Comic Book Craze and Why We Are So Critical
I’ve made no attempt in hiding the fact that I LOVE Marvel movies, TV, and any other form of entertainment they want to deliver. But sometimes even I question whether fandom has become too much, or better yet why people are so critical of those who love comic book movies or sci-fi movies. I say this after I spent the weekend binging some of the older Marvel movies in preparation for Avengers: Endgame… 7 of them to be exact.
This isn’t solely limited to Marvel either. Just last week at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Disney finally gave us our first glimpse at the upcoming movie, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. Needless to say, fans lost their mind. Couple that with the first episode of Game of Thrones airing after an almost 600-day drought, and I am feeling overwhelmed. I am conflicted, because on one hand I understand the craze. I have followed this Marvel journey for 10 plus years and am fully invested. But on the other side of it, it’s just a movie. The outcome of it was predetermined by the script writers, and in some case the comic book writers. We know what’s going to happen but yet we fiend for new releases just to get by. Its only getting crazier and crazier too, with each release. Avengers:Endgame broke the record for ticket presales in just 6 hours and has sold 5x more tickets in one week than Infinity War did in an entire month. Clearly, Endgame is one of the most anticipated movies of our lifetime.
Star Wars on the other hand was in decline after The Last Jedi failed to meet fan expectations. All that changed, when the trailer dropped, which marks the return of JJ Abrams to the directors’ chair. Abrams also directed episode 6, The Force Awakens which was widely well received by fans and critics alike. Upon the release of the new trailer at the Celebration in Chicago, which says enough about fandom as it is, fans flooded the internet with reaction videos to the trailer, some getting very emotional. Add in the return of a once thought dead character, and fans lost it. Rightfully so, mind you, the trailer for the new movie did a lot to restore faith that the saga will end in a way that suits the fans that have followed the franchise for 40 years.
The responses to these videos have been mixed, some fans understand the emotional impact. Others have commented with things like “this has to be a troll” or “I wish I was that passionate about something” with follow up responses along the lines of “yes…too bad it ‘s wasted on Star Wars”. Here in lies the true problem. No one can dictate what you are passionate about. I may not be to the extreme of getting emotional over a trailer, but I am also not of the mind that if a person does get emotional over it, there is something wrong with them.
The issue with this is that there will always be a subset of people who scoff at the idea that someone could be passionate about “nerdier” things like comics, or comic book movies, or Star Wars films. These people are usually the ones who scoff at the idea that a person would only be interested in comic book movies, or sci-fi films, or even action movies. There is really no judgement to be made there. People are going to like what they like. It’s a matter of preference or taste and there is no quantifiable way to prove someone’s preference wrong. What can be done is to judge the movie from a filmmaking perspective. But this too is something that can vary from person to person. Those with a background in film will takeaway more than the standard movie goer. An old teacher of mine in the beginning of his Advanced Theater and Film class told us, “after this class, you will never be able to watch a movie the same way again”. To a certain extent that remains true, because it no longer is about watching a movie, its about watching the way it is shot, how it is edited, the sound, the writing, etc. The average film goer is not watching a movie for that. They want to be entertained. Comic book movies, sci-fi films, and so on are easy to do that with. Let people like what they like, and stop trying to discredit them for enjoying it.
I think of comic book fandom, Star Wars fandom, and so on the same way I do liking sports. Ultimately, being passionate about it is simply driving you to get through life. It is something to talk about. At the end of the day both really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. If they were to disappear, the earth would still turn. However, the fact that they exist gives people something to look forward to, something to drive them, and something to love (or sometimes hate). Dissecting the way a team is playing is very much the same as reviewing a film. You do it because the mere existence of that team or film is something that you care about and want to see more of and see it done well, because that will ultimately give a little more excitement to the mundane of the everyday nine to five.