Why Isn’t The Ant-Man Movie The Janet van Dyne Story Instead?

Ant-Man Movie

Comic book columnists. They always provide for a wonderful source of wackiness. One common occurrence with comic book columnists is their obsessive desire for billion dollar corporations to cater to THEIR niche needs. And if the billion dollar corporation instead proceeds with trying to market to the general public? Oh, man. The complaining cranks up to a fever pitch.

Over on Comic Book Resources (No link, because we do not feed trolls or reward clickbait.), Meagan Damore has an axe to grind. Well, it is a small axe. Some might say a Wasp sized axe. But, nevertheless, a comic book columnist is insulted and outraged and Disney needs to answer to her! Now!

What is the problem? Well, it appears that Damore is upset that Disney released an Ant-Man movie that targets a male demographic instead of releasing the Janet van Dyne Story.

“Ant-Man” has a glaring lady problem. More than that, it may be Marvel Studio’s worst blunder with female characterization yet.”

The worst ever!! Whew! And here I was worried that Damore was going to hold back on the hyperbolic language until later in this article.

“The film caused a lot of uproar when it came to its treatment of Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp — and for good reason. Prior to the movie’s release, multiple interviews revealed that a great tragedy happened to Jan in Hank Pym’s early days as Ant-Man, bad enough for him to hang up the suit once and for all, and to put a nail in the coffin of the relationship between him and his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). There was a swift and immediate outcry among the fans, who called “fridging” on the film through the #JanetVanCrime hashtag on Tumblr and Twitter — and rightfully so, as Jan appears in the film in only a minor role, in order to die and provide a source of angst for Pym.”

Oh, no! Not Tumblr and Twitter! The home for outraged fans of niche subjects. You know the motto for Tumblr and Twitter: If you aren’t offended then you aren’t trying hard enough.

I would love to know what Damore’s definition of “a lot of uproar” constitutes. Is it a select number of friends that she follows on Tumblr and Twitter? I am fairly confident that there was zero uproar from about 99% of the mainstream audience who actually paid for a ticket to see the Ant-Man movie.

And #JanetVanCrime? Really? Great hashtag. Lovely way to devalue the word “crime.” The best way to get people to listen to you is to immediately crank it up to “11” and fire all of the hyperbolic word missiles that you can.

And good lord. Fridging? This is the most overused term and it probably needs to be retired already. Because many people have utterly no understanding over the original definition of fridging or what constitutes fridging or not. Janet van Dyne was absolutely not “fridged” in the Ant-Man movie. Janet died a hero’s death and saved the world from a nuclear holocaust. That is not fridging under any sort of definition of the term.

When people like Damore incorrectly cry wolf about fridging, where it does not exist, it only serves to devalue the term to the point where it losses any meaning and impact. The last thing you want are for people to tune you out and then begin to dismiss actual real instances of fridging.

“The film pushes Hope as a replacement for her mother, who, in the comics, is a founding Avenger…”

Right. Just like the film pushes Scott as a replacement for Hank Pym who, in the comics, is a founding Avenger. And your point is?

“Instead of taking advantage of a character unweighted by years of continuity, however, the film squanders Hope, stuffing her with lazy clichés and harmful tropes.”

Huh. Imagine that. A comic book movie that employs lazy clichés and tropes. Is Damore new to America and how Hollywood operates with their summer blockbusters? Perhaps Damore should turn her attention to the indie film scene if she desires more intelligently written movies.

Yeah, there are a ton of clichés and tropes in Ant-Man. Hank Pym as the haunted and burned out old man. Darren Cross as the maniacal evil bald white man in a suit who is obsessed with power. Scott Lang as the stereotypical lovable loser male character that is seen quite often. Luis the stereotypical hispanic complete with a van that plays La Cucaracha. Dave as the generic black guy. And, of course, Kurt the stereotypical Russian guy.

Literally every single character in this movie is full of clichés and tropes. Because that is how Hollywood makes their blockbuster movies. Damore’s issue is misplaced. It should be aimed at Hollywood in general and concerning the treatment of all characters male and female and of all ethnicities.

“First, Hope is the only woman in a sea of men, with the exception of Lang’s ex, Maggie, who appears on-screen even less than her fiancé, Paxton. As the only female protagonist, Hope is immediately set up for failure; as is the case with this particular trope, which is prevalent throughout the MCU, she must fill the hopes and desires of all women in her respective film.”

Hope is the only woman…well except for Janet…and Maggie…and Cassie. But, whatever. Don’t let facts get in the way of an agenda. Hope is the only woman in a sea of men!

“Second, she embodies the “bitchy business woman” trope. In the beginning, Hope is cold. She refers to her father by his first name, she scoffs at Scott’s ineptitude, she’s all business. Her main plotline in the film is to break down the wall that has left her unfeeling for so long, which plays into the idea that women can only succeed if they abandon all emotion except scorn and rage.”

Yup. Just like Darren Cross embodies the “power mad evil white business man” How Luis embodies every Hispanic stereotype. Again, Hollywood blockbuster.

