Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ant-Man & the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp is set after Captain America: Civil War but before The Avengers: Infinity War; Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is on house-arrest after Captain America's team was arrested in Civil War.
I don't deserve you.
It has been nearly a month since I posted anything, and you just keep coming back, and you will NEVER know how much that means to me. Thank you, with all my heart.

As any blogger knows, our normal, daily lives often interfere with our commitment to post; I don't know of any blogger who says they post enough, but I know I have severely fallen short of even the most basic of expectations, and I am sorry. Again, there have been countless and important interferences which have been unavoidable: I haven't even been able to go watch The Avengers yet, that is how much interference there has been.

So, the second trailer for The Ant-Man and the Wasp has been released (film coming out July 6) and, with Mission Impossible: Fallout and The Grinch, it's one of the last three remaining big anticipations of the year (by the way, Daniel Craig has confirmed that Bond 25 is his next film project). So, just to refresh our memory, here is the first trailer released for Ant-Man and the Wasp:
The first trailer is an introduction to Evangeline Lilly's Wasp heroine; we don't really see the villain. Now, recall, if you will, in Ant Man, there is a short scene when Hope (Lilly) tries teaching Scott (Paul Rudd) how to control the ants, and the light above her shakes and fades in an out; that's an omen, a prophecy, communicating to us that she has "control" issues and "dark places" in her soul; why? Not just the disappearance of her mother--which we have reason to believe will be rectified in this second installment ("Janet" is being played by Michelle Pfeiffer)--but her relationship with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), which might have been the reason he gave Hope wings and blasters, overcompensating for her mother not having been there all her adolescent years. This might backfire. It's quite possible that Hope simply doesn't have the emotional maturity or even positive self-image she needs to be a hero (remember, she kept trying to get Hank to let her get into the Ant-Man suit, and he refused; she thought it was because she was a girl or not powerful enough, so she has something to prove, not only to her father, but to herself and even her long-lost mother, and these are probably going to be deep issues), but that is exactly why the villain, Ghost, is introduced in the second trailer:
"Ghost" is an interesting name, because it might describe how Hope felt growing up; Marvel has a way of employing the "mirror villain," that is, they take the negative traits of the hero and embody them in the nemesis the hero must fight and overcome, thereby purging himself of those traits so he can advance to greater virtue; we saw this in Ant-Man with Yellowjacket (please see Margins Of Power: Ant-Man for more). In other words, Ghost (and since the villain is being played by a woman) will likely be the embodiment of Hope's vices so she will have to overcome them in order to progress to joining the Avengers,.... or what's left of them. What is interesting is about this is that, while Hope appears to be stronger and better armed than Ant-Man, Pym tells Scott Ghost can only be defeated by both of them.
This is awesome!
We don't know a lot about Ghost, but that she steals Pym's technology and she can go through walls and other objects; we can make some other deductions as well. As in Ant-Man, we know Yellowjacket Darren was a mirror-image of Scott because "yellow," the color associated with the villain, symbolizes kingship: the only gift worthy of a king is gold (the yellow color), but if a king doesn't live up to his duties, he's a coward and unworthy of being a king. Scott, then, had to deal with issues of self-worth and his ability to provide for his ex-wife and daughter and prove to them he was a man worthy of them and could provide for their needs (and overcome Scott's own poor self-image and bad habits of turning to crime when things got tough). If we look at the image above of Ghost, it's an incredibly non-human suit; at least Yellowjacket was a living being, Ghost doesn't resemble any living thing; this actually fits Hope. Please recall that throughout the first half of Ant-Man, Hope wore only black: black always symbolizes death; "good death," is when we are dead to things of the world (our worldly appetites) but alive to things of the spirit (virtues, like Hope); "bad death" is when we are alive to our worldly appetites--fame, fortune, drugs, sex--but dead to the things of the soul. Hope was like dead to both: we can't say she pursued things out of her appetites, but she certainly didn't have any virtues either, she was just dead, and her mother's disappearance, then her father leaving her alone at school, probably made her feel like she was a ghost who didn't belong to the world since she didn't have her parents giving her any guidance or love. Now, what about the eyes? Ghost's eyes--the windows of the soul--are tiny, red; red