|Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas in Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man|
One of Hank Pym's more memorable moments comes from a story-line that involves Pym abusing his wife Janet, slapping her across the face during an argument; the gravity of the subject matter presented in such colorful panels makes it hardly a forgettable episode. Domestic violence is an obviously serious and sensitive subject, which is why it's no surprise that the producers at Marvel decided to not include that facet of Hank Pym's character in the film version. The Marvel films' enjoy a wide age-range in their audience that could be tempered by such an inclusion, so it's easy to assume they wouldn't want to impact box-office numbers by limiting the film's palatability. It's also simply easier to tell a story without that complication because it's easier to tell the good guys from bad if the good guys don't beat their families. Domestic violence and spousal abuse would (and should) make the story harder to tell. The exclusion of that particular plot is totally understandable, but it makes me wonder what the film could do if it did include it. Could a film tell the story of a brilliantly helpful character like Hank Pym who also does horrendous things? I would not want any sort of story that would validate or glorify abusive conduct in any way, but I wonder if it is possible to show a character that is sympathetic and also so fundamentally flawed. It's important to say that inclusion of elements such as an abusive protagonist would not mean sanctioning or endorsing that protagonist's abusive conduct; it could just mean that someone is willing to explore what it means to start talking about the realities of how domestic violence and other difficult subjects impact people. That is a story I'd be interested in seeing, especially in a medium like superhero movies where so much already feels overdone.