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New Delhi: Friday witnessed the release of yet another film from the Marvel Cinematics Universe (MCU) with one of its lesser known superheroes, Ant-Man (or Hank Pym) hitting the screens in India. The film follows a highly successful year for MCU, whose film, The Avengers: The Age of the Ultron grossed nearly $1.4 billion at the box-office. Directed by Payton Reed, Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas.

The film is based on the 1962 comic book, Tales to Astonish #27, created by legendary writers Stan Lee, Larry Leiber and Jack Kirby.

Here’s a handy reckoner on the film, before you go watch it.

Who is Ant-Man?

Hank Pym is Ant-Man. The superhero made his first appearance in a seven-page solo comic titled Tales to Astonish #27 in January 1962. In September that year, eight issues after his original appearance, Hank Pym became Ant-Man. The issue had three chapters—Return of the Ant-Man, An Army of Ants and The Ant-Man’s Revenge. A year later, Lee and Kirby created the Avengers. Ant-Man and his girlfriend, wife and later ex-wife The Wasp (Janet van Dyne) were founding members of The Avengers.

The origins of the Ant-Man go back to a comic book titled The Man in the Ant Hill, which its creator Stan Lee says, was “about a guy who shrunk down and there were ants and bees chasing him". “That sold so well that I thought making him into a superhero might be fun."

What are his superpowers?

In the film, as in the comic book, Hank Pym or Ant-Man is a genius scientist (entomologist and physicist) who discovers superpowers that allow him to transform himself (and others around him) into ant-size characters (and return to normal at will). He derives his powers from a rare group of subatomic particles, called the “Pym Particles". The particles were originally in liquid form as two serums, one of which shrank people and objects to ant size, while the other restored it to normal. According to the story, Pym tried one of the serums on himself and while doing so, he discovered that the power of the serum reduced him to the size of an ant, while using the other to restore himself to normal. Upon the discovery of the serum’s shrinking powers, Pym would later synthesize them into gas form, for easier use by inhalation.

The particles, once inhaled, would transform Pym into Ant-Man. In the comic, the Pym Particles are kept in a compartment in Ant-Man’s belt. In the movie, Pym recruits a new Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and mentors him to use the Pym Particles, and save them from those who intended to use them for acts of evil.

Besides the particles, Pym also developes a “cybernetic" helmet that enables him to communicate with ants and related insects through telepathy. The helmet also allowed humans to hear him, with its sound amplification equipment.

Who is Scott Lang?

Another ant-man. In the movie, Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a former electronics expert from Florida, who turns to burglary. He has been described as a “small-time crook" who gets enlisted by Pym to protect the science of his Ant-Man suit. Lang once stole Pym’s Ant-Man suit and the belt, when his daughter was seriously ill. Using the suit, Lang breaks into the millionaire supervillain Darren Cross’s corporation—Cross Technological Enterprises—where he holds heart surgeon Erica Sondheim prisoner. Lang puts the Ant-Man suit to good use, saving Sondheim, who in turn saves his daughter’s life.

Lang later tries turning himself in and return the stolen suit, only for Pym to offer him to keep the suit for use for lawful purposes.

Who is Darren Cross?

Cross, played by Corey Stoll in the film, is a former business partner of Pym. A badass scientist, Cross uses Hope van Dyke, the daughter of Janet van Dyke and Hank Pym, to take over Pym’s company, only to make his own version of the Ant-Man suit, known as the Yellowjacket suit, which would have more powers than Ant-Man’s. Hope, an acquaintance of Lang, later falls in love with the burglar. But she also happens to be Cross’s busines partner in his venture.

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