Monday, August 24, 2015

Ant-Man: Getting Smaller Ain't So Bad

Yes, they do.
No one gets any smaller, dummies.
I went to the Ogden 6 in Naperville Saturday night to see Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas one more time. I needed a laugh, I had a free pass and I thought the Premiere was funny enough to warrant a second look.

I think I liked it better this time, as I knew the kooky flavor of the film and was prepared to roll with it more, savor it's entertainment versus logic value.

Glad I did. While I was not a fan of some of the over-used tropes - convict who was really a decent guy, a precious girl who WUVS her daddy, and three ethnic stereotypes I won't bother to identify - those tropes were for comedic effect, not to carry the weight of the story. The filmmakers knew how much comedy versus gravitas to put in, so we would enjoy a film about an ex-con who becomes a reluctant superhero - the size of an ant.

In fact, much of the exposition and anxiety of this particular power is this ability. With Dr. Henry Pym's "Pym Particles", any object or person can become small enough to evade nearly all surveillance, all weapons, all defenses. Seriously, what could an army do against a two centimeter high soldier that can hit like a bullet? Or an army of them?

Wow. It would, as Dr. Pym [Michael Douglas] says, "Alter the face of the world as we know it."

You could send atom bombs hidden inside letters to your foes. You could get into any country at any time under a jacket collar. You could kill someone from the inside and make it look like natural causes.

Pym does everything he can to keep his discovery off the market, but his former protege' has become a malicious corporate leader who has re-discovered PYm's greatest achievement and is going to sell it to the highest bidder.

So Pym, in a roundabout way, recruits Scott Lang [Paul Rudd] to don the Ant-Man suit and go steal the project and destroy all records of it. Big task for a small guy.

As Scott examines the suit he comes across a part that seems to slow down the shrinking process. He suggests taking it off to increase the suit's efficiency when Henry tells him in no uncertain terms to NEVER remove it.
Scott: "What is it?"
Henry: "It's a regulator. If you shrink without it, you will keep shrinking forever. Past the subatomic level, where time and space have no meaning and everything you know or care about ceases to exist."
Scott: "Don't touch the regulator. Got it."
Soon we discover this is how Henry Pym's wife was lost: she went subatomic to stop an intercontinental missile aimed at the U.S.

He never saw her again.

Of course at the climax, we see that Scott Lang must do the same thing to save his daughter, Jessie. He goes subatomic - but due either to his foreknowledge or luck or providential hand of fate, he gets one of his expansion disks into his regulator in time to fully reverse the process and come home.

What is so touching and unexpected in this movie is that very concept: becoming smaller gives the hero much more power. It allows them to succeed instead of fail.

I think some One said something about that years ago:

Mark 9:35 [Personal Service]
And he [Jesus] sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Matthew 13:32 [Size of Kingdom of God]
[The mustard seed] is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

John 3:30 [John the Baptist's recognition of Christ's ministry]
"He must increase, but I must decrease.”

In each of these, the reader is given an obverse expectation. The way to successfully serve God is to "get smaller" - in ministry, in service and in personal social position.

In other words, God loves "ant-men." He uses small men and small beginnings to build a fabulous kingdom.

It is that simple. You don't have to be a big shot to win.

You have to be willing to be the little guy.


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