Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Avengers: Endgame, rated PG-13

Avengers: Endgame, a highly anticipated film, brings to an end the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline that began with 2008’s Iron Man, and has continued now through 22 films and all of those mid and post-credits scenes that we have sat and waited for. The three-hour film will satisfy MCU fans, as it looks back on the previous films and characters, but it does contain some content concerns that you will want to be aware of.
The film is directed by brothers and Emmy winners Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Arrested Development) and written by Emmy winners Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers). While the film had an estimated budget of approximately $400 million, it made a record-setting $350 million in the U.S. opening weekend, and an incredible $1.2 billion worldwide.
2018’s Avengers: Infinity War ended somberly with the formidable villain Thanos, voiced by Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk), finally possessing all of the six Infinity Stones that he had been seeking. Thanos, who says he is Inevitable, then used the power he gained from the stones to snap his fingers and wipe out half of all existence, including superheroes such as Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and many more.
Avengers: Endgame opens with a family picnic scene in which the family of Clint Barton/Hawkeye, played by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Town, The Hurt Locker), suddenly disappears due to the snap. The film then moves forward about three weeks after “the snap”. Continue reading

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Ant-Man and the Wasp, rated PG-13
*** ½

Ant-Man and the Wasp, the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is an exciting, action-packed summer film with plenty of humor. It is the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man. The film is directed by Payton Reed (Ant-Man). It is written by Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Chris McKenna, (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Spider-Man: Homecoming) Erik Sommers (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Spider-Man: Homecoming), Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. Christophe Beck, who composed the music for Ant-Man, again handles the music. The cost of the film was approximately $150 million.
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) returns as ex-con Scott Lang. He is starting his own security business in San Francisco and is under monitored house arrest by FBI agent Jimmy Woo, played by Randall Park, for secretly helping Captain America in Captain America: Civil War. The creator of the Ant-Man suit Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas (Oscar winning producer for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and best actor in Wall Street), and his daughter Hope, played by Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man, The Hobbit, Lost) have gone into hiding from the FBI, and are using an office building as their secret lab.
For thirty years, Pym’s wife Janet, played by three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Dangerous Liaisons, Love Field) has been lost in the Quantum Realm. Hank raised his daughter Hope with the assumption that Janet was dead. But when Scott receives a message from Janet in a dream, there is hope that she is actually alive.
Meanwhile, Scott is trying hard to balance his responsibilities as father to Cassie, played by the adorable Abby Ryder Fortson (Ant-Man), with that of being a super hero. His ex is Maggie, played by Judy Greer (Ant-Man), who is married to Paxton, played by two-time Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (Will & Grace, Boardwalk Empire).
Hope needs a part to complete the tunnel needed to reach Janet. She agrees to buy it from Black Market technology dealer Sonny Burch, played by Emmy nominee Walton Goggins (Justified). But Burch double-crosses her and wants to sell Hank’s lab.  Ava/Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen (Black Mirror), also wants to steal the lab as a cure to relieve her constant pain resulting from a childhood accident.
Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do With It?)  plays Dr. Bill Foster, Hanks’s estranged former S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague. Lang’s “X-Con” security crew team Kurt, played by David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man), Dave, played by T.I. (Ant-Man), and Luis, played by the hilarious Michael Pena (Ant-Man), provide comic relief.
The film is visually appealing, especially with the size changes of the Ant-Man, Wasp and secret lab. This leads to some good laughs as well. There are some exciting car chases, which feature excellent scenes of San Francisco.
A key theme in this film is the importance of family. We see that with Scott and Cassie, and also with Hank, Hope and Janet.
Content concerns include some completely unnecessary adult language, including the abuse of God’s and Jesus’ names, as well as some super-hero violence.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a pretty-much self-contained Marvel film. After the depressing ending of Avengers: Infinity War, I found this film to be a fun and exciting experience.
As with all Marvel films, don’t forget to sit through the ending credits.

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Movie Review ~ Ant-Man

Ant-ManAnt-Man, rated PG-13

The twelfth and latest of the modern Marvel superhero films is directed by Peyton Reed, and it’s a good one. The story begins back in 1989 with Dr. Hank Pym (a young looking Michael Douglas) in a tense meeting with Tony Stark’s dad (John Slattery), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), who will be recognized as “Agent Carter” from Captain America and Agent Carter, and Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan). Dr. Pym, the founder of the company that bears his name, has possession of a red vial containing the Pym particle (a shrinking technology) that he developed, and SHIELD wants it badly.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just out of San Quentin State Prison for his cat-burglar work. His old cellmate Luis (Michael Pena), offers to let him stay at his apartment. Scott doesn’t want to go back in to prison. Instead, he wants to get a real job, so he can have more time with his young daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Cassie and his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer), now live with Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) a policeman. But with Scott’s record he’s finding it hard to find a legitimate job.

Dr. Pym developed an Ant-Man suit that when used with the Pym particle is extremely powerful. But he doesn’t want his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly from Lost), with whom he has a strained relationship, to put it on because of something that had happened years ago. So Hank recruits Scott for a job that will involve putting a stop to Darren Cross (Corey Stoll from House of Cards). Cross is an old protégé of Pym’s, and Hope’s boss. He’s about to make billions on a weaponized “Yellowjacket” suit that uses Pym’s technology. He wants to make an army of Yellowjackets, and his buyer, represented by Carson, is an organization called HYDRA.

We loved this movie. It was creative, fun, and with Paul Rudd and Michael Pena it was also very funny. It does include about a dozen profanities that are certainly not necessary, and the expected violence that Marvel films contain.

Don’t forget to stay through both sets of the credits following the movie.

See this short video of how Downtown Disney is promoting the film with tiny billboards.