.

Lots of slime. Lots of screaming.

Language/Profanity- As I said above, this subject was woefully undersold in other parental reviews. Here is a complete list of the amount of profanity in this film, I apologize that I could not get an exact word count, but I can at least every word that you can expect to hear.

B*t*h*s

a**

Many g*d, oh my g*d

p***

At least one use of J*s*s

I think there was at least one use of s***

h***

d**n

One very unnecessary sequence where a man uses a middle finger, on both hands, and flies his hands around like birds in the women’s faces. He is never intended to be a gentleman by any stretch of the imagination, but this scene was so unnecessary and stupid.

Other words would include crap, butt, stick-up-your-butt.

Very unnecessarily crass, to the point that some of the language felt out of character.

Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking- Wine or champagne, one bar scene at the end of the movie where the ladies are having a beer together. This section really isn’t an issue.

Frightening Scenes- It’s a ghost movie, expect this to be frightening for younger viewers. I would have been terrified of this film as a child, especially of the larger ghosts that took the form of giant and evil parade balloons.

*Please, on behalf of your children, don’t assume that they can just handle something or if they are young enough they won’t remember it. My mom was 3 years old when she saw King Kong and she was tormented by that movie for years, it still effects her today. Children pick up on and remember a lot more than many will give them credit for. Keep this in mind when deciding if this film is for your children or not.

Heroes/Role Models- All of the main characters were decent people. They are persevering and brave. The primary motivation for the villain was that he had been bullied and poorly treated his entire life, and now he wanted the world to suffer when he unleashed the murderous paranormal on them. Our main cast of characters have also been poorly treated, but they represented a contrast to the villain in that they fought to protect the world and people, even those who called them fools.

Talking Points- This movie isn’t really message-centric, so there aren’t a ton of talking points presented. Still, here are a few things you could go over with your family.

  • Are ghosts real?
  • Can we blame “society” for the difficulties in our life, or do we take responsibility for our own attitudes.
  • Are you willing to keep doing what you know is right, even if everyone is calling you crazy.
  • Would you protect someone who had been mean to you before?
  • Is revenge the way to solve being hurt? What other options are there?
  • Will you still do the right thing, even if no one will ever know that you did it?

This movie was somewhat outside of my comfort zone in what I typically watch. I enjoyed it for what it was, even through its faults. I hope that this review will enable you to make the best possible decision for you and your family.

 

 

 

Finding Dory – Parental Review

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about Finding Dory going in. I know that’s crazy given Pixar’s incredible track record, but give me a break, Finding Nemo was just so great I had a hard time imagining FInding Dory could live up to it’s predecessor.

And you know what? It didn’t, and that’s why it was perfect.

Pixar was smart enough to recognize that Finding Nemo was beautiful, unique, and could not be replicated. So, they didn’t even try to make a Finding Nemo 2 featuring Dory. Instead, they took the magnificent characters from Nemo and gave Dory a story that was completely her own.

In terms of likability, I think I love Finding Nemo and Finding Dory about the same. I can enjoy them equally because they are two very different movies. I personally found Finding Nemo to be more desperate with higher stakes and rawer emotions. Given that Marlin was the primary character in that film, it makes sense that we would all feel more stress. The idea of a baby fish  being kidnapped and taken across the ocean to be given to a bratty child is pretty scary.

Finding Dory was far less frightening more of the time than Finding Nemo was, but it never failed to hold my interest or keep me engaged. The emotions expressed by the characters were less desperate, but no less real. One aspect that really stood out to me was how they portrayed Dory’s short-term memory loss. Dory is such a cute and cheerful character that we often see her in a comical light, especially her short-term memory loss. After all, she’s Miss “Just Keep Swimming” who never gives up and never loses faith.

Since this was her movie, I think Pixar did a great job of showing what the downsides of memory loss can look like. And truthfully, it was heartbreaking. Dory, through no fault of her own, has had terrible things happen in her life because of her memory loss. She rarely lets herself get down about it, but it does have negative effects. Sometimes, Dory starts to forget something she KNOWS is important, and she begins to panic, knowing that she needs to remember, but can’t. It tears her up to know that she may have forgotten something, or someone she cares about. Dory also expresses fear of being left alone without someone to guide her.

These moments stood out to me and caused me to really put myself in her shoes. How horrible would it be to forget where you came from? Who your parents were? What if you forgot how to get back home?

I walked out of the movie with a greater level of awareness and compassion for people who suffer from memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Their lives have to feel so scary. Memories are such a precious, precious gift that many of us take for granted. I think Finding Dory found a beautiful way to communicate that to children (and adults) in a way that was heartwarming and engaging.

This movie is sheer delight. I laughed so many times. Pixar stayed true to their characters and fully respected all of these fish that we have come to love. Dory is such a sweet and persevering character, she is truly inspiring and a great role model.

The Pixar short Piper is one of, or maybe it IS their finest short film. I laughed so hard and smiled all the way through. It was a purely delightful little story that drew you in immediately and left an impression on the “sand” of your heart.

Sex/Nudity- Warning, this movie is completely full of naked fish. If this will be an issue for your children you may want to wait until they are older. 😉

Violence/Gore- Hardly any. There is one moment of peril involving Marlin, Nemo, and Dory that may upset little viewers (I think I heard a child crying in the theater during that part). You can calm your children by telling them the truth that everything will be okay and that this movie has a happy ending.

Language/Profanity- The word “carp” is used once. Go ahead, chuckle to yourself.

