‘Ant-Man’ Ending, Explained: Simplicity And A Worn-out Plot Make A Fun Origin Story

The bug-related moniker might confuse the general audience into thinking “Ant-Man” might be a rip-off or pastiche of the most popular flagship hero of the same franchise, Spider-Man. But they would be surprised to know that the former made his first appearance in comics months prior to the web-slinger and had a prominent legacy character way before Spidey did, Scott Lang, on whom the movie trilogy is primarily focused. As a part of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, aka MCU, the humble beginning of the cinematic venture of the Ant-Man franchise started in 2015 with “Ant-Man,” directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd as the titular character. The movie proved to be a pretty decent origin story, with humor and a bunch of witty characters being its U.S.P.

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Spoilers Ahead


‘Ant-Man’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The movie begins in 1989 at S.H.I.E.L.D. H.Q., as we see quantum physicist Hank Pym is infuriated over the agency’s attempt to replicate the groundbreaking technology invented by him, the Pym particle. Sophisticated technology uses subatomic particles to increase or decrease the physical size of an object by manipulating its atomic distance while increasing its mass, strength, and density. Hank does not want this technology to be used for nefarious means, and before resigning, he lets the S.H.I.E.L.D. board of executives know that he will not let the technology be replicated. A mention of his spouse, Janet, sends Hank into a fit of rage, which suggests a murky incident associated with her that left Hank with lifelong trauma and guilt.

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A time jump to the present timeline suggests that, in later years, Hank founded a research institution called Pym Technologies and passed its reins to his protégé, Darren Cross. It is revealed that using his Pym particles, Hank managed to create the Ant-Man suit and fought for his country through decades prior. Cross cunningly pushed his mentor aside, took over the company, and tried his hand at recreating his own version of the Ant-Man suit using a version of shrinking technology via Yellowjacket armor. Cross wants to weaponize the technology for “peacekeeping” purposes and looks forward to making a profit off of it on the open market. Hank’s daughter, Hope, works with Cross and has an estranged relationship with her father.

Scott Lang, a Master in Electrical Engineering but also a small-time crook, gets released from prison after serving his sentence for burglary. Scott has a loving relationship with his eight-year-old daughter Cassie, who looks up to her father, but his ex-wife Maggie and her fiancée, Detective Paxton, don’t want him to visit her unless he is able to straighten up and pay child support.

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Out of any conceivable option, Scott asks his ex-con buddy Luis to arrange a loan, which could help him get on his feet. Unbeknownst to him, Hank Pym had looked up Scott’s history and, knowing his skills, strategically arranged a heist to take him to the Ant-Man suit. Scott overcomes particularly tough obstacles and manages to break into Hank’s safe, finds nothing valuable, and steals the Ant-Man suit. Later, Scott decides to wear it, and while messing with the suit, he triggers a mechanism that shrinks him down to the size of an insect. Unable to return to his original size, Scott rushes around in his minuscule stature and gets extremely panicked over the surreal experience. Once he manages to return to his normal stature, Scott decides to return the suit from where he had stolen it and gets caught in the process.

In custody, Hank visits Scott, posing as his lawyer, and helps him escape using his psychically controlled ant army to aid him with the Ant-Man suit. Upon questioning, Hank reveals that he wants Scott to take the Ant-Man mantle and steal the Yellowjacket suit from Cross, as Cross’s motive can have disastrous consequences. Scott is hesitant about taking a decision, and Hope detests her father for not trusting her with the mission. She also remains livid at the fact that Hank has remained unwilling to her anything about her mother’s disappearance. Hope also considers herself better trained to take up the task of infiltrating Cross Technologies, given that she had years of training to take up the mantle and of controlling ants. Hank doesn’t want his daughter to risk her life in a high-stakes job like this, and he motivates Scott to be the hero Cassie thinks him to be. Scott sympathizes with Hank after knowing that the latter used to share a bond with her daughter much like his own. Later, Hank narrates the story of his wife Janet Van Dyne’s disappearance. He recounts that Janet operated alongside Hank in a shrinking suit much like his own, codenamed the Wasp and went subatomic to salvage a high-risk operation. After knowing the truth, Hope reconciles with her father.

