It’s All About Quantums (Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp Review, 2018)

(Spoilers for the films “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp”. If you have not seen these films, but are going to watch – do not read the text further)

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

A couple of days ago, we went with Lera to the late screening of Ant-Man and the Wasp, a sequel to the many years of the Avengers movie series, which began with an experimental film about a minor comic book hero with a movie star released in circulation (Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr.) and in ten years has become the most ambitious and at the same time diverse comic book adaptation, with its own recognizable style, humor and soul.

We love Marvel, everyone loves Marvel.

“The Avengers” is the new “Star Wars”, only cooler, more relevant and more interesting.

A modern fairy tale – perhaps not so deeply based on traditional archetypes as “New Hope”, and not trying to become a mono-myth – but an entertainment of an almost ideal formula, in which everyone will find something close to themselves.

Ant-Man and the Wasp Movie Poster

For example, the traits of science fiction. I like how the Marvel Cinematic Universe turns from a moderately realistic fantasy (“Iron Man”, “Age of Ultron”) into a fabulous techno-fantasy (“Thor”, “The Dark World”), then into a conventional cosmo-opera (“Guardians Galaxies “) and finally into futuristic science fiction (” Black Panther “,” Infinity War “). It is very interesting to watch how the technologies used by the characters (in particular, the main innovator and Elon Musk of the universe – Tony Stark) evolve from film to film. In the first film, he was assembling a clumsy armored suit on a makeshift nuclear reactor in a cave of the Afghan Taliban, and during his last appearance he already uses an exoskeleton on nano-particles that create armor and weapons from literally nothing. In any other movie it would look like nonsense, special effects for the sake of special effects, but in The Avengers for some reason you believe it (even though in reality all these things would require an insane amount of energy – the reason why you have to every day to charge your phone, which is more powerful than the computers with which the Americans sent a man to the moon 45 years ago).

(Iron Man’s armor is now self-programming nano-material and grows directly onto clothing. Still from Avengers: Infinity War)

Or Black Panther technology. The very idea of an isolated from the whole world and incredibly prosperous country with its own culture, which in technological development has bypassed all other countries, is not at all realistic, but all these remote-controlled aircraft, “sand” holography and the costume of the King of Wakanda that absorbs kinetic energy … why not and not to exist for such meta-stuff? Energy absorption looks like a less difficult task than, for example, optical invisibility.

(T’Challa, King of the fictional African state of Wakanda. Still from Avengers: Infinity War)
A poster for the sci-fi TV series Fringe.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is even more focused on technology than past films in the series.

Despite the general superficiality of the story and the ease of the plot, today it is as close as possible to “hard” science fiction Marvel film. Not perfect at all, full of assumptions and blunders that would make Stephen Hawking himself put his hand to his face, full of scientific nonsense and using some terms incorrectly – but amazingly done. You can see the very idea of ​​the writers – to tell a story about scientists trying to push the boundaries of the possible, to go beyond reality … one – to save his wife, whom he lost 30 years ago in quantum reality, the other – to help a girl whose body particles randomly turn into a wave state and vice versa, because of which it can pass through walls, but cannot touch anyone. (And this is a cool idea, somewhat reminiscent of one of the episodes of the series “Fringe”).

It’s great that in this film the writers chose to invoke quantum physics to explain the plot twists and make it a little more believable. Quantum physics is an amazing thing about which we do not understand as much as we would like. To put it simply, for some reason the entire Universe, from protons and electrons to clusters of galaxies, works according to the same principle (space-time link, gravity and limitation by the speed of light, etc., etc.), then anything smaller than an atom – quanta – works in a completely different way. If you connect two quanta with each other and separate them at any distance, and then change the property of one, then the property of the second will change too, and instantly. This is called quantum entanglement or “quantum teleportation”; now scientists from the United States and China are working on the creation of information networks based on this technology. However, in the film, quantum entanglement is played out in a completely different way, more poetically.

Speaking of quantum entanglement, by the way.

I think I figured out how Thanos destroyed half of the universe at the end of Infinity War. With one click of his finger, he connected the quantums of half of living beings with random quanta (or some specific ones – for example, inside one of the Infinity Stones, for example, the Soul Stone) – and destroyed them. The quanta are the bricks of reality itself, the bits and bytes of the “Matrix”, the source code of the system, the very foundation – you can’t go deeper. Therefore, if Thanos wanted to gain god-like power and bring order to the universe, then it certainly could not do without quantum magic.

