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The Pym (P)article: Comic Hank Pym vs MCU Hank Pym

Written by Brian Miller

So Ant-Man has finally dropped, and so far it has a generally positive reaction. The film features a lot of fun and a lot of nuanced performances from some talented actors. I want to discuss one performance in particular though. The role of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. In the film, Pym is played by Michael Douglas. Douglas is a world recognized actor and star, but this was his first real jump into a superhero film. How does Douglas do in the role of Dr. Pym, and more importantly, how do the two Pyms stack up against each other. Let’s dive in and find out.

So right off the bat, the movie brings us an older Hank Pym. This Pym is a lot closer to the era in comics in which Hank joins the West Coast Avengers in an advisory role. As in, not as Ant-Man, Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, or whatever persona he had last fought under. This change in age really helps to differentiate the two, although we do get a peek in the film of a younger Hank. Douglas plays Pym as the mentor to Scott Lang’s Ant-Man. What I always found off putting about Pym in the comics was how insecure he could be. A lot of his issues stem from his feelings of inadequacy, due to either his size or usefulness to the group. In the film, we don’t get this at full blast, and I feel Pym is better for it. Don’t get me wrong, he is still a flawed character, but not in a way that makes you hate him. You get to see his passion for science as well as his family, though his actions don’t always show it.

One scene in particular saw Pym shout no at his daughter Hope. Douglas says this with such intensity it brought me to the moment when, in the comics, Hank had accidentally slapped his wife Janet. As powerful as that image was in comics, it drove me to a real dislike of Hank. In the film though, I was frightened by the fury that shot out of him so quick, but was not disgusted and turned away from the character as a whole. I felt his frustrations and his need to protect his daughter, whereas with the slap, his ego and selfishness motivated the act and it felt sour.

Hank Pym is a crucial member of the Marvel Universe. In the comics, he has been involved in some of the Avenger’s greatest triumph’s and failures (Thanks for making Ultron, Hank). Now, with his foray into the cinematic universe, we see a much wiser, a more controlled, but still a very opinionated Hank Pym (Those Starks sure rustled his jimmies). Michael Douglas did a masterful job of taking a character with a lot of potential and fully realizing him, taking him from an insecure scientist, and growing him into a man who wants the world to be a better place his way, but recognizes his own faults and tries to be better.

So what do you think about the two Pyms? How do you feel Douglas did in the role? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Brian Miller

Brian is an aspiring writer and filmmaker. Graduating with a film degree from James Madison University, Brian has been honing his skills in both writing and film production. His focus in pop culture centers around film and television, though comics have always held a special place in his heart since childhood. Brian's passion for superheroes led him here, where he hopes to make an impact with his work.