Monday, April 11, 2016

Are Critics Wrong About "Batman v Superman?"

It's been a few weeks since Warner Bros. unleashed "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" to great critical scorn and big box office.  I've written that sentence more times than I care to, but I must write it once more because we need to tackle the subject of whether or not critics are out of touch with the real world.  I've written about this before (when talking about "Transformers") and I'll likely have to tackle it again (when... well, the next 'Transformers' movie comes out).  I've stressed before that big box office is not an indicator of a quality film (or visa versa).  Yet every time a studio farts out a multi-million dollar film that features beloved characters the critics are the bad guys for wanted to "destroy fans dreams of a massive franchise."  No, we don't want to crush any dreams or crap on your beloved franchises; we just want to watch good movies.

And honestly, if that means being out of touch with the rest of the world than maybe that's a good thing.  I rarely take the time of day to take a shot at my readers, but how many of you went to see this movie despite the negative reviews it got?  How many of you went to see it despite the fact that your friends said it was a waste of time?  Heck, how many of you are STILL planning to see it despite the negative things you've heard from BOTH groups?!  How on Earth is it WE'RE the ones who are out of touch with the real world?!  This is a world where a vast majority of women are feminists yet they make "Fifty Shades of Grey" a worldwide hit.  This is a world where animation is considered "not real film making" even though it's a much more difficult kind of movie to make (and requires far more imagination).  This is a world where everything has to come to a grinding halt because a new Star Wars movie has been released.

Yet somehow the critics are out of touch in this situation... because we want to see a superhero movie that is about something other than two heroes beating the snot out of a giant brown booger for almost a full hour.  Yet the general public will go see a movie they know is terrible - sometimes twice - and they are the ones who are sane?  Remember how as kids we hated school?  We all thought we knew how the world worked and that school wasn't needed.  How wrong we were back then.  We had a lot to learn. We still have a lot to learn.  In fact, I don't know about you, but I hope I'm always learning because learning is fun and keeps my mind working.  That's why as a film critic I want better movies.  Because movies, like most things in life, are experiences.  I want to keep having new experiences because I grow when I have them.

I don't grow when I watch a movie like "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Remember "The Dark Knight" though?  Remember how that movie made you think and feel about the world?!  I remember when my sister-in-law was trying to get out of seeing that movie with my brother several years ago.  She trusted my opinion on movies, and she normally used me as a way to get out of seeing movies with my brother she had a strong feeling were going to be terrible.  After I assured her she would like this one she came back later that night and told me how much she loved Batman.  She never thought that was possible before.  She watched the other Batman movies as well as other superhero movies. And you know what?  While she enjoyed some of them, she was constantly disappointed because she knew how good this genre could be.

She didn't like to settle for less than she deserved.  She knew her value as a human being.  And she projected that knowledge in how she spent her money, what movies she saw, and the family she decided to marry into.  If she could see "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" she would feel insulted by how little this movie thought of her.  Of the characters she had no idea she would eventually come to love.  The strange thing is, people should feel that way now.  The public has seen "The Dark Knight," "Superman: The Movie," "Spider-Man 2," Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Iron Man."  They know what a movie that treats them like thinking human beings looks and sounds like, and this isn't it.  Yet somehow the critics are the bad guys in all this.  Because we clearly just don't understand the world... no, I don't buy that.  In fact, I'm going to say that you need us more than we need you.

Alright, in all fairness we do need you to read our reviews, because that gives us traffic, which shows our sponsors we're worth investing in, which helps us pay out bills... yeah, should probably make that very clear.  That said, because you do pay our bills, we have a responsibility to steer you towards good movies. Towards good experiences.  We're not trying to tell you what to like: We're trying to share what is great with you!  We know you'll see "Captain America: Civil War" because Spider-Man is in it - ah heck, I'm going to see that movie because Spider-Man is in it - but what about those movies you might not see if we didn't push?  What about movies like "Hugo," "Spotlight," "The Iron Giant," or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?"  What about these movies you might never have seen if we didn't push you?  Were those experiences really so bad that you have to dismiss us because we feel the new Batman movie is beneath you?

Listen to me loud and clear: From where I'm sitting, it's not the critics who are out of touch with the world, it's the ticket buying public that is.  And the sooner you all realize that the sooner things like the Rotten Tomatoes scores won't matter as much as you think they do.


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