There’s a problem I’ve noticed in the geek community as of late and it’s really starting to get on my last available nerves.
No, I’m not talking about having to wait until December until the next Star Wars movie, or a whole freaking year until season 2 of Daredevil finally makes its way back to Netflix.
I’m talking about something a little more personal, and a lot more trivial. It’s been bubbling up inside me for awhile, but I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut about it for as long as I can stand. And it seems like although a lot of people notice it, no one really chooses to talk about it.
I haven’t seen any articles from Entertainment Weekly, IGN, Newsarama, or wherever people choose to get their fandom news from make any mention of this problem.
I’m talking about what I’d like to call “Unwarranted Fan Disillusionment.”
In simpler terms, geeks getting upset by movies, TV shows, and other media that presents itself in ways that don’t live up to the expectations of fandom.
Now, before we get into this whole mess, let me just clarify one thing. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be some level of disappointment when something you hold dear to your heart, or have loved since your childhood, is ripped apart and sewn together in a way that ceases to resemble the source material that spawns it.
For example, in 2010 M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed one of the worst adaptations ever of an acclaimed cartoon series called The Last Airbender. The film was so far removed from what fans adored about Avatar: The Last Airbender that it might as well have come with a disclaimer warning people that it was in no way related to the cartoon. It might have saved Shyamalan some of the teeth-gnashing and rending of garments that he caused fans across the globe.
And before that, we had the 1993 skid mark of the silver screen Super Mario, Bros., which would take another post entirely to dissect all its blunders.
But these are two extreme examples of Hollywood completely ignoring the core of the series they exploit on the reg for big bucks. The outcry and hate for these films is warranted, because they’re bad, and we know they’re bad, and we hate them because they are bad.
No, I’m not talking about these obvious blemishes. I’m talking about the hate that comes along with every, and I mean EVERY, first glimpse of a new film based on a pre-established series.
I’m talking Star Wars, Godzilla, Jurassic Park, Star Trek, the buttload of Marvel and DC properties coming out in the next couple of years, etc.
I hear the same things after every one of these is announced:
“He/she isn’t the right character for the role!”
“They changed the character’s race for that role. I don’t like it!”
“I would have done that differently.”
“He/she looks completely stupid and wrong for the role.”
“That’s not how he/she is in the comics/cartoons/books, etc.”
“Are the directors listening to the fans at all?”
“They’ve ruined that character for me! I’m never going to watch this movie now.”
STOP. Everyone just hold on a second.
You’re really going to start judging everything before you even see one second of the finished film?
Do you honestly think that the directors don’t know what they’re doing?
Why are you so convinced that they’re out to destroy everything you love and hold dear in your lives?
Here’s the thing, yes, directors and writers do make mistakes. Sometimes they produce awful movies that are so bad it’s infuriating. It’s not uncommon.
But what gets me so angry and so upset at this community of people that I call my fellow geeks, is that you’re missing the big picture here: YOU’RE FINALLY GETTING TO SEE YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTERS ON THE BIG SCREEN.
Do you think we’d have this many movies being based on geek culture 15 or 20 years ago? Hell no.
Sure, you got a few movies here and there (Superman, Batman, Star Wars), but stuff like Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad, mother fracking CAPTAIN MARVEL??
There’s no way any of these things would have been remotely considered before the great geek revival of the mid to late 2000s — around the time when the MCU was just kicking off.
We should be grateful these awesome things are happening. We should be kissing the feet of every director and writer out there that decided that these wonderful characters needed to be shared with more people in this world. We should be happy that a few people out there care enough to bring these stories the recognition they deserve.
Because, let’s face it, traditionally geek culture has not been the coolest thing in the world. People used to look down on comic book geeks, bookworms, and sci-fi freaks with the most condescending looks. Like we were slimy virgins with no friends, and we’d always be slimy virgins with no friends.
But now, geek culture is widely accepted. Heck, it’s the most profitable demographic being mined in Hollywood right now. And I’m so grateful for that, guys.
I’m grateful that I can see Spider-Man swinging through New York City and saving innocent people from robbers and thugs. Wonder Woman finally getting the leading role she deserves and being able to empower young girls to realize that it’s not just a man’s world — women are just as strong and smart as men, if not more so. And I’m grateful that these movies have been so good.
Because, when you really think about it, none of the movies from the last decade based on comic or book properties have been terrible. Sure, the last few Spider-Man movies have been kind of a mess plot wise, and Man of Steel was a lot darker than most expected it to be, but no one can honestly say they were terrible. That implies a complete lack of watchability, and unless you just really hate watching thrilling, action-filled movies with great CGI, then you had no problem watching these films.
I remember the hate that followed the announcement of Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. You would have thought that someone had pulled out a picture of Bob Kane and laid a fresh one on it in front of millions of children dressed in Batman costumes.
People HATED that casting, and they let you know it, too. But Ledger turned out to be what many people consider the best Joker that ever lived. He completely crushed that role.
The same thing happened with Robert Downey, Jr.
Here was a guy that looked, acted, and even suffered some of the same vices that plagued Tony Stark in the comics, and people griped and grumbled about the choice to cast him as well. Now, three solo films and two Avengers films later, I can’t imagine anyone else ever playing that role as well as he did.
But that’s fine, because whoever ends up playing Iron Man in the inevitable reboot 10-15 years from now will probably crush it, too.
I know I’ve been rambling for awhile, but, honestly, it’s a problem to be so negative all the time.
So here are the big takeaways from all of this:
Praise the fact that we’re even getting these movies.
Stop being so jaded.
Don’t be so quick to judge.
Wait until you see the movie before you completely dismiss it.
I’ve become so worn out by the overwhelming negativity of everything lately that I’ve considered pulling the plug on my Internet usage for awhile. Maybe I will. I’d probably be a lot happier if I did.
It’s okay to have opinions. I don’t want this to come across as “don’t say what you think.” But share them when you have something to base them on. Not when all you have are a few blurry pictures, a 2 minute trailer, and your own jaded mentality.
Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know your thoughts in the poll below!