We live in an era when more people can voice their opinions than ever before, and — when it comes to movies — that is a wonderful thing, because it can help spread the word about quality films in need of viewers. It can also help warn you about terrible movies, so you're not wasting your money.
However, this massive online conversation has given us a tendency to make up our minds about a movie by a certain photo or teaser video several months or even years before the finished product is put in theaters. Is this the fault of studios' 24/7 marketing campaigns, or is it our own fault for constantly rushing to judgment?
The Vilified Ghostbusters Reboot Wasn't That Bad
Let's go back to early 2016, when the first new Ghostbusters trailer originally hit the web. It became the most disliked YouTube movie trailer of all time, with more than a million downvotes. People were immediately calling it the worst film ever made, a violation of the original, a destroyer of childhoods, and so on.
While the movie was not exactly a hit, most viewers can agree that it wasn't even close to being as bad as everyone had expected. It delivered some laughs, the actresses all had great chemistry, and it had clear respect for the original. The filmmakers and the cast did not deserve all of the hate campaigns and hacking that they got, just because the internet happened to jump the gun and call the movie a predestined bomb.
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The DCEU Is Especially Under The Microscope
The above Wonder Woman reveal from 2015 was controversial because of the colors. Many were ready to trash Gal Gadot's as-yet-unseen performance simply because this picture made them believe that she wore an all-brown uniform.
But those people were proved wrong; Wonder Woman's actual DCEU costume looks almost identical to the comic book version, and nearly everyone agreed that Gadot was one of Batman v. Superman's highlights.
Just recently, immediate judgement is again being leveled against DC's upcoming team-up film Justice League due to a photo of them standing side-by-side, looking as if they are ready for an epic fight against a threat.
My general reaction was: "Wow! That's an awesome Batsuit! Wow! We finally have a full body reveal of Cyborg! The League looks great! I can't wait to see this movie!" Which is what I pretty much expected from most people, with a few nitpickers here and there.
But then I looked at comment sections and had to facepalm. People were complaining about Cyborg's design being too similar to a T-800 from Terminator (ahem, I think the name CYBORG kind of warrants that design), about the Flash's new armored suit, about Aquaman looking too much like Khal Drogo (even though he looks identical to the '90s version of Aquaman, just without a hook hand), about Wonder Woman's face looking a little off, about the lenses on Batman's cowl...complaining about everything.
I can understand that some people don't like the designs — that's all well and good — but what gets to me is that most of these comments end with something along the lines of:
- "This movie is going to suck."
- "This is going to be worse than Batman & Robin."
- "This movie is going to bomb hard."
It really, really frustrates me, because I just want to ask these people, "Where is your proof? Do you have access to an early copy of the film? Do you have a time machine and you went forward to see the movie before anyone else?"
They have zero idea whether it's bad or good; they are judging an entire movie by a single picture and a quick Comic-Con teaser, which featured unfinished CGI and rushed editing because the movie hadn't even finished filming by that point.
Does Justice League have the potential to be as horrible as some people think it will be? Of course! All movies have that kind of potential. They also have the potential to be great, and you can't know for sure until you see the finished product — with all scenes, designs and actors being used in context for the story.
Have you ever heard the expression, "Don't judge a book by its cover"? Well, don't judge a movie by a set photo that's simply there to hype up viewers.
How Many Times Do We Have To Be Wrong Until We Learn To Wait?
Do you remember when the internet had a giant fit about Spider-Man being rebooted again in the Captain America: Civil War trailer? Calling it terrible CGI, horrible design, "Tom Holland's voice is too kid-like," and saying that Spider-Man was going to be terrible in the film?
However, when the film came out, many were calling Spider-Man the best thing about it! The CGI looked better in the finished product. See? In context, what seemed bad or awkward is suddenly much better. This can be said for a lot of movies!
2012's bloody and amazing reboot of Judge Dredd, simply titled Dredd, was victim to HORRIBLE trailers, so many expected the movie to be worse than the Sylvester Stallone version from the '90s. When audiences actually saw the movie, they called it one of the best modern action films and begged for a sequel, but that probably won't happen because — due to the poor marketing reception — it didn't make the money that it deserved.
Even Batman Begins was victim to the same kind of early feedback from the trailers. I remember a lot of people saying that it was going to be awful — but then the movie came out and people spread the word of how awesome it truly was; all worries were put to rest because Batman was back and it was all kinds of epic, leading to perhaps the greatest sequel since The Godfather Part II.
It's as if audiences have become a tad spoiled. If everything is not 100 percent perfect from day one of a years-long marketing campaign, then the whole movie becomes victim to fatal nitpicking and negativity before it is even finished filming.
It's Just As Shortsighted When We Jump To Unrealistically Optimistic Conclusions
2012's Prometheus was one of the most anticipated movies of that year, especially for Alien fans like myself. The trailers were outstanding; they were practically horror masterpieces themselves.
But when Prometheus came out, I loathed it. Most viewers can agree that the prequel did not live up to the hype, due to bland characters, nonsensical plot devices, poor acting and downright laughable scenes, but we were all suckered in by amazing promotion and hype.
So the point is that we all need to be more patient. Yes, we should have opinions about trailers and posters — that's why they exist in the first place — but we shouldn't call the movie a predestined failure or success based on its advertising alone.
Justice League hits theaters on November 17th, 2017.
What do you think? Are we prematurely judging films, or do studios have a duty to set our expectations high? Let me know in the comments down below!