symbolizes blood, either because we love someone so much we are willing to shed our blood for them, or we have so much anger and wrath against someone that we are willing to shed their blood. Since this is the villain, we are probably safe in betting on the later interpretation. There is also some red,... "thing" on the forehead and between the eyes. It's interesting because Laurance Fishburne's character and Scott discuss the "Goliath" program, and it was between the eyes (like where that red thing is on Ghost) that we see another symbol of Ghost's anger. Ghost also doesn't have a mouth. This might well symbol that Ghost doesn't have any appetites--appetites are actually necessary, because they lead us in life, and we need to have a healthy appetite for love and virtue, otherwise, we won't pursue them--but it can also be interpreted that Ghost feels she doesn't have a voice. Ghost's costume is an ashen gray, even a grayish-white. Gray symbolizes the pilgrim and the novice: the pilgrim puts ashes (which are gray) upon their head and body as a sign of penance and humility (from dust I came, to dust I will return) and the traditional color of the novice (the beginner) is gray because they have not advanced to a state of virtue/accomplishment in their field (like Gandalf the Grey in The Hobbit and The Lord Of the Rings: it's not until Gandalf fights that Balrog and falls into the abyss that he advances to Gandalf the White. Hope, of course, is just beginning her career as a hero, so we will have to keep these details in mind and weigh different aspects of the narrative to see if we are right. 
It's my pet theory, so far supported by the women warriors in Black Panther, and the Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, that Marvel is slowly but surely drawing a "new" feminism, the kind we see Guy Ritchie arguing for in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and even in DC Comics Suicide Squad: ditching men doesn't make a woman strong, being strong with a man is what makes women strong; feminists make themselves strong at the expense of others (exactly what they argue men have done over the centuries), rather, women are stronger when they help everyone become stronger (for greater discussion on this issue, please see the wonderful video below by Praeger University). Hope most likely wants to go it alone, she probably feels she has something to prove, but I am guessing the film will demonstrate that even if she is the stronger of the two heroes, she still needs Scott for what he has to offer her and she can't give herself: love.
In this image, we see the van which has become super small, but will enlarge again in just a moment. The oscillation between the very big and very small demonstrates that the writers are staying in the current they began in Ant-Man, namely, "the margins." In terms of criticism, "the margins" are the places to where we push what we don't like or understand; imagine a child learning to read and coming upon a word they don't know; what do they do? They skip over it, and we do the same when engaging with the world or art and encountering something that "doesn't make sense," so we push it to the margin of our mind and forget about it. Jacques Derrida, however, argued that such spaces are usually where the really important stuff takes place, and we recognize that something doesn't "make sense" because we are meant to be drawn into the illogical to explore it, not dismiss it. So, in Ant-Man and the Wasp, we see things that are incredibly small and incredibly large--both "spaces" which we aren't used to seeing being employed--so the question is, why are the film makers using this vocabulary? Well, from Hope's perspective, we can see her as going from being really small and insignificant (a bureaucrat at her father's company) to a super-hero with incredible powers; that makes for a dizzy trip. What I expect to happen--but of course I could be wrong--is that, through the events and her journey of discovery, Hope will accept having "been little" so she has a better grounding to now being powerful. Why should we care? Mostly because we ourselves are little. Most of us are rather insignificant and don't matter (or feel we don't) so understanding how important it is to "be good at being little" is important to us the audience and our real lives, recognizing that being a good parent, spouse and friend is necessary, and our own souls are the most important battle front where we have to "fight the bad guys" who want to convert us to their own vices by becoming bitter over being small and insignificant. 
We are likely to get either a few clips or another trailer before the release of the film, so having that "head start" on the film will help us to know what to look for. In the meantime, I have at least caught up on the Marvel films I missed (Spider-Man: Homecoming--which was much better than I anticipated--and Thor 3: Ragnarok--which was awesome!) but, as excited as I was that The Avengers was opening on my birthday, I was so bogged down with obligations that I missed it; maybe this weekend. But, as promised, here is an excellent video on Feminism from a former Feminist.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner