Up to now I have been able to watch with glee as Marvel and DC and others butcher, bastardize, and homogenize your childhood favorites. Hahaha I laughed to myself as they made the Human Torch black, (which by the way ,Marvel, is ripe for racist jokes about how he’s burned now and what not…didn’t consider that did you?) made wonder woman a wafe of a girl, reworked the charm out of spider mans origin, ruined Electro and the Rhino, left out the Mandarin’s power rings…and so on. I watched as you would all grind your teeth in anger. Haha ha!! I laughed and laughed. “hey, you didn’t think they actually gave a damn did you? what’s the big shock?!” I’d say.
What did I care? My favorites were too obscure for Hollywood to pick up and ruin. My favorites were safe by default.
Then…they decided to make Ant Man.
They cast some dork who is mostly known for doing comedic roles that no one else wants or who are defined as “30 something white guy ” in the script. Crud…oh well, I guess I won’t be seeing that. Then it turns out that Micheal Douglas would be Hank Pym and what’s his name will be his assistant or something.
That’s who they get ya…they give you a shred of hope. I am all but convinced that they made the Avengers so good just so it would hurt twice as bad when they ruin something else.
See Hank Pym was a driven, brilliant, semi dysfunctional person. He was far more 3 dimensional than the rest of the Marvel Universe because his motivation was more believable, to me anyway. Most of the super heroes are motivated by a sense of duty, or guilt, or some childhood tragedy, or a thirst for vindication or redemption. Things that only really motivate people in Shakespearean plays. But Pym…he was motivated by his work and a character flaw. (kindly keep your comments about me “projecting” to yourselves thank you very much). He was a scientist and testing the limits of science and his own abilities therein was his motivation. This is something we see everyday. We see brilliant flawed people get so lost in their work that bizarre, dangerous risks are simply a means to an end for them. They get tunnel vision and press on towards one challenge after the next, oblivious to what they have done to their lives or how far out of the realm of normal behavior they have gone.
THAT is the personality that would go out and become a super hero. Guilt, remorse, vindication…these things motivate people to be charitable, to volunteer at the red cross, to donate cash, ect. Life changing events like say Uncle Ben dying, I my opinion and life experience, would not change a person’s personality, it would maybe temporarily get them to take risks but eventually that person would accept the lose. On that, in a world where a radioactive spider can give you super powers, I suppose we can disagree, but we can all agree that people who are driven only get more driven with success. In the case of Pym, the success of discovering the means to reduce in size, then to communicate with insects, then to increase in size…a driven person would be compelled to test and use these advances. So in my mind he seemed the most believable. Also the wrinkle that he was clearly unbalanced to begin with made him all the more realistic. So when they said Micheal Douglas would play Pym, I whole heartedly approved. Douglas has played maniacally driven individuals in the past, and done so very well.
I swallowed that worm hook and all.
They just recently announced that his wife Janet Van Dyne (the wasp) would be dead to begin with.
You CAN’T have Hank Pym without Janet!
It loses all perspective without her. Without Janet trying to keep him grounded, trying to break his workaholicism,trying to keep him from alienating himself from the rest of mankind, without her love as evidence that Pym somewhere inside has a redeemable quality, all you have is a creepy guy playing with test tubes. Without his love for her, the notion of him trying to test his powers in some noble way seems unlikely. He would have just written a paper on it and/or passed the knowledge along to someone who knew what they were doing. This is no different than if Uncle Ben had lived or Bruce Wayne’s parents left him at an orphanage. Janet was Pym’s motivation. Go back to the early stories. Pym didn’t want to be a super hero , Janet did. Janet wanted them to be Avengers, and when Pym got jealous of her fawning over Thor he became Giant Man, his nervious breakdown about their relationship turned him into Yellow Jacket. The bulk of his career was spent wanting to simply do research and getting talked back into being a super hero by Janet. Without him trying to become the man she wanted he has no motivation and all of it is out of character and 2 dimensional. Pym the single scientist would have gone to great extremes in his work, but would never have done so en route to becoming a super hero.
Furthermore, his marriage to Janet is what really made him the most realistic of ALL comic book characters, because I believe he was based on someone who the writers actually knew. Here is why- as the story in the comic books go, Pym’s first wife was kidnapped and killed, this sent him into his introverted workaholicism. Then he met Janet who was way too young for him and resembled his first wife…I am not making that up, that’s how it was written. That HAD to be based off of some guy they knew who was either a widower or got divorced, and then married some young broad who looked just like his first wife, and the whole Pym character was an inside joke about the guy. That character development of Pym reacting to the pressure and stress of his work by becoming an alcoholic and then an abusive husband, and eventually getting a divorce….that’s just too damn on the nose of marriages we have all seen go bad, to not be based on someone.
What other comic book character had such gradual and perfect character development and life style changes?! Peter Parker has pretty much just been Peter Parker, same with Bruce Wayne, and Clark Kent has always been about as interesting as an overripe banana. Tony Stark became an alcoholic but it was a rushed, ham handed effort to portray that downward spiral. Pym, over the course of decades, followed the template of how someone let’s his life go to hell because he’s a mess to begin with so naturally, and in ways we have all witnessed ourselves, that he really just had to be written mirroring what was going on with whoever they knew and based him off of. That’s my theory anyway. Even if it is just a theory, his relationship with Janet made him the most 3 dimensional of them all. It was one of the reasons I like him best. I also like that when he was Yellow Jacket he carried a gun…y’know…just in case the super powers weren’t cutting it.
Him trying or being implored to being a better man than he was by or for Janet was the entire crux of what made him interesting. The other heroes were good men to begin with or motivated for their own reasons to become good men. Pym wasn’t a good man, he was a jerk, he was a recluse, he was interested in his research for its own sake. Without Janet you just have some creepy scientist who never leaves his lab deciding out of the blue to take center stage in selfless adventures that help mankind…it makes NO SENSE without Janet. His relationship with Janet was the source of his personal conflict. A tragedy, a life changing event…these things fade with time. But an outside source of a person who wants you to be more than your are is an element that not only continues to affect you, but constantly changes, raising and lowering the bar. The whole damn dynamic was so interesting and brilliant…it’s no wonder Hollywood said “uhm…yeah…just make her dead from the start”.