‘Ant-Man’: I’ve Had Enough of the Man Pain

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Marvel's Ant-Man Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2015
Marvel’s Ant-Man—I’ve seen/read/watched his story far too often. Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal/© Marvel 2015.

One of the best things about growing older is that you become pickier about the ways you spend your time. Eh, why spend hours hoping that a show/book/movie will get better? Enough. Time is better spent elsewhere.

The other best thing? The amount of f*** s one has to give about certain things decreases.

That brings me to Ant-Man, which I finally saw this weekend.

Ant-Man is the story of four insecure and broody men who behave like adolescent children. Two of them learn to grow up by the end of the movie, the third minor supporting character learns to be mature about his stepdaughter’s father, and one is killed.

It’s a decent enough movie. It lacks the wonder and surprises of Guardians of the Galaxy, the thematic heft of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it’s predictable enough that I turned to my son as soon as that particular theory was introduced and said, “We’re going to see that thing at the climax.” But it’s not awful by any means.

However, I’ve experienced this story a thousand times. It’s usually about a straight white guy who’s acted immaturely because reasons, makes a mess, and finally does enough to redeem himself—thus allowing the audience to cheer for him at the end.

Ant-Man has become my tipping point.

Enough.

I’ve been on Earth now nearly 50 years and, right this moment, I’ve had enough of your man-pain stories, Hollywood, and you too, Marvel.

I’ve had enough of lovable losers doing stupid things but getting second and third chances because, wow, they’re so lovable and they really mean well.

Not to mention, they get the girl. Because that’s required right? Getting the girl as a reward?

You’re cute, Paul Rudd, and you did well with the part, but I have no f***s left to give about poor Scott Lang.

I’ve had enough of remote fathers who hit people when they’re pissed off because they can’t admit that, dammit, they’re grieving because someone they loved died.

As Rocket said in Guardians, “We’ve all got dead people!” Grow up, Hank Pym. You screwed up your kid, behaved like a child when she needed an adult, and messed up your company because you wallowed in your pain.

Am I supposed to be happy because you finally admit you were wrong after, oh, 20 years or so? I have no f***s to give about you.

I’ve had enough of whiny man-children who get pissed off because people didn’t recognize their genius or trust them. The villain in Guardians was an angry force of nature. A little sketchy, but it worked. The villain in Ant-Man is a little whiny snot who shouldn’t have been trusted with anything, never mind a company. He annoyed me so much, he brought the entire movie down. Seriously, that’s the motivation to murder?

My mentor didn’t trust or praise me enough. Oh, grow the f*** up.

As for the stepfather? Let’s have a vendetta against the man who’s the beloved father of a future stepdaughter that I’m supposed to care about. I have no more f***s to give about this penis-measuring contest.

Know what I could care about? Know what stories I haven’t seen often enough?

Marvel's Ant-Man Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2015
I haven’t had nearly enough stories about people like Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal/© Marvel 2015.

I haven’t had enough stories about mothers forced to be single parents because their supposed partner in child-rearing did a dumb-ass adolescent thing, and rather than being viewed as the bad guy for insisting this stupid adolescent man prove he’s grown up.

I haven’t had enough stories of *mothers* who run into houses to save their daughter instead of letting the studly man do it because, well, see above on the penis-measuring contest.

I haven’t had enough of daughters whose fathers shut them out for no reason and decided to follow in their mother’s footsteps by themselves, without the help of said distant father and immature male.

I haven’t had enough stories of people of color who are already disadvantaged and abused by our society, who come up with a way to survive in a world stacked against them.

I haven’t had enough stories where these people are the heroes instead of comic relief or the way to prove that our white hero is going to be good enough to save the day.

Marvel's Ant-Man Luis (Michael Peña) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2014
Can we have a world where Luis (Michael Peña) is the hero and not the comic relief? Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal/© Marvel 2014.

Marvel movies, you’ve had a good run.

I’m looking forward to Captain America: Civil War, about grown-ups dealing with problems like being good people brainwashed to do horrible things, and about a friend who helps because it’s the right thing to do, a friend who is formidable in his own right and not there as a rumble to prove another hero is cool.

But after that, you’re on notice.

I want something beyond more man-anguish and man-pain because the guys made bad decisions because they didn’t grow up fast enough but deserve second chances anyway because, hey, the potential for being a hero is already there.

Especially if they’re straight white men.

Give me a story I haven’t seen before.

Give me a story where I can give a f***.

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25 thoughts on “‘Ant-Man’: I’ve Had Enough of the Man Pain

  1. This. So much this. It’s funny, with the entire Hugos debacle, with the complaints I saw that the puppies had with stories that have been winning awards lately, all I could think of was: “Wow, even with your derisive summaries, those stories sound interesting. Hmmm wonder if that has something to do with their awards.” Stories about heroic woman, POC, LGTBTQ , etc. draw people in because they are new and interesting. Yes, there are a lot of people out there who only want the same and familiar — however, once they get word from those “risk-takers” that something new is a good risk, they will go for it. C’Mon, Hollywood!

  2. Yeah, I don’t know what’s worse, that you got worked up like this over a stupid comic book movie, or that the thing about the stupid comic book movie that got you worked up was all about the sex and race of the main characters.

    You want movies that fit your criteria for giving a f***?

    Then write, produce, and sell them.

    1. I don’t agree with everything she said, but she’s entitled to her opinion on what she would like to see in a Marvel film as film patron, I assume she’s spent a good amount of money on these films. Telling her she should ” write, produce, and sell them.” is dismissive and just plain stupid.

  3. The problem with Ant Man was the timing. It was a production that was a victim of delays. It was supposed to be a 1st wave movie back in 2009 in between Iron Man 1 and 2.

    Hollywood is in the business of making money, they dont give a shit about you or I. All the new female comedies that have come out the last few years are retreads of what guys have already done. Bridesmaids was the Hangover, Train wreck was just a flipped rom com, The upcoming Ghostbusters? Really? It looks like a bad porn parody or some cosplay gone awry. Not too original yet women lap it up.

    Supergirl is going to bomb, the pilot stunk and lets be honest women don’t buy into the superhero genre. They are doing it because its trendy right now, hell most comic dealers have pulled out of San Diego comic con because nobody is there to buy anything. Its just a bunch of female narcissists hanging out taking selfies and not doing much else.

    Good stories come from pain and adversity, something white north american women know nothing of. You all live a life on “Easy mode”, in a society built by men, in cities built by men (Who make up 92% of workplace fatalities I remind you) driving cars powered by oil and gas drilled by men and made of metals mined by men.

    Thats why women are not seen as good comediennes, yes there are exceptions but Roseanne hasn’t been funny the last 25 years since she got rich. Amy Schumer is just doing what Andrew Dice Clay did 25 years ago too. It wasnt funny when he did it and it sure as shit aint funny because a woman is doing it.

    As for the rest of your rant? Talk about 1st world problems lady, if this is the worst thing your privileged 50 year old female ass has to rant and rave about all I can say is: You want to trade lives?

  4. Geekmom, some valid points and righteous nerd rage. I read an article where there are going to be a bunch of female and/or minority super hero movies coming up. So it *is* getting better. But they waited *way* too long to integrate them.

    A lot of the stupid ‘man-pain’ you describe is simply plot device.
    Scott Lang – gifted electrical engineer that would be snatched up in a second by a silicon valley start-up….but landing in a cushy job, paying child support, seeing his daughter on appropriately negotiated and scheduled visitations doesn’t create much dramatic tension, does it? Also, when he has all that going for him, why would he bother with the ant suit?

    Better make him not be able to even hold down a job at Baskin-Robbins, unable to find a place, unable to pay child support. That gives him a reason to wear the ant-suit. Throw in, being kept from his daughter until he pays child support….(It doesn’t work that way in real life) and *now* you have dramatic tension.

