Ant-Man: Questions

I have some questions that I hope the makers of Ant-Man will answer someday.

Why does Scott Lang have to be a Thief With A Heart Of Gold? Why can’t he be a Thief With A Heart Of Thief? I mean, that’s pretty much what he was in the original script, right? Wouldn’t it have been more interesting if he’d been really kind of a jerk at the beginning of the movie, but who grows as a person as he assumes the Ant-Man mantle? Wouldn’t that be a pretty nice character arc, a crook going not just straight but heroic? When he’s busting into Hank Pym’s safe, he’s pretty obviously a guy who’s good at robbing places. That whole sequence really contradicts the stuff about him just being an electrical engineer who went to jail because he went all Robin-Hood on a sleazy employer. But you left it in, presumably because it was interesting and showed the character as resourceful and smart even without any superpowers; wasn’t that a pretty clear sign that maybe you shouldn’t have nerfed the aspects of his character that allowed that scene to exist in the first place?

Why was Scott only resourceful and smart when he doesn’t have superpowers? Why does he mostly punch people and blow shit up when he’s Ant-Man? Wouldn’t it have made for much more interesting action sequences if he applied the same ingenuity to being Ant-Man that he did to breaking into Hank Pym’s safe? Having him throw toy trains at Yellowjacket was funny, but he must have known that was going to be stupid and useless, right? Why wasn’t he trying to do stuff that might have worked?

Why was the movie about Scott? Hank and Hope Pym were the ones with the most history and built-in conflict; why couldn’t the story have been about them? Why did Hank give Hope the Mk II Wasp suit in the stinger and not at the beginning of act 3? Wouldn’t it have been an awesome twist if Scott went from being her replacement to being her backup? Wouldn’t that have been deeply satisfying to both the characters and the audience alike? Wouldn’t that have shown Hank truly growing as a character and giving real weight to his reconciliation with his daughter? Were you afraid of making Ant-Man a supporting character in his own movie? Sure, that’s risky, but it keeps working out okay for Max Rockatansky, don’t it?


Why couldn’t Hank become Ant-Man again? I mean, yeah, he mentioned something about having used the suit too many times, but so what? Was he really so close to the edge of mental collapse that using the suit even one more time would have destroyed him? If he was, why wasn’t that shown somehow? If he was concerned about doing more long-term damage to himself, wouldn’t it have been more in character for him to suck it up and die a hero rather than recruit some shmuck and use that shmuck’s paternal instincts to manipulate him into what Hank thought of as a suicide mission? That’s not very heroic at all; actually, don’t that sound more like what a superhero movie villain would do? If you wanted to show that the years of adventuring as Ant-Man had left Hank so wrecked that he could no longer realistically return to that role, why not just stick him in a wheelchair? Actors love pretending to be disabled. The get Oscars and stuff for it all the time.

Why did the movie mention that shrinking makes you crazy? Was that some sort of plot point that got written out? It sure sounded like it when Hank mentioned how shrinking without the special Ant-Man helmet would totally make you crazy and stuff; why didn’t that ever come back? When Hope was telling … fuck it, I don’t care enough to look up his name, Bad Guy Man “This isn’t you, it’s the suit,” was that meant to be some kind of reference to shrinking without the helmet making him crazy? Even though the movie made it super-duper clear that he’d never shrunk before? Wasn’t that his whole motivation, figuring out how to shrink people without killing them? Meaning he was crazy and murderous way before the shrinking could have crazified him? Why leave that in there if it wasn’t gonna go nowhere?

Why didn’t Bad Guy Man use that shrink-splat weapon more? That thing was pretty fuckin’ brutal, and provided the one and only moment in the movie where I was all “Whoa, Bad Guy Man’s totally not fucking around here!” Seriously, there was no defense against that thing, and it turned people into a little snot splotch; why did he not build that into the Yellowjacket suit? Why was he so content to use those stupid-ass lasers that can’t hit nothing? Was a Yellowjacket suit with really GOOD weapons gonna be like a Mk II upgrade that cost more?

