Trying to avoid the popular 'Is Jon Snow Dead?' question often raised by fans in this post-Game of Thrones Season 5 era, creator of the Ice and Fire series George R.R. Martin has turned the discussion towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Namely its villains. He wants to know why the villains always have the same superpowers as the superheroes. And frankly, he's quite tired of it.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest shared movie universe in Hollywood, and even it's lesser known characters, like Ant-Man, come in number one at the box office. And the studio shows no signs of slowing down. The collective superhero franchise connected by Marvel's The Avengers has grossed billions of dollars world wide. And almost all of the movies have gotten positive reviews from the world's toughest critics. Marvel and Disney's overall game plan has greatly affected the Hollywood landscape, and altered other studios plans for the future. Every major movie factory wants to be Marvel right now. So is there much they're doing wrong? According to George R.R. Martin there is at least one thing.
And he's not alone. The MCU is as far reaching as its fan base. And the superheroes are iconic. But if there has ben one complaint, it's that the villains aren't very good. With, maybe, the exception of Loki, but he's charming and seems ready to join his brother Thor and the rest of the Avengers at any minute. Marvel movie villains are being scrutinized, with some calling them underdeveloped plot devices. These bad guys are quickly swept under the rug from one adventure to the next, which isn't too far removed from what happens in the comic books upon which they are based. But George R.R. Martin has a slight different reason he's sick and tired of them.
The Game of Thrones author wants to point out the fact that all of the villains are just the evil twin of whichever hero they happen to be fighting. He wants to know why these two opposing forces can't have wildly different powers, making the story that much more interesting. In a recent blog post, he boldly states that he is tired of the Marvel villain. This is how he explains his feelings toward the tropes of the genre.
"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 George R.R. Martin about this. The latest movie had Ant-Man going up against Yellowjacket, which was a much more powerful, modified version of Scott Lang's own superhero Id. Perhaps the Iron Man trilogy is the worst offender. Tony Stark is always fighting off a foe who has gained access to his very own technology. The climax of those movies has, while getting bigger and bigger every time, felt a bit repetitive. When will the Marvel movies offer something new?
While George R.R. Martin may take umbrage with this particular aspect of the Marvel movies, he seems to be a fan overall. He even had some very nice things to say about Ant-Man. But as a fan, he wants to see the studio start to mix it up a little bit. And that may happen with the arrival of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1. It certainly won't happen in Captain America: Civil War, which has two heroes we know quite well fighting each other after a few squabbles stretched over the course of two movies. We've seen the heroes fight amongst themselves before. Doctor Strange, which will follow, will stay true to the trope, as one sorcerer squares of with another. The 2017 Spider-Man reboot will feature a never-before-seen villain, so perhaps there is hope there. Maybe George R.R. Martin can learn to love the Marvel villain again. What do you think of the author's comments? Is he right on the money?