One thing I like about Marvels Avengers movie is the lack of cynicism.
Both Man of Steel and The Dark Knight while enjoyable films have a hard edged cynical feel to them, that don’t exactly scream “fun” or “comic book” to an audience.
It is fair to say that Man of Steel and The Dark Knight and the forthcoming Batman v Superman are films that while taking inspiration from comic books, want to be taken seriously as grim realistic movies, or at least as realistic and depressing as cartoonish movies can be with a man who dresses up like a bat and an alien space Jesus in tights.
In contrast Marvels Avengers and Iron Man films are not afraid be what they are – big bombastic fun comic book movies. Emphasis on fun. Most people don’t go to the cinema to feel miserable, they want to feel good and have fun at the movies as a respite from their daily lives.
Personally, I love to see fresh new interpretations of Batman.
Each time Batman has a great new creator team making some enjoyable comic book stories I get excited. I get super jump out-of-your-skin excited when any new Batman project is announced. A comic, a game, a new film or animated series, I love it all. No matter how many projects DC do, each time I still get excited.
And yet, as an adult I am far more critical of any Batman adaptation than when I was a kid and indiscriminately consumed whatever media was thrown my way with joyful glee.
Becoming more discriminating in the media I choose to consume and enjoy can be a sign of maturity, but it can also be a sign of a world weary soul who complains about every new project BEFORE it is even completed.
When I ask myself what is the point of getting emotionally invested in some new movie or cartoon I have not seen, and so really can have no accurate view on, well what is the point? It is pointless. Most films, cartoons and video games I like to know a fair bit about before investing my time in them.
But with Batman, I don’t want to know too much and have my view coloured by other people to the point that it prevents me from enjoying something. I will watch any Batman film, period. Even if it is shit. I want to like any Batman film that comes along. I will give any animated show a fair shot before writing it off.
Take for example the Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon. I watched a clip when it first aired and found the show to be camp, silly, annoying and childish. It was too much like Adam West Batman for my tastes. Imagine my surprise years later when I took another look at the show to discover it is absolutely brilliant, and one of best animated shows DC has ever created. Brave and the Bold even manages to have some of the most emotionally affecting Batman stories ever told in any medium, and it is a cartoon intended for children that just happened to sneak in great stories and nods to fifties DC Comics.
There is a real danger (well danger is too strong a word, but you get my drift) that as fans we become world weary and cynical and overly opinionated about our favourite fictional characters and worlds. Some fans start to even have too strong a voice thanks to the internet, even potentially interfering with the creative process by making a hullabaloo about not very much at all.
I personally feel that any artist in any medium is only accountable to themselves to create the vision they had intended
Whenever I read a criticism of say a film that “didn’t do this, and didn’t do that”, I pause and reflect, thinking, well, did the writer/director intend for the film to be what YOU wanted it to be, or did they intend for it be what THEY wanted it to be.
It seems sometimes we are willfully ignorant. If we don’t like a particular artist, writer, director or whatever, we the audience of loud mouthed reactionary idiots (a.k.a. fans) can choose not to interact with whatever media they create. Nobody is forcing us to consume their intellectual product!
If you don’t the vision a certain director or writer has in an adaptation of something you like, well then don’t bloody well watch it. Don’t watch something you hate just so you can go online and bitch about it like a whiny little spoilt kid. That is giving in to the dark side of the force my friend! Not in a cool Darth Vader way, just a really pathetic and sad waste of life energy that COULD have been used to do something worthwhile.
Times likes these, I ask myself, WWBD? What Would Batman Do? Go online and whinge like a little baby, or go out into the world and do something, however big or small to make a difference. Would Batman spend his efforts complaining about how the world is, or invest his efforts in creating a better word?
It boggles my mind why any fan would mindlessly watch a film or play a video game purely because it is based on something that at one point in their life they enjoyed, but now seem to get a perverse kind of joy out of vocally hating and being miserable about every new incarnation of their favourite character or fictional world. (Wait, didn’t I just say something earlier like I would watch ANY Batman film…..)
Two examples that come to mind are Star Wars and Ben Affleck.
Did you groan at the mere mention of those words?
Affleck is NOT who I would pick for being Batman. But hey I don’t run a film studio, and nobody is asking me.
Ben Affleck being announced as Batman was not something I was enthusiastic about
However, I don’t have anything against the guy, I give him the benefit of the doubt that I will watch the film then form an opinion about it. The vocal minority who skew the perspective of geeks world wide with their endless ranting, bitching, pissing and moaning and spewing copious amounts of nonsensical bile and venom is a really UGLY phenomenon that I want nothing to do with.
