The Amazing Ant-Man

The Amazing Ant-Man

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Along with the Agent Carter premiere, we saw our first full trailer for Ant-Man. This film has a lot of people confused. Ant-Man while instrumental in the comics, is not the first superhero that jumps to mind. It also doesn’t help that the last time audiences saw a movie about shrinking, it was called Honey I Shrunk The Kids. So, before I get into what you can expect let me give you a little comic book history.

To date, there have three main Ant-Men.  In chronological order they are Henry (Hank) Pym, Scott Lang, and Eric O’Grady. The movie only features the first two so we’ll focus on them. Hank Pym is a brilliant scientist. He discovered the humbly called Pym Particles which he used to create a shrinking and enlarging formula. Small note, this formula also allowed him to retain his normal strength while small. When he first used it to shrink down, he underestimated it’s power and found himself the size of ant. After a nasty run in with an ant colony, he devised a helmet that would not only let him communicate with ants but control them as well. His path crosses with Janet Van Dyne, whose father was recently murdered. Her father had actually reached out to Hank to help him communicate with alien life. After refusing, this same alien somehow teleported and killed Janet’s father. Hank and Janet set out to avenge her fathers death which they succeed in. Hank gives Janet access to his Pym Particles and turns her into the superhero The Wasp.

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They set out together fighting crime until the have a run in with their future Avengers. After teaming up, Janet comes up with the name The Avengers and thus our heroes our born. This little tidbit usually credits Hank and Janet as the founding members of the Avengers. During their membership, Hank goes through multiple identity changes. First as Giant Man, then Yellow Jacket, then Goliath, at one point the Wasp, and even reverts back to Ant-Man. This change of identities is usually associated with Hank’s mental instability. In fact, his Yellow Jacket persona is usually more of a villain than a hero. His unstable mental state also has serious consequences for his personal life. While Hank is famous for being a genius, he is infamous as an abusive husband. In the original comics it was a running theme that on his darker days he would revert to beating Janet. This is mostly chalked up to his mental instability and while he doesn’t receive a pass on it, he usually isn’t held to full accountability.

At one point, he creates Ultron. An AI based on his own unstable brain patterns. Ultron gains sentience and develops a form of an Oedipus Complex. He develops irrational anger towards his “father” Hank and develops romantic feelings for Janet. Ultron continually upgrades himself to battle the Avengers and since he is at his core a sentient program, he is extremely hard to get rid of. Whenever he is defeated, he simply uploads his base program somewhere else to rebuild and fight another day. In fact, at one point he sends himself into space. There he takes over a techno-organic civilization which he uses to wage war on a sector of the galaxy. Fun fact, because he did this he inadvertently caused the current iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy to form. That’s for a later time though.

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Now Scott Lang is the second Ant-Man. An electrical expert/engineer by trade, he eventually reverts to burglary to support his family. After being caught and serving his time, where he further studied electronics, he later got a job at Stark Industries. He even had a direct hand in installing the security system in the Avengers Mansion. However, after his daughter becomes terminally ill he reverts to burglary to help support her. He breaks into Hank’s lab, steals his Ant-Man suit, and breaks into Cross Technological Enterprises. While there he learns that the only person who can help his daughter is being kept against her will. After freeing her, she goes on to heal his daughter. Scott later approaches Hank to return the suit and turn himself in. However, after seeing why Scott did what he did, Hank encourages him to keep the suit and become the new Ant-Man. Scott does and begins a long and successful career.

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In terms of the movie, it is important to also take not of Hank and Janet’s daughter. They actually had twins but the daughter is more relevant. In an alternate timeline, where a new generation of heroes has risen, Hope Pym is a villain. She sees the new Avengers as an insult to her parents memory and sets out, with her brother, to create the super villain team The Revengers to battle The Avengers. She and her brother also feel slighted since they believe they should be the ones to carry on the Ant-Man legacy.

There is your quick and dirty history of Ant-Man. Let us now journey into the wonderful world of speculation. POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD

The Ant-Man synopsis seems to keep most of the comic book lore intact. Hank is still the original Ant-Man, Scott is still a thief, and Hank still passes on the mantle to Scott. Now it begins to change when we look at Yellow Jacket and Hope Pym. The film Yellow Jacket will actually be Darren Cross, a former protégé of Hank’s who takes over his company. Hope goes by her mothers name, Van Dyne, which could allude to Hank’s terrible treatment of Janet. Here is where the trailer footage comes in.

