Well, unfortunately, it’s happening: Marvel’s not-so-long awaited Ant-Man movie. Yeah, I’m quite certain that this will be the first addition to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe that I utterly detest.
When I first heard that they were making an Ant-Man movie, I will admit to being excited. I love Hank Pym’s and Janet van Dyne’s characters. Not only are both characters founding members of the Avengers, but Janet has always been one of my favorite superheroes. She’s fun, she’s lovable, and she’s more of a hero than Hank could ever hope to be, and Hank is an abusive asshole who struggles with mental health issues. While, once again, a story relating metal disabilities and illnesses to criminality is problematic in its own regard, I do love that these characters can open up a discussion on both mental health issues and domestic abuse. Because let’s face it, those issues are not discussed as much as they should be. And as I knew that Ant-Man would undoubtedly do well, since it’s riding on the success of the other Marvel movies, I got more excited.
And then I heard about everything Marvel plans on doing in this movie—and that trailer did not revive my dying dreams at all.
I’m not even sure where to begin when it comes to this movie. It’s not even out yet, and I already know it’s going to suck. To start off, let’s talk about Janet’s role in it. Well, it’s… nonexistent. Many of us familiar with Ant-Man’s stories noticed right away that Janet hadn’t been cast, and as time wore on, our hopes that she eventually would be and that we could learn more about her role in the movie dwindled. It turns out that she’s not even going to be in the movie. At all. And if she is, it’ll probably be in an incredibly minor role during a flashback. Indeed, in this movie, Hank Pym is an older man, and Janet died way back in the sixties during a tragic accident. So not only is Janet, one of the founding members of the Avengers and the real hero of any Ant-Man story, not going to be in the movie, she’s going to be fridged off screen to fuel Hank’s manpain.
Though Janet does die in the comics, her death is not to further Hank’s pain, but their daughter’s. Hope van Dyne is also a comic character, but she’s the evil Red Queen. And though I haven’t read the comic in question, I think it’s worth noting that both Hank and Janet are supposed to die in the accident to drive her pain.
Hank Pym is not even the titular character of this movie, so I have no idea why he’s even alive, since he should have died back in the sixties with Janet. I can only assume that the movie felt the need to spare him because Hank is the original Ant-Man, and it wanted to feature him in some capacity while completely writing off his mental issues and abusive history. At this point, I think I would be willing to forgive Ant-Man if it were at least about Hope, because I am far more interested in her than I am Scott Lang.
Scott Lang is our main character this time around, and with Hank as his mentor, he takes on the iconic Ant-Man role. His character arc also looks to be one of the most overused and clichéd arcs imaginable. Scott is our titular cishet white guy who is down on his luck and in a bad place before Hank finds him and turns him into a superhero who commands respect. I have no fucks to give about him.
Another problem with this movie is that everything about it—from its music to its aesthetics—feels so damn serious. Watch that trailer again and pay attention to how serious it takes itself. This movie is literally about a guy who fights crime by shrinking his body and riding a flying ant. The entire concept behind Ant-Man is almost as ridiculous as a talking space raccoon, and a more fun, upbeat tone would probably do wonders to making Ant-Man look marginally enjoyable. Guardians of the Galaxy was not a good movie—its story was rather simple, it followed a cishet white guy like everything else, and altogether we expected more out of it. But at very least it was fun to watch. The movie was incredibly self-aware and it didn’t take itself seriously. If it had, I doubt it would have done so well. I feel as though that kind of tone would suit Ant-Man just as well. In fact, a friend of the Mary Sue, after watching the trailer, added a different soundtrack to it to do just that. And lo and behold, their fan trailer looks and sounds a lot better than the actual trailer:
Ant-Man just looks like it’s going to be an awful, awful movie, and I’ll probably only watch it just because I feel obligated to know what’s going to happen. If Ant-Man were not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would most definitely skip it.