Why did Bad Guy Man go after Scott’s daughter? It was pretty obvious Hank was behind the whole thing. Wasn’t it obvious Scott was just some asshole Hank found so he didn’t have to send his daughter on a suicide mission? Doesn’t that make it pretty obvious that maybe you oughta be going after HANK’S daughter instead? Sure, you’re banging her, but you’re Bad Guy Man; shouldn’t stuff like basic human decency totally not figure into your plans? It hasn’t so far, has it? Or maybe you could even go after, you know, Hank? Assuming you’re not a total worthless chicken-shit who has no fucking business being the main antagonist for a big-budget superhero movie?

Why is the Quantum Realm just a bunch of stupid kaleidoscope effects? If you’re gonna build the place up as the ominous crazyland where the laws of physics are totally fucked, shouldn’t you just scrap the idea if the best you can come up with is a bunch of generic ’60’s I’m-totally-tripping-balls bullshit? If all you need to rescue yourself from that place is to jury rig repairs to one piece of equipment, doesn’t that mean all you need to do is bring some replacement parts with you and you’re totally fine? Doesn’t that make Hank kind of a dumb-fuck for not figuring that out?

What was that stupid thing Scott had to steal from SHIELD? If you wanted Scott to get into a fight with somebody from another movie who the audience already cares about, was sending him on a fetch quest for some pointless Maguffin the best way to go about it? Is this really the best the writers could come up with? Don’t Marvel Studios have like a dozen movies behind them with way, way better writing than this? Weren’t any of those writers available to help? Or were they all like too busy snorting script writer coke or something?

And should I quit writing this shit before I let myself sound any more like Mike Stoklasa in my own head?

Well, It Wasn’t Cars 2: A Brief Review of Ant-Man

The more I think about Ant-Man, the less I like it. I saw Ant-Man on Friday. This is not going to be a terribly positive review.

It’s intermittently entertaining, with all the production values you’d expect from a Marvel movie. It has its moments, and if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen most of them. Marvel’s string of movies that are at least all right remains unbroken; this did not give me flashbacks to Cars 2 bringing Pixar crashing back to earth.

But a tepid “Eh, that wasn’t awful” is about the most I can muster for it. If I hadn’t invested so much energy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, going to see Fury Road for the fourth time definitely have been a better choice.

Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a … thief? He’s a thief. Except the script claims he isn’t really a thief, he was a whistleblower who got caught taking matters into his own hands when he learned the company he worked for as an electrical engineer was doing some deeply dodgy stuff. Except he totally has the skillset of a veteran cat burglar … sometimes. When has has nothing to work with but a duffle bag and somebody’s kitchen, he’s extremely creative. When he has godlike shrinking powers and an army of ants he can control with his mind, he tends to punch people and blow shit up.

You get used to shit like that in this movie; the schism between Marvel Studios and the movie’s original director Edgar Wright cripples the script, which is riddled with half-baked ideas and fleeting signs of a much livelier story. When Scott’s ex-cellmate and his petty crook buddies are on screen, the movie becomes clever, energetic, inventive. When Scott’s self-appointed mentor Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) and his estranged daughter Hope take the spotlight, the movie becomes dull and inert. Particularly during the “Let’s Train Scott To Become The New Ant-Man” sequences.

Scott spends roughly half the movie training to become the new Ant-Man.

Oh, yeah, and he gets into a fight with Falcon, in what may be the most perfunctory action sequence to yet befoul the MCU movies. No, I’m not forgetting Iron Man 2.

Is this the worst of the MCU movies? I didn’t think so when I was leaving the theater. But now that I’ve had time to chew on it…. It isn’t a lumbering clusterfuck like Iron Man 2. But Iron Man 2 had some good action scenes, Robert Downy Jr’s considerable charisma, and a very underrated villain in Ivan Vanko. It wasn’t as fluffy and disposable as Thor: The Dark World. But the second Thor movie was a pleasant watch, and had some genuinely fun and witty moments.

Ant-Man is just kinda … there. It’s totally a movie, that exists. A largely forgettable movie that takes few chances and gives itself fewer opportunities to excel.

Recommended for Marvel completionists only. Anybody who isn’t completely sold on the MCU can let this one pass them by.