SIZE DOENS’T MATTER
A few months back when I did my Road To Infinity War DVD marathon my readers may have been surprised I ranked Ant-Man fourth out of the eighteen MCU movies released. There were a few factors that led to this decision. Like all MCU movies its easy to say its far from perfect, but it gets a lot right.
I know people dislike origin movies, they even hate the term ‘origin movie’. But I thought that was what made Ant-Man refreshing. We hadn’t had an MCU origin movie since Captain America The First Avenger. I’m not counting the first Guardians movie as that was a team flick. So amongst all the sequels it felt different. Sure it followed the same blueprint set out by Iron Man, but it made it its own by giving it the heist vibe. Despite having one of the best comedic actors in Paul Rudd it never pushed the jokes too far like in GOTG 2 or Thor Ragnarok. Basically all this is me saying I was excited to be going to see Ant-Man and The Wasp. After the first movie they left a lot to play with going forward and its interesting that it takes place before Infinity War. It’s kind of in a place that time forgot now!
In the MCU we have had a movie called Civil War that bore no resemblance to its comic book counterpart. We have had movies inspired by comic book story lines and we have had instances of slight changes being made to the comic book characters to better suit the MCU. Some of these changes have been met with scorn whilst the majority of them have been accepted as people view the movies as a separate entity. The first Ant-Man movie went the furthest in making changes and yet it made it work and was accepted. I mean they aren’t drastic changes they are more creative choices. When I think of Ant-Man I think of Hank Pym. When I think of Wasp I think of Janet Van Dyne. My biggest exposure to these two characters is Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s brilliant Ultimates. Of course choosing the Scott Lang version allowed for the heist angle. So I wouldn’t say using him was a brave choice, the MCU have done pretty well without my input. By having Michael Douglas portray an older Hank Pym it created a grander universe not just for the Ant-Man persona but also the larger MCU. I have to confess to having no prior knowledge of Hope Van Dyne/Pym before seeing Ant-Man.
Having her in the movie allowed for a different angle as Disney were never going to give us wife beater Hank. Instead they gave us a distant Father with an absent Mother. His bad temper was explained away as over exposure of Pym particles. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a more than competent sequel. Not quiet Winter Soldier levels of good but better than Thor The Dark World or Iron Man 2. It is a simple formula really. All you have to do is double up on the all the things that made the first movie a success and tell a decent entertaining story. Obviously we had some cues from the first movie as to the direction this one would take. Also we had the fall out of Civil War dictating elements of the story. It actually does a great job as acting as a piece of connective tissue for the MCU without detracting from its own story. In fact Scott’s decision to side with Cap sets the whole situation of the movie.
Where the first one was a heist movie the sequel is more grounded in a on the run trope. Placing Scott and his allies into the morally grey area. With all the science based MCU movies you have to take the science mumbo jumbo with a pinch of salt. It was great seeing Evangeline Lily suit up as the Wasp. It really was a eye catching costume. I thought it was good too how we saw her suit up before we saw Ant-Man in this movie. She kicks ass! Because movies can do more in 3 seconds than a comic can ever doe visually Ant-Man is a perfect character to utilise on the big screen. I was tempted to see this and the first one one 4DX, in my opinion he is the best Marvel character suited to the format. I read an article in which Stan Lee said he had to keep reminding artists who worked on Tale to Astonish to draw other items in the background to get him in perspective. Otherwise just placed on a coloured background he looked like any other costumed hero. The movies have fun with this aspect of the character. The location of Hank and Hope’s lab plays to this as do the car chase scenes. As well as the on the run and heist movie elements I felt there were also inspiration taken from old pulp sci-fi. Perhaps it is not as overtly recognisable but I’m sure its there in some form.
The two Ant-Man movies now act as a perfect one, two punch. They can be enjoyed as a two movie combo as well as part of the larger MCU. Surely when the dust has settled after Avengers 4 Scott, Hope and his allies deserve a chance to wrap up a trilogy. There are still lots of directions to go. Well many will consider GOTG the best ‘pocket universe’ of the MCU if you will, I say what Peyton Reed has created in Ant-Man and now Ant-Man and The Wasp can’t be far behind. He has made both Ant-Man and The Wasp legacy characters by having them portrayed in the past and present. Of course all four incarnations of the characters are now together again so who knows where Reed will go. It has ties to S.H.I.E.L.D via these older characters. It has established more science elements in the MCU with the Quantum Realm. Now by adding Bill Foster and Ava Star it continues to pay stories in the past and going forward. Lets not forget Luis and his crew too!
Ant-Man or The Wasp have never enjoyed consistent success with on-going series. Now with two successful and entertaining movies to their name (I think I’ve said that 3 times now) hopefully they can enjoyed some more prolonged comic book success. This summer to happily tie into the movies release legendary writer Mark Waid along with artist Javier Garron launched a new series of Ant-Man and The Wasp. In this series it is Scott Lang and yet another iteration of Wasp this time Nadia Van Dyne. The MCU has and will continue to bring new people to comics. It is right that two founding members of the Avengers in the comics Ant-Man and Wasp should be represented in some way. Like I said to me Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne are those characters. To movie goers it is Scott and Hope. If someone comes to comics from the Ant-Man movie they are going to have a journey discovering how far back into Avengers lore Hank and Janet go before they even get to the Ant-Man they saw on the big screen. All I can say to that is welcome to comics!
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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