With the release of Batman vs Superman there is sure to be much debate and discussion about the film and the effect it has had on audiences. These effects are already prevalent and identifiable among movie-goers and comic book fans alike. Now, this is not going to be a review on the film but merely a thesis on how best to approach the polarity that this film has had. For our review on the film, stay tuned as it will likely come out this coming weekend sometime.
Discussion and debate are two methods that are often used to help others understand our position and to help persuade those who we disagree with. I believe these discussions and even arguments are vital to the nerd/geek community as a way to grow closer and arrive at a place of universal understanding. However, these arguments need to be constructive and avoid fallacious reasoning. It is nigh impossible for us to believe something without good reason. The polarity of Batman vs Superman has rendered members of our community to nothing more than angsty and overly defensive pronouncers. I will refer to those people for the sake of this post as Eristic Nerds. It is important to keep in mind that saying "the film was too dark to be good" is not a good argument. It is an opinion presented as fact. the same is true of saying that it is good because it was dark and gritty. Instead, if I was making the argument, I would say something to the effect that I either do or don't enjoy gritty films. That is an explicit expression of my opinion which can be understood by others. Presenting opinions as facts is a sure-fire way to irritate other people in the discussion.
The first thing I will say is that critic reviews should not ever matter. All reviews are a matter of opinion and opinions are not facts which opens them up to criticism and discussion. It is important here to also note that there is a difference between something being good and something being enjoyable. I can enjoy a film that is ripe with plot holes, poor dialogue and effects, and that frankly fails to provide any sort of intent. Those components can make for a poorly constructed film that is by all accounts a failure to tell a full story. That, however, does not mean that people cannot enjoy it. The reverse here must also be true. The most properly constructed film of all time can be boring to people or unenjoyable. However, it is undeniably good by the standards that literary experts set on what makes a great story. Words do matter so it is important that as we debate our feelings and opinions on BvS that we draw that distinction. Saying that the movie was good can send mixed signals as we do not know if you mean you enjoyed it or if you thought the actual story was well constructed and executed. Saying that despite the problems with the film it was the most enjoyable film in a while completely gets the message across. Now, I am not saying these are my opinions. I am merely using these as generic examples.
Another important point that needs to be addressed is the constant comparison to Marvel films. I get it, Marvel and DC are competitors but that does not mean we need to make it a competition. The fact that this movie was not like Marvel films does not make it good nor bad. that is fallacious reasoning. Being different does not equate to being better or worse. Adding this in weakens the entire argument. there are more than one way to succeed. Marvel has found success with it's way of doing things and DC may find success by doing things their way. the fact that this movie, as some may say, was a "breath of fresh air, compared to Marvel's light-hearted formula" does not mean anything. Devoted Marvel fans may enjoy the way those movies are made but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy this movie or vice versa. BvS cannot be said to be good as a result of it being different than Marvel's films. Bvs cannot be said to be bad for the same reason. the two have nothing to do with each other. Comparing Marvel and DC films is a another discussion which should be conducted separately from the discussion of how good BvS was.
The other major detraction from this discussion is the old argument of how 'real comic fans' think. I used to be one of those. I used to be like the old man groaning about all of the people who are all of the sudden nerds because the love RDJ as Iron Man. I would complain about the fact they have never read a comic or didn't know and love the characters the way I did. This is an elitist nerd mentality that is obsolete now. We take it as an insult when someone says 'real comic book fans.' Not all fans of comic books feel the same way. Making the argument that BvS was great because it stayed true to the comic books means nothing. People who haven't read the comics may have easily been lost as a result and those who have may have felt that the story was not integrated well. The first Harry Potter film suffered from this same problem. while book readers may have enjoyed how true the movie was to the book, the adaption was poor because it was not a full story. When there were parts that could not be translated to film easily, they were excluded. This created a film that held an incomplete story and was almost unwatchable to newcomers. A direct translation does not always make for a good adaption for this reason. There are ways to reward comic readers that don't exclude everyone else. Exclusivity has no place in these films anymore. In addition, many comic book fans may also have problems with a comic book-based film that is too close to the source material. I know, crazy, right?
The final point to avoid when having these discussions is talking about how much money the movie has made. Just as poor critic reviews do not equate to a bad movie, huge box office standings do not equate to a good movie. There are any number of factors that can influence box office numbers. One of them could be the quality of a film but as we all should know, association does not mean causality.
If this article has interested you at all please feel free to comment and provide your thoughts. For our review please stay tuned. We will post a link to it on our Twitter and Facebook when it is up and you can also find it in the usual places iTunes, Podbean, and here on our podcast page. Thanks everyone and #StayNerdy