Of fans, trolls, reviews and critics

Fandom is serious business. It was that before the Internet when girls were screaming and crying on the Beatles or Elvis concert, but now, with the access to full global awareness with the help of the Internet, it's even more serious than ever. From some, it's the matter of "them" versus "us", where "them" is the people who don't like or appreciate the same things that "us" do. Perhaps it always was that, but now it seems to be stronger and in some cases angrier.

Being a fan of something is a funny thing. You want to believe, that the object of your fandom can do no wrong or if it does, it won't be that horrible. But if it is, then it's the worst thing ever. A lot of people went overboard with Star Wars prequels for an example, when they were crying that the movies were raping their childhood. You still hear that line now and then when a new entry to some series or other doesn't manage to live up the expectations. And it still is just as annoying phrase as it was when it was originally coined up by someone taking things too seriously. Not that I liked prequels myself that much, but no rape towards my childhood happened, as I don't think the movie makers have time machines at their disposal in order to go in that particular point of my life and commence in any real raping. So stop yelling about how "someone is raping your childhood".

One of the more notable examples of people going overboard is the new upcoming Ghostbusters movie. Hate towards it has been at times pretty harsh, but, unlike some sources would want you to believe,  not necessarily always aimed towards the fact that it's starring women instead of men. A lot of people have stated that movie just doesn't look all that great judging from the trailers and the humour in them feels tired. And as trailers should be representing what the movie is like, I have to agree, that they aren't making the movie look that great.  At the same note though, it can't be denied that there isn't a portion of people among the fans who strongly object the idea of women lead GB movie. I'd love to believe they're in a minority though. And the trolls will troll, no matter what.

It will be interesting to see what will happen when the reviews start pouring in, as no matter how the reviews are, it will be easy to predict how people will react to them. If the reviews are bad, they'll gloat to the director Feig and Sony, the studio. They gloat on how they knew they were right. If the reviews are good some of the fans might get downright angry and will accuse the reviewers of having no taste and that they're being paid by Sony in order to write only positive things (very much like some people are accusing Disney of paying of critics). Some of them will also accuse the reviewers of being afraid of Social Justice Warriors, who are determined to make everything politically correct. And, shockingly enough, some might even say, that they agree with the reviews and that their initial take on the movie was wrong. Can you guess what the trolls will be doing?

This happened with Batman V Superman. When the reviews started to pour in they were pretty negative. But the fans were adamant, that the reviewers were wrong or better yet, paid by Disney to torpedo the competing superhero flick. And then the general audience got to see the movie. While some didn't think it was that terrible, the general consensus was, that it could have and should have been more. This was somewhat reflected on the box office as well, as unlike many at first though, it didn't manage to pass the 1 billion mark, which was where the previous two Batman solo movies climbed. Not that nearly 900 million worldwide is a terrible achievement, but it's a disappointment when a lot of people were expecting the greatest superhero movie of all time.

Another fan favourite, Warcraft, is also getting a movie. And just like Batman V Superman, the initial reviews haven't always been very forthcoming. And a lot of fans are upset about that, saying again, that the reviewers are wrong or paid or just stupid, as they don't even understand that the movie is based on the RTS games instead of now much more well known World of Warcraft.  There's a bias towards the movie, they say, and point towards non-English reviews, which are fairer and more accurate. They tell how people in premiers all over the world love the movie. They try to assure each other, that no-one reads reviews anyway and that the movie will do good, no matter what. But what will happen, if the reviews are right? What if, unlike Batman V Superman, Warcraft tanks at the box office?

Besides of not getting a probable sequel, there are those fans who will love the movie, no matter what. Some say that it was the reviewer's fault, despite before no-one was supposed to be taking them seriously. Then there are those fans who like it, but tell that they understand why it wasn't everyone cups of tea and are happy that they got one movie at least. Then there are those fans who, with sadness in their voice, admit that it was bad and that they fully see where the critics were coming. And then there are the trolls who will revel in the situation, gloating to the fans on how they were wrong.

These situations do attract quite a bit of trolls, as no one is as easy a target than someone who's really invested in something. You don't even have to try that hard in order to press the right buttons in order to cause someone melting down and after that, it's just a simple trick of fanning the flames. The trolls aren't taking the object of their ridicule seriously, but they are getting a kick out of people, who do and try to defend their precious with all their might.

After things have escalated, like they've done with Ghostbusters and from the looks of with Warcraft as well, the trolls themselves don't even have to do anything after that, especially if news outlets get duped into the argument as well (of which happened with GB and I'm sure there's a lot of trolls who are pretty happy about that, especially after the cries about sexism started to fly. That's an engine, which won't stop easily.). If there's one thing I've learned about the Internet, it's the fact that an argument can last to infinity, especially if it's about things people feel passionately about.

What is also interesting is the term "hater", which is an easy thing to fling around. Pretty much anyone, who doesn't like the same things as you do is a hater. Even if critics would give valid points to why the movie wasn't to their liking (and that's what it all amounts to; if they like the movie or not). It's easy to see why a movie, that would require you to read a book or play games it was based before you fully grasp it gets worse reviews because of it. Movies should be their own entities, which require no other knowledge than what they themselves provide. If a movie fails at that, there's something wrong about it.

Some fans like to accuse reviewers of not being familiar with the source matter. But for watching a movie, being familiar with the original source should not be requisite. Personally, if I go out and watch a movie based on something, I'd prefer the movie to do the explaining so there isn't a need to spend an evening or two going through the source material just to grasp what the movie is on about.

Don't get me wrong, it's all fine for a movie to have material in it, that has a deeper connection to the fans of the original work. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it's also important that things are presented in a context that doesn't muddle the movie experience for people who don't have prior knowledge of the material.

In the end, though, people would do well to remember, that critics and reviews are mainly just opinions of other people and as such no more right or wrong than any other people. Even when well-versed critics are talking things like story or cinematography,  they still are expressing their own idea of what they think is good or not. There's not that many, if any,  objective truths in making any kind of form of entertainment. So people really should chill down a bit when rejoicing or lament about critics liking or not the same toys as they are.

Wow... this turned into a pretty long rant in order to say that previous paragraph.