DC Something Is Rotten In The State Of DC Fandom written by Sean Gerber April 22, 2016 DC fandom is at its lowest point. After enjoying several years on the back of Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Batman trilogy, the experience of being a DC fan has become less and less fun since 2013, hitting what I can only hope is rock bottom in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As DC fandom continues pointing its collective finger in any direction it can see, all it really needs to properly assign blame is a mirror. To clarify for those immediately heading down to the comments section, I am not talking about all fans of DC Entertainment. Obviously, a great many and dare I say most of them are just fine. They love the characters they love and share their enthusiasm with those who feel the same way. They understand that not everyone will like everything they like and go on about their lives continuing to like all those things, as they should. There is a cell in DC fandom, however, that refuses every opportunity to behave like reasonable human beings. What began as frustration over a mixed reaction to Man of Steel has evolved into paranoid delusions of conspiracy and a full blown persecution complex over the world not embracing Batman v Superman the way these DC fans have. It’s already led to fans lashing out with violent threats like this one received by Clarke Wolfe. Well, someone threatened to kill me on Instagram today. Over MAN OF STEEL. This shouldn’t be a thing. @DCComics pic.twitter.com/WTk89zJWh2 — Clarke Wolfe (@clarkewolfe) April 22, 2016 Or this one received by Devin Faraci of Birth.Movies.Death. Hey @Redbankai05 I screen shotted your tweet. pic.twitter.com/Sm1mkNYpLd — devin faraci (@devincf) April 22, 2016 Bad behavior by online cretins is nothing new. Most of us have been around the online fan space long enough to know that there will always be the occasional troll popping up to say something nasty and even cross the line. Violent threats toward women have long been a disgustingly frequent part of online discourse and got only worse with Gamergate. DC fandom is going through its own version of Gamergate right now, as this no longer feels like a handful of trolls lashing out independently, but an actual movement. It may not be organized, but a common set of delusions being passed back and forth across so many DC fans has created a hive mind that generates these outbursts. They are all irrationally rationalized as being the reasonable retaliation to an agenda that doesn’t exist. According to the DC hive mind, the reason Batman v Superman has been panned by critics is because those critics have an anti-DC, pro-Marvel agenda. Professional film critics who review dozens and dozens (some of them hundreds) of films each year suddenly care enough to choose a side between the companies that produce a small sample of those critics’ annual workload. Why would they care? Per the hive mind, money. What else? That’s right. The DC hive mind is convinced that critics, especially the online bloggers who are fixtures of comic book movie coverage, have been accepting bribes from Disney to write positive reviews for Marvel movies and trash the competition, specifically the DC-based movies produced by Warner Bros. The key piece of evidence in each count of bribery is a critic having an opinion about Batman v Superman that is contrary to the opinion held by the DC hive mind. As further evidence, the DC hive mind submits the fact that some critics have been critical of BvS even in their positive reviews of Captain America: Civil War. Grace Randolph, host of Beyond The Trailer on YouTube and a champion of this troublesome cell of DC fandom has been calling critics out in the week since the Civil War review embargo lifted. To those today who told me I was “delusional” re critics agenda against #BatmanvSuperman, take a look: https://t.co/60cSGkK3bp — Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) April 14, 2016 Randolph, like her supporters, has skipped over an obvious set of points in order to support her already unreasonable conclusion. Given that each film centers on a conflict between the two most popular superheroes of their respective brands and they are being released just six weeks apart, comparisons between Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War are inevitable. More importantly, it’s perfectly reasonable and professional for a critic to include a comparison in his or her review. If Captain America: Civil War had come out first, it would likely come up in a number of Batman v Superman reviews. A note comparing the two films, while not required, could obviously satisfy a reasonable curiosity held by a critic’s potential readers. Films with similar concepts are compared in reviews all the time, especially when they fall within such close proximity on the release calendar. Critics are not the only people dissatisfied with BvS. General audiences do not appear to be in love with the film either. Opening weekend audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore, down from the “A-” Man of Steel received, but matching the audience rating for 2011’s Green Lantern. The box office numbers largely reflect the average moviegoer’s mediocre reaction to the film. As of this writing, Batman v Superman has earned $835.1 million worldwide (per Box Office Mojo) and it won’t end up much higher. For most films, that number would represent a staggering level of success. That’s not the case for BvS, however, because Batman’s previous two films, without 3D, each brought in