Ant-Man & The Zebra

Blog Post

I am an avid Marvel fan. I love Spider-Man, I love Iron Man, and I love Thor. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried watching Infinity War. Of course, when Ant-Man and the wasp came out I went to see it with one of my friends. And, though I didn’t really enjoy the first Ant-Man, I loved watching the second Ant-Man. It was funny, interesting, and even though the science made no sense, I thought it had a great conflict-resolution. Perhaps, what interested me most, was the connect I found between Ant-Man and EDS.

I will try to minimize the spoilers ahead. However, I cannot promise that spoilers won’t be here. I will warn before spoilers.

Ant-Man and The Wasp featured Scott Lang reunited with Hope Van Dyne and Hank Pym to find their mother/wife, Janet. It took place after Civil War, but before Infinity War. Of course, the post-credit scene made everyone in the audience gasp, as Marvel tends to do. Throughout the movie, there was this hidden storyline of chronic illness, which I found kind of interesting. The main villain was a girl named Ava, called Ghost for her ability to phase.

I saw the movie twice (I know, it’s an obsession but I’m fine), and it wasn’t until watching the ending for the first time that I was clued into the Chronic Illness reference in the movie. At the end, (kind of a spoiler, but it’s essential to what I’m talking about) there is a scene with a movie theater. Of course, all the cars are toys, and in one of the trucks in the back is a zebra. No other animals, just one singular zebra. Now, the zebra is the symbol for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and seeing it pieced everything together for me.

Within the movie, Ava is seen dealing with chronic pain. She often talks about how the pain is getting to be too much for her. As she phases, you can see how she uncomfortably moves her joints around, including one close up shot on Scott Lang where she can be seen moving her wrists. Her driving force is pain. But not just that, she also displays slight signs of Dysautonomia. Without her suit (which could potentially be an allegorical reference to pain medications), she is dizzy, fatigued, and has difficulty performing regular, easy tasks. She has an entire chamber where she sleeps, and walking to that chamber alone is enough to exhaust her. Combined with fighting a hero, she is incredibly impressive when it comes to managing her symptoms. Even more than this, with her suit she can phase and becomes ‘invisible’ in a sense. To me, this felt like a way to play off of an invisible illness. But it wasn’t until the lone zebra at the end of the film that I realized there might be a link to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

I think that she is a villain a lot of people in the chronic illness community can identify with. I don’t condone her actions, and I certainly didn’t agree with the choices she made. However, It was really nice to see invisible disabilities being represented by Marvel in the newest film! What did you think? Did you catch the Zebra at the end of the film? Tell me in the comments below!

Bible Verse

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” – Hebrews 13:14

(Spoilers ahead!) It can be easy to watch this movie, watch how the conflict is resolved, and walk away feeling discouraged. In my opinion, they could have resolved this in a much better way that Janet’s magical powers healing Ava. I felt like Ava’s character had so much potential, and I honestly wanted to see them go through trials and treatments to find a way to cure her. Watching someone come from an abyss, only to have the magic answer to cure her was disheartening at first. I want to be cured. I don’t want to be on medications, and I don’t want to deal with chronic pain. But, I think that sometimes I forget that God can do these things.

I loved my Hebrews Bible study, which I just finished, and this verse really stuck out to me. I’m not looking for healing now. I think that God can use my pain, and He can make something good out of it (reference Tilting The Table). But, He does promise a future that is yet to come. It is a home, where there will be healing. Living with chronic illness of any kind is tough, but this verse is a reminder that there is a healer who loves us. He doesn’t want our pain. Our pain isn’t permanent, it’s as temporary as the world around us. I think this is hopeful. While I wish that there was another way for the movie to have been resolved, I actually feel like its ending suited the chronic illness storyline more than I realized. Pain is temporary, but God is forever.

Song

Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood

“This is my temporary Home
It’s not where I belong
Windows in rooms that I’m passin’ through
This was just a stop, on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this was
My temporary home.”

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