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Hope and Hank train Scott to perfectly control the suit as well as to connect with various types of ants. As his first mission, Scott is tasked with infiltrating an Avengers base to grab a particular piece of technology that can help him infiltrate Cross’s base. Scott successfully retrieves the technology after beating Falcon. On the other hand, Darren Cross grows psychotic and unstable as he comes close to perfecting his shrinking technology. Later, Cross invites Hank as the day that he plans to sell the technology approaches. Hank decides with Hope and Scott that they will steal the Yellowjacket suit on that very day and sabotage all the servers to render any efforts to replicate the technology impossible.

With the help of Luis and his friends, Scott successfully destroys the servers, but as he proceeds to steal the suit, Cross captures him, as he was expecting his arrival beforehand. Cross decides to sell both the Ant-man and the Yellowjacket suit to the terrorist groups Hydra and Ten Rings and prepares to kill Hank. Scott uses Pym technology to break open his captivity, and the previously planted explosives detonate the building inside the quantum realm—not before Hope escapes with her father and Cross manages to fly off in his Yellowjacket suit.

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Cross, who previously knew Scott’s identity, holds Scott’s daughter Cassie hostage. Scott engages in a battle with Cross and finally overpowers him by going subatomic and sabotaging the Yellowjacket suit from the inside. Cross implodes while wearing the suit, presumably dying, but in the process, Scott gets lost inside the quantum realm. Barely conscious, Scott hears Cassie’s voice and strengthens his resolve to escape. He uses an enlargement disc given to him by Hank previously to be used as a weapon as the suit’s regulator and grows back to normal size.

After listening to Scott’s experience in the quantum realm and his successful return, Hank rekindles his hope to get Janet back from the quantum realm. Scott reunites with his daughter as Detective Paxton decides to give him a second chance after getting inspired by Scott’s heroics. Luis informs Scott that on Sam Wilson, aka Falcon’s recommendation, the Avengers are considering taking Scott into their ranks. In the post-credit scene, it is revealed that Hank has finally considered entrusting a modified version of the Wasp suit to his daughter, Hope, which he and Janet made together all those years ago for her.

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‘Ant-Man’ Ending Explained

The first movie of the Ant-Man franchise is not without its share of shortcomings, as the tried and tested method of a nearly identical antagonist, a redemption-seeking wisecracking protagonist, and a formulaic, predictable plot keeps its potential checked. However, the uniqueness of seeing the world from a miniaturized point of view, assisted with cool visuals, helps the movie stand out amidst the plethora of superhero romps. The emotional core of the father-daughter relationship, furthered by both the protagonists (Hank and Scott), provides a much-needed familial impetus to the movie, which thus far has been somewhat missing from MCU character origin tales. The movie almost unknowingly became the first MCU legacy flick with the appearance of two Ant-Man moniker holders: Hank Pym and Scott Lang.

The movie ends with a hint at the possibility of Janet Van Dyne’s survival in the quantum realm. As Scott ventured into the quantum realm, he was stuck in suspended animation, and the laws of physics in the realm worked way differently from those in the outside world, which resulted in Scott being unable to memorize anything he experienced upon returning to the macroscopic world. Although Hank is unable to get any information from Scott’s trip to the subatomic realm, he wonders about Janet’s fate, and it’s needless to say, he will take a chance in the future to attempt a rescue mission for her. The reveal of Hope’s Wasp suit by Hank was an acknowledgment of her credibility, and her much more significant role in the sequel can be taken as a hint from the reveal. It’s touching that Hope takes on her mother’s mantle as a gesture honoring her memory. Another significant development is Falcon recommending Scott to Captain America, which directly connects the movie with the larger MCU narrative, later leading Scott to join Cap’s side during the ideological standoff in “Captain America: Civil War.”

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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