Ant-Man is Marvel's conclusion to Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So far as I've seen, it's been pretty well received with the Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn stating that it was his "favorite Marvel film since Iron Man (well, maybe excluding one film to which I’m partial)"! One thing that Gunn stated about the film that I liked in particular was:
"It’s a part of the Marvel universe without being ruled by that fact." - James Gunn
He's absolutely right, there are a few Marvel movies that felt like they were advertising future releases rather than just carrying its own film as an independent film. Ant-Man definitely stands on its own with or without its connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But, since Ant-Man is a part of the MCU, they do not shy away from throwing in some cleverly placed easter eggs and cameos. I just want to highlight some of the cooler aspects of Ant-Man's easter eggs in the order that they took place in the film. I'm sure it's a given, but I do feel the need to inform you that spoilers are running rampant in this article, so if you've not seen the movie yet, avert your eyes and click the back button. Unless, of course, you like spoilers, then read on!
Alright, you've been warned. I can't be held responsible for ruining the film for you if you've scrolled down this far.
Let's get started:
1. [Marvel's Agent Carter](tag:1119765)
Right from the get-go, the film opens up in the year 1989 to see a much younger looking Michael Douglas as Hank Pym which is a brilliant contrast to the younger woman who was made-up to look much older. That woman is none other than Hayley Atwell who has gone on to have an extremely pivotal place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We see her as one of the heads of S.H.I.E.L.D. here who are attempting to convince Hank Pym to give over his Pym Particles. It may only have been a short cameo that she had, but it was a welcome nod to the fact that ever since 'Captain America: The First Avenger' and the 'Agent Carter' tv series, Carter does find herself at a place where she exhibits some control and has some say in the decisions that S.H.I.E.L.D. make. It's an empowering moment for her character although many may have over-looked that fact.
2. [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) / [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409)
In 'Ant-Man', Scott Lang struggles with the idea that he was chosen by Hank Pym to be the guy to break into Pym Industries and steal the "Yellowjacket" suit from Darren Cross. Scott, while struggling, voices his concerns to Hank Pym, asking why they can't just call the Avengers. Hank, who is an extremely sour individual in this film states that they cannot call the Avengers because "they are too busy dropping cities from the sky".
This is, without a doubt, a nod to the events that took place in this year's 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' where Ultron began to lift the fictional European city (the name of which escapes me at the moment) to try and bring it down as a meteor to bring humanity to extinction. Obviously, because the world is still in full rotation today, that didn't happen.
But you can obviously tell that there are opinions about such events that the people who inhabit the MCU are having and I'm sure this can be a nod to Civil War since. I imagine as people began to take a position on all the things that the Avengers have done both as a team and individually, it won't take much to push things into a great divide that will eventually lead to the events bound to take place in next year's 'Captain America: Civil War'. We already know that Paul Rudd is returning to the role of Ant-Man in Civil War movie, but could that mean we could also see the return of Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, if even for a cameo?
We know that Hank, in the Civil War comic books, did eventually side on the side of Tony Stark. This whole side believed in the Super Human Registration Act which was an act that would keep super-humans accountable for their every act and deed (as well as exposing their secret identities for those who have them). My feelings I got from Hank's statement was that he feels that the Avengers are reckless and irresponsible, especially knowing that they were formed under the umbrella of S.H.I.E.L.D., who, as we seen at the beginning of the film, he was not a fan of.
3. Family Matters
It's no secret when the movie begins, that Hope Van Dyne, daughter of Hank Pym, has so serious "daddy issues". Hope has a certain disdain for her father and we later learn that these feelings of bitterness stem from the death of her mother, Janet Van Dyne.
Seemingly never been told the truth about her death, Hope uses that fact, on top of the fact of being sent to boarding school after feeling alienated from her father whenever her mother died, to allow herself to get snappy on more than one occasion.
Early on in the film, we see Scott tinkering with the belt on the Ant-Man suit which is essential to the shrinking technology. But there are dangers to messing with that. Hank informs Scott that if he screws up the suit by messing with it too much, he could cause himself to shrink so little that he'd enter a world that he'd never be able to return from. If I remember right, Hank called it the "Quantum Realm".
