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Movie: Who the hell is Ant-Man?

ant-manOver the next few years, in the lead up to The Avengers’ movie, Marvel Studios will introduce a couple of characters to the big screen, who may not necessarily be known to many outside of the comic book reading community. Personally, I’ve been quite taken aback by the idea that few ‘normals’ were aware of the character Iron Man, however I’m not at all surprised by the same reaction to another member of The Avengers, Ant-man.

While I was certainly aware of Ant-man and his presence in the formative years of The Avengers, he’s a character who I’ve never given much more than a passing glance. On the surface the idea of a superhero who’s ability enables him to shrink down to insect size and control ants, seems about as useful as… oh, I don’t know.. a guy who can talk to fish maybe? However, as it turns out, Ant-man — in each of his incarnations — is the kind of character that Marvel has always excelled in creating: A complex and interesting one.

In a recent interview writer / director Edgar Wright talked about his work on the script for the upcoming Ant-Man movie (due in 2011). Wright is probably best known for his work on movies like HOT FUZZ and SHAUN OF THE DEAD (and the TV series SPACED), but insists that Ant-Man isn’t a comedy, instead pointing to the humour in Iron Man as an example of the tone that this film will take. Wright has also indicated that both the character of Henry Pym, the creator of the Ant-Man technology, and Scott Lang, the second character (there have been three so far) to wear the mantle of Ant-Man, will appear in the upcoming film.

Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ Pym first appeared in an issue of ‘Tales to Astonish’ (in a story titled ‘The Man in the Ant Hill’). This origin tale introduced Dr Pym as a brilliant scientist who uses himself as his own test subject for a shrinking serum. Pym finds himself, as the name of the story suggests, caught in an ant hill. The character returned to the pages of Tales to Astonish several issues later, however this time around he sports a red costume and had also invented a cybernetic helmet which allowed him to communicate with the ants.

Pym, along with his girlfriend Janet van Dyne (who took the superhero identity of Wasp), Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk formed the Avengers (Captain America joined four issues later, but is considered by many to be a founding member).

Almost as fluid as the Avengers’ roster, is Pym’s superhero powers and identity. Somewhat belittled — if you’ll pardon the pun — by his inadequate powers, when compared to the other Avengers, Pym experimented further and was soon able to grow to super size. With this new ability Pym took on the name Giant-Man. Which meant that he only needed to stitch two more letter’s into his underwear, however he later changed his name to Goliath, it’s unknown what happened to his underwear at that point.

Despite his new identity and powers, Pym suffers greatly from the pressure of keeping up with the other Avengers, and after inadvertently creating a sentient robot called Ultron — which escapes and plans to murder the human race (starting with Pym) — he has a complete breakdown, during which he took on the identity of Yellowjacket.

Over the following years Pym has continued to act as a supporting character for the Avengers — both as hero and villain — and a long list of characters have used his powers (and often his superhero identities), including Scott Lang as Ant-Man.

Lang came to wear the Ant-Man suit initially by nefarious means, although his intentions were somewhat honourable. When his daughter falls ill, the Stark International employee and electronics expert, uses his knowledge of security systems and his skills as a former petty thief, to break into Henry Pym’s home and steal the Ant-Man costume. Lang then used the suit to free brilliant micro-surgeon Dr. Erica Sondheim from CTE (Cross Technological Enterprises), knowing that she would be the only doctor capable fixing his daughter’s heart condition.

Once his daughter’s life had been saved Lang attempted to turn himself in for the theft of the Ant-Man suit, however Pym, knowing the motivation behind Lang’s actions, offered the suit to Lang, provided that he use it only to uphold the law.

As Ant-Man Lang has worked with many other Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, and even becoming a member of The Fantastic Four when it was believed that Reed Richards had died.

As yet there isn’t any (publicly known) casting talk. but given that there are two strong characters in this film, coupled with the fact that they are lesser-known than Hulk and Iron Man, Marvel may be a little hard-pressed to fill these roles with actors the calibre of Robert Downey Jnr and Edwood Norton. Having said that though, Norton and Downey (and, of course, Christian Bale) have made superhero movies appealing for performers, as well as fans, so lets hope that Marvel will be spoilt for choice! [source] [source]

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1 Comment

    Hey thanks for this article Elroy, I’ve been buying into all this crazy hookinanny about these crazy Avengers, since I am living in a post-Iron Man world.

    I’ve been doing the rounds on Wikipedia and so forth, but yes… Ant-man kind of sounds lame sauce in some corners. I’m still not even sure why this Avenger movie is such a big deal… well, except for that fact Sam Jackson is hopefully in it.

    Then again Sam Jackson was in the Star Wars prequels… thankfully his career didn’t collapse as he had wisely pre-empted the Star Wars prequels with other awesome roles, such as Pulp Fiction.

    Anyway, where was I… oh yes, this guy reminds me of you: