I feel something needs to be said. This past year has been incredibly cool when it comes to films. We’ve seen our favorite heroes go toe-to-toe, fist-to-fist in epic battles we only dreamed of as children. We’ve seen beloved franchises reinvented to reflect different audiences. We’ve seen the limits of CGI technology pushed with video game adaptions. We’ve seen C-list characters pulled to the forefront for our viewing pleasure. And yet, they each seem to get trash talked and panned before the opening weekend is even over. It’s time we’re called out: we are bad fans.
If you haven’t caught my drift I’m specifically speaking of the insanity that is the DC backlash (and subsequently the Ghostbusters hate and Warcraft ire.) And it is insanity. Don’t believe me? Here are some excerpts from reviews found online. You tell me if they’ve gone too far.
Giant. Eye roll. Seriously, my eyes can’t roll hard enough. What do I mean by this? We’re spoiled by great films, and so now, we expect EVERY film to produce greatness. Instead we should be focused on having fun and enjoying finally seeing our childhoods come to life. Now if I sound a little angry, it’s because I am. It’s disheartening to see what you love just completely berated over and over until everyone is in this cesspool of bitterness and elitism. That’s not how I want my movies anymore.
How can we better ourselves?
Well, I have a few ideas…
Remember where we come from
Movies of the 80’s and 90’s ranged from glorious cinematic works (remember Ghostbusters?) and cheesy balls of crap (remember Ghostbusters 2?). Big movie hits were immediately transformed into exploited franchises with board games, cereal, action figures, cartoons, drinks, etc. But we didn’t care! We loved having more and more content! It was a franchise utopia!
The late 90’s and early 2000’s kind of did away with that. There weren’t as many franchises and there definitely wasn’t the same amount of merchandising as before. It was a dark time (but produced some of the best thrillers and indie flicks.) Now we’re all old and cynical and we have forgotten where we’ve come from. Mufasa would be disappointed in all of us. An invigoration into our childhood loves have been started. New adaptations of obscurities we’ve long loved are finally seeing the light. Why wouldn’t you give it a chance? Why wouldn’t you embrace it? This, right now, is what we loved as kids. They weren’t anymore genuine or righteous as they are now. Companies created these franchise empires to make money off of our never-ending desires to obtain more stuff. That’s what they’re doing now, so we might as well enjoy it with the same amount of love as before.
Open your minds the way you did when you were 8. The world will seem a little brighter that way.
Everyone IS NOT a critic
We are also not filmmakers, editors, directors, screen writers, actors, or what have you. This is something we should all keep in mind and is an overall good rule for life. You have your opinions, and they’re unique. Often times, there is a huge chance that your experiences can enrich someone’s life. That no longer remains true when you disparage someone or something. When your only critique is an insult, that’s not a critique. It’s just as easy to say, “hey, this wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it because of XYZ.” None of that is tearing down or preventing others from making their own judgments.
To be a little more blunt, there’s also a good chance that when you review a game, movie, album, your opinion isn’t going to matter unless you’re being paid for it (see above.) I didn’t pull the random hate quotes off Twitter or Facebook, because those aren’t published reviews paying someone’s bills. Those posts can be equated to your old high school friend’s new baby pictures or your uncle’s misunderstanding of social media. Those opinions are lost in the void of voices. While you want yours to be heard, it’s not going to matter without some sustenance to back it up. Saying that goes against the “we are all special” motto, but we are not all professional critics. Until then, people are going to be more concerned with what professionals say or what the biggest fans think.
Stop comparing apples to oranges
I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before. If not, it means two dissimilar objects shouldn’t be compared. Specifically, I’m talking about the fans constantly comparing the DC movies to the Marvel movies. I understand that’s difficult to do, but please hear me out. The two companies have been compared since their beginnings and will continue to be compared until their demise. Has that ever made anyone better off, though? What do we ultimately get from that but disappointment? It was fun when it was “Who would win in a fight, A or B?” but it has grown beyond that as a way to insult the films, specifically the DC ones.
As a mainly Marvel girl, I’ve been on board with them from the beginning (and I’m not talking the MCU beginning, I’m talking as far back as Blade.) I loved them and I watched them all the time, but I’ve never thought they’ve created perfect, untouchable films. If I had the chance, I’d redo every single X-Men movie from head to toe. I want them to continue making movies because I’ve loved what they have created and want to see where they’re going. For those exact same reasons, I want the same for DC.
DC has arguably the best, most prolific pop culture characters in their grasp and have produced multiple iterations of these characters both in the cinematic and written form. Seeing them in any form should be considered bona fide proof that there are millions out there that love these things as much as you. In no way do I want the two companies to mimic each other. The worlds should be different. They are not the same in written form and they should not be the same in cinematic form either.
Keep an open mind
If you want to hate something, so badly that you openly ridicule it before it’s even available, you’re probably going to hate it. The same thing is true for the opposite. Keeping an open mind isn’t easy but it’s worth it. You’re able to see a product for what it really is, and in the case of Suicide Squad that would be a decent movie which was a lot of fun. It is not without faults, it is not a perfect film by any means, but it did its job. It got people interested in the characters. Everyone I’ve talked to wants to know more about the characters, whether or not they liked the movie.
So now what?
I don’t know. I just want to enjoy things without abuse. I want everyone to do that. I want the nerdrage to subside. I want to stop seeing “Anyone who likes X is stupid” posts. It’s not edgy. It’s not blue. It’s not even a little funny. It’s discouraging. I want the world to know that I want to see content adaptations and universe building, and I’m not alone. I want these fandoms to grow and thrive and create new fans. I hope you do too.