(Thanos destroys the satellite of the planet and brings it down on the heroes. A scene from the movie “Avengers: Infinity War”)

It’s incredibly interesting how the surviving heroes will try to fix everything in the next movie. Maybe someone (Bruce Banner, for example) will find a way to track down all the modified, entangled particles and “flip the switch” again. Maybe someone else (for example, Ant-Man – I’m sure he was not touched by the disintegration of Thanos precisely because he was in another reality; and the Ghost should also remain intact – with its frequency-wave nature) in the quantum world will find a way to resurrect heroes – or stumble upon a black hole (there must be many microscopic black holes in the quantum foam), which will push him into some other reality or time … is time travel possible in the Marvel world? In the movie about Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch’s character used a time-loop trick that loops back time in the event of his death to defeat a creature from another layer of reality that threatened the Earth. It seems to me that the classic tricks of the films “Back to the Future” and “Terminator 2” will not be used by Marvel writers, and we will see a more interesting interpretation of the changes in events that have already happened. Or something else. Time travel is a hackneyed topic in popular culture, and besides, it is not very realistic.

But building theories is the tenth thing. The collective intelligence of the Internet, this natural neural network, snatching any spoiler from every leak, forcing scriptwriters and film actors to do unnecessary work, only so that someone on Reddit does not present the entire plot and important twists, elicited at some press screening under the NDA. .. information noise overwhelms us, endless notifications, reminders, calls and messages, social media feeds and videos of video services have taught us to stop being surprised. All the stories in the world are told, the plots are hackneyed and repeated from time to time – even religions and myths of different cultures borrow from each other.

The plot of the latest, eighth season of the fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones is one of the most closely guarded secrets of media production.

… The hall was half full, and to our left, a young mother left her little son with popcorn and cola, who throughout the film was very funny and loudly surprised by what was happening on the screen. “Wow, how they all shrunk! This is a machine! And he thought he was an ant!” I tried to put myself in the shoes of this boy and thought how universal is mass art, built according to a verified, but constantly improving and changing formula. For some, this film is about abruptly shrinking and growing men, saddling ants and fighting clumsy bandits, for some – a simple and funny story about people who went to great lengths to help their loved ones, for some – just a very spectacular, albeit implausible, illustration of bold pseudoscientific concepts, where a brave scientist in a futuristic ship is almost eaten by a tardigrade (mm, Isaac Asimov’s “Fantastic Journey”!), and then he comes out in a surreal space, similar to the glitchy game No Man’s Sky , only without stoned dinosaurs, – and takes off his helmet, before looking for a beloved, who knows what hell has been doing for thirty years in a world where the atoms we are used to should be the size of a star.

But still, this does not negate the fact that after Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar I wanted to learn more about black holes and the relationship between space-time and gravity, and now, after Ant-Man and the Wasp, I want to delve into quantum physics to understand exactly how space works at the source level.

And yet – there is hope that someday we will see a revival of truly serious and cool science fiction, involving quantum physics, without comic convention and based on solid scientific facts, like Interstellar, for example. It was also rather arbitrary (why should earthlings look for a new home on the planet in a star system with a black hole, if the black hole will sooner or later absorb both the star and its stars? Besides, on this planet in reality we could not wait the new season of “Game of Thrones” in five minutes – to feel the effect of time acceleration, you need to be much closer to the accretion disk of a black hole – etc., etc., Neil de Grasse Tyson wrote about this better on Twitter), – but nonetheless.

What should be the ideal sci-fi movie? Thunderous and realistic like Gravity, smart and lyrical like Interstellar, beautiful and mesmerizing like Avatar, atmospheric and ambiguous like 2001 A Space Odyssey, with a shocking final twist like in the films. ” Pandorum “, frightening to the shivers, like” Alien “and” Through the Horizon “, moderately puzzling and funny like” Rick and Morty “, not as idiotic as” Prometheus “and” Alien: Covenant “(God, how am I I hate these movies).

(Still from the movie “Interstellar”)

Oh, and there should be Tommy Wiseau in the role of the chief cosmonaut, too.
That’s all I wanted to say.


Quantum Is The New Black

Pseudo-scientific, of course, but fun, exciting, and inventive. Another great entertainment movie in the Marvel lineup.