Gender Roles - Women
Gender Roles - Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars
Hope would've made an engaging superhero. She's smart, she's brave and she knows how to throw a punch. She also has a turbulent relationship with her father and enough family secrets to make her as human and relatable as she is tough. In fact, Hope is such an obvious choice for the film's lead role that the writers have to make a point to explain why Dr. Pym has chosen a unproven cat burglar to be his Ant Man, rather than his own impressive daughter.
Gender Roles - Men: 3.5 Stars
Scott is a less obvious choice for a semi-violent superhero. His most notable feature is not his strength, but his heart. Scott's first foray into crime wasn't an attempt to get rich or make a name for himself, but to expose the wrongdoings of a corrupt corporation whose crimes had hurt innocent people. His motivation for everything that comes after is his love for his daughter. Scott has no problem humbling himself to offer comfort and encouragement when Hope is feeling rejected. This sort of thing comes naturally to him. He even builds a somewhat charming connection with the Ant he rides on, Antony. He does eventually become a fighter and a superhero as Dr. Pym envisions, but it's noteworthy that he doesn't defeat his ultimate adversary by simply overpowering him. Scott eventually wins the day by making an enormous sacrifice that once again showcases his enormous heart.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 3.5 Stars
Hope has enough confidence to insist that she ought to be the one to infiltrate the lab and sabotage the enemy, rather than Scott. Even though she's never given the chance to be the hero, the fact that she asks for an explanation is unique and powerful. If audiences hadn't considered why this dynamic character is relegated to the background - Hope's outspoken persistence puts the issue front and center.
While Hope is another conventionally attractive female lead, part of her allure stems from her particular brand of strength. She isn't overtly sexualized or turned into some vulnerable thing in need of rescue. To the contrary, her short, dark hair and business dress generally convey a position of power and influence, rather than timidity.
Plot: 3.5 Stars
Hope never gets to be the hero she dreams of being, but at the very least, she plays a critical role in preparing Scott for his mission. She teaches him to master his shrinking powers, she teaches him to fight, and she teaches him to communicate with the ants. She is also an undercover informant who provides the last minute details that makes the mission possible. Much of what Hope contributes is behind the scenes and uncelebrated. But she is still a key player - and by the end of the film, she is positioned to take a far more direct role in the action.
Character Development: 3 Stars
Ant Man gives a surprising amount of depth to its characters. There is far more heart and emotion packed into these evolving relationships than one might expect from a semi-serious action hero story. Hope in particular has an understandably jagged relationship with her father. She often finds herself conflicted and torn between her feelings of loyalty, of anger, and her very human need for love and validation. As strong and determined as this woman is, she still has opportunities to second-guess herself and to let her emotions get the better of her. Overall, we're given a well-rounded, fully dimensional woman with both an intriguing past and a bright future.
Room for Improvement:
Love: 2.5 Stars
Ant Man leaves us with the inevitable love story that develops between Hope and Scott. Unfortunately, there isn't much romance in most of the film and their shared kiss comes across as a little sudden and strange. But even if there isn't much meat to this relationship, they've built up enough of a connection that the ending is both funny and sweet. Hope remains her brash, independent self and Scott retains his charming sense of humor. No one is called upon to change too much or stretch their personal boundaries. But their awkward personalities fit together nicely.
Family: 2.5 Stars
Hope and her father have a complicated relationship that isn't easily defined. Dr. Pym certainly believes in his daughter's skill and intelligence, but he refuses to give her the chance to shine. It isn't long before we learn that he's simply trying to protect her, and possibly to make up for past mistakes, but regardless of his motives, he persists in holding her back. Dr. Pym does eventually come around - promising Hope the heroic opportunity that she deserves - but not until after the credits have started to roll.
It is worth noting, however, that Dr. Pym never had the same hesitations when it came to his wife - and in fact, vivdly remembers her for the selfless hero that she was.
Renowned cat burglar Scott Lang agrees to pull off one last heist in order to pay off his child support and re-connect with his daughter. But despite his uncanny safe-cracking skills, he makes off with only a curious suit that gives him the ability to shrink to the size of an insect. Scott soon learns that he is being recruited by the retired Dr. Hank Pym and his cunning daughter Hope to infiltrate Dr. Pym's former laboratory, retrieve a dangerous new technology, and save the world.
Kelly is a labor law