ANT-MAN. Peyton Reed, dir. Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, story and script; Adam McKay, co-credit on script, with Paul Rudd (who also starred). Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, original book. Stan Lee, exec. producer (one of five). Shepherd Frankel and Marcus Rowland (on IMDb), production design. Sammy Sheldon, costume design. Marvel Studios (prod.) / Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture (dist. USA and most other places), 2015. See IMDb for details, but this is a Marvel Studios movie.
Significant here for a use and reversal of what Thomas P. Dunn and Richard D. Erlich have called "The Ovion/Cylon Alliance," wherein insects, mechanism, and the cybernetic are associated, and shown as a threat to humans. ANT-MAN show characters in Ant-Man and Yellowjacket in variations on power suits for positive, somewhat-protective containment in a mechanical/electronic/cybernetic outfit in the tradition, with Yellowjacket, of the power armor in Starship Troopers, The Forever War, and Marvel's IRON MAN — but far less military for Ant-Man. Within his suit, Yellowjacket can fly and fire laser weapons at opponents, primarily Ant-Man. Both can shrink and enlarge at will, down to insect size, and, with Ant-Man — in a stressed sequence — shrink in Incredible-Shrinking-Man manner to the subatomic and quantum levels of being/reality.
With what looks like an oversized hearing aid, Ant-Man (and his mentors) can communicate with ants of various species and get them to do feats of strength, agility, and general usefulness. Between the suit and the communication device, Ant-Man has the equivalent of super powers, but scientifically (as these things go) mediated: something like Psi powers with the ants, the folklore stunt of shrinking with the suit, plus the relative strength of an ant (i.e., very great strength). The suit itself is in a sense powered by what we're assured is a scientifically developed liquid compound that contains an unmagic particle in numbers large enough to fill a vial. Ant-Man can ride a flying ant, and on these rides and Spider-Man-like gymnastic feats we see Ant-Man (with ant brigades and regiments if not an army) moving through old-fashioned pipes and ducts but also through high-tech often cybernetic apparati, giving images such as those in TRON (1982), but far more realistic as to what the figurative guts of computers look like. In such sequences we see a miniaturized man in a somewhat mechanized suit, riding on and in intimate connection with an ant "steed," moving through the miniature parts of a visual variation on the theme of The Cybernetic City.
Look for significant numbers of hexagons in the production design — with beehive associations, not ant colonies, but close enough. With the images of Ant-Man and ants in computers compare and strongly contrast ants at the heart of the computer — it's main chip — in Darren Aronofsky's PI.
Sequel: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) is a well-made film and well-received, but in itself is primarily of interest for what in 2018 is a mundane piece of technology: the ankle monitor that, in theory, keeps Scott Lang/Ant-Man confined to his house, for a small but effective super-imposition of the high-tech upon the human in a way that enforces (in theory) confinement and surveillance.
RDE 22 JULY 2015, 8July18 22/VII15