Heroes and Role Models- Dory is a brave and caring fish who has never let her problems get her down. This isn’t only shown in her life, but her positive attitude has rubbed off on those that know and love her. Marlin, while stressing sometimes, is a good friend who wants to do right by Dory. Nemo has matured a lot since his movie, and is a good son to Marlin and a great friend to Dory. Dory manages to rally all of the other primary characters around her through her spunk and perseverance.

Talking Points- There are so many great talking points and discussions that this movie can introduce for your family.

  • Why is it important to persevere and “keep swimming”?
  • How should we treat those that have a problem that can make them difficult to be around sometimes? How can we make their life easier and help them know that they aren’t alone?
  • How can we encourage people to be brave?
  • When we are scared and panicking, how can we calm down and get back on track?
  • How do we overcome obstacles in our life?
  • How do we maintain a positive attitude?
  • How can we learn to think creatively and be resourceful?
  • Why is it important to learn from other peoples’ strengths?

Finding Dory is a lovely movie and another gem put out by Pixar. I highly recommend it for any age group and give it my full approval!

And always remember, just keep swimming.

 

 

Captain America: Civil War – Parental Review

Captain America: Civil War is unlike any other Marvel movie that I have yet seen. It was intensely personal, deeply-thought provoking, and causes you to engage more emotions than any of the previous movies. While it is a roller coaster, it is chock-full of great talking points and discussion starters for your family. For those parents who want a thorough opinion on whether or not this movie is appropriate for their children, I have put together a quick review from the perspective of a pretty cautious movie-watcher. (Warning,  some slight spoilers ahead. I have tried mainly to use vague generalities, but in a few cases I have to be more detailed in order to give full information.)

Sex/Nudity – This section is barely applicable. There is one kiss in this movie that never moves beyond sweet. Scarlet Witch’s costume during a fight scene is low, exposing quite a bit of cleavage. There aren’t many moments when you get a full-on view of her, and the ones that do happen are brief.

Violence/Gore- This movie feels a bit more violent than the previous Cap movies because of the extremely personal nature of the battles. It is friend against friend. One battle is less heart-breaking and more comedic, while the second battle between friends is pretty gut-wrenching. I did not feel that they were unnecessary with the gore or violence in this movie. There are a few moments I would classify as,”gory”. One is short scene where we see man’s disfigured face. There is a scene where a man is bound and suspended upside down above a sink that is slowly filling with water. You see the water cover up his nose before the camera pans away. Another scene where the limp hand of a dead man is shown with blood trailing (a frontal view is shown of the body later on a smaller screen). Be prepared for a lot of smashing, crashing, banging, and bruising. There are a few scenes with some screaming in terror and pain. Also, there is one very highly-upsetting murder shown on a screen where someone has their face bashed twice, killing them. You are shown the entire scene for the emotionally devastating effect of it. It is an emotionally charged moment that might be too much for younger viewers. This scene leads to the final fight between friends that is also deeply upsetting, but it doesn’t end poorly.

Language/Profanity- This movie was lighter in many ways in terms of language. According to imdb there are 5 uses of s***, 2 g**d***, 2 s**of a b****, and 1 a**. I do recall more than one a** than mentioned above. There were also many uses of oh my g** and h*** during intense moments.

Heroes and Role Models- Captain America/Steve Rogers has been an admirable role model from the very beginning. His high moral standards, determination to do the right thing, and stubborn fight for freedom make him a hero for the ages. In this film you get to see another dimension of Steve in that he is faced with many difficult choices that bring him into conflict with some of his best friends. Watching Steve navigate these complex issues is amazing as you see him continue to stand firm in his beliefs, while refusing to give into hate or vengeance.

Tony Stark is a more difficult character to watch in this film, as he too is fighting hard for something that he believes in. However, Tony’s foolish actions in both this movie and his previous appearances in Marvel films have caused a lot of heartache and difficulty. Still, he had the desire to be a hero and do the right thing, making him a heart-wrenching and difficult character in this film. Unlike Steve, he approaches much in this movie with unsteady emotions, and sometimes, a hateful vengeance, either for himself or for others.

Talking Points- There are a lot of great discussion starters in this movie. It is complex plot that shows many angles to one question. Beloved allies become foes, and you see all kinds of reactions based out of many  human insecurities. This movie may be a bit difficult to mentally wade through for younger viewers, but it could also be a great launching pad for some enriching discussion and conversations with their parents.

  • How do you hold yourself accountable? Are you principled enough to hold yourself to a high standard?
  • How do you feel about others holding you accountable to a specific set of standards or beliefs?
  • Can we trust other people to do our thinking for us? Why or why not?
  • Is it a good idea to keep secrets from people we care about?
  • How do we deal with grief?
  • How do we deal with guilt? Do we let the fear of it drive our future actions?
  • What happens when you let a thirst for vengeance drive you? Why could that be a bad thing?
  • What should drive our actions?
  • Can we learn to forgive ourselves while still taking responsibility for our mistakes?
  • What will you do when you are alone in what you believe? How do you stay true to what you know to be right in the face of a majority?
  • Can you have the humility to admit when you have been wrong?
  • How do you treat others who don’t agree with you?

This is a wonderful movie that Marvel should be very proud of. It is a brilliant story, a wonderful set of characters, and introduces many questions that we can all relate to. I highly recommend it to adults, teens, and families who are comfortable with this content. I hope this review can help you determine whether or not it is appropriate for your family.