OP ED: WHY I CANNOT CARE LESS ABOUT REVIEWS

By

John McGee

Movie critics have become more of an obligatory circus in recent years than a true gauge of the quality of film. Back in the good ole days critics were at best snobs who were “right” about half the time, even though they enjoyed tearing apart classics (Wizard of Oz, Fight Club, Scrooged, The Shining, Psycho…you get the picture). Critics have always viewed themselves as a godsend to their generation—“We’re the only ones smart enough and heavenly enough to know everything about every movie and declare whether it sucks or not.”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m about to announce two insane facts about life. 1. Critics have gotten worse. Like the country, it’s just something you didn’t think could go further downhill until it surprises you. 2. Film. Is. SUBJECTIVE. WHAAAT?! I can’t watch trailers for movies and just say “It sucks?” Well if you’re one of those people, you’re well on your way to the film critic profession. Because not only have critics gotten worse, but they’ve become none other than average Internet bloggers who house great bias, vitriol, and generally don’t know any more about what makes a great film than a preschooler. And frankly they just don’t care anymore. They seem to believe it’s about power, and they want to use their “power” to dissuade people from watching movies they hate or simply try to make movies they hate look bad. It’s less about being honest and more about “what do we want this movie to look like?” “Did it live up to my condescending expectations?” “Was it made by people I like?” (I add that one, folks, due to the number of “professional critics” who took to Twitter days before Batman v Superman to announce that no matter how good the movie was, they’d never give a positive score to a Zack Snyder film. Now perhaps you begin to see the children we’re dealing with).

In fact, audiences are beginning to ignore the critics almost entirely. Batman v Superman received low reviews by pretty much all critics, but when fans and casual viewers are asked, we get numbers like 69% and even higher scores for the Director’s Cut that satisfied even some of the most disappointed viewers. Suicide Squad is lower on Rotten Tomatoes than Batman v Superman, yet the audience scores for Skwad are even higher than Batman v Superman. Suicide Squad is practically proof that critics don’t matter and their words are becoming as important to film as preschooler’s scribbles are to Monets or Van Gohs. 133+ million opening both here and overseas, coupled with a sustained first week that even Civil War and Batman v Superman couldn’t manage in their first week of box office. Audiences didn’t just come to the opening weekend shows, they spread the word and many of them went again.

Now let us examine what I believe is simple proof that critics have belittled themselves to the point of unimportance. Most of these bloggers (the irony here being that I am a blogger—but name one time I called out a film based on what I ate at the theater, or based on who made it. Thought so. Where was I?) These bloggers, when they run into a film they didn’t enjoy or pledged specifically to not enjoy use comparisons that run the gamut from “muddled plot and thinly written characters” to “DONALD TRUMP.” Yes, these are actual comparisons to the movie Suicide Squad. If I weren’t so jaded on the subject of modern critics I’d be shocked. How in the world do these “geniuses” and to quote the particularly worst one of them all, “the voice of our generation” fail to comprehend a plot as simple as Suicide Squad’s? A to B, break. B to C, fight. Flashbacks throughout to FURTHER EXPLAIN THINGS, and epic climax to resolution. Wow. That was so muddled. That filmmaker really hid things from us.

Another attack launched at the film when they ran out of other stupid things to say was that “sexism” reared its head. Not only am I now convinced they were in a completely different movie, but I’m angry. This was the least sexist superhero film EVER. DC Films takes tremendous pride in giving the female characters (often better than their male counterparts in many ways) their spotlight. Wonder Woman is the first attempt at a female superhero movie at all in the cinematic universes, but not only that. It’s merely the 4th DCEU film, and they’re already paying women to make the Wonder Woman movie, and based on interviews, Patty Jenkins knows more about the character’s nature and how this film works in 2017’s world than half the men working at DC. Marvel will burn through close to 20 films before making Captain Marvel (after ignoring Black Widow all these years) and what have Fox or Sony ever done for female characters? Suffice it to say DC is the least sexist of them all.

And calling a movie Donald Trump is like calling critics open minded. It’s a complete impossibility, a catastrophic paradox. It also just makes zero sense on paper. Clearly something it driving these critics against DC films, and it may be they enjoy sexist movies about superheroes more than they do ones that feature Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Enchantress, Lois Lane, Katana, and AMANDA FREAKING WALLER. That’s why I know these morons went to the wrong movie. You don’t walk away from Viola Davis’s Waller thinking “sexist.” She was the most powerful, smart, cunning woman I’ve seen on screen. She didn’t give a damn about what other people thought—she was herself and handled things and people the way she saw fit.

All in all, I’m not judging the people. There are some great critics left in the field (looking at you, Mark Hughes). But I am free to judge the actions of the loose cannons these people turn into when they grab their phone and vent their undeserved fury and flawed logic on a certain company’s superhero films. I do feel free to tell them that in subjective filmmaking they have zero right to judge films the way they do than the rest of us, no matter how smart they think they are. I condemn the way they try to judge subjective films, which are first and foremost art and should be viewed as such. Not as good/bad, but rather on the merits and what they try to accomplish in each film. DC Comics, say what you will about Warner Bros, are still making fairly artistic and sometimes excellent films. Let’s all take a step back and quit acting like this is politics and treat it like the mythology it is.

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