Film criticism has always been a problematic. Many years ago when Twitter or movie blogs didn't exist, film criticism was reduced to what the "experts" had to say about this or that film; and it's not that they were always right but the only people who actually expressed their thoughts about cinema were them. That is why film critics have been tagged as pretentious empty headed people who, most of the time, don't appreciate a film for what it is. Some time in the past I stated that pleasure is what drives cinema (and actually any art), however I'm not blind enough to assume that something that causes pleasure is good. For example, I can say I liked The League of Extraordinary Gentleman a lot but that doesn't mean I don't acknowledge its flaws.
In a world where social networks are "the thing", movie fans all over the world share their opinions ever day and you may have an idea of what I'm talking about. The feedback in the discussion forums or comment sections in any given movie article is astounding. Not only do people freely (and oftentimes disrespectfully) express their views but also they learn new things. The fact that you get to be in contact with other fans like you enhances and improves your vision about cinema. But if fans' opinions are so valuable and important nowadays, where does criticism stand then?
There's been an increasing tendency for fans not to look at what critics have to say about a film simply because they prefer to go directly into fan communication. You see, if a critic doesn't understand the value of your much beloved superhero comic book, how could he possibly speak about it? Well, basically because the critic will work within the space provided by the movie; even if he doesn't know a thing about the mythology of the comic book he/she still has the grounds to make a criticism about it. In the end, film critics are fans as well, but they try to stay as impartial and objective as they can be.
We, movie fans of the world complain a lot as well. There's a point in which our judgement wouldn't be as critical as we may have thought. Being a fan represents that you care so much about one or many specific... let's say, items. And you don't want anybody to say something bad about them. For you, those are untouchable and are the greatest things on earth. Consider the Star Wars prequels -fans from hell of the saga will always say that the prequels were a forgettable unnecessary abominable project that George Lucas ruined in every way possible. For a "casual fan" the prequels are bad but are o.k. at the same time. Discordance exists even between fans, as a result it's easy to believe that film criticism will suffer innumerable attacks.
If we consider what has been said above, I can firmly say that we're privileged to have the opportunity and the will to actively take part of the world of cinema. It doesn't matter if you write an article for this site or if you just make a comment or simply stay away and read the available content, let me tell you that you're contributing to making a better industry. Big studios may or may not listen to what we say but our power and our voice has gained so much recognition that nowadays I doubt that high executives don't read about what people all over the world have to say. In any case, film criticism is now a labor of both critics and fans. They are enemies, on the contrary, they can help each other to make criticism improve and, who knows, maybe the next big thing in movie criticism might be hidden in the section comments. What do you think?