How does parenthood make Marvel film Ant man a bit more relatable?

Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Photo credit: Marvel Studios

When it comes down to it, superheroes really aren’t the most relatable of role models.

Words by Camille Hogg

In reality, they’re the realisation of all of our secret aspirations: strong, courageous, good at saving the universe – and they look good in lycra.

Sure, some of them do have their own human problems to deal with: Batman is a lonely billionaire orphan with a serious grudge, Superman has a deadly allergy to kryptonite and Thor has a maniacal sister trying to cause a conflict between him and his dad.

But with all three blessed with amazing abilities and magical whatsits, it could be said that they’re supernaturally gifted – and that’s certainly not the case for the everyman hero of Ant-Man and the Wasp, due to release on 5th July, who is powerless without his suit.

Set in a world after the events of Captain America: Civil War, the follow-up to the 2015 effort follows Scott Lang – the eponymous Ant Man – once more. After escaping an underwater prison, the former burglar and divorced dad is under house arrest and just wants to be a good father to his daughter Cassie. But when scientist Hank Pym and daughter Hope van Dyne – also known as Wasp – come to him with an urgent new mission, he’s forced to juggle daddy duties with superhero ones for the good of mankind – and he’s not exactly thrilled about it.

He may not have any special powers, but Scott’s normality is probably the strongest ability he’s got going for him when it comes to relating with the audience, says director Peyton Reed.

“Scott Lang is the real everyman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” he explains. “He’s not a super scientist; he’s not a billionaire. He’s just a normal guy who doesn’t have superpowers. It’s all about that suit.”

“Part of it is really kind of a work-life balance issue – because all these other people are full-time heroes,” he told press during a film set visit. “To me, that’s one of the big strengths of Ant-Man within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

A father-of-two himself, actor Paul Rudd, who plays the reluctant not-so-superhero, said the quandary of balancing parenthood with a demanding job was certainly no small irony.

“My [on-screen] daughter, Cassie, this is really the biggest challenge,” Rudd noted at a press event. “How do you somehow be the best version of yourself as a superhero while being the best version of yourself as a parent and can those two things coexist?”

A superhero with very normal hang-ups, it’s perhaps this overarching theme of family relationships that hits us in the feels – after all, aren’t parents everyday heroes, too?

“I like the idea of playing a superhero that is not innately heroic or super in any way,” Rudd said. “[Scott’s] just a regular person. I like the idea also of not embracing the role because of all of the difficulties that would come along with having to be so [tough], how it would affect your life and how it would affect your relationships and certainly with you being a responsible parent — and wrestle with those questions.”

Also starring: Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne and Hannah John-Kamen. Rating: PG15. Running time: 120 mins


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