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The bad parts of Ant-Man

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Despite its production troubles and the fact that its superhero star is viewed as somewhat of a joke by the casual audience, Ant-Man actually managed to be really good. But despite my enjoyment of it, it still had its problems so what were they? Warning: there will be spoilers so go watch it first. Seriously, it’s good.

 

1. Cross is a bit weak as a villain

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Marvel does love their evil businessmen, don’t they?

The moment Darren Cross appeared on screen, I immediately knew what kind of villain he was going to be. An intelligent businessman-type that presents himself as being perfectly friendly but is also hiding a bit of a man-child demeanor and is only one step away from entering crazy town. And the film delivered on that so no real surprise there.

He’s certainly not one of the worst villains and his performance was decent; he just wasn’t all that interesting nor was he threatening. I never felt worried or tense whenever he was on screen despite being very smart and psychotic; a dangerous mix. I liked how his craziness is implied to be a result of his overexposure to the Pym Particles but they don’t really go anywhere with that – instead of turning him into a tragic figure who let his desire to gain Hank’s respect twist him, he’s just evil bad person who nobody misses when he’s gone.

2. The forced romance

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“I don’t like you.”
“I don’t like you.”
“We’re not going to randomly kiss by the end of this movie, right?”
“Right.”

I was praying throughout the whole movie for Scott and Hope to not get together. It’s all too easy to have the leading male character and the leading female character to suddenly get together just because. However, throughout the entire movie, Scott and Hope didn’t really express any romantic interest with each other, especially at the beginning where Hope is very cold towards him. They have one moment together but it’s more for Scott to make Hope realise that the reason her father picked him to be Ant-Man is because, as a former thief, he’s expendable and Hank doesn’t want to lose his only daughter. I was glad to see that these two weren’t been forced into traditional romance territory.

At least until the end when Hank opens a door and Scott and Hope immediately pull away from each other, having obviously been making out. I just sighed. A very long, very heavy sigh at that. Not only were these two characters shoved into the couple category despite no build-up, the big kiss moment between them happens off-screen. If you’re a writer and you feel your romance sub-plot is so unnecessary that any romantic connection between the parties involved shouldn’t even be on-screen then DON’T DO IT. It feels like Marvel is just ticking a checkbox of all the things they feel they need to have and a romance is one of them. I mean, the Bruce/Natasha romance in Age of Ultron was better handled than this.

I think what angers me the most, though, is how little effort was put in. I’d prefer it if there was no romance but if they really needed it to be there in some capacity, then actually devote to it, develop it, make us believe these characters love each other; don’t treat it like an extra ingredient that you’ve just shoved in there. There’s a reason cooks don’t just chuck a tub of pepper in every meal. Just because it could use it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. The same can be said for this romance.

3. Falcon feels slightly shoehorned in

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“I’m Falcon!”
“Who?”
“I was in the second Captain America movie.”
“Captain America? I love Captain America! So who are you?”
“God damn it.”

While the Marvel movies are all connected to each other, they each feel like they’re their own self-contained story. You don’t need to have watched, say, Captain America in order to understand and enjoy what happens in Thor. They have the occasional passing reference or acknowledgement to each other but that’s usually it. With Ant-Man, though, I hope you’ve watched Winter Soldier, or at the very least know who Falcon is.

There’s a whole scene in the film where Ant-Man has to break into Avengers HQ (which is admittedly awesome) and crosses paths with Falcon, who he has to fight (which is also awesome). My problem, though, is why Falcon? Not only do I feel bad for all the Falcon fans who get to see their favourite character become Ant-Man’s punching bag for a couple of minutes but it also feels a bit shoehorned. Why not just some hired guards; why an Avenger himself?

It’s very cynical of me but I can’t help but think that Marvel thought that if they made it quite clear that Ant-Man was connected to the Avengers in some way, that in turn would make him more popular. Like I said, to the average viewer, and some comic book fans too, Ant-Man is viewed as a joke – someone you can’t take seriously. But oh look here’s one of the Avengers, you know that superhero team you all love. And look, Ant-Man may be a part of them. That makes him cool too so you must love him, right?

I may be overthinking this and this is just all part of the grand plan, but I don’t recall any of the other standalone Marvel movies relying on a character from another movie to make their main star seem more badass.

4. Janet is killed off before the film even starts

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You want some actual Wasp action? Watch The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It’s good. Trust me.

Janet van Dyne AKA The Wasp is one of my favourite comic book characters; a sentiment that many others share. Not only that, but she’s quite pivotal in terms of Marvel as well as in the original comics, she was one of the founding members of the Avengers and even came up with the name. I’d like to remind you that this was in the 60s. A woman? Being an active superhero? In the 60s? Ha, that’s hilarious. Don’t women live in kitchens or something?

Okay, I’m exaggerating but this was kind of a big deal for a lot of people. Which is why it’s so aggravating that she’s killed off before the events of the film. Even more so that the only reason she dies is to serve as the reason for Hank and Hope’s sour relationship. She dies for the sake of plot, which just feels lazy. That, and to also reflect Scott’s own father-daughter troubles and establish a common trait between him and Hank. It’s a parallel, see?

The thing is, though, you could have easily put Janet in the film instead of Hope. Have her be the one to train Scott. Maybe show that her relationship with Hank is struggling due to his emotional instability as a result of him using the suit too much, see him struggling to make up for mistakes he may have made in the past and the ensuing events helping them overcome those struggles and be closer. But no, they just kill her off and put Hope in so Scott can have a love interest.

