Thursday, July 16, 2015

Who's Who in Marvel's Ant-Man

"This July, heroes don't come any bigger."
Sky calmed our worries about the new Ant-Man film coming out Friday with her post on why she thinks the movie will be awesome. If you're like me, you've decided to trust her reasons and give this small hero a chance. But you might also be thinking, okay, he sounds cool but who is he? Who's Ant-Man? Why are there two Ant-Mans (Men?)? Who are these other characters? And why is Agent Carter, Howard Stark, Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson involved in the film? 

While I may not be an expert on formicidea (that's a fancy way of labeling the insect family of ants), I can assure I will do my best to explain who's who in the Ant-Man world as well as give you my best guess on what we might expect from the film.
So let's take a little trip back in time to 1962, when Ant-Man first appeared in Tales to Astonish #35. Created by Stan Lee (the king of Mavel comics), Larry Lieber (Stan the Man's younger brother who helped with many comics), and Jack Kirby (one of the guys who created Captain America), Ant-Man has been portrayed by four different characters over the last fifty years. Two of these character will be in the new movie, but there's always room for more later.

Hank Pym: the Original Ant-Man (Michael Douglas)
Dr. Henry Pym discovered new subatomic particles ("Pym Particles", so clever), which he uses to create two formulas: one to make him small as, well, ants and the other to reverse the first. After extensive ant-research (because he accidentally trapped himself in an anthill during his experiment run. Dude, why were you experimenting outside??), he creates his suit to 1. protect himself from ant bites 2. let's him communicate with the ants. Thus: Ant-Man.

So, maybe not the brilliant origin story you were thinking? Yeah, science! But let's look at what Ant-Man can do:
-size-shifts between nearly microscopic to about 100ft. tall (both extremes).
-while in size-shift, he maintains strength of normal size. Thus, he's super strong as ant-sized which is why he can do all those cool stunts.
-Bio-Energy Projection/Bio-Sting
-Superhuman strength and agility. Again, cool stunts.
However, Dr. Pym isn't only Ant-Man in the comics. He is also Giant-Man: the reverse of Ant-Man, a 12-foot version. Oooh, I can sense the excitement building. Supposedly, he created this formula/suit because he felt inadequate to other heroes like Ironman. He's also been Goliath (basically Giant-Man but the alias he used while working with the Avengers), Yellowjacket (a schizophrenic version of Hank), and even the Wasp for a brief time (in tribute to his late wife, Janet). Oh, and he was the original creator of Ultron in the comics.
Why is he important? He was the first Ant-Man who created the suit. From what I've gathered between the synopsis and the trailer, he's already created the suit (and possibly been Ant-Man in the past) and wishes to pass it to someone else. Someone like...

Scott Lang: the Second Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
Electronics expert, Scott Lang turned to thievery in order to support his family. However, he was caught, sent to jail, and eventually paroled for good behavior. (Fun fact: Because of his electronics expertise, he was hired by none other than Stark International [aka Stark Industries] and installed the security system in the Avengers Mansion.)

When his daughter, Cassie, gets sick, he breaks into Dr. Pym's house and steals the suit and formula for Ant-Man. After an exciting ordeal of rescuing the one person who can heal his daughter from evil bad guy (more on him later), he does return the suit to Dr. Pym. However, good old Hank tells him to keep it as long as he uses it for good (aka upholding the law, helping the Avengers, saving lives, etc.).
Why is he important? Because the movie is his story. Dr. Pym might have created the suit, but Scott Lang is going to be wearing the suit. Plus, the story line of the movie probably resembles the comics: his daughter gets sick and he ends up with the suit in the middle of a catastrophe involving...

Darren Cross: Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll)
In the comics, Darren Cross was simply a man. Well, a self-made millionaire man. He created his own company, Cross Technological Enterprises (so clever, really). However, he's diagnosed with a rare heart condition. The only solution is a nucleorganic pacemaker (no idea what that is, to be honest). But of course, this solution also gave him some weirdo mutated abilities with a terrible side effect of burning out his heart.

