I believe that audiences these days don’t want to be surprised. I believe they don’t like their expectations being messed with. If they have an expectation about how a film will turn out, they will do whatever is possible to have this expectation met. Be aware beforehand. You will not find an answer to this. You will only hear the theory and a few guesses at what could be the cause. So, I’m going to address this theory with three different examples.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
People wanted an excellent political thriller and they convinced themselves that that is what they got
Captain America: The Winter Soldier. People went into the film expecting an excellent political thriller film featuring the Winter Soldier. Now, I don’t quite understand the love for this film. It has a lot of flaws and leaves a lot of plot threads dangling unnecessarily. But every film has its flaws. The Winter Soldier barely appeared in the film, but people still say he was well utilised and that “there was so much going on that they did the best they could”. I’ve hardly seen any criticism of this fact that the secondary titular character barely appeared, or that Captain America trusted Falcon and Black Widow instead of so many other people. I’m not attacking you for liking it, but I’d just like to point out that you excused flaws in the film as being next to meaningless.
Fantastic Four (2015)/Fant4stic
People expected a rubbish film, so they focused on the flaws only
This film wasn’t perfect and had a few flaws, but everyone is exaggerating how bad it was. They called it a “sad film” and said that it was worse than the preceding series (the 2005 one with Michael Chiklis, Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba and Chris Evans), some of them saying those things without even seeing the film. They went into it hating it and came out of it hating it. People are almost lying about it in order to satisfy their desire to hate it. They’ve attacked it on everything under the sun. It’s not that bad. It’s actually an ok film. People are just finding any excuse to hate it. I’ve heard so many people attack the film for its lack of time spent on Doom, but Doom gets a pretty fair amount of time onscreen, given the runtime and especially given that he’s a villain in a film that is supposed to establish a team of four as well. But barely anyone attacks Winter Soldier for hardly featuring the titular character in a film that had already previously established a large chunk of its cast.
Iron Man 3
Expecting the mystical dictator Mandarin
I loved Iron Man 3. People went into Iron Man 3, expecting one major thing in particular. They expected the mystical and powerful Oriental dictator, the Mandarin. When it was revealed that the Mandarin we had expected was actually a patsy of a bigger plan, people came out of the film incredibly disappointed. They then proceeded to attack for much more, even though it made sense. Some reasons why they hated it include: Tony didn’t call on the multiple suits when he was stranded (He was stranded without JARVIS), Tony threatened the Mandarin and didn’t defend his house (It’s Tony Stark. That’s how he is. Also, this sort of stuff shows up everywhere, like the issue of who Cap trusts in Winter Soldier being a guy he ran with who he saw could be good, and a spy) and the fact that the movie was too lighthearted (It’s an Iron Man film. It’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s supposed to be lighthearted). I could go on, but I’d prefer to get back to the issue at hand. What I’m saying is that people found reasons to hate the film that they liked before the Mandarin was revealed to be a fraud. People didn’t expect it and it shocked them into hating it, as opposed to the HYDRA reveal in Winter Soldier, which had been built up slowly during promotion and throughout the film so that we sort of expected it.
So really, how can we enjoy films with being too objective? I suggest straying away from too much promotional material. Go into a film wanting to see a film. Don’t go into it wanting to hate it. Don’t even go into it wanting to love it, because you’ll trick yourself into thinking it’s amazing. Just go into it completely neutral.
Thanks for reading!