Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ant Man and the status of superhero movies in general

I haven't written on this blog in literally years.  But I feel strongly enough about something that I'm blowing the dust off this thing in the vain hope someone might read it.  More to just put my thoughts down than anything else, really.  But I don't see anyone else saying this, so it might as well be me.

Me being who I am, I pay attention to superhero movie news.  Marvel has been in that news a lot lately, what with Edgar Wright leaving Ant Man, a movie he's been at least saying he's been working on for years.  Since just after the first Iron Man movie.  Think about that.  Ant Man wasn't in the first Avengers movie because Edgar Wright wanted to introduce him first.  What a waste.

Now, there are rumors and leaks about the movie's story focusing on Scott Lang, the second Ant Man, stealing the suit from an older Hank Pym in order to help Lang's kidnapped daughter, Cassie Lang, who would go on to become the young avenger Stature and die while trying to bring her father back from the dead because reasons.  Also, it seems to be another one of those comic book deaths that is going to stick, because female character reasons.  I'm serious about that.  Who cares about Scott Lang?  Not me.  But here's one less female superhero in the world to bring a male one back to life.  It's under the guise of "paying a price" and "a life for a life," but really.  It's the writers doing away with a female hero to bring back a male hero nobody cared about.  Not me, anyway.

But I digress.  Dear reader, you may sense I'm a bit fired up about something.  I assure you, it's not Wright's leaving the director position, though that is disappointing and discouraging.  It's this:  Marvel has found a way to exclude Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, from the story of Ant Man.  Better yet, they've replaced her with a damsel in distress, a female character objectified for the main character's motivation and story.  And I don't understand why.

The Wasp isn't the greatest hero in the Marvel universe.  She's not the most interesting character.  But.  She's a founding member of the avengers, and is actually the hero that came up with the team's name.  Specifically to Ant Man, she's an incredibly interesting character foil, because Hank Pym is somewhat of a reluctant superhero, and it's Janet's influence that gets him out into the world.  Janet encourages him to use his "pym particles" to help people directly, and make a tangible difference in the world.  It's a man encouraged to become a hero by his romantic interest.

Also, he beats her; that's awful.  Really awful.  It's something he regrets forever and it comes to define him to his fellow heroes and he is constantly trying to move past it and atone for it but never really succeeding.  As he shouldn't.  Because it's unforgivably awful.

Another thing that's unforgivably awful is Marvel has purposefully excluded another female superhero from the cinematic universe.  It's a movie about Ant Man; the Wasp should be there.  It goes without saying.  I don't understand why Marvel is dragging their heels at best and at worst directly opposed to the idea of bringing in female superheroes.  It's frustrating and appalling.  There's going to be a Peggy Carter TV series.  Okay.  There's going to be a Jessica Jones Netflix series.  Oh, you mean that character who was raped and then gave up being a superhero?  Yeah, okay.  Where's Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers?  Where's She-Hulk?  Everyone's clamoring for another Hulk movie after he stole the show in Avengers.  Stinking introduce She-Hulk!  DUH!  And while you're at it, why the bloody hell are you purposefully excluding Wasp from the Ant Man movie?!

DC meanwhile is going to have Wonder Woman in the Superman/Batman movie, and has already announced that they plan to have a solo film for her after the Justice League movie.  That's a long ways out, but it's still more than Marvel has given us.  Marvel is tearing DC apart in the movies right now.  I don't know why they're giving DC this opportunity to turn things around.  Fans of superhero movies will say, "Marvel movies are better than DC movies," and right now that ends the argument.  Before long, DC will have a rebuttal that goes something like this:  "Yeah, but DC was brave enough to bring to film a female superhero in her stand-alone movie, and that's more than Marvel has done."

Scarlet Witch is going to be in the Joss Whedon helmed Avengers 2.  Well okay then.  It might not suck.