Warning: SPOILERS for Ant-Man & The Wasp
There are plenty of things that Ant-Man and The Wasp. gets right about the Marvel Comics source material. And one of the most subtle aspects the movie gets right is finally showing Dr. Hank Pym's arrogance - and how his experiments frequently caused more harm than good.
One of the key plot threads of the first Ant-Man movie was how Dr. Hank Pym and his daughter, Hope, managed to mend their troubled relationship. Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas) was portrayed as something of an iconoclast in the film's flashbacks, turning on his associates at S.H.I.E.L.D and his business partners at the slightest provocation. Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) apparently emulated her father in this regard, pushing him away when she learned of his role in causing her mother's apparent death.
The two reconciled over the course of the movie and found common cause to work together again, discovering evidence that Janet might have survived shrinking into The Quantum Realm. Despite Hank's apparent belief that it was impossible... and searching for her 30 years earlier would have been wasted time.
As Ant-Man and The Wasp opens, Hank is still holding a grudge against the new Ant-Man, Scott Lang, whose actions during Captain America: Civil War forced Hank and Hope to go underground. He is forced to tolerate Scott's presence, however, when Scott reveals that his time in The Quantum Realm may have allowed Janet to send a signal allowing Hank and Hope to track her.
Unfortunately, their rescue efforts are cut short thanks to Ghost - a young woman with phasing powers, who needs Dr. Pym's technology to save her life before she fades away into nothing. It's later revealed that Dr. Pym is - no surprise - indirectly responsible for Ghost's condition as well. While the accident that permanently doomed her to quantum torture was ultimately due to an inadequately funded lab, it was the only place Dr. Pym's colleague, Dr. Bill Foster, could continue to work... after he was fired and discredited by his former partner!
This hubris, inspiring further complications to his life, was a hallmark of Dr. Hank Pym's worst decisions and mistakes in Ant-Man comics. Perhaps the most infamous example of this is Ultron: an artificial intelligence developed by Pym, who went on to become one of The Avengers' greatest enemies. Hank was also infamously booted out of The Avengers after he physically struck his wife, Janet, in a moment of great stress.
This shocking event occurred when The Wasp tried to stop him from unleashing another killer robot on The Avengers - one only he knew the secret to defeating - as part of a convoluted plan to prove his worth to the team, in the wake of the threat of being court-martialed.
Since that time, Dr. Hank Pym has held a position of low esteem among his fellow super scientists in the Marvel Universe. One story in Daredevil had Reed Richards from The Fantastic Four seeking out Pym's advice on a problem, but only, he noted, because he didn't have the day necessary to read up on the subject in question to equal Pym's expertise and tackle the job himself. Richards also once asserted that he knew more about Pym Particles than Hank, despite Hank being the one to discover them!
Tony Stark was similarly disrespectful in the pages of Mighty Avengers, taking over a situation which Pym's team was trying to handle. When Hank demanded to know why Iron Man thought he could pull rank on him or what possible reason he had for taking over, Tony summed it up in three words: "You're Hank Pym."
It takes a lot for the likes of Reed Richards or Tony Stark to call someone out for being an arrogant jerk. While this may be a case of people hating in others what they hate most about themselves, they're not wrong about Dr. Hank Pym's behavior, even if they have no room to be pointing fingers. In either case, it's an aspect of Hank Pym's personality which Ant-Man and The Wasp and Michael Douglas did a perfect job of capturing.
Even if things work out better for Hank in the MCU than they did in the comics...
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019