The Ant-Man Movie We Could Have Had

If I were a generous person, I would give Ant-Man a passing grade for being not that bad. And to be honest, it ended up a lot better than I thought it would. Despite the incredibly awful trailer that made the movie look dark, brooding, and serious, Ant-Man was actually kind of fun and light-hearted. The movie more or less did a really good job with what it had to work with, which admittedly wasn’t a lot. So sure, I could give Ant-Man a passing grade. If I were a generous person.

ant-man with antonyBut I will not be generous with this movie. I am angry with this movie. As someone who has read the comics, I cannot believe the huge disservice Ant-Man does to both Ant-Man and Wasp. I cannot believe that anyone at Marvel actually thought doing this movie the way they did was a good idea. And I also have a hard time believing that this was done for any reason other than that Wasp is a woman. While Ant-Man does a pretty decent job with Hope, Hank and Janet’s daughter—she’s practically the only female character in the movie unless you count the ants—the decisions behind Ant-Man are incredibly misogynistic and bafflingly so. And the movie would be bad enough from that alone, but Ant-Man is also one of the more racist movies I have seen in quite a while.

Spoilers up ahead.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Ant-Man

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.

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On Marvel’s Mega Minds and Missing Women

Marvel’s 2010 crossover storyline Fall of the Hulks, which occurs sort of concurrently with the events of the Siege storyline, details among other things the plot of a cabal of evil, brainy superheroes to kidnap the world’s eight smartest people. The Intelligencia [sic], as they call themselves, arouse the ire of various Hulks in the process, leading to all sorts of hijinks and craziness, as well as the World War Hulk story and its two issue miniseries, Hulked Out Heroes.

hulkpool_deadpool_world_war_hulkTry not to imagine the kind of mindboggling destruction that an entity equal parts Hulk and Deadpool would wreak. Instead, let’s go back and talk about the fact that Marvel has offered up a list of its terrestrial supergeniuses. This is great! I really want to know who the smartest people on Earth-616 are, don’t you? Let’s take a look at who was worth capturing (in no particular order):
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The Avengers

So I just got back from the midnight showing. And it was in 3D too! How awesome is that? Of course, anyone who has been following me will know immediately how I feel about this gimmick and the headache I’m currently experiencing from it. Unfortunately, the 2D showing had sold out by the time I realized tickets were available. Sigh…

So obviously this movie and I are not off to a good start; however, as of late I seem to have a habit of attracting things from the entertainment industry that I loathe in the beginning and love by the end. Just to be clear, what I liked about this movie after the first act was not the 3D. It did not grow on me, and I dare to say it probably never will. I only liked it in the scenes where it conveniently goes away.

So let’s talk about The Avengers! Oh, and, uh, possible spoiler warning.

The Avengers is directed by Joss Whedon, who had received some criticism before the release about whether or not he was capable of working with physically strong male characters well, since he specializes in physically and emotionally strong female characters; however, I would argue that emotional strength is more important than physical in terms of character development, and he has worked with a lot of male characters in the past: Giles, Mal, Angel, to name a few, the last of which being very physically strong. So right away, this was an argument that I brushed aside, and I’m damn glad I did.

He successfully created the means of getting Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America from their single movies into one action-packed film together. This is the movie Marvel’s been building up to for a while now and I personally think it paid off in a way that only Joss Whedon’s sense of humor can. For such a serious movie with so much violence, it had a lot of humor, and none of it seemed misplaced. Tony Stark was as snarky as ever, Steve Rogers didn’t get pop culture references, etc., etc.

So our story begins with Loki and some evil alien overlord plotting together. And from there chaos ensues on Earth. Nick Fury reacts by beginning to assemble everyone onto the Helicarrier, which I’m not going to lie, looked awesome but did little more than that. Well, not entirely true. Half of it got blown up after all.

Although I love Loki, as he is my all-time favorite comic character, I was a little worried that his being the main villain would make his and Thor’s stories outshine the others. The reunion between the two brothers and all their interactions were superb. Tom Hiddleston is an amazing actor. Everything he does with that role, from his cheeky little grins to his cool demeanor are the perfect embodiment of Loki’s character.

While in the comics, which have been going on since the ‘sixties, we don’t see much of their sibling relationship anymore due to the length of the series, with the exception of the newer comics that focused entirely on it until Thor’s probably temporary death. We see a lot more of it here. Despite all the bad things Loki is doing, we never forget that they’re brothers and that Thor misses him.

In a way, the two do overshadow the other actors, but not by much. They all had really great chemistry together. There were some things that I’m not too sure about, however. For instance, when did Tony Stark and Pepper Potts become a couple? I know they had building tension, but I can’t remember whether or not they actually got together in Iron Man 2—of course, this is my cue to go rewatch that movie because I obviously missed something. For another thing, the reveal of Natasha’s past as the Black Widow and how she fell in with Shield didn’t make much sense to me. It was very vague. The conversation she and Loki had about it probably would have made more sense had I followed her in the comics more, but as it is, it’s like two people talking about something they expected the audience to know as well.

My other big concern was that there was no explanation for why the Hulk stopped trying to murder the Avengers. The first time he appears, he tries to kill Natasha, falls from the sky while raging, then shows up at the final fight and is BFFs with everyone. Convenient?

As for Captain America, I know that Steve Rogers reactions to waking up in our time are probably being saved for his next movie, but I still expected more out of it. Yes, his inability to understand cultural references were hilarious and showed how out of place he is, but I didn’t feel as though it was enough.

I did have some other fears going into this movie.

Both the Iron Man movies were much more science based, if still implausible, than both the Captain America and Thor movies. I see the same problem with bringing him in together with them as I do when I think of the possibility of a Justice League movie and Christopher Nolan’s Batman; however, whereas something like Poison Ivy strikes me as damn near impossible in the newer Batman-verse, The Avengers and the want to make the movie have been going on for quite a while, so when watching the Iron Man movies, I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t be willing to accept that he lives in a world with magic, just that it’s not something that easily comes to mind.

Needless to say, I think they did a great job. I’m a little sad that neither Hank Pym nor Janet van Dyne appear. Without Janet or any other female Avenger, Natasha becomes the standard one female member. Yeah, Maria Hill is in this movie, but she’s not an Avenger. And of course, Nick Fury is our token black guy, since Idris Elba apparently didn’t find a way to shoehorn himself into this film. It would have been a much better choice for him than Ghost Rider, at least.

I don’t want to talk about the movie too much more. This is definitely something I recommend. It’s just fun all the way around. Go check it out and get back to me on what you think. Agree, disagree, I’m all ears. I know I’ll be watching it a second time in the near future.