Ant-Man: Does Size Matter in the Marvel Universe?

 

Spoilers Ahead!

First appearance of the Ant-Man, Tales to Astonish (1959) #27

First appearance of the Ant-Man, Tales to Astonish (1959) #27

Wonder Gal - Now that the dust has settled, what did you think?

Clark Justice - I still loved it. I want to see it again.

WG - Wow. I guess I wasn't the right audience for the movie. The audience around me had fun, but I felt it was a guy's buddy comedy, which is not my usual liking.

CJ - It was totally a heist movie — "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Spiderman"!

WG - That fits. But, I still can't believe they made this movie. An ant-man is too much of a stretch for me, and that says something since I loved "Thor" — a movie about a god. And ants are NOT sexy.

CJ - But a superhero movie with a talking raccoon and plant isn’t a stretch?

WG - Ok, you got me there. But that's in outer space. More leeway is allowed in space.

CJ - True, but it is still hard to sell to the general audience.

WG - And yet both audiences and critics liked "Guardians of the Galaxy" better than "Ant-Man."

CJ - Audiences are more inclined to like something that has a sci-fi feel to it. I think they had to make this movie far fetched. How do you portray a man turning to a ant-sized superhero? Make a joke out of it. Which is what they did.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #27

Tales to Astonish (1959) #27

WG - I think they left a lot of possibilities off the table. Outside of the first time he shrinks — which was the best part of the movie — there was nothing magical. But that first shrinking scene looked awesome. The special effects of scale were spot on.

The best effects were the almost stop-motion lines around the shrinking man. Those came right out the comics and looked great.

CJ - I loved that sequence too. They were part of Edgar Wright's original concept for the film. I would have liked to have seen more, but I think they tried to keep it from falling into that "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" feel. 

WG - Too bad Wright left the project for "creative differences." Multiple writers and directors give any project an uneven feel. "Ant-Man" certainly suffers from this. I have a feeling they cut some plot scenes, and then the bits they filled in turned it into a buddy/comedy flick — the part Paul Rudd helped write. 

CJ - I do feel that there were some cut scenes that were definitely needed. Like how did the Yellowjacket particles affect Darren Cross' mind, making him go crazy?

WG - Thank you! Exactly. I was left wondering the same thing. 

CJ - If "Ant-Man" went hardcore action and seriousness it wouldn't have played well with the general audience. They went this route to help bring in more people. And I was OK with it.

WG - If Marvel really wanted to bring in more people, they would have had Dr. Pym’s daughter, Hope, suit up as the Wasp. Make it a duo like Captain America and Black Widow in "Captain America: The Winter Solider."

CJ - One bug superhero is a stretch to begin with. And what do you do with the sequel if you add Wasp in this one? 

WG - "Ant-Man 2" isn't even scheduled. Kevin Feige (president of Marvel Studios) says the Wasp will show up but won't say when. If Marvel wants to keep women in the audiences, they really need to pay attention to how women are portrayed.

Instead, we have to wait until the end-credit scene, when Dr. Pym finally gives Hope the Wasp suit. To quote Hope, “It’s about damn time.” Such a copout.

CJ - It was. Like Terrance Howard in "Iron Man" saying, "Next time, baby,” as he looks at the chrome Iron Man suit.

WG - Hope has all the skills needed, but Pym — who scared of losing his daughter the same way he lost his wife — refuses to let her suit up. I have to say, the whole, “I love you, so I'm protecting you,” trope is so overdone.

CJ - It is. You are making very valid points.

WG - Then at the end, like as if magic happens, Pym gives her permission. Which really hammers in the idea that women need to be protected and given permission. 

CJ - Well, Captain Marvel won't need permission — or Wonder Woman for that matter. 

WG - Unfortunately, "Wonder Woman" isn’t scheduled until 2018 and "Captain Marvel" doesn't arrive until 2018.

The Falcon, Captain America: Winter Soldier

The Falcon, Captain America: Winter Soldier

So, changing subjects. What do you think about having the Falcon in the movie?

CJ - Love it. I thought it gave us a clear tie into "Civil War," and it allowed Ant-Man to have someone real to fight against before he fought Yellowjacket. However, Ant-Man did have a little too much of a leg-up. I would have liked to seen him loose the matchup or be a bit weaker.

WG - I get your point on having Ant-Man have a first fight. But there is no way, in four days, he went from being a complete hero novice to besting Falcon. My problem was that it didn't feel organic at all. I can't even remember why Ant-Man went on this mini-mission. And do we really need such blatant tie-ins? It would have been more thrilling to have the end-credit scene as the only tie-in we need. Like when Nick Fury popped up in the first "Iron Man."

The movie just lacked subtlety.

CJ - I'm not saying the movie didn't have faults. It did. Not much disposition with the villain turning evil. Making Ant-Man too strong against Falcon. Cliché with the storyline of Ant-Man and Wasp falling in love…

WG - And the kissing... Really? So outta the blue. Keep yer pants on until "Ant-Man 2."

CJ - Yeah, that didn't need to happen.

WG - One thing, I think it would have been neat to see: After Scott came back from the quantum level of molecules, if a bit of time had passed. Not a lot, but just a little, so if/when we do meet Hope’s mom, it make sense when she is younger. That would have been a better foreshadowing to "Ant-Man 2," rather than Dr. Pym absent mindedly muttering if it was possible to bring his wife back.

CJ - True. They could have done that. They did say that time doesn't exist in the quantum level. 

The movie was just fun to me. It had a very simple plot and it was very grounded with Scott trying to find redemption with his daughter, Cassie. I didn't need an over-the-top tech-y plot.

WG - I like that they chose to focus on the second Ant-Man, Scott. Cassie Lang eventually follows in her father’s footsteps. Maybe in a decade or so, we will see the Young Avengers on the screen.

CJ - So what did you like about the movie? I hear a lot of negative stuff.

WG - Honestly, I didn't really care for it. However, when I started watching it more objectively, trying see if from the point of the audience around me, I can see how it was a fun movie. With Marvel’s multi-phase plan of movies, you can't keep churning out movies with the same style. 

But for me, it was way too full of holes.

CJ - Ant holes?

WG - LOL

CJ - If this was Marvel’s only film this summer then I might have been disappointed as a fan.

WG - It will be interesting to see how the "Fantastic 4" fits in, style wise.

CJ - I think it will be along the Avengers style. 

WG - Hopefully, they can finally breathe some life into that series. Though, I always found Reed Richards a drip.

CJ - I'm scared of it, honestly. Just like I was of "Ant-Man."

WG - Well, I'm glad you enjoyed "Ant-Man."

CJ - I'm glad you found it mildly amusing. 

WG - Ant-sized.


Final Ratings

Wonder Gal

Plot issues, a lack of the magical feel of comics come to life, and the over-used reasons to keep a woman from joining the team, ultimately kept "Ant-Man" from being a hit for me.

Update: The Fantastic Four reminded how bad a superhero move can be. I've upgraded my review to a Pow- from an Ouch.

 

Clark Justice

Ant-man proves that great things come in small packages.

It falls into some of the same issues with villain development and plot holes, but it is a great new approach at a launch of a new superhero to the MCU. It definitely does a great job at appealing to the general audience.