It's not till halfway through the film that Hank informs Hope of the true way, her mother died. We get a visual flashback to a time whenever Hank Pym wore the Ant-Man suit himself and we see him riding on a missile over the ocean. In this flashback, we not only hear reference of Janet Van Dyne, but we see her, in full Wasp glory (which looks like a flying Ant-Man suit) assist with trying to disarm this hostile missile. The missile had no way for the two heroes to get into, unless of course, the shrink down so little they enter the Quantum Realm. Hank attempts to be the one to sacrifice himself and disarm the bomb via this heroic act, but his belt had a malfunction and we see Janet shrink down and take out the bomb, only we never see her again as she is assumed to be dead.
It's a heartfelt moment when Hope learns of the real cause of her mother's death and a beautiful moment of forgiveness towards her father. It's truly reconciling. But that's not all that's to be taken away from this moment and story.
At the end of the movie, when Darren Cross goes on a jealous rampage to attack Scott Lang's daughter, Cassie, we see an epic fight between the two of them both big and small in her bedroom. But obviously there's that moment where the bad guy gets the upper hand and Scott has to make a quick, sacrificial decision and he shrinks himself down so little to where he can penetrate Darren's suit and take him down.
The consequences of these actions reveal that Scott enters the Quantum Realm and begins drifting in a haze of Interstellar-like eternity. But we also see Scott replace the Pym Particles in his belt that allow him to shrink with particles that allow him to grow. Thus, the Ant-Man lives on!
These leaves it open-ended now that Janet Van Dyne could still be alive in the Quantum Realm and honestly, could possibly have a Steve Rogers sort of thing where she could return to the current era as the same age she was when she first sacrificed herself during her mission so long ago. There was a lot of mystery around the character. Too much mystery to go on as just a mere coincidence.
My suspicions about the character's fate led me to taking a risk and calling out to Kevin Feige after the press junket in LA that I had attended had finished. Mr. Feige was so gracious to respond and I had to ask him the question:
Me: "We've heard mention of Star-Lord's father so much so in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' with so much mystery surrounding the character. Will we similarly see or hear more about Hope Van Dyne's mom in future projects?"
Kevin Feige: (smiles) "If we get to tell more stories we've got plans for her character."
That was a huge reveal in just one statement as he seemingly confirms that Janet may not be dead. Her disappearance in this film is similar to what's happened to her in the comics when she disappeared into what was known as the "Microverse" and in the comics, Janet Van Dyne returned to the world we know.
Could we see the return of Janet Van Dyne for an epic reunion with her husband and daughter? Only time will tell.
4. An Avenger's Smack-Down
There were lots of rumors that there would be an Avenger to make an appearance in 'Ant-Man' and though many watching the movie may have thought 'Iron Man' at some point due to the fact that he's mentioned once by Hank Pym (in a not so positive way), it's not our Iron-clad Avenger to show up but rather Captain America's winged ally, Falcon!
Now, if you paid attention to the internet sites such as comicbookmovie.com, newsarama.com, comicbook.com, or, well, moviepilot.com's superhero section, you'll know that there were several reports that Falcon actor, Anthony Mackie, was on-set for the 'Ant-Man' film.Well, it turns out that those reports were true. Falcon isn't a simple wave to Marvel fans, his role in the film is actually pretty cool and honestly, just might be my favorite part of the film.
When Scott Lang is sent to steal some sort of disruptor from an Avenger's facility, things get a little dicey whenever Falcon makes an appearance. Obviously, there's a bit of back and forth banter that's kind of funny, but when the two heroes come to blows, it makes for what I consider to be the best fight scene of the film.
Falcon ends up making a later appearance at the end of the film, which leads right into my next point:
5. "I Got a Guy Who Can..."