    Yes, you nailed how doofy Hank Pym is/was. But well adjusted father Hank Pym and well adjusted daughter Hope doesn’t go over to the other side and then there’s no sense of urgency because they stop the other guy cold or he doesn’t get started. There’ no sense of urgency, no dramatic tension.

    Yes, you’re right about the ‘losers’, but that’s primarily a Hollywood device to heighten drama, tension and get buy in from the audience.

    BUT…..you’re absolutely right that being ‘lovable losers’ shouldn’t be the sole domain of goofy white males. Women and minorities need to join the party.

    1. I could write another article that dissected the writing itself, which needs some serious work in this movie. Aside from my being bored with the concept, the plotting itself has issues, as you point out. When Hank describes the thing Scott should never do with the suit, you know that’s going to be exactly what Scott does at the climax.

      Part of the writing is too many hands in the pot, of course. I thought they could have done weirder, creepier and more imaginative things with the ants, instead of naming one and you know what would happen to that one.

      As I said, it’s a decent movie. But it has more flaws than any Marvel movie thus far, and toss that in with the concept….

      1. Points well taken.

        I read a good article talking about why so many blockbusters/ super hero movies are so disjointed. They plan the release date years in advance, they plot the big explosions and big scenes that are going to require a ton of cgi/ work, whatever. Then they fill in the plot around that. If things get held up with the big special effects scenes, they can’t bump back the release date because they have a schedule to maintain, so so they just mush a plot in without any time to adjust.

        I’m with you on the ‘standardized plot devices’.

      2. I have yet to see the film, I’ll catch it on DVD, but I’ve read similar complaints about it, even among those who overall liked it. I think what you’re describing is a natural result of Marvel’s Movie Making Method. At this point, they’re not really making individual movies anymore, they’re building and maintaining a movie universe, and each film is just another part of that. This has been a clear problem since Iron Man 2 which, in my opinion, felt like more like an Avengers prequel than an Iron Man sequel. Every film since then has to fit a continuing narrative, which requires sacrificing some creativity. Great films can still get made, like Winter Soldier, butt now we’re getting Civil War which, by all rights, is really Avengers 3 as opposed to a proper Captain America film.
        Hence why we have things like Edgar Wright dropping out of Ant Man and Ava Duvernay turning down Black Panther, not to mention Favereu and Whedon each dropping out of directing, which shows that if you want to play in the Marvel movie sandbox you need to be prepared to suppress much of your own vision, which not every filmmaker wants to do.

        Now, obviously, this has been working quite well for Marvel up to this, but I think the long-term consequences of this program will start to show even more in the product. Particularly as they enter “Phase 3” where they’re trying to build up their B-list heroes and don’t have Downey and Evans to rely on.

        1. My son, who went to see it with his friends, said that it was “okay” but bored him in parts. I suspect that’s because you’re right, that at this point, they’ve hit a formula.

          We’ve seen this story with Iron Man I but that threw us a few twists, and that script was clear that Stark brought the mess on himself, whereas in Ant-Man, it read as if we were supposed to completely sympathize with his bad choices. As much as I enjoy Paul Rudd, he’s not RDJ, which also made a difference.

          Guardians did some of this with someone who clearly needed to move past a trauma, but, again, did something new, such as We Are Groot, And there was the genius of what was in the package at the end, unexpected and perfect. I had a few problems with Guardians, Gamora felt like she become lost in there, but it was a blast to watch.

          Watching Ant-Man felt somewhat inevitable. And, again, Marvel did flub the villain, as in Thor: The Dark World. That was mitigated by the presence of Loki. We’ll see. Winter Soldier managed to get so much right but Avengers/Ultron almost read as those events never happened–I’m sure this was due to the overlap in planning, as certain items couldn’t be changed.

          I’ve no idea how they’ll slot in Spider-Man. I could cheerfully go a decade without another Spider-Man origin movie and I’m bummed it pushed back Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Not just because of diversity but because those stories promised something new in the MCU.

