I finally got to see Ant-Man recently, and something that happened in it made me sit back and think while I was driving home. Why did Ant-Man largely get a pass for this, while Interstellar was ridiculed for it? Some spoilers ahead.
Seriously, some spoilers for both Ant-Man and Interstellar.
Okay: so Scott Lang has to go sub atomic in the film, much like Hank Pym’s wife did in the flashback scenes. When he did so, he goes really small, down to subatomic levels where inter-dimensional space made time meaningless. The exact same thing pretty much happened to Cooper when he went into the tesseract.
In both cases, each father focused on one element: the love of their daughter to help draw them back to the real world. Cooper ends up getting plunked into space near Jupiter further into the future, while Lang returns to his daughter’s bedroom.
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Interstellar was pretty roundly condemned for some of the more touchy-feely elements, such as love transcending time and space: I remember the scene where Cooper used love to get his bearings being singled out as a point where the film went off the rails.
At the same time, however, Ant-Man did pretty much the same thing: this was a story of a father being motivated to to see his daughter again, and when he found himself in inter-dimensional space, he used that to guide himself back. The difference here is: I don’t think that I’ve seen this particular plot point called out at all, especially to the extent that it was for Interstellar.
I’ll admit that both films are pretty different in tone: Interstellar is very much in the Hard SF side of the genre, while Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has played with all manner of decidedly not hard science.
For my money, as the father of a two-year-old, I can completely buy Lang and Cooper’s motivations to do anything to ensure that they can see their children again. Does this have something to do with the tone of a hard-science fiction film or is it just that Paul Rudd played a more convincing father than Matthew McConaughey?