But, setting that aside, Damore glosses over the fact that Hope is not at all the bitchy business woman type. She is playing a role designed to earn Darren’s complete trust and to get her close to him. Hope absolutely never “abandoned all emotion except scorn.” That is so wrong on its face that I am left wondering if I saw a different version of Ant-Man than Damore did. Hope had a wide range of emotions in Ant-Man. Hope was absolutely not at all just a “bitchy business woman.”

“Third, she is forced to train the inept male hero despite the fact that she is clearly more capable than him.”

Forced! At gunpoint! I am unsure what Damore is even driving at with this point. Does Damore want Hope to be inept? Is Damore mad that Scott was not more talented than Hope? This is like trying to figure out what goes on inside the Joker’s mind. Impossible.

“What’s more, as the inside woman who has long since gained Darren Cross’ trust, she could easily slip into Pym Technologies without unwanted attention, unlike Lang. However, she never becomes a fully realized hero in her own right…”

Ummm…urrr…seriously? Did Damore spend her entire time in the movie theater at the concession stand instead of actually watching the movie? Because, it was plainly explained that Hope could not do the job as Ant-Man because they needed her by Darren’s side at the time of the grand unveiling. And it is a good thing she was at Darren’s side at the time of the grand unveiling because she kicked ass and prevented her father from getting killed. But, whatever! Don’t let logic stop the crazy train!

“She falls victim to a fourth trope. The, “this is in your best interest” trope. Throughout the first half of the film, Hank keeps the secret of Jan’s death from Hope in order to “protect” her, sparking a grudge that lasts years. Because of Jan’s untimely demise, Pym actively prevents Hope from becoming a hero on her own under the guise of her value to him.”

I’m…not…even sure why this is a…complaint. Perhaps Damore does not have children? Because Pym actively preventing Hope from being Ant-Man in order to “protect” her was probably the most realistic part of this movie. It is amazing what a person will do for their children. And you cannot even begin to comprehend it until you have kids of your own. Pym not wanting to lose his daughter like he did his wife was absolutely the most realistic and normal aspect of the Ant-Man movie. Period.

“To make matters worse, Pym is the one who gives her permission to be a hero in the mid-credits stinger. In this, Hope’s agency is stripped away; she becomes a tool through which to prove Pym’s emotional growth. Rather than having her own wherewithal to step into the hero role, she must wait and fall back on her father.”

I’m so confused. Trying to follow Damore’s logic is like riding Space Mountain without any type of seat restraint. First, Pym never gives Hope “permission” to be the Wasp. He simply decides that he needs to shelve his own fears and move to the side so that his daughter may fulfill her fullest potential. Lots of parents go through this process. Again, Damore may not have kids. But, this was such a realistic moment.

Second, Pym has to be the one to give Hope “permission” since he is the one who created the Pym particles and he is the one who is in the process of creating the new Wasp outfit. Just like how Pym gives Scott “permission” to be Ant-Man. The Pym particles are Pym’s legacy to pass on. This is an old literary tool of an older hero passing the torch to the next generation.

To me this scene was all about Hope’s growth as a character and Pym stepping aside into irrelevancy. This scene was the exact opposite of what Damore is claiming. Perhaps Damore ate way too many Good & Plenty’s and slipped into a diabetic fugue state by the time this scene came around.

“Tropes, in and of themselves, are not negative things; they can be used to lay the foundation for characterization and act as an entryway to ease the audience into a piece. However, a trope without development can easily stay a cliché and/or reinforce harmful stereotypes. In Hope’s case, the combination of these tropes and clichés does just that, resulting in lazy writing and characterization.”

Wait, wait, wait. After all of this hand wringing and pearl clutching, Damore now says that tropes are actually not a negative thing?! However, Damore finds Hope to be nothing more than a harmful stereotype.

Let’s see. Hope is characterized as ambitious, confident, intelligent, skilled, and heroic. Oh yeah, and she is an ass-kicker. Hmm, yeah, that all sounds like one seriously harmful stereotype. Damore nailed it.

Since Damore seems still hung over on Ju Ju Bees, may I point to Luis as an example of what a harmful stereotype actually looks like so that Damore can better recognize them in the future.

“As she isn’t allowed to become her own hero, Hope falls by the wayside.”

All of reality is sucked into the black hole that is Damore’s mind. First, Hope is integral to the movie and is absolutely a hero. Hope does train Scott because he is a loser. Hope does infiltrate Pym Industries and positions herself close to Darren Cross which enables the entire heist to even happen in the first place. Then, Hope kicks ass in the scene where Ant-Man is trapped in the glass container. Hope takes down one of the thugs, grabs his gun and is instrumental in preventing all of the heroes from getting killed. Oh yeah, and then she becomes the Wasp.

The fact is that the entire heist fails and Darren Cross wins in the end if it where not for Hope. She is possibly the most important factor in the heroes winning at the end of this movie.

Second, and I know this is going to shock Damore to the very core of her soul, but Hope was not the hero of the Ant-Man movie. Nope. It was Scott Lang. I know, I know. Shocking, indeed.

“Her plan ends up being fulfilled by Lang, her training goes into improving Lang’s skills, and her only real action scene, which lasts for just a few moments, is reactionary, and she must still be saved by the men in the end.”

