“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is not like other movies.
Sure, you’ll get films that have fan loyalty to them, or films that have pre-decided hatred attached to them. But, never in my entire life of being a film buff have I seen these two emotional states taken to such psychotic extremes. It feels as though the hardcore fans of DC comics have become this Jim-Jones-esque religious cult, and the films detractors have become this gang of laughing hyenas screaming “I TOLD YOU SO”. It’s quite frankly terrifying to see that this is the state of fandom… a hellish landscape where lunacy is mistaken for logic.
For reasons I can’t quite understand, “Batman v Superman” causes intense emotional responses just by being mentioned. There’s so much anger surrounding this film, that I have to literally stop and ask… why? But, of course, this is not the first time fan rage has reared its ugly head.
Back in 2012, “The Dark Knight Rises” was released to pretty damn good critical reception… Not good enough, however, for Batman fans, who proceeded to send death threats and vile messages towards those that gave it a middling-to-negative review. It got so bad, that Rotten Tomatoes had to disable comments from their site, which is still the case four years later.
These are the people that call themselves “geeks” and “nerds”. This same brand of fandom extends beyond film, and into other mediums like TV and video games. This brand of fandom likes the things they like, and quite simply cannot handle being told that what they like isn’t “good”. These people can’t hear an opinion that isn’t their own. They affirm their own convictions with loose logic, never questioning the critique, but instead questioning the one criticizing.
The people criticizing, the people who’s LITERAL job is to do just that… CRITICIZE, have felt the need to bolster their positions as some sort of show of “I’m not affected by you”. So, the anger from critics and skeptics are beginning to match those of “geeks”.
Yesterday, the embargo on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” lifted, and thus began an incredibly negative whirlwind of reviews, and denial from fans, and arguments, and anger, and so on. The anger got to be so much, that some critics considered going completely offline, and deleting their twitter/facebook accounts for good. This is not fandom. This is not nerd culture… at least, not what it was when I signed up for it. It was depressing to watch, not as a fan of comics, not as a fan of movies, but as a human being. Just depressing.
Which begs the question, why does “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” of ALL movies inspire such impassioned defense and fervent hatred? There is so much baggage attached to this film, all its fans, all its preconceived notions about what it should be, and what it shouldn’t be. My ultimate point is “does any of it matter?”… Does any of the arguing, and screaming, and anger, and hatred mean anything?
This is where fandom is right now. Fandom, I thought originally, was about liking things more than average folks do. Like, I remember seeing “X2: X-Men United” as a teenager, and being so excited about it, I walked down to the Borders bookstore in the same mall as the movie theater, found the comic book section, and read as many X-Men comics as I could. That was a special moment for me… Being so excited about something, that you wanted to dive into the world of that thing, and immerse yourself in all of it. That’s what I thought fandom was.
I was 13 then. I’m almost 27 now. And, fandom is a place where fan loyalty gives you the right to hate, gives you the right condescend, and gives you the right to be an asshole. Fandom allows racism, sexism, and homophobia to exist under the cover of “fan loyalty”. So much of this fandom shit has devolved into just pure undirected anger, a ceaseless scream forever clashing with itself in an infinite echo chamber.
This isn’t even about “Batman v Superman” for me, this is about being a fan, being a nerd, a “geek”… I hate it. I absolutely hate fandom right now. It simultaneously hurts my soul and breaks my heart to see what fandom has become. A place where, I thought, discussion, disagreement, and passion were allowed alongside respect and open-mindedness. This is not that, not even in the slightest. This is pure unfiltered madness, and I want no part of it any longer.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is not like other movies. Inspiring intense hatred and insane devotion, the film, regardless of quality, exposes the most ugly parts of fandom, which has, unfortunately, become the regular standard. This “nerd” thing is passing me by, and the more I watch these arguments take place, the more I think that’s a good thing.
I used to be excited by it, now I’m looking for a way out of it. Damn.