When I hear someone mention the word “geek” I think of people who are passionate about their pop-culture or whatever they are in to. The ugly side of geeks it is when the fans think they own the Intellectual Property and try and dictate to the film studios and character creators and writers how they feel it “should be”.
Love or hate Ben Affleck, it makes no difference to my life whatsoever. If you enjoy the Batman v Superman film– great. If not, there is always another Batman film right around the corner, we are in no danger of running out of Batman films in the next one hundred years, chances are you will like at least one of them. And whether B v S is brilliant or a right load of old cobblers, what difference will it make ten years from now? Life will go on.
The Star Wars prequel issue had a bit more teeth to it. At least people actually WATCHED the films, then started ranting, raving and foaming at the mouth about the things they didn’t like in Episode 1. To be fair, Jar Jar Binks was a stupid and irritating character that most of us want to forget ever existed.
I am not a Star Wars fan, (I like it, I know it well, just not enough to be a fan will all the cool toys etc) but frankly I would happily pay for a version with Jar Jar Binks edited out of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace or at least have him him be relatively mute for the majority of the film. For me, that character does ruin a food portion of an otherwise enjoyable film. But the rest of the insane over reactions that George Lucas was somehow ruining people’s childhood by making the Star Wars prequel films was childish lunacy.
There is a danger once any art or intellectual property that reaches a mass audience, that the I.P. starts to be dictated to by the audience that consumes it in a serpent eating its own tail fashion. A film studio or a comic book writer can do target market research and get good input back from fans, that sort of thing makes sense.
In a healthy creative cycle the creator has some awareness of the audiences expectations, reactions and what they love and hate about a particular intellectual property. But the moment that fans start dictating to the creators what they should be creating, the whole creative process falls apart.
When a company or publisher (or fans) dictates to the artist / writer what they should be doing, the creative process falls apart
The only thing an artist in any field whatsoever owes is to follow their unique creative vision, and be true to that vision. If they are doing work for hire, there may be an outline and rules to follow, that is a given.
And if fans feel so strongly that they don’t like what a particular artist is doing, rather than wasting energy in a pointless endeavor to be little dictators intent on changing what the artist creates, instead they could take that same energy and passion, and go create something themselves.
They could go and create something and start their own conversation in the arena of public consumable entertainment. That is at least part of the real reason I feel that some fans get so foamed up at the mouth like rabid dogs, they are jealous of those who create and contribute something (however meaningful or trivial) to the world.
I want to say to anyone in any medium, good on you for creating something, ANYTHING. Congratulations on living the dream and getting off your ass and doing something. Whether it is writing a movie script, drawing an awesome piece or art, writing books or fan blogs, contributing to a pop culture website or building dioramas or whatever the hell you are into. Paid or unpaid, career or hobby – it doesn’t matter, when you do what you love time just melts away and like minded people will enjoy your work.
Let those creative juices flow, the more you create, the more satisfied you are. Creating something, sticking with a project through all the difficulties and seeing it through to the end takes real concentration, passion and a little Barry White style staying power.
I have zero wisdom to impart in this post. It is just a random brain fart / rant that I felt like sharing. I like to bitch and moan as much as the next dude about shit that I care about and want to see done right. But what is “right” is just my opinion, and I may be wrong. Don’t expect to see too much of this sort of thing on my Batman Blog, as I prefer to spend 90% of my attention and efforts concentrating on what is right with the world, and what I love (and who I love) in life. I just feel better that way.
It is easy to be a moaner and complainer and be really cynical, I did it for years. But it is also a really in-authentic way to live. Batman is the most honest and authentic guy around (excusing the whole dual identity thing of course), so if I am REALLY a fan of Batman, then I am going to live the most authentic life I know how. That means facing up to problems in life rather than running away from them, and like our man Gandhi, being the change you want to see in the world, rather than sitting on the fence telling other people what they “should” be doing or not doing.
Well… if there is a lesson to be learned perhaps it is don’t give into hate, hate leads to fear, fear leads to hate and the dark side of the force or some such nonsense Yoda said in the Star Wars prequels. I watched the Star Wars prequels last week with my girlfriend (who had never seen them).
Moments in the first two prequel films are pretty cringe-worthy, but that third film, wow! Also, my girlfriend is obsessed with Ben Affleck, so I guess that is why I ended up mixing these two topics together in my mind.
Well, as Stan Lee was fond of proclaiming…