The Hesitation of Ant-Man
Marvel Studio’s latest addition, Ant-Man, came out this weekend. If any of you were like me, especially if you were also a Marvel Comics fan, you were pretty much on the fence with this one about whether or not to see it. This film hasn’t had the smoothest production.
The first issue I had when they announced that they were doing an Ant-Man movie was when they announced that Michael Douglas was going to be playing Dr. Hank Pym. There was probably a collective “huh” that escaped from the Marvel Comic fandom. Not that Micheal Douglas isn’t a great actor, but his presence states a certain age for the character that just didn’t make sense. While we were chewing on that for a bit, Marvel Studios announced that Paul Rudd would be playing Scott Lang and be taking the mantle as Ant-Man, not a surprising move since they clearly aged Dr. Pym, but it didn’t really make sense, still. Another shocker wasn’t so much that there wouldn’t be a Wasp character, but no Janet Van Dyne.
Dr. Hank Pym is one of the original Avengers in the comics. While he did fight alongside his fellow Avengers, Pym was a man of science, and not a soldier. There was many a time that Pym refused to go to battle. He was also a man that preferred to talk things out before using his fist. Unfortunately, the majority of Hank Pym’s stories throughout the comics also include if do not involve his wife Janet Van Dyne, also known as the Wasp. If you are going to create a movie and kind of do the basics of Pym’s life, you would think she would have a pretty large presence in the film somewhere. It became pretty clear that newly hired Evangeline Lily would not be Janet, but they didn’t really reveal her as Pym’s daughter until much later.
So yes, this film didn’t have Janet Van Dyne for us, but it was also the storyline of Avengers: Age of Ultron that caused a lot of concern for Ant-Man. Long before the Age of Ultron movie came out in theaters earlier this summer, we were very aware that Dr. Hank Pym would have no involvement. That to a comic book fan like myself was pretty unfathomable. Ultron has always gone hand in hand with Hank Pym and Tony Stark, but mostly Hank Pym. Ultron was originally a creation for peace, but Ultron turned out to be the very epitome of the sin pride. Every good intention of Tony and Hank went into Ultron. Tony built the technology that would make Ultron powerful enough to stop any if not all obstacles and challenges to protect the Earth. Hank made Ultron intelligent and made him think by creating a way to map his own brain and program it into Ultron as its artificial intelligence. They created him to protect the Earth, but forgot to have him protect humanity. Ultron calculated that Earth’s greatest threat was humanity. The point is that the faults Ultron had made it capable for the Avengers to stop him, was that he had Hank Pym’s faults. Pym and Ultron have always been very connected in every variation in the comics, but we were going to have a movie with Ultron and no Hank Pym.
The Ultron storyline for the second Avengers movie is truly the reason why I was concerned with how the Ant-Man movie was going to work, but you know what? It was Avengers: Age of Ultron that really gave me the reason to give it a chance. I got the mind stone aspect of the Ultron story. It made sense, and most importantly didn’t give Tony Stark power than he never had in the comic books. Tony’s a genius, but there are places in the scientific world that he may understand, but can’t compete. Avengers: Age of Ultron not only made me okay enough to chance the Ant-Man movie, but understand that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is very much its own beast.
What you will expect in Ant-Man is hilarity. It isn’t action focused. The origin story is very reminiscent of Iron Man. The first Iron Man movie had a lot more action scenes due to the nature of Tony’s origin, but it’s the same formula. Paul Rudd and Adam McKay took Edgar Wright’s original script and finished it. These are men known for their comedy, and it is in there. Paul Rudd was pretty much is usual sarcastic self, but Michael Peña was killing me in this movie. This is an actor that I consider a chameleon. Peña has terrified me, made me cry, and made me laugh on a variety of occasions. When he does funny, though, this man is funny. He had me crying.
So yes, this was a very different Marvel movie. One that showed its funny bone as opposed its muscles. It was still a story, it introduced both Scott Lang and Dr. Hank Pym and why they needed each other. It was very refreshing, actually. Marvel Comics have always balanced the emotional spectrum very well, and just as some characters may lean in serious or comedic direction, story arcs or issues can do this as well. I like seeing that the films are leaning on that formula as well. This could be considered the worst Marvel movie so far, but if I ever want to fail at something, this is the way I’d do it.
What Ant-Man also did for me was solidify that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its own, and it will flip, play, and do as it sees fit. There will always be nods to the comics, and in some instances it will follow the heart of the comics if not pull directly from them. This world will do what it wants. It is terrifying, especially when Marvel Studios is gearing up to drop the Civil War story, which clearly has to be very different, since we don’t have many heroes nor any X-Men. It was kind of an all hands on deck storyline. I will just have to wait and see. The other one that terrifies me is the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, because I am a Carol Corps girl. Her character is fantastic to play with. She has been through everything, and is a very serious but fun character. She has so much to offer for a film, but we will just have to wait and see.