Setting The Bar… Too High? (The “Fanboy” Culture in Cinema)

You’d think that after it happening a few times audiences would learn, another overly (read: massively) hyped movie “The Dark Knight Rises” has had it’s premiere screenings and the critical response is… It Is Overrated.

No shit? I don’t buy it. I mean I don’t believe that the film itself will be terrible, what IS terrible though is the reaction of the fans. As the first ‘Negative’ reviews began cropping up on RottenTomatoes.com there was an absolutely epic wave of “Nerd Rage” against the poor souls who had dared speak ill of Christopher Nolan’s work. What makes this really interesting though is that I have read these negative reviews and they each make some totally relevant points ranging from the “Confused pacing”, “Contradictions in the story”, “Too long (2 hours 45minutes)”, and “‘Bane’ being nigh-impossible to understand without subtitles”.

Still, the insults poured in – some people getting really creative and some people just acting like absolute tossers. “Go outside and get some sunshine you *%&$”, “lol prepare to have your career ended”… I’ll provide the link to the page, scroll down and find “Rotten” reviews and check out the comments (WARNING: MIGHT CAUSE SUDDEN LOSS OF FAITH IN HUMANITY).

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_dark_knight_rises/

It got to such a state that the website moderators were actually forced to block further comments on any review of the film for the next few days.

Update: A second negative review came in, and we’ll be policing those comments, too.
Second Update: We have disabled comments on The Dark Knight Rises reviews for a few days.

People, myself included could take criticism of movies like “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” because we knew they were not perfect movies and because (thankfully) most people know that “One size does not suit all”. However I felt there was a more deep-seated reason behind this: Expectations WERE NOT HIGH. Yes, that might be hard to believe but some people instinctively went into “The Avengers” looking for problems to pick at because it was the first time a film of this genre had been attempted on this scale, this is why I felt it was received so well – Because people didn’t find as many problems as they were expecting. “The Amazing Spider-Man” was in for an even rougher ride for reasons I explained in my review of it but still the majority of people seemed to get something out of it – because they were not expecting much going in.

Despite all I’m saying I respect what Christopher Nolan has done, I really do. He’s managed to take a beleaguered franchise and do a damn good job of rebooting it. “Batman Begins” in my opinion was actually far superior to it’s sequel “The Dark Knight” because the story revolved around the character of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne rather than flashy set-pieces or the villain. Heath Ledger was phenomenal as The Joker in “The Dark Knight” there is no question about that, but he was so good that the rest of the film just felt flat. If it were not for Ledger’s ground-breaking performance as the clown-prince-of-crime then the film would have felt empty, scream at me until you’re red in the face… you know it’s true. If the story was a human body then Ledger would have been the nervous system, his character resonates throughout the entire film both in person and through his ominous influence on events. Take that away, or if it were not done so well you’ve got a movie with no sense of self or direction. The advertising campaign for “The Dark Knight” was hyping the movie up WAY too much, this only intensified with the tragic passing of Mr. Ledger – Something I seriously resent the distribution companies for, imagine how Heath’s friends and family felt!?

Nolan had already said that “The Dark Knight Rises” would be his final foray into the world of comic book heroes, many fans saw this as him going all out and creating THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!! I personally think he wanted to make it so but knew he had already shot his load with “The Dark Knight”, he knew he could do a good job but knew he would end up letting his legion of fans down. He had fallen into the ‘Fanboy Trap’ which is summarized brilliantly by Christy Lemire in this quote;

This is the problem when you’re [Christopher Nolan] an exceptional, visionary filmmaker. When you give people something extraordinary, they expect it every time. Anything short of that feels like a letdown.

Regardless of all this I will probably end up seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” shortly after it is released in theaters, I also think I will get something out of it that will entertain me. I’m just hoping I don’t end up sat next to some nerd frothing at the mouth with fury because his idol did not deliver THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!! People really need to stop buying into massive levels of hype, not just in movies, it is a society-wide systemic problem that afflicts our sports teams as well (Oh… I’ll get to that someday). Don’t go in expecting the greatest thing ever and you might not feel so gutted coming out.

Take this moment to pray for Christopher Nolan, please do. You’re a good director but you’ve got some of the worst fans in the world.

I will have my review of “The Dark Knight Rises” up sometime next week.

One comment

  1. Yep. Nobody does dick stabbing quite so well as a comic book nerd!

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