George R.R. Martin on Marvel’s plot development and villains

George R.R. Martin, author of The Song of Ice and Fire novels that inspired the Game of Thrones series, recently wrote a blog post in which he states his problems with some Marvel superhero movies while praising Ant-Man.

As a self-proclaimed “Marvel fanboy”, he wishes they’d gone for the Hank Pym Ant-Man instead of Scott Lang, but commends the end result in his review.

I am relieved and delighted to report that they did it right.

He then went on to criticize the way some Marvel movies are developed in terms of plot and characters, pointing out that the excess of action can become overwhelming if it’s not well balanced.

A superhero movie needs a fair share of smashing and bashing and stuff blowing up, of course, but IMNSHO 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…


He talks from experience, of course, with juggling so many characters.

In short, George R.R. Martin offers his Ant-Man review with a positive light, ranking it only second in what he considers the bulk of all Marvel movies. So from what he writes, his list might be something like this:

1. (Sam Raimi’s) Spider-Man 2
2. Ant-Man
3. Iron-Man
4. Avengers
5. Thor
6. Iron-Man 2
7. Thor: TDW
8. Iron-Man 3
9. Avengers: AoU

spidey3-image05But I could be wrong. He didn’t mention any of the Captain America or Hulk movies in this “ranking”, but he did talk about the latter when complaining about the lack of originality when introducing villains. He laments the fact that the villains in most Marvel movies seem to have the same powers as the heroes (Abomination, Iron Monger, Venom), rejecting a chance to make a difference.

I want more films where the hero and the villain have wildly different powers. That makes the action much more interesting.

Okay, but what about Thanos—which we’ll be seeing more of—Loki…? Even Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were villains at some point, and they are wildly different from the rest of the Avengers. What bothers me a bit is the fact that it seems like to George R.R. Martin it all becomes reduced to who is the hero and who is the villain. These movies are more than that! Again, not once does he mention Captain America in the blog. I think Cap has the most powerful, well-developed story, and even his “enemy” in The Winter Soldier is not a one-dimensional copy of him. In fact, Bucky and Loki are two baddies who Marvel keeps bringing back because they offer so much more than just an opposing character, they’re a big part of Steve’s and Thor’s life, they mean something to them.

And of course the assemble movies are going to be much more about the action, but also to show them as part of a team, because that’s what the solo movies are for; apart from leading up to Avengers movies, they carry on with the individual characters.

Yes, Marvel has a lot of work to do in terms of villains and character development (Black Widow solo movie, anyone?) but I still have some faith for future releases, starting with Civil War.

I’m only surprised George R.R. Martin didn’t alude to Marvel bringing characters back to life over and over again…

Should Marvel take notes from George R.R. Martin?

Elisabeth S. Contreras
Elisabeth S. Contreras
Film enthusiast and sharer of words. Don't underestimate a woman with an opinion.