Ghost: A New Face for #girlpower #blackgirlmagic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After 10 years of Marvel Cinematic greatness Ant-Man and Wasp continues with another winner with its latest movie reaching nine figures in the box office. What makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe such a great experience for fans such as myself is in no short to the excellent antagonists for Marvel heroes to face. If there’s one thing Marvel movies are doing right is making villains with heart breaking backstories and understanding motivations and goals to connect with the audience.
Black Panther has Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Infinity War has Thanos (Josh Brolin), Deadpool has Cable (also played by Josh Brolin) and now Ant-Man and Wasp has Ghost (played by Hannah John Kamen). Now while the Ghost of the Marvel Cinematic Universe adopts a new progressive spin, sadly this MCU villain does not get the same focus fitting her status as other MCU baddies and fails to deliver the same amount of praise and emotional support as other previous MCU villains this year. In Ghost’s defense part of it could be because Ghost feels like a background character especially when Ant-Man and Wasp had a large amount of antagonists than the previous movie so it became really hard for Ghost to stand out. To add insult to injury, as the only female villain in the movie, one would think she would have more screen time. Instead, Ghost’s role in the movie is no more than a henchman parallel to Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) a low-key professor/biochemist in the movie. The writers could have also made Ghost her own boss, instead she ends up taking orders from Bill. This character development, I felt, sent the wrong message to viewers thinking Ghost can’t do anything without the support of a man which is far from truth. Furthermore, as one of the few female characters in the movie this could be intercepted as all women needing a man for support which is far more damaging and dangerous.
What makes this even more frustrating is that Ghost is without a doubt the most interesting character out of the villain profile because unlike Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and Randall Park (Jimmy Woo) she has a very upsetting backstory and her condition actually makes us feel sorry for her rather than laugh at her. Her actions makes us understand why she did what she did and in the end she was only used by everyone around her. Before going more into that, let’s compare both the comic books version of Ghost to her MCU counterpart.
The comic book version of ghost is a male whose real name is kept in secret. First appearing in Iron Man issue #219 in June of 1987 this version of Ghost was originally a super-villain to Iron Man. In addition to his intangibility this version of Ghost could also turn invisible as well as being a skilled marksman, brilliant inventor, tactician and hacker. He also has superb intelligence and stealth technology. Finally this ‘Ghost version’ can control any computer just by touching it.
His origins are also different as he begins as a simple up and coming programmer and engineer working for a major computer company called Omni-sapient and after years of working there given a leadership role of the company’s new project Ghost tech. While working on this project he developed a relationship with a fellow employee, but she died in an explosion from a gas leak. Suffering in deep depression, Ghost went deeper into his work injecting himself with ghost tech computer chips. This allowed him to link mentally with information systems and give him the ability to escape the real world. Ironically this brought him more misery for his venture in Omni space as this new realm revealed that his girlfriend was paid off from their superiors to engage in a relationship with him, but was killed by a mercenary when she started distracting him from his work. Before this realization could sink in for him, he also discovered that a similar attempt on his life was made and in the explosion the intangible function of the chips kicked in granting him intangibe powers himself. This led him to adopt the name Ghost and seek revenge on his former employers and all big businesses in general.
Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)
In the MCU, Ghost is a woman with molecular instability. When she was a child her father was unjustly branded a criminal from SHIELD after conducting illegal experiments on the Quantum Realm. Soon her father tried to conduct his own experiment to reach the Quantum Realm and a resultant explosion led to Ghost gaining her powers and to the demise of her parents. Her powers became in great demand as SHIELD use her to do their dirty work in the form of conducting assassinations and intelligence gathering all the while her body is fading due to her molecular instability from the Quantum Realm. One can argue that she is only casted as a villain because she interferes with Hank’s and Hope’s goal of returning Janet from the Quantum Realm. Despite all that interference, even after she tries to thwart their goal, she is still accepted by them as good person and is cured when Jane (Hank’s wife) uses an unknown superpower to cure her molecular instability.
What’s different between the comic and the movie is obvious: Ghost’s a women instead of an man which I believe was a smart move on the writers part. It’s 2018, therefore I believe more women should be in superhero movies; even if it’s an antagonist role. Furthermore, Ghost is an interesting character with interesting abilities as well as assassin like training to back it up. She has shown to be an adapt fighter, holding her own against both Ant-Man and Wasp and as a trained government agent she is clearly an intelligent woman. Finally her molecular intangibility is a very original power and can add to the great CGI regarding fight scenes. In fact some of the best movie moments were from Ghost using her powers.
In 2018, more women are assuming lead roles in movies and are finally getting the acknowledgement they deserve for those roles. I feel that women should have more leading roles in superhero movies as well (On a side note, I can’t wait for the Captain Marvel movie). As of right now however, the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero roster includes women such as Black Widow, Maria, Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), Gamora, Mantis, Valkyrie, Wasp, Shuri, Okoye and Captain Marvel. Even though I’m thankful to them because they helped contribute to the MCU’s current level of success, their contributions to the MCU through the characters and roles they played in their respective movies were not a small feat as they commanded their screen presence in the mist of male dominated crowd.
For example, Black Widow was the only woman to fight alongside a collection of men in the first Avengers movie with Scarlet Witch adding to the #girlpower in the second and third sequel. Gamora who is both lethal and intelligent adds additional brains and brawn among the Guardians of the Galaxy group. Similar to Scarlett Witch with the Avengers, Mantis was also added in the Guardians’ sequels thus adding more intelligence and #girlpower to the team. Who could forget Valkyrie, who played a vital role in Thor: Ragnarok (with some fans theorizing that she will return to fight Thanos in the fourth Avengers movie). Afterwards, we have Wasp who was a valuable asset in providing both brains and brawn in the Ant-Man movies. And finally, to round out my examples of #girlpower and to add a dose #blackgirlmagic, I have Shuri and Okoye who were extremely critical in the Black Panther movie providing both defense and offense to T’challa and the country of Wakanda. The #girlpower movement is still strong as we know from the events of the last Avenger movie, that Captain Marvel is going to contribute greatly to the #girlpower movement by leading the remaining Avengers in their fight against Thanos in the fourth Avengers movie.
Since part of the movie’s focuses on Ant-Man’s house arrest as well as the Black Arms Dealer Sonny Burch, the movie doesn’t really provide a full platform for Ghost to be the villiam she rightfully deserves. I believe if the writers removed Sonny Burch after his beatdown by Wasp and had him and his goons arrested after, the movie would have been a lot better with a more critical focus on Ghost. Now I understand Sonny Burch and his goons are minor villains and are really meant to be the antagonists to Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (T.I.) and Kurt (David Dastmalchian), but I believe that they could have had the same results regarding Scott Lang’s business without Sonny in the end.
To conclude, Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Ghost has the potential to be one great hero or villain in the MCU; Hopefully she’ll be around long enough to be a great contributor to the #girlpower - #blackgirlmagic movement. Provided she survived Thanos’ finger snap.