Thus, he turns crazy and kidnaps "donors" from the slums (hmmm, sure, donors, eh?) and also a doctor who is the only person who can save Cassie Lang (yep, Scott's daughter). Of course, Scott defeats him (with the doctor's help) and everything is just swell. Until Cross' son decides to take revenge, but I'm sure that's another story for another time.
Why is he important? Well, he's the main villain of the film. If they follow the comics, he'll kidnap the doctor Scott is looking for, and thus, he will be the middle of the catastrophe. However, he's also "Yellowjacket" (Dr. Pym's schizo-alias), so either the Yellowjacket suit will be made to help Cross' heart condition or he's just super jealous of Ant-Man so he becomes a bee-related super-powered individual (yeah, uh-huh). In addition, he might have connections to Dr. Pym's daughter...

Hope van Dyne (or Pym, depending): The Red Queen (Evangeline Lilly)
In the comics, Hope is the daughter of Hank and Janet. She has a twin, Hank Pym Jr. aka Big Man. However, she's very obsessed and upset with the newest team of the Avengers. She believed they disgraced her parents' legacy. She blamed Cassie Lang because she believed she should have been the second Ant-Man (Woman?) instead of Scott.

Thus, she formed the "Revengers" and duplicated her mother's abilities, becoming the Red Queen. With her team of supervillains, she ambushed the Avengers. However, her brother stopped her before she destroyed both super teams and Cassie Lang. She has implanted wings to fly, bio-electric blasters extendable claws in her gloves, and hand-to-hand combat.
Why is she important? In the film, she's the female lead. She's Hank's estranged daughter, thus why she is "van Dyne" instead of Pym in the film. She is involved with both Darren Cross (business partner) and Scott Lang (acquaintance). Whether she turns villainous remains to be unseen. It's possible instead of the Red Queen, she might just become the Wasp in honor of her mother (who is already deceased in the film). We'll have to wait and see how she feels about Scott's daughter...

Cassie Lang: Stature (Abby Ryder Fortson)
Originally, Cassie is introduced as Scott's daughter, who has a congenital heart defect. However when she grows up, she decides she wants to be a hero like her father (I'm not crying, that's just a father-daughter relationship in my eye). Thus, she becomes a number of different aliases, the most well-known being: Stature.

(Fun Fact: from being around so many heroes while growing up, she makes friends with their kids/wards and also has special relationships with these heroes. Aka she calls Tony Stark "Uncle Tony.")

Cassie has the ability--like her father and Dr. Pym--to increase and decrease her size (via expose to Pym Particles). Her abilities are affected by her emotions: she grows big when she's angry and small when she feel guilty. She's been known as Ant-Girl, Giant-Girl, Titan, and Stinger as well as Stature. She's been in the Young Avengers, she's joined The Fifty State Initiative, and she's been a part of the Mighty Avengers.
Why is she important? In this film, she's portrayed as a young girl. It's more than likely she won't be turning into the teenager Stature in this film, but there's always time for that later, right? She's the reason Scott Lang gets involved with the Ant-Man suit and becomes a hero: to find her help for her disease. I would say she's pretty important and I personally am excited to see a superhero with an inclination toward his family, especially a child.
While there's a whole cast list of other characters, these are the most important and well-known from the comics and probably for the film. A few others in the film are already known to the MCU: Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). My best guess for their roles in the film are flashbacks or origin history of Dr. Hank Pym first creating the Ant-Man suit. I imagine he created it either during WWII (hence why Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are uncredited but on the list) or sometime post WWII when SHIELD was being founded.

In addition, Sam Wilson is listed to be uncredited in the film. This makes me wonder if we'll see some glimpse of Steve and Sam present day with either Hank, Hope, or Scott (please be an invitation to join the Avengers. Please).
Overall, Ant-Man promises humor, butt-kicking (even if it's ant-sized), and an unlikely hero. Plus possibly more Steve and Bucky moments, Agent Carter awesomeness, and Evangeline Lilly punching Paul Rudd in the face. I'm excited: are you? Remember, Marvel took a giant leap of faith with Guardians of the Galaxy last year and it did smashingly (just don't try to tell Drax that). Fingers crossed Ant-Man will be the same.

What most interests you in seeing Ant-Man? 

*All information was compiled via Wikipedia and Marvel-wikia database. If anything is inaccurate, I apologize and you should be a pal and let them know the real information. 


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