Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Ant-Man and the Wasp Aims Small but Hits Big

In superhero movies, saving the world has become the equivalent of drinking cough syrup: excruciating, repetitive, ultimately necessary and, dare I say, boring? On one hand, there is no better way to raise stakes or unify disparate groups of people; when the fate of the world is at risk, even major ideological differences can be pushed aside for the sake of ensuring survival. But if this trope is repeated too many times, that sense of urgency can quickly give way to leisure. When the stakes are repeatedly raised, the risks feel disingenuine and deceitful, because the on-screen peace and/or carnage we know will ultimately be reversed in the future. Peyton Reed was surely aware this fatigue as he directed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s third film of 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Bites Off More Than It Can Chew

To appropriate Ian Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) famous line from 1993’s Jurassic Park, Universal Studios’ executives were so preoccupied with whether or not they could make a sequel series to Steven Spielberg’s hit dino film that they never stopped to think about whether they should have. Yet in Hollywood, when there are more explanations for why a film bombs at the box office than why it exists in the first place, even a sacred fossil like the Jurassic Park franchise is not allowed a graceful passing. In 2015, the nostalgic yet predictable Jurassic World was released, and roaring into screens three years later is Fallen Kingdom. Thanks to director J.A. Bayona’s chilling oversight (if there was ever to be a horror movie with dinos to be made, this would be the one) and a fresh setting to ground the monstrous conflict (the saga has finally moved on from malfunctioning theme parks and their clueless supervisors), this sequel is a marked improvement over its predecessor. However, like its featured hybrid dinosaur the Indoraptor, Fallen Kingdom’s 128 minute runtime is unevenly split amongst the goals it sets out to achieve, and its attempts at complexity and multi-layering come off as convoluted.

Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

It’s Incredible Too

The Incredibles came out on November 5, 2004 — I was six. Since that date I have started and finished elementary, middle and high school and gone away to college. Last Thursday, though, I, in a theater full of adults, was six again with just one big, red letter “i.” I was Ego finally tasting Ratatouille’s titular dish. Every layer of maturity I thought would float me above the draw of a 14-year-old animated movie’s sequel was shattered the instant that iconic “da da DA da daaaah” filled the theater. I was nostalgically excited when Star Wars came back, but that excitement’s become the cause of fatigue.

Courtesy of LucasFilm

Solo: An Unnecessary Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story’s production was so troubled, it is a miracle that the film even got made. Announced in 2015 to lukewarm reception from fans who believed that any attempt at explaining the smuggler’s backstory would do injustice to the character’s enigma, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were announced as directors but were fired after filming nearly two-thirds of the movie, citing “creative differences” with Lucasfilm. Ron Howard was quickly brought on and, in under eleven months, re-shot almost 70 percent of the film and miraculously finished it in time for its May release date. Yet perhaps this unconventional path to the big screen is fitting for a character like Han Solo; a rebel before Jyn Erso could utter the word in Rogue One, he was never known to follow the rules and had a knack for getting himself into tight situations before escaping or finding success in the end. Sadly, despite Solo’s underdog status, it is never quite able to beat the odds stacked against it.

Courtesy of Right Hand

Top 10 Albums By Gov Ball 2018 Artists

This year, I am proud to say that The Sun will be covering Gov Ball 2018. Check out our list of favorite albums by this year’s performers:

 

1. Khalid — American Teen

Khalid’s debut album American Teen is vibrant and portrays the beauty of youth and hope. On the album, Khalid speaks from the heart about his life. He discusses love and relationships, experimenting with drugs, parents, parties and establishing himself in an uncertain society (all common daily thoughts and experiences of the American teen).

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SWAN | This Should Be a Given

Last week, Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music. This was the first time that a non-classical, non-jazz work was awarded the prize. I love Kendrick Lamar and I thoroughly enjoy Damn., but nevertheless, my reactions to this decision are mixed. Not, of course, about whether Kendrick Lamar’s work is deserving of such acclaim; indeed, the musical complexity and poetic mastery present on Damn., as well as earlier albums like To Pimp a Butterfly, warrant the utmost critical respect.

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COLLINS | Isn’t That Kind of the Point?

Graduation draws nearer every day. With the end in sight, I completed a millennial rite of passage and finished watching The Office. (I skipped swathes of the middle seasons, but we’ll conveniently forget that for now.) The last few episodes contained many anticipated surprises. Michael Scott returned right in time for Angela and Dwight’s wedding. So did Kelly Kapoor and Ryan Howard, who completed their long careers of making audiences squirm by running away and leaving Ryan’s baby in the care of Kelly’s unsuspecting husband, Ravi.

Courtesy of Dreamville

TEST SPIN | J. Cole – KOD

“KOD. 3 meanings. Kids on Drugs
King Overdosed
Kill Our Demons
The rest of the album I leave to your interpretation.”

J. Cole tweeted this on April 19 prior to releasing his new album, KOD. The rapper’s fifth LP features 12 songs, all of which fuse to tell a succinct story about what I believe is the culmination of addiction and pain through technology in 2018. What is most interesting about KOD is that it is an exploration of many types of relevant pain in 2018.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Not-So-Marvelous LGBTQ+ Representation

Anyone who knows me knows me to be a huge Marvel fan, and knows that in the past few weeks I have not stopped talking about Avengers: Infinity War. And while I’ve been marveling at how far the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come in terms of character development and universe-building in the past ten years, I also can’t stop thinking about the one thing they’ve made very little progress on: LGBTQ+ representation. To give it some context, in May of 2008, Iron Man brought about the beginning of what we know today as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In November of the same year, California passed Proposition 8, which reinstated the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Here we are, ten years later in 2018.

Courtesy of Amisk Ace Entertainment

Mind Game at Cornell Cinema: A Wild Ride

This week, I had the privilege of being invited by Cornell Cinema to preview the film Mind Game, which will be screening this Friday and Saturday. Mind Game is a Japanese movie from 2004, directed by Masaaki Yuasa and Kôji Morimoto. It’s received critical praise from festivals around the world, but has seen limited release to general viewers. Over the past couple years, though, it’s finally been filtering into theaters, so the chance to see it here at Cornell is truly a rare experience. And what an experience it is!