A six week counselling window has increased to ten. It will probably increase further. That means I gotta stop hoping somebody else is gonna throw me a line and get started on addressing the issues. Being a functioning adult (most of the time) has its disadvantages, who knew? Stick the latest Prodigy album on loud: let’s see if we can’t set the world to rights…
When you’ve decided that your ‘job’ is to comment on other people’s output, or to make sense of the mass of entertainment on offer to consume, there will be moments when you don’t like what you’re given. How you then present that criticism is as important as the fact you’re able to do so in the first place. It is surprisingly easy to sound entitled and whiny one moment yet be the voice of reason the next. What defines that state of affairs isn’t just the content you pick to examine, but the mindset taken into that process.
However, more crucially, it is the material itself which is the foundation of the problem. The X men remake above, for that is what it is, is based on source material that remains inherently flawed. Yeah, the X Men concept is sound, but the building blocks used to construct it are not nearly as strong as perhaps some people might like to cling onto. If you keep recycling the same stories and they’re never really great, who’s to blame? If you keep telling audiences the same things, over and over, but that basic storytelling fails to engage, is it any wonder they aren’t interested?
More and more, I feel critics are asking the wrong questions of movies. It certainly seems to be that if your rabid female-hating patriarchy can negatively top-load the reviews for a movie that’s not even out yet (see: Captain Marvel) then anybody can condemn a concept on a trailer with the belief that well this is gonna be shit, obviously. It took poor Peter Parker a VERY long time to become an acceptably narrated superhero after all, and why was that, exactly? We had to have the origin story every time the reboot happened. When you rebooted and very intentionally diversified the origin story, that film won an Oscar. Well, look at that.
Was live action Peter’s shortcoming because nobody knew how to handle him but Marvel? Well, looking at the X Men, and the discomfort now being generated by this Dark Phoenix trailer, giving the material to a certain production company is no guarantee that it will ever actually become better. Mr Parker’s redemption doesn’t come from Tony Stark providing his suit either, it undoubtedly is embedded in the idea that origin stories, after a while, don’t need to be endlessly repeated. Stop treating your audience like idiots, and something amazing happens.
What critics and filmmakers continue to do is assume that the same questions always need to be asked, when more and more that is not the case. All those people who hate The Greatest Showman because it’s not very good fail to grasp the emotional, visceral reaction that the narrative has in its fan-base. The comic book geeks who keep lamenting that nobody can do their version of events justice continually fail to grasp that if you keep comparing other people’s output with the pictures in your head, nothing EVER looks as good.
Subjective opinions are everybody’s basic failing. Objectivity should always win the day, and it’s why when I see someone who’s shown a flair for just presenting facts get all ‘oh well this is crap’ in my feed that a small part of my heart dies. You’re asking the wrong questions, you’re simply reacting to capitalise on likes and retweets, whatever happened to thinking before you speak? Some stories should only ever have been told once, but Hollywood (quite rightly) assumes that if it made money once, it will again, or why else would we have umpty-two bazillion Star Wars things all happening at once?
Why is my life full of misfit superheroes all of a sudden? Oh yeah, because this is a bandwagon that everybody can ride. Why can’t you like them all and be grateful that suddenly, there’s stuff that has some self-depreciation and self-awareness? Sorry, you gotta choose a side and Marvel has to beat DC because everything is a contest. Newsflash, geek and nerds, this isn’t sportsball. You don’t need to take this massive artistic freedom on the table and stick it in old fashioned pigeonholes.
Honestly, you can let people enjoy stuff, even if you don’t. If you wanna be critical, how about you do it sensibly, objectively and without all the fucking hand-wringing and condescension that seems to inhabit far too much ‘criticism’ of late. People will respect you more for that, trust me. Everybody has an
arsehole point of view, but the smart people know the best means to demonstrate this is not with the drive by condemnation. It’s a bad habit that a lot of us really need to start breaking.
Yes, that includes me too.