Yes, you are seeing that correctly. 'Ant-Man' is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to reference Spider-Man. We hear mention of Spider-Man in a very fast-spoken dialogue from Michael Peña's character, Luis, who is always speaking at an incredible rate of speed. One might get caught up in the humor of the moment at the end of the movie when Luis is telling Scott about some interesting, Avengers-related information that you might miss the Spidey-reference. During one of the detailed scenes of Luis' dialogue, we see Anthony Mackie sitting with a woman who lip syncs to Luis' words saying:
"We guy who jumps, swings, and climbs up walls..."
So, if you've seen the movie but missed it, watch it again and listen for it and if you haven't seen the movie but still wanted to read these spoilers, well then you have a heads up on what to look out for.
What's interesting to note here is that people are already aware of Spider-Man which means that there is no origin that has to be figured out for the character. We already knew this, but it's nice to hear the confirmation. Spider-Man must have been under close watch for sometime though for people to familiar with im enough to reference him like this.
6. Mid-Credits Scene
I've been told that not every pre-screening of a Marvel film includes the mid/post-credits scenes. Luckily for me though, it included both a mid-credits and post-credits scene.
Let's talk about the mid-credits scene first. We obviously know that Wasp existed once before and the mantle was carried by Hope Van Dyne's mother, Janet Van Dyne. But there were lots of speculation as to whether or not Hope would follow in her mother's footsteps. One of these speculations for me was due to the fact that Evangline Lily, the actress who plays Hope, looks like Wasp, especially with that haircut.
Fans will be rewarded though as we're given a nod to her suiting up in another film as the Wasp, whether that be an 'Ant-Man 2' or next year's 'Captain America: Civil War'. It feels a lot like how Rhodey was hinted at being War Machine in 'Iron Man' where he turns to the suit and says:
"Next time, baby."
Except here, we have Hank Pym walking Hope Van Dyne into his vault where a much more modern version of the Wasp suit is scene. Hank tells Hope that he and her mother were working on it together. He says that he thought he was building it for Janet but then says that he realized it was meant to be for Hope. Hope responds to this by looking the awesome suit up and down and saying:
"It's about damn time."
Now, Evangeline Lilly isn't scheduled, as far as I have seen, to appear in 'Captain America: Civil War', but perhaps she might have a surprise appearance. I would certainly like to see her suited up and ready for battle in the big superhero showdown next year.
7. Post-Credits Scene
Speaking of superhero showdowns, 'Captain America: Civil War' is the next films slated to be released for Marvel Studio's next year. So it makes sense that 'Ant-Man' would have some sort of teaser for us to sink our teeth into in anticipation for next year's film.
But, this had to be one of the most confusing post-credits scenes as it just left me with more questions than it did answers about next year's film.
The scene showed us in some dank and dark underground hiding place with Sebastian Stan on his knees, with his arm in some sort of vice, and looking pretty badly beaten as he looks up at Falcon. Captain America walks in and he and Falcon began to exchange some words which, as I said, leads to the confusion.
Falcon: "Should we tell Stark?"
Captain America: "No. He'd never believe us. We're on our own."
There was more dialogue than this, but this is all I remember and it's what stuck out to me most. So, here are a list of the questions that I have in regards to this mysterious scene:
- Why was Winter Soldier all beaten up for? I thought he turned good since he saved Cap's life in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Is he regressing and still struggling with his past? Was he taken down due to a misunderstanding?
- Why is Stark needing to know about Winter Soldier? Is it true that Winter Soldier killed Howard Stark and that's why Falcon mentioned telling Stark?
- Why did Captain America say that Stark would never believe them? What wouldn't he believe? That they found the Winter Soldier? Or was there some other information that we're still not privy to given to these characters?
- Why are they "on their own"? Has the Civil War already begun at this point? Is the Winter Soldier at the center of the cause of the Civil War?
As you can see, I am just confusing myself with the more questions I ask.
There you have it. Those are all the easter eggs and cameos that I spotted during my first time watching the film. I am sure there were more easter eggs to be spotted during the film and I'm sure I'll catch more of them when I see the film again. If you've spotted something interesting in the movie, be sure to share it in the comments section below and don't forget to vote in the poll!