Wednesday, 22 July 2015

UPDATED Hank and Janet Pym make Marvel's 1980s look very interesting (ANT-MAN review)

Marvel's Edgar Wright  'disaster' is actually the most Pixar of Marvel movies, great for a pre-teen audience, and rich in fascinating alt-history for Marvel's already rich alt-Universe. I'm going to list how much has now changed.
This has now been updated to show the original Ant-Man opening scene.


In the very first scene we have a flashback to Marvel's 1989. It has a Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas - amazingly de-aged to look as it he's just walked off  Oliver Stone's Wall Street, quitting SHIELD before Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell aged to look in her 70s) and Howard Stark (John Slattery).

After this we can make a few assumptions


Arnim Zola, HYDRA survivor and corruptor of SHIELD dies and is digitised
Tech note : presumably digitised on IBMs ...which would be appropriate for IBMs links to he Nazis pre WW2.

Stark Expo flasback in Iron Man 2 has Howard Stark neglecting Tony.

Late 1970s
SHIELD ANT-MAN propaganda movie made (shown in another Ant-Man flashback)
Hank Pym refuses to hand suit over or the technology and becomes Ant Man himself.

Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) is born in USSR,

Pym and Van Dyne active as Ant Man and the Wasp.

Janet Van Dyne becomes lost in Quantum Realm after disarming a Soviet ICBM by shrinking to sub atomic size.

1988 ?
Pym active as Ant-Man solo? The original Ant-Man opening scene apparently has Pym stealing microfilm from a Panamanian general. (In the first Edgar Wright draft this is set in the 1960s which would have put it outside the continuity listed here).

Pym quits because SHIELD (HYDRA?) is trying to replicate his work
Alexander Pierce secretly joins HYDRA

Howard Stark and wife assassinated by HYDRA

Early 1990s (?)
Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford in Winter Solidier) has his life saved by up and coming SHIELD agent Nick Fury in Bogota.
Alexander Pierce gives up Directorship of SHIELD to Fury.

* In Ant -Man HYDRA sure is interested in the Pym's technology - and weirdly during the Project Insight revelations in Winter Soldier neither Hank, either of the Van Dynes (or Darren 'Yellowjacket' Cross) is listed as a threat to HYDRA. Hank quits only shortly before Howard Stark is killed and from what we know HYDRA must be aware of him. Does Pym know a lot more about the workings on SHIELD at that time than the others? Did he quit at HYDRA's insistence or was he tipped off?

* Hank Pym - an actual agent for SHIELD is not listed as a threat by HYDRA but Dr Steven Strange is on that list. So Steven Strange is known to HYDRA but not apparently to SHIELD. How long? Ant Man treated us to 1980s flashbacks - how far back could Dr Strange go? Anything is possible.... 1960s Greenwich village is my vote.

* Pym worked with Stark - did he work with Anton Vanko? Anton was father of Ivan from Iron Man 2, now revealed to have with a very similar grudge to Pym, in that convinced Howard was stealing his work.The reputation of the Stark's in starting to look less glorious with every movie.

* Unlike Howard Stark, Pym's treatment of daughter Hope looks like that an obsessive parent - what did he think of Howard Stark's neglect of young Tony? With similarly obsessive busy parents did Tony and Hope Van Dyne grow up together?

* When Pym revolts he refuses to hand suit over and becomes Ant Man. This is very reminiscent of Tony Stark's later behaviour with Iron Man suit. Was a young Tony a witness to some of that debate? How much of Tony's behaviour is actually inspired by Pym? <cough> Ultron

* The suited up Janet Van Dyne really looked the part as the original Wasp in another brief flashback. Her daughter, Hope, with her marital arts skills  and gun collection, hardly looks science material - can we assume she takes from her mother in this regard? Put it this way - would SHIELD allow a scientific asset as valuable as Pym go on tactical missions without backup? Suddenly Janet Van Dyne looks more likely to be a tactical field agent than Hank's lab partner and if a field agent she is most likely a protege of Peggy Carter,  This would make Janet Van Dyne Peggy Olsen to Peggy Carter's Joan, with Roger Sterling as Howard Stark of course. (Sorry - just watched the end of Mad Men).

* If so Janet's disappearance would be doubly traumatic for Carter who similarly lost Steve Rogers without trace. When did Carter retire? After Howard Stark's death in 1991? If so these few years, roughly contemporary to the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War, look almost like a sudden coup by HYDRA, perhaps prompted by their failure of their Soviet project, LEVIATHAN (seen in Agent Carter).

* Van Dyne would also probably the same generation as Jenny Agutta's Councilwoman Hawley of the World Security Council (from Avengers, Winter Soldier), who is British and likely another Carter protege.

* Possibly Van Dyne (as Wasp?) recruited Romanov from the clutches of the KGB to make another generation of Carter protege's along with Maria Hill and Agent 13, Susan Carter (Winter Soldier again).

* Perhaps more likely - did Pym and Van Dyne ever cross swords with the Winter Soldier?.. I guess we might find out next year.

Finally - we all know who is going to be cast as Janet Van Dyne, so stop haggling over money and give her a call!

CZJ in Entrapment