So, I watched Ant-Man recently and loved it! Not just because I’m a massive Marvel fan, but also because I really enjoyed noticing the similarities between the movie and Matheson’s The Shrinking Man. I wrote a review on the novel a while back (which you can read here) and I was a little surprised to see so many connections between the two. The Ant-Man character was first introduced in Marvel comics in 1962, five years after Matheson had published his novel (1957). One of the first things I noticed, then, is that the main character in both the novel and the film have the same first name: Scott. Coincidence? I think not.
What particularly interested me was a scene near the end of the film. Scott (aka the Ant-Man) goes subatomic. He enters this state where he continues to shrink uncontrollably and thus deals with new realities that are incomprehensible to humans. However, saying that, I really liked the way they visualised this subatomic state in the movie. In the novel, Matheson also discusses this subatomic world, but it’s perhaps more difficult to imagine through prose because we don’t really have a frame of reference.
Ant-Man Scott seems to be much better off than Shrinking Man Scott because he can change size at will (and he also has the ability to communicate with ants, which, trust me, is a lot cooler than it sounds). At the end of the novel, Scott continues to shrink smaller and smaller and we, as readers, don’t really know what that means for him. We hope that he can live a fulfilling life in these new subatomic realities, but it’s impossible to say. The end for movie Scott is much better, with there even being a suggestion for Ant-Man 2 (yes please!).
I think that in terms of characterisation, Shrinking Man Scott is my favourite because the novel really explores his inner most thoughts and feelings. But I can’t deny that Ant-Man Scott is totally awesome (mostly because of his ant helpers though)!