Now, those of you that watched the movie will now say “But Janet’s not dead, she’s just stuck in the quantum realm.” Well, here’s my retort. The reason she hasn’t technically died is so Marvel can cover their asses and leave it open for Janet to come back. That doesn’t mean she will; it’s just putting wool over our eyes, making us hope for the day it happens which could happen, but just as easily couldn’t happen.

Also, considering that Hope is being set up to be the Wasp in the future (which I am excited to see), why would they bring her back? They already have a Wasp now. We’re not going to get two on screen, especially since Janet has at no point taken on any other superhero identities. The only possibility I see is seeing her in maybe a prequel or flashbacks but I think it’s safe to say the fans would much rather see her in the here and now, battling alongside Ant-Man and the Avengers. Sorry, Marvel, you tried but she may as well be dead, and we’re not happy about it.

Michael is a graduate from Brunel University, where he studied Computer Games Design and Creative Writing. He denies claims that he did it just to give him an excuse to play videogames. He usually has something to say on the latest news in gaming, film and TV, even if no one wants to hear it.

Gaming

The new game from Danganronpa’s developers is being published by Aniplex, a Sony company, but it won’t be coming out on PS5

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The upcoming game from the creators of the Danganronpa series has found a publisher in Sony subsidiary Aniplex. However, it’s worth noting that it won’t be initially released on the PS5. It is highly likely that The Hundred Line: Last Defense Academy will be released on Sony’s system at a later date, just like Master Detective Archives: Rain Code in October. However, the development team is currently focusing on prioritizing the release of their latest title on the Nintendo Switch and PC.

Described as a strategy game, the title allows players to step into the shoes of teenager Takumi Sumino, who resides in the perpetually secure Tokyo Residential Complex. When monsters suddenly unleash chaos upon the town, Takumi finds himself thrust into the Last Defense Academy. His mission? To protect the school alongside 14 other students for a grueling 100 days.

As one would anticipate, alongside the strategic gameplay, it is crucial to foster strong relationships with your comrades. Moreover, the outcome of the game can vary greatly, with a staggering 100 possible endings contingent upon the choices you make. We will reach out to Aniplex to inquire about the possibility of a PS5 port. However, it is important to note that Aniplex operates independently from PlayStation, as it falls under the Sony Music umbrella.

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Geek Culture

NASA’s cool new laser system is being used to send astronauts videos of their pets

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To send and receive messages to and from the International Space Station (ISS), NASA has built the first end-to-end wired system that works both ways. With its 1.2 gigabits per second speed, which is faster than your home internet, it sent pictures and videos of cats, dogs, and even the occasional parrot to the astronauts who are currently on the station.

Space communication is slow for more than just the reason that light moves so slowly. It took over a year to send a few days’ worth of observations from missions like New Horizon, which was the first mission to Pluto. It will be possible for future missions to carry more instruments with better resolution, but that won’t help much if we can’t get the data back to Earth.

Lasers can make the speed at which data is sent much faster. A mission called Psyche is going to look into the metal-rich asteroid with the same name. It has an infrared laser system on board called Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC). Last year, it was shown off from 40 million kilometers away, which is 16 million kilometers (10 million miles).

It took DSOC an extra month and 3 million kilometers to get to the important stuff. Of course, Psyche sent a video of Taters, a cat, chasing a laser dot.

But this only went one way. The video was put on Psyche before it opened. At the moment, there is no quick way to send that much data to a spacecraft so far away.

But the ISS is not like that. The mission operations center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, sent data to ground stations from Texas to Hawaii. The first set of data included pictures and videos of the staff’s pets. At these points, it was changed into infrared laser signals and sent into space.

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As you might expect, the signals weren’t sent straight to the ISS. Instead, they were sent to satellites in geosynchronous orbits 22,000 miles above Earth. From there, everything was sent to a receiver that was temporarily attached to the outside of the ISS. All of those valuable bits were sent back to Earth, showing that the system works both ways.

We are used to information traveling at the speed of light, so this may not seem very impressive, but it was very hard to do technically. Radio waves can only carry so much data at a time. Infrared lasers can carry more data, but delays can cause important data to be lost over these distances, let alone the ones NASA wants to use these systems for in the future. A new “store-and-forward” process was put to the test during the demonstration. This process checks the quality of data and either sends it right away or stores it for later use.

A High-Rate Delay Tolerant Networking (HDTN) system was created so that this could happen four times faster than it could before. Astronauts on the Artemis Mission will need improvements like these so they can connect to the Internet instead of sending their videos in grainy black-and-white like Apollo astronauts did.

NASA’s Kevin Coggins said in a statement, “Not only did they show how these technologies can be an important part of NASA’s future science and exploration missions, but it was also fun for the teams to “imagine” their pets helping with this innovative demonstration.”

We commend NASA for the technology and the things they sent, but we can’t help but feel like they missed a chance. These pets belonged to astronauts Randy Bresnik, Christina Koch, and Kjell Lindgren, as well as to people who work for NASA but have never been to space. We especially like Astrid the Beagle because the breed is linked to scientific progress.

Still, none of these astronauts are on board right now. The current crew must miss their own pets and would have liked a video from whoever is taking care of them. Next, astronauts will face-time with their excited dogs (the cats won’t mind).

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Gaming

The photo mode in Alan Wake 2 on PS5 doesn’t hold many surprises

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Most new games these days have some kind of photography feature, so it’s hard to remember a time before Photo Modes. Some developers don’t think it’s important for players to be able to take pictures right away, so the feature is added later. One great example of this is Alan Wake 2, which now has Photo Mode thanks to a new update that is now available.

If you look at the trailer above, you can see that you can really get creative with your photos by adding cool borders, overlays, and filters. We always like photo modes, where you can move different lights around in the scene. As the video shows, Remedy really lets you use your imagination with the different colors and lighting props.

 

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