George R.R. Martin's Biggest Problem With The Marvel Movies

According to some critics, Ant-Man exposed the chink in Marvel’s billion-dollar chain. For George R.R. Martin, it’s glaring. The Game of Thrones creator got a taste of Peyton Reed’s size-shrinking superhero in theaters recently, and the experience prompted him to publish a blog post called "Me and Ant-Man" on his popular Live Journal page. As a self-proclaimed longtime Marvel fan, there were a couple aspects of the film that disappointed him, but his biggest gripe seemed to be with the villain.

Martin wrote that Ant-Man’s Darren Cross, played by The Strain’s Corey Stoll, was a reflection of the larger issue plaguing villains in the Marvel worlds. While he reminds us all that Cross’s alter-ego Yellowjacket is actually another identity of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in the comics, he states that he makes "a decent villain here." However, it’s more of the same that he’s come to expect from a Marvel movie.

…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.

To Martin’s point, the same could be said for Iron Man 2 (Stark fights Whiplash, who becomes mechanized at the end of the film), Captain America (fighting a serum-enhanced Red Skull), Thor (fighting his brother Loki), The Winter Soldier (Cap battles Bucky) and even Avengers: Age of Ultron to some extent (where Ultron had similar abilities to the Iron Man suit). Some of the characters that have been shaking things up a bit are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who sent Earth’s Mightiest Heroes running away with their tales between their legs. Then there was Loki’s Chitauri army, which helped make The Avengers one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. As we continue to move into Phase 3 of the MCU with Civil War (pitting Iron Man against Cap), Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and another Spider-Man reboot, hopefully we’ll end up seeing more of these "wildly different powers" Martin is pining for. Maybe that means Martin should just pen his own Marvel movie.

Since Ant-Man hit theaters with Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Martin hasn’t been the only one with issues. Reviews were widely mixed among the critics, while the film itself gave Marvel their lowest opening weekend numbers since 2008 — for Marvel standards, at least. It still became the highest-grossing film in America that weekend.