The odds were stacked against Ant-Man last weekend, but Marvel Studios’ latest film beat the naysayers earning an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but grossed an underwhelming $58 million at the box office – despite being number one – just shy of the $60-$65 million expectations industry experts predicted. Still, James Gunn praised Marvel’s latest, saying it was the best Marvel Studios film since Iron Man, even our very own Adam Frazier liked the film.
Now Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has taken the time to praise film, and to point out a serious issue that Marvel has that I am sure everyone will agree with. While Martin said Ant-Man was “wholly satisfying,” he says that these films have a serious villain issue. More on the story below.
Martin wrote the review of Ant-Man on his personal blog, and though he liked the film, he admits he was worried about it at first given its troubled production history. “A couple reviewers are calling it the best Marvel movie ever. I won’t go that far, but it’s right up there.” He adds that the film is probably second to “the second Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man film, the one with Doc Ock.” Apparently he even liked it more than the first Avengers, and “a lot more than the second.” To him Ant-Man was better than either Thor, Iron Man 2 and 3, and a smidge better than the first Iron Man, although he admits he liked that one a lot too.
He also praised the film’s ability to restrain itself when it comes to the action sequences, but also criticized some of the other films’ inability to hold back:
“That’s what I also liked about Ant-Man. There wasn’t a formulatic two or three action sequences, instead the film used the heist aspect to its advantage, which made for a more entertaining watch.”
While Martin threw a lot of praise towards Ant-Man, he did have some minor issues with the film, particularly towards the film’s villains which, as he points out, are more like mirror images than something truly nefarious:
“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).”
He has a point. In the three Iron Man films, two were basically just armored suit vs. another armored suit. Hulk fought a darker and uglier version of himself in The Incredible Hulk, and we all have trouble remembering who the villain was in Thor: The Dark World. And Darren Cross/Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) also has its issues as a villain. And though I understand its narrative importance, the Hydra infiltration sequence in Age of Ultron just felt a little out of place. Still, there is a bright side, namely Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), and Ultron (James Spader) were some memorable villains. Even the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) was fun.
Another gripe that Martin had with the film was the lack of attention it had towards the relationship between Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, the first Ant-Man and Wasp:
“I loved his [Ant-Man’s] partnership with the Wasp. At a time when every other comic was playing the endless “romantic tension” card, or the older and hoarier “I must hide my secret from my girlfriend” trope, here was a man and a woman who adventured together, who loved each other without question, who even helped found the Avengers together… that was revolutionary in the early 1960s, like much of what Stan Lee did… (and sad to say, it would even be sort of revolutionary today).”
[Source: George R.R. Martin’s Blog]