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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 174: ‘Ant-Man’

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of pop culture, including Batman: The Animated Series, Steven Universe, the MCU, and Doom Patrol. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight and more!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 174 – Ant-Man

The MCU film Ant-Man (2015) is about a recently incarcerated thief (Scott Lang) who is released from prison and discovers a super-suit and stumbles into superheroism. Lang experiences the disadvantages of “prison penalty” following his release–namely, difficulties obtaining and holding a job, the stigma of being labeled a criminal, limited access to fulfilling relationships, etc. However, he bounces back quickly due to the privileges he gains by being mentored by Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. The suit, powered by the Pym particle, allows Lang to shrink and embiggen, and he quickly becomes the “right” guy for a perfect heist: Shrink to Ant-Man and steal the tiny YellowJacket suit at Pym Technologies before the sinister businessman Cross sells the Yellowjacket technology to the enemy organization, Hydra. Meanwhile, Hank Pym gradually reveals that the loss of his wife and partner several decades ago weighs heavy on him and even motivates most of his decisions relating to recruiting Lang, sustaining the particle technology, and protecting his daughter.

Unfortunately, the film falls flat because his grief is eclipsed by Lang’s journey, his quick successes and easy breaks. Because Lang’s hardships rarely take hold, Ant-Man falls flat as a whole and the outcomes sometimes feel frustratingly disproportionate, especially when Lang is surrounded by less-privileged thieves and criminals. The Pym suit, like the proverbial invisible weightless knapsack of privilege, is like a pack that holds special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, tools, blank checks and other unearned assets that Lang can obliviously rely on to slip under and above the law.



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