Are We Taking Filmmaking Decisions Too Personal And Are We Reading Too Much Into Things?

2:00 PM Joseph Aberl 0 Comments



Do some of us take filmmaking decisions a tad too personal? This is something I have come to realize not only about myself, but also about the Internet after reading an article on Comics Alliance regarding the Ant-Man film and its depiction of Hope Van Dyne. Here is a small warning before we further go into the matter, as this post will contain spoilers regarding the Ant-Man film, so only continue reading at your own risk, or if you have already seen the film. So, with that out of the way let us take a little look into the matter.

Taking a look at this article by Comics Alliance[1] I have come to realize that there seems to be an issue regarding how the character of Hope Van Dyne was portrayed. While stating that the character was supposed to be a jab at the issues regarding female superheroes in cinema. They are underrepresented in cinema in general with only two female superhero films in production, Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman. Yet while it was supposed to be a joke regarding the affair, it seems this was taken in a negative light according to this article. While from a story and personal motivation she was not the next Ant-Man due to her father being afraid she would lose her in the process. So, to avoid this loss he hires someone else to take over the Ant-Man persona, which is a nice twist on the original comic where Scott Lang steals the suit. The story between Hank Pym and his daughter is a reflection of Scott Long’s with his, which makes sense with the line “Make her see the hero that she believes you are.”

The article sees this reasoning though from keeping Hope from becoming the Wasp as a “convenient excuse”. Stating that the so-called “Marvel movie formula” forced him to stick to the male character archetype and that Hope, even though she was better qualified for the job, was sidelined as a result. Even further solidifying the fact that her receiving the Wasp suit at the end with the “About damn time” line was more of an insult. Once again stating that Kevin Feige has mentioned that we will see her return at one point in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, theorizing that there will be no Ant-Man 2 due to “poor” reception in the Box Office comparing its results to that of the The Incredible Hulk.

This article simply highlights a lot of different elements that are quite notable on how we have started to interpret various media or statements. Do not worry, while I have noted many aspects of this article and will “review” them, I too can’t deny that I am partial towards what I am reading. It is a natural reaction for us all, as we have our likes and dislikes, which lead us to interpret different aspects from various points of view. Some would take the aspect of Hope receiving her costume at the end of the film as blasphemous and disrespectful towards her finally becoming a female superhero, but is it truly that way?

We have to consider that the film was rewritten after the fiasco surrounding Edgar Wright, as in his article he also mentions that Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, wasn’t given the right treatment due to her early death. Well, this is an element that probably persisted since the first draft, as Hank Pym is still a much older character than he is in the comics and Scott Lang is the protagonist. Another point regarding Hope is that even an article in DailyDot state the question why she isn’t the main character of the film. According to them, Scott Lang is not the competent choice to be the leading superhero and doesn’t prove himself during the film.[2] Yet I ask the queston, isn’t that the entire point of the film? An unlikely man is given the opportunity to prove himself as a better man and dons the suit?

Like I stated before, this is about personal interpretation and to a certain extent the lack of understanding the other side of the argument. Why is the film focused on Scott Lang rather than Hope? Simple, the script was written in that way by Edgar Wright and has persisted ever since the first draft back in 2008. Why doesn’t Hope just steal the suit and commit to the mission? Well, maybe it’s from a personal standpoint, as she has too much respect for her father to truly go that far. Maybe she herself has some fears that we don’t know about and not every child has to rebel against their parent, sometimes they do it out of sympathy towards them. Would she have done a better job? Actually, considering that Scott has much more experience in breaking into places I actually believe that his inexperience with the Pym Particles are replaced with his experience on how a heist works together with his crew. Does she serve a purpose in the film? Of course she does and I personally believe that she is a hero in her own right even without her wearing a literal suit.

Isn’t that the entire point these articles are making? Hope Van Dyne is pointless because she doesn’t appear as a superhero? Was wasn’t the film about her? The film is marketed as Ant-Man and the script was simply intended as such from the very start. Is there a lack of female superheroes? Yes, absolutely, but at the same time forcing them upon the viewers is counter-productive at the same time. Why is there a lack of female-centric films in general? The answer is as simple as it is cruel, they simply don’t sell that well. The superhero genre is stereotyped as a very male driven genre, so in turn they expect to see characters they can identify with. Is it a valid excuse? On one hand, no, because it shows a lack of diversity in general, but on the other, it simply is how the world is. Same could be said that why are beer or deodorant commercials heavily marketed by showing them win girls? Not only because it is something men commonly wish for, but also because this desire has proven itself as an effective way to sell the product to the target audience.

Like marketing, these aren’t things one should take personal, yet somehow we still do. If something showcases gender norms or are simply the wrong depiction of something, we feel offended by it. I personally have also been in that situation, such as I felt a bit alarmed when people would point out that Ant-Man’s Box Office was the showcasing of a downward trend for Marvel. It’s our natural first reaction to something that we see as unpleasant or that goes against our own emotions, morals, or anything in that regard. This article is in no way a disrespect to the two articles mentioned above, as they have their own opinion and I was also simply countering with my own. This way I believed I could showcase the differences in how we emotionally tackle information or sources that we find. Maybe part of me is also analyzing the way journalism will probably never truly be diplomatic, as feelings and emotions always will have some kind of influence in how we interpret things. That is most certainly not a bad thing, as it allows each and every article to be unique and take a different perspective. Just be careful that we don’t interpret too much out of a simple story and allow it to breathe. Film is a medium that many individuals have an influence on and let us just be glad that we will one day actually see the Wasp on the silver screen, something I believe no one would have believed a while back.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you agree with my points or even disagree? If so, leave your thoughts and opinions down below in the comment section!


[1] Cf. Singer (2015): http://comicsalliance.com/wasp-marvel-female-characters/, Dated: 21.07.2015.
[2] Cf. Baker-Whitelaw (2015): http://www.dailydot.com/geek/why-isnt-hope-van-dyne-ant-man/, Dated: 21.07.2015.

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