By GraniteSoldier 10 Comments
We as comic fans live in a great age to be comic fans. Our favorite heroes are brought to life annually on the big screen or weekly on television and are done true, real justice. Comic memorabilia such as clothing and collectibles are easy to find and in many cases actually affordable these days. You can openly have discussions about Captain America or The Arrow or any of the above and people no longer look at you sideways like you are some sort of man-child who never grew up.
Yet, despite all this awesomeness I didn't have when I was a kid (and was ridiculed for enjoying) we don't bask in the greatness: we hate it.
Comic fans are the new hipsters. People who hate on something because it's popular now, or say 'X movie did/will suck' because it isn't exactly how THEY would do it.
I've spoke about this in short before in open forums or private chats, but the recent backlash over both the Civil War and Batman v Supeman trailers was just boggling to me. Here we have two of the biggest films each of the companies will be putting out over the next few years and we do nothing but complain.
Not criticize, complain. And the distinction is important.
For the record, and those that know me well and speak to me regularly can attest, I am not a fan of the recent Batman v Superman trailer. However, rather than bash the movie and write it off I've given constructive feedback as to what could be improved and where it went wrong. Will it be listened to? Probably not. However, complaining is a blatant negativity to something that is NOT THE SAME STORY AS THE COMICS.
Marvel has come out and even labeled the MCU as Earth - 190019 or some such (I don't remember offhand and don't honestly care to look it up at the moment). DC has come straight out and said they are flat out telling NEW stories with DIFFERENT versions of their characters through the DCCU. So in short for both companies: these are DIFFERENT and UNIQUE versions of the characters and stories.
Why does it matter that they are alternate universes? Well, let's take a look at Man of Steel. For the record, I am not a Superman fan. However, I really enjoyed Man of Steel. My wife outright hates Superman, and enjoyed the film as well. However, many criticized the film for things 'Superman wouldn't do'. The main point is killing Zod, usually followed by a complete lack of attempt to save any civilians in the ensuing battle. Well, this isn't comic Superman. Maybe this Superman cares less? Maybe this Superman was a rookie and didn't think he could fight Zod and save Metropolis? Maybe his 'no kill' rule will come from the grief of having killed Zod, and not something earlier in his life? Rather than see the DCCU Superman grow into the Superman we know, we want him to be the guy with 75 years worth of comics under his belt, which he is clearly not.
Let's look at the MCU. A recent common complaint was Ultron's personality. That he was snarky, quippy, and an overall wiseguy. He was 'not the comic Ultron'. You're right, he wasn't. Nor was he supposed to be. In fact, Marvel even said he wouldn't be. In the comics Ultron is created by Hank Pym, and Ultron's motives, methods, and persona tend to mimic more that of Pym. In the MCU Ultron is a by product of Tony Stark, and his language, motivations, and the like more closely resemble Tony. We even have Hank Pym in the MCU and he is drastically different than Stark. So given that Ultron was made by Stark in the MCU, why would he logically resemble comic Ultron or MCU Pym in any way?
Next is the complaints of X character being 'weak' or X being 'too powerful'. To which I again say: why does that matter? The characters are exactly where they need to be for the story being told. The point is storytelling, not power levels. Same goes for the villains. Motivations and persona is far more important than how powerful they are in combat. Ultron may not be the comic powerhouse he is in the comics, but did he need to be for his plan to work? Was he not a threat to the Earth regardless? If you say he wasn't, you didn't watch the film for the story then.
This is not an 'in defense of' manifesto for Age of Ultron or Man of Steel, because both movies could absolutely be improved and absolutely had flaws. The point is: compare it to the older attempts of live-action comic book movies and be glad that both studios are treating these characters and stories with respect and justice.
The last thing I'd like to talk about talking about comparing Marvel and DC films. In case no one has noticed, they aren't exactly competing. There was a Batman v Superman trailer during my previews to Ant-Man. They advertised Age of Ultron during Arrow and The Flash on CW. They are telling two different types of stories with two different types of universes. 99% of the people who see Civil War will go to see Batman v Superman. It's ok to compare with the hopes of the studios improving their weaknesses, but do we really need everyone to be 'dark and gritty' or more lighthearted? I think it's good they are different.
Enjoy the ride while it's here, because when the superhero bubble bursts it may be awhile again before we have the opportunity to enjoy the mainstream fandom of it all. Instead of hating on new readers because they want comics like the movies, or hating on those who are just fans of the movies, instead encourage them to get into the history of the characters and read their works in their entirety so they can get the fullest story of how the big screen character became what they were.
And lastly, remember that not everyone shares your opinion and no matter how long you've read comics you are not the be-all-end-all voice of what people should or shouldn't like or what is or isn't good. If someone differs in opinion, live and let live or have a friendly discussion on what you enjoyed and why vs the other person. If you don't like what the studio is doing: don't watch. At all. Don't pay for a ticket or dvd. Don't download it. Do not watch it. Because by talking about it you will encourage someone's curiosity and the studio you are rallying against still wins.
Long rant, maybe...but it was a lot friendlier and more constructive than me just saying "hey, get the f**k over yourselves".