A Daddy's a Daddy, No Matter How Small


Image © Marvel

My youngest daughter has spent the better part of the week trying — and failing — to perfect the “throwing up cards” slight of hand trick.

I’ve been finding cards everywhere. My daughter’s response to my look of disapproval while pulling one card out from between the couch cushions was, “Well, Ant-Man learned it.”

Yes, Ant-Man was learning slight of hand to entertain his daughter, just like my own dad did for me, and his grand kids.

Of the movies we’ve seen this summer so far, Ant-Man and The Wasp has been a favorite. The humor and action were up to the level of the first. This included to another of Luis’s wordy stories, complete with a lot of sass and a little bit of Morrissey. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly were a great superhero duo, and Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer proved they are still true movie stars.

I also continue to stand behind my opinion Ant-Man and The Wasp is like a Deadpool movie you can take your family to see. It’s that much fun.

Ant-Man and The Wasp was a worthy departure from the increasingly heartbreaking angst of The Avengers’ stories, although it answered a few questions fans had about Scott Lang’s whereabouts during Infinity War. The mid-credits scene resulted in such a strong audience reaction the entire theatre couldn’t help but laugh at their collective gasps.

We all also loved the first Ant-Man, but this second particularly resonated with my daughters, including my 16-year-old, for one solid reason I haven’t heard anyone talking about: Ant-Man and The Wasp is the perfect daddy-daughter movie.

This movie was all about the relationships between fathers of all kinds and their proud, strong daughters. I showed the lengths fathers go to entertain, teach, and project their children, even when the traditional family unit isn’t in tact.

It showed, in the case of Scott, how divorced parents can and will make things work when both parties realize their children need a solid relationship with both parents.

It showed, in the case of Hank, how a “widowed” dad can still raise his daughter to be a true leader: intelligent, strong, and resourceful. Hank also emphasized no matter how much a guy achieves in his life, he will have to work extra hard to be considered a good enough match for his daughter, if he's lucky.

It showed how an adoptive, foster of godfather similar to the role "Goliath" project leader Bill Foster (Lawrence Fishburne) found himself in, can possess a parent bond as strong as any blood relative, when their heart and efforts are committed to the child. Foster, incidentally, is a character whose alter ego is named Goliath in the comics, so we may be seeing more of him in the future.

Even in the case of Pete (Bobby Cannavale), it showed a step-dad who realizes he can be a strong companion to Lang's ex-wife, while being understanding and supportive towards his step-daughter's relationship with her hero, biological father.

This movie, doesn’t ignore the importance of motherhood. No matter how long Janet Pym (the original Wasp) was away from her family, her resolve, love, and dedication to her husband and daughter never wavered. She was still the beating heart of her family.

It was the Dads, however, who came from all walks of life with the shared goal of making the daughter's world the best it could possibly be. Some dads came from worlds of higher education, some from the working class, and some struggling get back on their feet and remedy their past life choices.

Importantly, this movie reminded us dads aren’t perfect. Scott hasn’t always been the king of good decision making, anyone who has seen the movie and familiar with the comic knows Hank Pym has some severe anger issues, and Bill likely shouldn’t have let his disdain for Hank allow him and Ava to go the direction they did trying to cure her painful physical condition.

I fully realize not every man who happens to be a biological father is a good dad. I’ve seen too many cases of neglect and abuse from both fathers and mothers to harbor the misconception that every parent deserves the love of their children.

The men who abuse or squander this beautiful privilege of being a father to either sons or daughters aren’t worthy of the “Dad” or “Daddy” titles.

Those who are, however, are our everyday heroes.

Ant-Man and The Wasp made me think of my dad when I was a kid, as well as how my husband treats our own daughters. They may not be able to shrink into the Quantum Realm, but they can build a mean fort just like Scott. I may not have grown up in a massive mansion with access to a high tech lab, but we did embark on many great adventures by way of road trips and camping excursions. My husband isn’t a household name like Tony Stark or Clark Kent, but he’s still my girls’ super hero. My daughters even noticed young Hope and Cassie shared the same little pet names we called our girls since they were babies: “Peanut” and “Jelly Bean.”

One moment that really drove the importance of a bond between a father and daughter home is when Ava, in her desperation to get what she needed, considered kidnapping the one thing that meant the world to Scott: his daughter Cassie. This notion was quickly shot down by Bill, who demanded Ava not lay a finger on "that little girl." Like a good father, Bill knew which lines should not be crossed. Later, towards the end of the movie, Ava took on role as a protector to her own father figure, by not allowing him to share what she expected to be an unfortunate fate.

Good daddies want to project their daughters, no matter how old, independent, or successful they become. Likewise good daughters, and sons, know they may someday have to become a protector to their own parents at least one time. Remember the scene where Cassie expressed her desire to be Ant-man's partner? Even young kids want their daddies to know they have their backs.

A moment many may have missed was between Hope and Hank. Before embarking on shady negotiations for black market tech that led into a pretty badass girl power fight scene, Hope turned and lay her hand gently on her father’s shoulder, casually asking her father if he were doing okay. Brief as it was, that was beautiful moment.Those of us with aging parents often find ourselves watching out for them.

If you haven't made your way to see Ant-Man and The Wasp, it is on the surface just plain fun, and that alone is worth the price of admission. Beneath the surface, it showed you can have strong female characters while still celebrating some of the most important men in our world: our dads.

Oh, and yes, there were plenty of Dad Jokes. I mean, only a dad could think of a groaner like “Ant-tonio Banderas” and get away with it.