People who know me personally or have seen just a couple of articles I have written over the years know that I have severely soured on the superhero movies that are currently reigning supreme on the American movie market.
My own personal gripes about big budgets ruining creativity in many instances aside, the biggest crux of the issue is not the films themselves. Films are good on a movie to movie basis. One bad movie doesn’t invalidate an entire genre, filmmaker, actor, or writer. No, hype and fanboyisms have ruined my enjoyment more than anything.
As a student of History and Anglistics and with friends and acquaintances all over the planet, or simply as a cheapskate grad student in my 20s I rely on the internet for information, communication, and entertainment. Thus it is nearly impossible to not be immediately informed about a new trailer, article talking about a random rumors, Youtube videos, or Facebook status updates about upcoming projects. I was never one to go completely blind into a film. Informing oneself before one goes to see a movie is a good way to minimize getting burned on something, and of course you can never account for taste and personal style.
There comes a point, however, when hype and fanboyism can ruin something far greater than just the next movie for you.
The start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2008 was both a blessing and a curse, as it brought closer-to-the-comics adaptions of the source material into the mainstream as the publisher itself was involved with the films now instead of farming it out to different studios. The merits about that can be talked about and I am planning to write an article about the 90s superhero films at some point, but the crux of the matter is that one of the biggest problems brought forth with this and the DC Extended (Cut) Universe was that it brought the fanboy mentality of the comics, Marvel vs DC, DC vs Marvel, Marvel vs everyone else, DC vs everyone else, and so on, to the mainstream as well. There was a sharp cut in the reception of pre-MCU movies and post-MCU movies from other companies or the output of other studios. The fronts have consolidated, entrenched keyboard warriors are firing at the other position, and all that you’ll get out of it is trench foot. Maybe a bit overdramatic, but I hope you see my point here. Discussing a movie on its own merits or looking at a broader trend is all fine and good and I enjoy it myself, but being accused as a hater or a fanboy for hating or liking something you do not is not fun.
Hype culture is no different. A movie is announced two, three years before it releases, often a sequel is announced a month before the first one hits theaters. After that there is scant a week when we are not bombarded with article after article on rumors, set photos, casting announcements, interviews, and, of course, fanboys talking about something is going to suck years in advance.
In many ways, the negative pre-judging of films such as Fantastic Four (2015) and Batman v Superman (2016) coinciding with the negative reception on release is the worst that could have ever happened to me personally in the realm of hype culture as fanboys are now validated in spewing their irrelevant drizzle years in advance. Yes, the movie turned out to be bad. No, that does not mean you now have carte blanche to rake about the next one for two years and tell me in every single conversation we have that its gonna suck. That is for us to decide once we have seen it. In law one of our greatest achievements was the presumption of innocence.
Not to mention the fact that you’re shooting yourself in your own foot by lapping up everything someone puts out, you are giving them a blank check to pump out any old garbage and screw yourself over in the long run. If you want the superhero movie genre to have a long and prosperous history in Hollywood and world cinema you want quality, not quantity and misleading advertisements.
I urge you not to partake in this. Don’t feel like you have to see a movie simply to be able to participate in water cooler talk. You are under no obligation to see a movie to support something that is “greater than you”. If something looks bad, avoid it if you’re not a professional critic. And, for your own sake, don’t fill your life with this much hatred for something as inconsequential as a two hour movie with the gross domestic product of San Marino. Wait and see, be a good consumer and reward quality. Don’t be an unpaid arm of the marketing machine. You will not gain anything from overhyping yourself and you have everything to gain when you are positively surprised from keeping yourself surprised.
If you want to pass the time productively in between the next obscenely expensive superhero slugfests go and read the actual comics. It’s a medium worthy of exploration and going by the numbers its clear that not everyone watching the movies reads the comics. Broaden your horizon by reading a more varied number of books. My Goodreads list on the side bar can attest to me trying some new things in recent years and it was well worth it. Do anything but remain in a state of perpetual excitement forever. You are not doing yourself a favor and you are only depriving yourself of quality experiences in the meantime.