SPOILER ALERT: This article contains some SPOILERS for ‘Ant-Man.’ If you haven’t seen it, proceed with fair warning!
George R.R. Martin took time off from penning ‘The Winds of Winter,‘ the long awaited sixth installment in his ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series to take in a showing of Marvel’s newest hit ‘Ant-Man.’ And while the ‘Game of Thrones’ mastermind overall enjoyed the flick, he had a couple of quibbles, which he posted on his blog.
“Where was the Wasp?” Martin queried, “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).”
“The wife-beating stuff” will most likely be omitted just as Tony Stark’s alcoholism was, but Martin certainly isn’t alone in wanting to see another super powered female in the MCU, as indicated by the constant hounding fans have given Marvel/Disney and its filmmakers over the perceived under-utilization of the Black Widow. Martin, of course, is known for his strong, complex women, so he speaks from personal experience. And as Martin pointed out, ‘Ant-Man’ set up not just Hope Van Dyne taking on the mantle of The Wasp, but a possible return of Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp.
But that wasn’t his main problem with the film. And the epiphany he had after watching it soon made him realize that he had the same reaction to prior movies based on Marvel Comics characters, including Sony’s ‘Spider-Man’ franchise.
“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).”
Is this a valid argument? It seems nearly every super hero has a foe that is their exact evil duplicate, even beyond Marvel. In ‘Man of Steel,’ Superman battled other Kryptonians with the same powers as his. And even in the comics, most major heroes have “evil twin” villains from Green Lantern/Sinestro to Shazam/Black Adam to The Flash/Reverse-Flash.
Beyond the Marvel movie baddies Martin mentioned, further comparisons can be made with: ‘Iron Man 2’ and the armored villain Whiplash; ‘Thor’ which pitted one god against another (Loki); ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ in which The Red Skull gains Super Soldier powers just like Cap’s; and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ in which Ultron possessed robotic abilities similar to both Iron Man’s and The Vision’s.
Things aren’t likely to change immediately, as ‘Doctor Strange’ will find its title hero battling another sorcerer Baron Mordo. But change does appear to be coming, as Ulysses Klaw was featured in ‘Age of Ultron,’ setting him up as the villain in ‘Black Panther.’ Klaw’s sonic powers are in no way a duplication of Black Panther’s animal-like agility and combat skills. So there’s some variation at least. And none of the heroes would appear to be on the same level as Thanos, from ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’
Do you like seeing heroes battling villains who are similarly powered? Or do you agree with Martin, that mixing power sets makes things more stimulating? Comment below!