For my birthday, I decided to treat myself to see the movie Ant-Man. Admittedly, it was a bit of a torture to wait an extra week, since the buzz (no pun intended) around this movie was so loud. I hoped (again, no pun intended) that the hype wouldn't amount to a huge letdown, in terms of character establishment, development and, of course, conflict. After all, it has long been said that many fans' complaints about Marvel include representation of people of different backgrounds, and development of villains as dimensional characters.
As it turns out, I really loved the movie. I thought it was lots of fun, very exciting, smart, full of great Easter eggs, definitely something I would recommend to any and all friends, whether or not they're the sort who normally enjoy superheroes. That being said, you'll have to excuse me if this is not the sort of article you had in mind. It's sort of a review, but more aimed at my hopes for how any potential shortcomings in the current movie can be remedied by future movies.
And quick warning: Spoilers, of varying importance, are both possible and likely.
So, without further ado:
3. MORE OF THE VILLAIN
I think this should go without saying. A hero is only as good as the villain that he goes up against. And in all, the villain Darren Cross isn't awful, not by any stretch of the imagination. He certainly has the motivation: a young protege determined to usurp, and to far surpass the legacy of his mentor, the genius Dr. Henry 'Hank' Pym. Though, what he possesses in terms of charisma and apparent genius, Darren Cross lacks in depth. Not depth of passion, but depth of...villainy.
We see that Cross can be ruthless (via the animal testing scenes, and how he dealt with that one skeptic in his presentation). Though, I would like to see more of that in the future, be it from a recovered Cross, or a new villain altogether. Not just some shows of force here and there, but true, angry, passionate villainy. Left up to me, Cross would have gotten out into the world, and typified just the sort of mayhem the spectators warned of in his presentation. The danger toward friends and family would also be more pronounced.
2. MORE SCIENCE
In Ant-Man, of course, we see a lot of shrinking, and a lot of interaction with ants. That much is a given, and I wouldn't change that for a second. It was spot on, with just the right mix of fun and action and a bit of science and technology knowledge for anyone skeptical that this sci-fi movie would be light on the 'sci'. In light of this, I have only one concern. I want to see more of it.
I would like to see even more creative applications of the Pym Particles. On the shrinking side, the first idea that comes up is the Quantum Realm: the way Hank Pym worded that description, it sounded like there was more to it than simply shrinking. I want to know just how wibbly-wobbly the physics can get. And on the growing end, it would do my heart good to see Ant-Man growing ants to huge size, to help combat foes (not to mention, something like the scene above).
1. MORE HEROES
As much as I loved this movie, and all the characters within, I find that my biggest 'con' overall was the absence of certain characters who are very important to tell the true breadth of Hank Pym's legacy as Ant-Man. Of course, they didn't have to show up all fully-powered and raring to go (because it is Scott Lang's first go round--don't want to outshine the hero), but at least a cameo or two would have been a great nod to his inner circle.
Bill and Tom Foster
Bill Foster, in the comics, was a lab assistant to Hank Pym. His experimentation with the growth effect of the Pym Particles resulted in him becoming enlarged to giant size, which he later used to heroic effect until his untimely demise at the hands of an evil robo-clone of Thor (because comics). After his death, though, we see the rise of his nephew, Tom, to the role of Goliath. Scott was never Giant Man in the 616 universe, despite what the movie seems to imply.
In terms of the MCU, we all know full well that Michael Douglas will not suit up and make use of the Pym Particles' newly-discovered growth aspect to become Giant Man. So a great alternative (and by the way, also a great way to add a bit more racial diversity) would be for the next movie to introduce Tom Foster, who now wants to follow the legacy his brilliant uncle left behind. Plus, in the comics, Tom arrives on the superhero scene after the events of Civil War, so there's a possible MCU connection already, for Peyton Reed to take advantage of).
Hank Pym Jr.
Now, does this absolutely need to happen? Of course not. Things change up in alternate universes all the time. Just because Hope Van Dyne shows up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that doesn't mean that Hank Jr. will also make an appearance. Though, if they wanted to, I could hardly argue against the logic. After all, once again, he is a viable replacement for the Hank Pym's highly unlikely turn as Giant Man in the MCU (if they don't go with Scott).
It's likely he also harbors resentment for what happened to his mother. Leaving his family behind, he might be manipulated into unsavory activities by one Elihas Starr, the villain Egghead. True, it would be a twist (both he and Hope are evil in one of Marvel's alternate universes). Yet, it would be an understandable change, and if nothing else, would make for a heck of a climax Kaiju fight: Giant vs Giant, in perfect symmetry to Ant-Man vs. Yellowjacket for this movie.
Yes, I know: this is the Irredeemable Ant-Man. He's not as well known as Hank or even, now, as well known as Scott. Though, depending on how a writer spins it, he could make for one heck of a new addition to the Ant-Family. As shown in his time with the various teams he's been on (Avengers, Thunderbolts, etc), he has shown to have incredibly questionable morals, with a high tendency to lie when it suits him, and make use of the Ant-Man suit for personal gain.
Then again, while such a personality might put some people off, others might find it obnoxiously endearing. If I had to quantify it in terms of existing MCU properties, I might guess his solo adventures would be something like Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, if he found an Ant-Man suit, and got a whole entire movie to himself. For all his shortcomings, this movie could still be a good thing. If nothing else, he could be Ant-Man after Scott moves on to Giant-Man.
Of course, along the path of Scott Lang becoming the Ant-Man, there's also the arc of Hope Van Dyne wanting to follow in her mother's footsteps. Hank tries to protect her from it, because of what happened to his wife, but of course, Hope takes after her mother, and her persistence, in the end, is rewarded with an awesome new opportunity. I've read that she won't debut as the Wasp in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, but maybe in Doctor Strange? Spider-Man?
Not to mention, as was alluded to in the movie (and by the director himself Peyton Reed) there is a chance that we will see Janet Van Dyne make a return from her unfortunate lapse into the Quantum Realm. If we do, so many questions remain: if time works differently in that realm, will she have aged? And even if not, would that mean Janet becomes the Wasp again?
If Janet does move on from being the Wasp (which is likely, otherwise Hope saw the suit for nothing), then is she retired, or does she become Giant Woman? And let's not even get started on Janet's age difference from Hank Pym (either she moves on from being involved with Hank or Hank seeks a way to get younger; cue a set-up for the villain Time Master???). It's all just so exciting to imagine, and I can't wait for Peyton Reed and crew to tackle all this potential.
Of course, these are all just hopeful suggestions, no more than the excited speculation of one fan just coming down from a birthday high of nerdy goodness. For all we know, Mr. Reed might have entirely different plans than anything I've set here before you, the reader. I could be way off the mark. Still, what do you think? Be sure to let us know in the poll and comments below!