This post is a part of our New Voices Section.
Written by Jack Shipley.
I took a lot of things for granted as a kid…especially my own mortality. Now, in my early forties, I realize I’m not going to live forever and its changed how I view all aspects of my life. Family is more important to me than ever while getting to the movies on opening weekend has taken a backseat. Even the way I view movies has changed.
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I loved horror movies like Hellraiser, Candyman, Nightmare on Elm Street. As my responsibilities to myself and those around me have shifted, so too has my adoration for this genre. Now I raise a family of daughters in a darkening world and putting myself in that headspace isn’t as fun for me. I need uplifting films that give me hope, not feed negativity.
This has made it difficult on my wife–who loves horror movies and a good scare. Now she has to find someone else to go with her when the newest terror-fest arrives in theaters. At least we can still enjoy a good comic book yarn together.
My wife and I saw Ant Man and the Wasp recently and we both enjoyed this twentieth offering from Marvel Studios. There were lots of laughs and plenty of action–but we experienced one scene very differently.
Late in the second act, Scott (Rudd), Hope (Lilly), and Hank Pym (Douglas) are trying to communicate with Hope’s mother Janet (Pfeiffer) trapped in the Quantum Realm. They discover Janet has “possessed” Scott to help correct their calculations. Scott lovingly addresses the family, hugging Hope and touching Hank’s face affectionally. The scene leans heavily on Rudd’s performance and he sells it perfectly.
I recall my wife and the rest of the theater laughing throughout but I was experiencing something different as I wiped the beginnings of tears from my eyes. This scene was reaching another part of me, infusing the narrative with an emotion and heart that only I seemed to be feeling. A mother, long separated from her family, was seeing them again for the first time in thirty years. I didn’t see Rudd in that moment, I saw Janet Van Dyne reunited with her loved ones.
It was beautiful.
The audience got the joke. I did too, but I was unable to see past it in that moment. The narrative beat was so powerful for me it pushed through the laughter and touched the part of me that understands loss. This was forty plus years of personal experiences coloring a scene with different paint and because of that I was able to get a little something extra from this offbeat comic book movie.
Jack Shipley is the creator and host of Fan Friction; a movie debate show airing monthly on the T.U.F.F. Channel on YouTube. Jack writes about movies and video games from time to time and is working on his first fiction novel. He lives with his family in south east Pennsylvania.