I haven’t written a movie review in a while but I thought of making one for Ant Man because it had a mentor element to it and I like mentor movies, and like I said I can’t get it out my mind so here I am writing it.
It had to do with Kung Fu Panda 2008 (yes I am referring Kung Fu Panda, I have a point here bear with me). In it, Dustin Hoffman plays Master Shifu, teacher and mentor to Jack Black’s Po.
To recount, a flashback informs the audience the origin of the main antagonist Tai Lung. Tai Lung was Master Shifu’s main candidate to be Dragon Warrior and was trained his whole life to expect he would be so. Shifu’s own Master Oogway however, never allowed it. As a result Tai Lung grew disillusioned and angry, focusing his anger on Shifu for making him expect so much.
This is the reason why veteran dramatic actors are hired and Hoffman shines as the proud yet confused Master Shifu – a key element in the movie and whose story is just as compelling or may be even more so than Po’s.
The most unforgettable part of the movie for me was in a scene when Po was trying to escape the temple. Shifu chased him insisting he come back so he can teach him Kung Fu. Po countered by asking ‘How are you gonna change *this* into the Dragon Warrior?!’. Shifu is stopped in his tracks and just replies ‘I don’t know!’ (sighs), and lets him be.
The part that had to do with my remembering Ant Man was in Shifu’s battle with Tai Lung. In a poignant moment he admits he made a mistake raising him the way he did, admitting he loved him and was proud of him, but that his pride became too much and it blinded him to what Tai Lung was becoming. He apologizes, asking for his forgiveness and by doing so swallowing the very pride that had allowed all this to happen. By now of course it was too late and Tai Lung is determined to kill him, but the moment reverberates just the same.
Ok so here’s the Ant Man part.
In Ant Man, Hank Pym is confronted at some point by Darren Cross and was asked ‘Why did you choose me?’ Pym replies with something about how he reminded him about himself some such or other, but it was a mostly forgettable return to what could have been a great opening to a revelation scene of some sort.
There is no doubt that Pym had something to do with how Cross had turned out considering how students worship the ground their masters walk on. I was hoping that he would recognize this and express regret, but unfortunately he replied with some tough guy inanity making the scene, and the movie, quite forgettable.
Doing so would have given more depth to Cross and eventual Yellowjacket character, explaining that he isn’t your typical ‘conquer the world’ screaming bad guy, but someone with a legitimate chip on his shoulder the audience can empathize with.
Doing so would also make best use of Michael Douglas who is more than capable of acting a role similar to Hoffman’s Shifu. I remember reading an interview where he says he likes roles where his character is put in difficult situations, probably like the one he had in 2000’s Traffic. I’d pay to see just that character if I could.