Wait, wait, wait. First, it was Pym’s plan. So, Damore forgot to be offended by the fact that a man came up with the plan and not Hope. Second, like I stated before, the entire movie cannot happen without Hope performing all of her important roles in this movie. She is absolutely critical to the success of the heroes. Without her everything ends in failure. Period. Hope is absolutely the second most important character after Scott Lang.

And who are the “men” who save Hope? Scott Lang saves Hope and Pym when he breaks free of the glass container. Then Pym saves himself and Hope by enlarging his Tank keychain. Of course, this is after Hope disarmed one of the bad guys and takes his gun and stalls Darren Cross for enough time for Scott to break free. Basically, Pym and Hope are dead while Scott is trapped in the glass container if it were not for Hope being a badass. But, whatever! Logic is hard! Let’s just go with Damore’s Goober fueled delusions.

And, again, the movie is entitled Ant-Man. Usually, the titular character gets to be the hero who saves the day. Just kind of how movies have worked since, I dunno, The Arrival of a Train.

“Why couldn’t she have just taken the suit for herself (perhaps because it doesn’t have the breasts built in [sic], like the suit given to her at the end)? Nothing that Hope did in the final act proved her mettle more than she had in the first two acts of the film, so what triggered Pym’s change of heart and had him hand her the suit after all of the big action went down? Plus, how badass would it have been if Ant-Man and Wasp had tagteamed Yellowjacket in the very end?”

How badass would it have been if all of the Avengers arrived on the scene and helped Ant-Man crush Yellowjackets?!

Yes, the fact that the suit would not fit Hope at all would certainly be a barrier to her wearing it and saving the day. Of course, it would also have made no sense since the movie was entitled “Ant-Man” which implies, you know, that a guy wears the suit and plays the role of the Ant-Man. Is it me here? I feel like I am reading the ramblings of Ted Kaczynski at this point.

Wouldn’t it be great if Marvel Studios simply made the Ant-Man movie based on Damore’s fan fiction?! How badass would it have been if this movie was not entitled “Ant-Man?!” It could have been called “Hope van Dyne: World’s Greatest Avenger!” That would have sold tickets, baby! Disney would have made millions! Disney really needs to call up Damore for advice about what to do with their movies. I mean, really. What does Disney know? Amateurs.

“Hope is very much analogous to Marvel Studio’s treatment of women. That isn’t to say that Marvel has churned out poor female characters; on the contrary, Black Widow, Maria Hill, Pepper Potts and Jane Foster largely manage to stand out in the films in which they appear. However, they are not the heroes of their respective films, and are often sidelined for the titular characters (perhaps rightfully so, as they are not the main character)”

*Flips table and walks off* After 10 paragraphs and  1,532 words of a nonsensical rant that only the Son of Sam could follow and we arrive at the conclusion that Marvel Studios actually does not have a woman problem and that all of these female characters are NOT the heroes of the various films and are RIGHTFULLY sidelined in favor of the titular characters. *Blankly stares into the computer screen as words have lost all meaning.*

So, glad that Damore wasted all the time and words in order to arrive at the conclusion that, surprise, Marvel Studios actually knows what they are doing and are justified in having the main characters be the stars and the heroes in their own solo movies. Brilliant.

“None of this is to say that “Ant-Man” is a bust of a film. On the whole, the movie is quite enjoyable.”

And the walking back continues. I’m not sure why we are even here at this point. Was this article nothing more than cheap clickbait? Imagine that.

“However, Hope’s poor writing is awful to the point of distraction; every time I started to really enjoy the film, Hope did something cliché, halting the forward momentum of the story. If there had been more than one main female protagonist, this is a problem that likely wouldn’t have occurred in the first place.”

First, Hope was not a cliché. But, assuming that Hope is clichéd, if the writing of Hope’s character was the only clichéd aspect of Ant-Man then Damore clearly was playing Trivia Crack on her iPhone when all of the other characters were on the screen.

I am unsure of how many more characters that Damore would like shoved into this movie? How many “main” female protagonists does Damore want? There are only three “main” protagonists in this movie. Scott Lang, Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne. Having more than three “main” protagonists would have made Ant-Man way too cramped.

“Though she is not the titular hero, the Wasp is inexorably linked to the legacy title’s origin, in addition to her own personal one; even if Wasp isn’t associated with Scott Lang,”

So, the Wasp is not the titular hero, meaning she is not the main character of the movie. And the Wasp is not even associated with Scott Lang who is the Ant-Man in the movie. But, the Ant-Man movie should have totally starred the Wasp in an equal fashion to Ant-Man.

You can’t argue with this type of logic. No really. You can’t. Because it is the logic of a crazy person. And you know you cannot have a rational sane discussion with crazy. You just nod nervously until the crazy person moves on. Look, there are times when legitimate criticism can be placed on large movie studios. However, this really is not one of them.

1 Comments

  1. I didn’t like Hope’s character in the film, but this is what these movies are. If you don’t like it, stop paying to see the movies. Very simple solution lol.

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