Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin had a great time at Marvel’s Ant-Man, though he called the studio out on a few formulaic decisions.
Writing on his Not-A-Blog blog, Martin admits that he was trepidatious heading into the latest comic book adaptation.
“I have to confess,” he writes, “As an old — VERY old — Marvel fanboy… I was a little disappointed going in when I heard that this would be the Scott Lang Ant-Man and not the original Hank Pym Ant-Man of my youth.”
The character of Scott Lang, who inherits the Ant-Man title from Hank Pym, “came in just about the time when my regular comics reading was falling off,” Martin says. “So I did not know the character very well, whereas I knew and loved Hank and Janet, Ant-Man and his winsome Wasp.”
Elaborating his long history with — and opinions of — Ant-Man’s various evolutions, Martin admits that he “had a lot of trepidation when this movie was announced.”
“Would they do it right, would they capture the original Ant-Man from Tales to Astonish and Avengers #1, the character I’d loved,” he wondered, “Or would they fuck it up?? I was eager for the film, but apprehensive about it as well, especially when I heard it would be about Scott Lang, not Hank Pym.”
But though he went into the film both eager and apprehensive, George R.R. Martin offers Marvel his stamp of approval on Ant-Man.
“I am relieved and delighted to report that they did it right,” he says.
Martin writes that he enjoyed Paul Rudd’s turn as the “sympathetic and engaging” Scott Lang, but especially appreciated that “due honor is done to Hank and his own career as the first Ant-Man as well, with Michael Douglas turning in a fine performance as Pym.”
“There’s a lot of humor in this film, but it is not a farce, as I feared it might be,” the impromptu review continues. “There’s a lot of action too, but not so much that it overwhelms the plot and characters… Ant-Man has a proper balance of story, character, humor, and action, I think.”
Martin also takes the opportunity to elaborate his feelings on recent trends in Marvel films. An excess of action, for example, “was my problem with the last Avengers film… and the one before it, to think of it,” he says.
“A superhero movie needs a fair share of smashing and bashing and stuff blowing up, of course, but… that stuff works best when it is happening to people we actually know and care about,” the author of the notoriously densely populated A Song of Ice and Fire novels writes. “If you jam in too many characters and don’t take time to develop any of them properly, well…”
Martin does concede a few “quibbles” about the film – “Where was the Wasp?” he wonders. The author also points out that Ant-Man falls prey to a consistent trope Marvel employs for its villains.
“While Yellowjacket makes a decent villain here… I am tired of this Marvel movie trope where the bad guy has the same powers as the hero,” Martin says, rattling off a litany of examples. “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,” Martin continues. “That makes the action much more interesting.”
And though Martin doesn’t quite rank Ant-Man as his favorite Marvel movie, “It’s right up there, maybe second only to the second Sam Raimi/Tobey McGuire Spider-Man film, the one with Doc Ock.”
“I’ve liked most of the Marvel movies, to be sure,” the author qualifies, ranking his favorites in a true demonstration that “I’m still a Marvel fanboy at heart.”
(“Excelsior!” he cracks.)
Ultimately, Martin says, Ant-Man was “a swell time. For a few hours I was thirteen years old again.”