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How The Movie Ant-Man Kinda Sent Me Into A Spiral Of Despair

January 17th, 2016 1 comment
I just want to ruin your PB&J sandwich. Don't send me into battle against my will! Photo credit: Thomas Shahan via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I just want to ruin your PB&J sandwich. Don’t send me into battle against my will! Photo credit: Thomas Shahan via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Ant-Man. Dude gets small. The premise seemed simple enough. Given that it was a superhero movie, there was no notion that I wasn’t going to get around to eventually seeing it. In my typical six-months-behind-the-curb-of-pretty-much-everything fashion, I finally saw the movie last weekend, even though it hit theaters in July of 2015.

My friends said it was okay. Amusing. Not as good as Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, but worth seeing. I believed them. I watched the movie. I spiraled into an ever deepening hole of despair.

Take One on Ant-Man – The Non-Hyperbolic, Normal Person’s Rendition

Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) is just your average hottie thief (not robber!) with a Robin Hood complex looking for a second chance after a prison stint. Too bad his ex-wife won’t let him hang with their daughter, and – oh yeah – she’s dating a cop.

Fortunately, it just so happens an eccentric rich scientist named Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas) needs a guy with Scott’s unique talents to stop his power-mad protégé from recreating his too-dangerous-for-the-world shrinking technology. (Peter, debauched, wreck-of-a human-being from House of Cards graduates into a lamb-slaughtering, mad scientist for this role). Why, out of all the people in the world – including Black Widow, Captain America, and Samuel L. Jackson – does Pym choose Scott?

Stop asking stupid questions!

I suppose you also want to know why Pym doesn’t just give Scott a ring and ask, “Hey, I’ve got a bad-ass suit that shrinks and an army of ants to control. You in?” This, instead of paying a woman to talk up his massive safe to some dude who talks to other dudes who just happen to eventually talk to Scott’s adorable, hilarious, and utterly scene-stealing roommate (played by Michael Pena), who then mentions it to Scott who just so happens to shortly thereafter arrive at a key personal crisis that launches him back into his old criminal ways. Pym then allows Scott to steal his previously stated extremely dangerous, seemingly irreplaceable, and oddly perfectly fitting suit and just try it on wily nily. No worries that Scott could up and die or kill someone or simply run away with the precious suit.

Well, the answer to that is…STOP ASKING STUPID QUESTIONS. It was all part of Pym’s brilliant plan to recruit Scott, train him in the uses of the suit, and inadvertently set up a tepid romance between Scott and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lily) which possesses all the tension of a wet noodle.

Oh, and one other thing. In no actual relation to the technology surrounding the suit, Pym has also – just as a hobby – discovered a way to mind control ants to do his bidding. Can he control other things that might be additionally useful for Scott’s mission, like hornets, black widows (not the kind in skin-tight body suits) and mosquitoes carrying loads of dysentery?

What did I say about asking stupid questions? The movie is called Ant-Man. ANTS! The guy controls ants. Okay, so cue the training montage. Failures. Everyone is all frustrated because Scott keeps running his handsome face into doors. But then, poof, he gets it. He’s ready to go.

What follows is sometimes massive but usually very tiny fighting and lots of ants getting fried in the quest to help Scott.

Yep…here we go.

Take Two on Ant-Man – My Horrified Viewing of Unnecessary Ant Slaughter

If you are of a certain generation, then Ant-Man will not have been your first introduction to ant violence. That’s right, I’m talking about Antie from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. I consider it my pre-Mufasa Mufasa moment. At least in Antie’s case, he was killed protecting one of the kids from a scorpion.

In the case of Ant-Man…well, the dude straight up mind rapes ants all over the place and makes them put their little ant lives on the line to help him in his quest. Ants die. The ants were totally minding their own business, doing their thing of getting in everyone’s way and ruining picnics, when Scott up and enslaved them.

For all its silliness and the fact that I was completely aware that all the ants were CGI (I promise I’m not writing this from an anti-ant violence picket line of one in front of Marvel studios), Ant-Man made me think of how easily we dismiss insects. By “dismiss,” I mean squash them and swat them and squish them. If someone leaves their dog out in the cold, the internet is up in arms, but we kill bugs without remorse, without even a thought.

Couldn’t Scott have, I don’t know, shrunk a motorcycle and grappling hook and pretty much done all the same stuff the ants did for him? Look at Yellowjacket. Yeah, he be crazy and not at all a friend to lambs, but at least the dude realized – hey, instead of inventing a way to force ants to do my bidding maybe I just add an awesome jet pack to the suit and lasers. Cause we all know lasers make everything better.

I’m even thinking Ant-Man could keep his name without the ants, because he still gets small. Makes a certain kind of sense if you like doofy, completely un-intimidating superhero names.

So, Ant-Man, how about not killing lots of CGI ants in your next movie? I’ll let you keep the almost-painful-to-watch romance with the if-being-annoying-was-an-Olympic-sport-she’d-get-the-gold Hope. Be a hero. Free the ants!

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