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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Ant-Man: Pym Particles Share a Crucial Similarity To the Super Soldier Serum

In Ant-Man, Darren Cross creates a suit similar to Ant-Man's along with his own version of Pym Particles, which allows the user to shrink or grow at will. However, his desire to perfect the formula gave him an obsession that nearly led him to murder his mentor, Hank Pym, on more than one occasion. During the second attempt in the film's climax, he turns a gun on Hank while his daughter Hope tries to stop Cross. In her attempt, she reminds Darren that prolonged use of Pym Particles has affected his brain chemistry, making him act out of character, and this line ties back to another formula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as its adverse effects on the users' personality.

Developed by Abraham Erskine, the Super Soldier Serum was designed to create the ideal human, allowing them to function at peak physical levels, even gaining superhuman abilities. Steve Rogers was the only all-around successful use of the formula, and from that experiment, it gave birth to Captain America. However, the serum itself isn't without its caveats.

Even when perfected, the serum amplifies a person's base characteristics. Because Rogers was a good man at heart, those qualities were amplified. However, an imperfect serum can yield equally dangerous results, as shown with the Red Skull's crimson visage, representing the evil within him. Imperfect Pym Particles share a similar side-effect, though the negative repercussions are more mental than physical.

In the comics, it wasn't uncommon for prolonged use of Pym Particles to have negative effects. For Hank Pym, his feelings of inferiority were personified into the Yellowjacket persona, an identity that was quick to anger. He even lashed out at his wife, Janet. Cross' character represents this towards the end of the film as well, though he initially struggles to hide it.

For the film's first act, Cross operates as a shady businessman who will stop at nothing to replicate the Pym Particles and sell his Yellowjacket suit to the highest bidder. Even before he dons the suit, his dark side is made evident when he kills a board member by shrinking him. The scene showcases the negative character traits that Cross already had before the particles and how they were amplified after their use.

Since Cross doesn't wear the Yellowjacket suit until the film's climax, it begs the question of how he was exposed to the particles that altered his mind. Unlike the Super Soldier Serum, which had to be injected, the Pym Particles are emitted in an aerosol form. This is best shown when he kills the board member in the bathroom, where his shrinking gun emits a yellow gas that disperses into the air. The scene was a subtle way to show how Cross has spent so much time inhaling the imperfect Pym Particle formula, changing how he thinks permanently.

Much like Erskine's formula, the Pym Particles are a reminder of the importance of perfection in science. With a perfect formula, heroes can be made like Captain America and Ant-Man. However, if imperfect, the results often lead to disaster with villains like the Red Skull and Yellowjacket. Though they were created in separate decades, the Super Soldier Serum and Pym Particles will forever share that dangerous similarity.

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