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In terms of Hope, we see her doing quite a few things. She seems to be training Scott and doing a fair bit of sneaking around. Whether she will be a hero or villain is still up for debate. In terms of Darren Cross, we mostly see him walking around in a business suit and pounding on some glass inside a chamber. So far rumors paint him as just a regular old villain. However, from what I see, Darren’s banging on the glass looks more distressed than angry. My guess, Darren will have been spurned by Hank for whatever reason. This will set him on a destructive path that eventually turns him into the Yellow Jacket after he sees that Hank has a new protégé in Scott. Personally that makes a much more compelling villain than just some evil dude who just views Hank/Scott as rival.

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For Hope, the rumors point to her becoming an iteration of the Wasp. Possibly following in her mother’s footsteps. From the trailer though, she doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of heroic exploits. What I would like to see, is more of an anti-hero Wasp. You see, the first part of the film will be flashback to Hank’s early days as Ant-Man. Here we are also told that we will be seeing Peggy Carter and Howard Stark. There will be some crisis that SHIELD is dealing with and either Ant-Man will show up on his own accord or he will be recruited. One interesting rumor that has been floating around is that this will be the earliest introduction to the idea of the Avengers. It could be proposed by Ant-Man or someone else but this is the main idea people are thinking off.

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In this flashback, it’s also rumored that we will see Janet Van Dyne as the Wasp. One potential way this could go is this flashback could be of her death. I would bet that this would lead to Hank becoming very protective of his technology. Thus when Hope shows interest in picking up her mothers mantle, Hank says no. Hope then goes on to resent her father, even blaming him for Janet’s death. This creates animosity between her and Scott since again, Hank is sharing his legacy with him.

My other hope for this movie is that Marvel won’t flinch away from Hank’s darker side. His darker tendencies toward Janet could also be the source of animosity between him and Hope. It would also give us a unique perspective of a hero we haven’t seen yet. Someone who has made mistakes and done bad things in private but seen as a hero to the public. By including theses darker tendencies, Marvel would also be returning to what makes their characters so great, they have flaws.

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In the comics, Marvel created very human heroes. People that had very real problems. Most notably is Tony Stark and his alcoholism. In a story arc called “Demon in a Bottle” we see the story of Tony’s battle and victory over alcoholism. Most thought that Iron Man 2 would be an adaptation of this story. Regardless, by including Hank’s darker character flaws we would get a very human super hero.

Now that we have covered most of the rumors for Ant-Man, lets take a look at how it changes the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the premiere of Agent Carter we got our introduction to two very important Marvel organizations. The Roxxon Oil Company and Leviathan. Roxxon is essentially a massive company that seeks to make profits by any means. Leviathian is best summarized as a Soviet version of Hydra. You can read more about them on my Agent Carter post. Since we know that Peggy and Howard, who both have big parts in Agent Carter, appear in Ant-Man I think it is safe to assume that there will be crossovers between the two properties. For instance, a situation that brings Peggy, Howard, and Ant-Man into contact could involve either one of these groups. It would also be a convenient way to capitalize on Agent Carter while tying Ant-Man to an already established property.

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The other thing to note is that Ant-Man will not be the creator of Ultron on film. That honor goes to Tony Stark. However, Tony is only resurrecting an “old, dormant peacekeeping program” that he then tinkers with that creates Ultron. Recent leaks revealed that Ultron is actually a Chitauri program found by Stark after the invasion. This seemingly completely removes Hank from the creation of Ultron. However, what would be a nice nod to the comics is that we learn in either film that Tony, at one point, had asked Hank for help in deciphering the program. Wouldn’t take much but adds quite a bit for the fans.

Anways, this post is about Ant-Man not Ultron. I’ll stop there about Ultron and leave the stuff about Vision until the next trailer comes out, which is soon! What should also be noted is while Ant-Man is premiering after Age of Ultron, chronologically it could be happening differently. Some reports state that Ant-Man will either take place during or before the events of Age of Ultron. If it is happening before, you can see where some of these rumors come from.

Well that’s about it. I’ve got a little more to say but at this point we are starting to hit critical mass. I’ll pick up on a lot of these things after the new trailer for Age of Ultron hits so I have some new information for you. Until then, go read some comics.

Peter Orrestad - Jan 8, 2015 | Film Thoughts
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