George R.R. Martin's Marvel villains

While many fans probably wish George R.R. Martin was spending every waking minute working on finishing the next Game of Thrones book, the fantasy author took the time to see Ant-Man recently and even wrote a blog post about it.

Martin found Peyton Reed‘s tiny superhero, played by Paul Rudd, to be wholly satisfying, and while he doesn’t think it’s the best superhero flick ever like some of the TV spots are touting, he says it ranks high, maybe only coming in second to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. But despite his praise of the movie, Martin did have some small problems with Ant-Man, and one has to do with the villain. In fact, his issue actually applies to many of Marvel’s villains.

Find out more about this George R.R. Martin’s Marvel villains gripe after the jump! Spoilers for Ant-Man ahead, naturally.

Before we get to the villain portion, Martin has one other small complaint that I’m sure plenty of fans will agree with, and that’s he wanted to see more of The Wasp. I couldn’t agree more. Martin wrote on his blog (via THR):

“Where was the Wasp? We got a few glimpses, and a set up for the next film. But I wanted more Wasp, and I loved the old original Hank/ Janet dynamic (before they got to the wife-beating stuff).”

Yes, there was a storyline where Hank Pym beat his wife, but clearly that’s not something Marvel wanted to include in the movie version of Hank Pym. But we definitely could have used more Wasp. Thankfully, one of the credits scenes sets up for The Wasp to return in the future (the film has a subtle hint that the original could return too) with Evangeline Lilly in the suit, and it might be a direct response to fans for more female characters to get in the game too. So that gripe will be fixed in the future.

But when it comes to Martin’s quibbles with Marvel villains, he’s just bored by them, and here’s why:

“While Yellowjacket makes a decent villain here (in the comics, of course, he was actually one of Hank’s later identities, after Giant-Man and Goliath), I am tired of this Marvel movie trope where the bad guy has the same powers as the hero. The Hulk fought the Abomination, who is just a bad Hulk. Spider-Man fights Venom, who is just a bad Spider-Man. Iron Man fights Ironmonger, a bad Iron Man. Yawn. I want more films where the hero and the villain have wildly different powers. That makes the action much more interesting).”

It’s hard to argue with that, though I did find Corey Stoll‘s Darren Cross to be better than some of the other Marvel villains we’ve seen. Though the reason that many Marvel villains have similar powers to their superhero nemeses is because that’s how they were designed for the comic books. Not all villains have the same powers as the hero, but a lot of the more well-known villains do, which is what makes them such a threat to the hero.

However, the Marvel universe is big, and there are plenty of villains who don’t have the same powers as the hero’s they’re trying to destroy, and it would be nice to see many more of them pop up in the movies. But beyond that, Marvel just has a problem with developing their villains beyond two-dimensional characters who are bad guys just for the sake of being bad guys. Even when some of them are given proper motivation, it never feels substantial enough to make the villains memorable.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Ultron (James Spader) and The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) seem to be the best of the bunch when it comes to Marvel villains, with maybe Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) as a distant second (who just becomes a bigger Iron Man in the end). Can you even remember who the villain was in Thor: The Dark World? Sure, some fans know all that information at any given time, but I’ll bet the general audience couldn’t tell you his name.

Finally, Martin complimented Ant-Man in being superior to The Avengers: Age of Ultron because the action didn’t overwhelm the plot and characters like the aforementioned sequel (which few would disagree with probably). He writes:

“A superhero movie needs a fair share of smashing and bashing and stuff blowing up, of course, but [in my not so humble opinion] that stuff works best when it is happening to people we actually know and care about, and if you jam in too many characters and don’t take time to develop any of them properly, well…”

It’s funny hearing the author of Game of Thrones talk about having “too many characters” when there are so many characters in his fantasy books that it’s hard to keep them straight, even on the TV series. But Martin does know how to develop them very well, and hopefully as the Marvel universe continues to grow, they learn to stop overstuffing their movies with as many heroes as possible. It could become a real problem by the time The Avengers 7 rolls around.

Do you think Marvel has a problem with creating good villains in their movies?

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