Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Weekend Watch: ‘The First Purge’ No Match for ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly)

*There’s no contest when it comes to this weekend’s box office take between “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “The First Purge”—monetarily or in substance. Few films can match the popularity of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Definitely not one of my favorites, but the ever shrinking and expanding bugs have endeared themselves to audiences. The superhero, no less, is a criminal.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is serving his second year of house arrest when he is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), with the assistance of Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) the Wasp, to find wife and mother Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). Along the way they are confronted by villains, engage in fierce combats and take part in rubber burning car races.

Directed by Peyton Reed, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, and Judy Greer are also on the payroll of “Ant-Man.”

The First Purge

Having been a fan of the prior “Purges,” I find “The First Page” to be reprehensible. The premise of “The Purge” pictures is that for 12 hours every year citizens have the right to commit murder and any other atrocity without being prosecuted by the law. The government’s sanction of all crimes speaks volumes to the times we are living in.

(L-r) Lex Scott Davis and Joivan Wade fear for their lives in ‘The First Purge.’

“The First Purge” takes place in the projects and a poverty stricken black community on Staten Island. Those who stay during the Purge are rewarded financially and get a bonus for every kill. What better way to decimate a black community than approved black on black crimes? As if the calculated carnage isn’t enough in “The First Purge,” drug dealers are glorified.

Ironically, Lex Scott Davis (Nya) has a thing for drug dealers. In “Superfly,” her bi-sexual character shares drug dealer Priest (Trevor Jackson) with another woman. In “The First Purge,” Nya’s boyfriend is drug dealer Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), who is lauded as a hero. It is not surprising that within the last month two films extolling drug dealers—that are no better than the KKK—have emerged.

Directed by Gerard McMurray, “The First Purge” also stars Marisa Tomei, Joivan Wade, Rotimi Paul, and Luna Lauren Velez.

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