- Bernard Black
Movie Review: Ant-man (2015)
Updated: May 9, 2019
There will be minor spoilers for the 2015 film Ant-man in the following post.
I'm a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and given my profession, it's not surprising that Ant-man is my one of my favorites. The main characters of Scott Lang and Hank Pym, played by Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas respectively, have been in Marvel comics for decades with their ability to talk to ants and change size. Ant-man (and the Wasp) was even a founding members of The Avengers! The cast has some big names, but its the small ants that really steal the show.
There are four ant species featured in the film, and they are generally presented very well.
However, there are a few things that really bug me:
The featured ants are all invasive. The film takes place in San Francisco, with a small scene in upstate New York. That's fine. There are ants all over, however, the carpenter ants featured are described as being Camponotus pennsylvanicus, which lives in the eastern US, but there is an equally good and very similar ant (Camponotus modoc) that lives in the western US. An entomologist, even one who controls ants, probably shouldn't be transporting insect species around so either Dr Pym is negligent or indifferent to his species identification. This bothers me more than it should, but I can't help it.
There's also a scene was a man is bit by several bullet ants (Paraponera clavata) and he doesn't immediately begin screaming. Decades ago a entomologist began ranking the relative pain caused by the stings of various ants, bees, and wasps. Bullet ants made it to the top of the list. If your curious, there's a detailed description (with several expletives) of what being stung is like in this podcast episode with an ant researcher.
But my biggest complaint? Not enough ants! Honeypot ants are some I would especially like to see featured.