          OTOH, I thoroughly loved Daredevil and Agent Carter. SHIELD improved too, last season. So I’m hopeful for Jessica Jones and Iron Fist too.

          1. >Winter Soldier managed to get so much right but Avengers/Ultron almost
            read as those events never happened–I’m sure this was due to the
            overlap in planning, as certain items couldn’t be changed.OTOH, I thoroughly loved Daredevil and Agent Carter. SHIELD improved too, last season. So I’m hopeful for Jessica Jones and Iron Fist too.<

            I think they're helped by being television instead of films, the different medium has different rules. Although Agents of SHIELD obviously had some hiccups due to having to coordinate with events in the films.

      3. First of all, you clearly have some personal issues you need to resolve. Projecting all that pent up teenage angsty attitude on a movie. You sound so pathetic.

        Second of all, we don’t need white women, the most coddled and privileged people in the Western Hemisphere, to try to defend us. Get off your high horse.
        Michael Peña was great in this role. He was funny. He wasn’t the butt of the joke. A nice shift from a more serious previous role in End of Watch. He died, but he died a hero in that movie (sorry if spoilers).

        Other than that, I agree with David Swanner.

        1. Nah, just bored with the same-old, same-old.

          As for speaking for others, no, I wouldn’t presume to do that. I can only say that I want stories featuring different types of characters in roles that tend not to be available for them.

  5. Another article where an ageing bitter feminist tells young women what they should want out of their films. Marvel is making a lot of money and their films resonate with men and women. Women love the Avengers as much as they hate Electra. Why? Because despite the Avengers lacking in women it’s still a really good film. If you want to know why women become less and less happy every year according to global happiness data it’s because of people like this writer telling them if they like certain films they are betraying their gender.

    Every complaint made by fans has been responded to by studios (black panther, captain marvel, wonder woman all in production). What is the point of this article other than to make men feel ashamed for making a movie based on (admittedly non-diverse) source material invented in the 60s by and for men, and women feel betrayed by a studio they love? Let’s let women be happy.

      1. Attempting to emasculate me is a pretty immature way for a journalist to respond to legitimate criticism. Now i see you are just stirring up controversy for the clicks. Hack.

          1. ‘Aging’ – In the article you state your age. Bitter – you write an article complaining about women’s role in movies which as a woman is quite bitter. ‘Feminist’ well that goes without saying when it comes to gender related articles on this website doesnt it. Do you have a response to the other criticisms i made or are you just going to hide behind the fact that i mildly insulted you.

  6. The best part of Ant-Man was the flashback sequence when Hank was telling his daughter how her mother died. The rest was meh (well, the scene with Falcon was fun). What happened to *that* movie? The one where Wasp sacrifices herself to save the world from nuclear holocaust during the cold war? That’s awesome! That’s the Ant-Man movie I wish they’d made. Scott Lang felt like a stapled-on character who was there because Hollywood still thinks most of the butts in theater seats belong to guys who identify with that kind of sad-sap loser. Maybe they’re right, for now, but more women are buying comics, so it’s bound to change. Personally, I’m hoping we see Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel on the big screen before too long.

    Monkey Joe 1992-2005. He loved nuts. He will be missed. 🙁

    1. Hope’s story was more compelling to me than Scott’s. Not just because she was a woman but because she was someone who lost a parent and the other parent simply tossed her aside. Sorting through that was far more interesting than watching Scott trying to become a hero.

  7. First of all, you clearly have some personal issues you need to resolve. Projecting all that pent up teenage angsty attitude on a movie. You sound so silly.

    Second of all, we don’t need white women, the most coddled and privileged people in the Western Hemisphere, to try to defend us. Get off your high horse.
    Michael Peña was great in this role. He was funny. He wasn’t the butt of the joke. A nice shift from a more serious previous role in End of Watch. He died, but he died a hero in that movie (sorry if spoilers).

    Other than that, I agree with David Swanner.

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