Ant-ognising Ant Man

Posted: August 3, 2015 in Random wifflings, Reviews

Arf! Man I crack myself up.

I went to see Ant Man on Friday. This isn’t a review. I enjoyed it, except for the selfish bastard at the back who kept up a witless running commentary all the way through and was too many rows back for me to physically assault. I HATE talking in the cinema. I don’t even allow talking during films at home, so I might have an issue.

Ant Man almost didn’t work for me. It’s funny, it’s peppy, it has that well played comedy/nail-biting Thomas the Tank Engine fight at the climax. As so many others have said, it wisely scales down the superhero action from the world-endangering to the personal. It does all the things Marvel movies do well.

Here’s why it didn’t almost work for me: the science. So the science in all superhero movies is patently raging bollocks, but they work because ordinarily just enough hand-wavium is offered to present a narrative explanation. They don’t work when they then contradict themselves, even tangentially.

If you’ve read my review of Pacific Rim, this century’s most risible blockbuster (well, apart from the last part of the Hobbit), you’ll know it annoys my writerly brain cells when a story sets out something as a reason, then goes against it. In Ant Man it is the mechanism of shrinking. This is entirely un-possible, so any explanation would do. But the film makes the error of coming up with something nearly plausible.

Ant Man shrinks because Doctor Pym found a way of collapsing the spaces between atoms. Cool idea, right? Then we’re told that a miniaturised human maintains the same mass, but at a much greater density, hence the devestating nature of their punches. Awesome!

But, er, if Ant Man still weighs 200 pounds, how can a flying ant carry him? How does he not break the fragile things he’s bouncing around on? Come to think of it, how does he even move?

Problem one, right there. Problem two, if only the atomic spacing is being compressed and not the matter of the atoms themselves, how can he shrink forever, and fall into the subatomic world?

I know, I know. Best not think of this stuff at all, but the movie made me think of it by offering a half-believable explanation. Bad move. The Incredible Shrinking Man did this better by saying, “radiation did it, get over it, we’re moving along here”.

Otherwise, fun.

  1. Peter Smith says:

    I sympathize regarding the twerp at the cinema – when I saw the first Avengers movie there was a guy who had apparently managed to miss the existence of any of the characters up until that point and kept constantly asking who characters were and how and why they did something. How, in this day and age, does a guy reach adulthood without ever having heard of The Incredible Hulk? Even if you’ve never read a comic he’s just part of the fabric of pop culture.

    I’m waiting for the Antman movie to come on TV. Regarding the nonsense science – never mind how an ant can carry him, how does the ground support him? With 200 pounds on soles only a tiny fraction of a square inch he would probably just sink straight down to the bedrock and be smoothered. Also, didn’t they steal that explanation from Honey I Shrunk The Kids?

    I don’t mind clearly nonsense science. It’s bollocks science peddled as real science that enrages me. As a general principle I abhor the burningof books but for Angels & Demons I make a special exception.

    Ahem, rant over. I look forward to seeing how Antman turned out, bogus science not withstanding.

  2. tsuhelm says:

    Driving trucks through the plot holes is all part of the fun with these movies… I am looking forward to it and Avengers 2 which I have yet to see!

    I would love to read the Pacific Rim review…but the link was not working for me?

    As a kid I loved Yellowjacket, even thinking, quite wrongly that yellow was my favourite colour for a while… I could never work out as a teen how he could still breath, or eat…surely the unshrunk oxygen and food molecules could not be processed by the shrunk ‘body’ and its components…

    And here I am surprised to find out that Ant-man is Yellowjacket and the Wasp…and Giant-Man and Goliath WHAT! Oh I have gone and given myself a headache!

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