over $1 billion worldwide. Adding Superman, Wonder Woman, 3D ticket prices, and the continued expansion of the international market in the four years since Batman’s last film should have been enough for BvS to make at least $1 billion, if the audience loved it. The 69.1% drop from the film’s first weekend to its second suggests that they don’t. Of course, the DC hive mind has an answer to that as well. While critics have been bribed to be biased, general audiences have been brainwashed by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and are just not ready for comic book movies that take the material seriously. The average moviegoer is apparently willing to go along with nerd culture, but only if that nerd culture acknowledges that it can’t be taken seriously. This is nonsense. The same audience that has not embraced Batman v Superman went crazy for The Dark Knight and also took a strong liking to The Dark Knight Rises. Both films, in addition to their massive box office totals, received an “A” CinemaScore. Those films were every bit as dark and serious as Batman v Superman. The main difference is that so many people feel those Dark Knight films were better made. The truth is that the members of this DC hive mind are having a very hard time reconciling the fact that a movie they love is not equally loved by critics and many audience members. They grew accustomed to the external validation they received during the Nolan years and are struggling to move forward without it. They misinterpret criticism of Batman v Superman as personal attacks. With that mindset, they see their own attacks on the people who do not like the film as nothing more than self-defense. There’s nothing wrong with loving Batman v Superman. There is nothing wrong with expressing one’s love for the film. There is also nothing wrong with not liking the film and expressing one’s dissatisfaction. Anyone who has trouble dealing with people saying negative things about the movies he or she likes probably isn’t built for discussing movies on the internet. At the very least, fans who have that trouble can safeguard their experience by not following the people they disagree with and blocking them as needed. There is no need for disagreements over movies to turn into baseless accusations and violent threats. That it happens elsewhere on the internet and that the behavior is sometimes exhibited by fans of other things does not make it reasonable or acceptable for DC fans to take part in it. This behavior is obviously harmful and it could lead to an outcome far worse than what we’ve already seen. We do not live in a world where all online threats turn out to be empty. We owe it to each other to not feed false narratives that lead to delusions of persecution which can potentially motivate people to react violently. We also owe it to each other to speak out against the worst of fan behavior. We know it when we see it and we should not ignore it. There are tools at our disposal to report anyone crossing the line regardless of which side they fall on in any debate. We are fans of heroes, after all, so it’s probably a good idea to act more like them and not their villains when we interact with others online. Something Is Rotten In The State Of DC Fandom was last modified: April 22nd, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 59 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post Iron Man Will Chaperone SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING next post Final X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Trailer Promises A Clawed Cameo You may also like DC To Launch 24 New Titles! February 6, 2015 Modern Myth Media Podcast #256: State Of... July 12, 2016 Moving Forward, No News Is Good News... March 3, 2017 Warner Bros. And DC Entertainment Design A... April 22, 2015 What AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Has In... May 4, 2015 Weekly Ratings Roundup: March 6 to 12,... March 12, 2016 Weekly Ratings Roundup: March 13 to 19,... March 20, 2016 10 Plausible Oscar Nominations For Future Superhero... February 29, 2016 Marvel & DC: Unite the Two. April 17, 2015 PAUL S Well put. The reason BVS didn’t succeed is not because of some conspiracy by lovers of the Marvel films, it’s because the movie itself wasn’t good. For me, BVS just wasn’t fun. The characters are pretty much all unlikable, the script and editing is a complete mess, and the supposed emotional moments are never earned. Batman saying he failed Superman in life falls flat because he literally knew him for about 30 minutes, half of those he spent trying to kill him. The same as when Superman dies. Batman and Wonder Woman are literally standing around expressing no emotion because they have known him for only a few minutes. I could go on and on and this is from a DC fan who so much wanted this film to succeed. I don’t pick sides in any Superhero brand as I want all of these films to succeed. It only benefits us as fans. When a film in this genre fails, it only hurts us. Unfortunately, society is tribal by nature and takes pleasure in feeling superior to anyone else. This is reflected in other areas such as religion, politics, sports, etc etc. The internet unfortunately has provided a safe sanctuary for hateful and insecure people to bully others. QTN Remember that nonsensical Thor cave scene in AGE OF ULTRON that confused everybody? That was one scene. Imagine if you made most of a movie that confusing. #BVS Adrian Edmondson 100% agree ZackBop Well said. There is no excuse for making threats like that. And some DC fans really do need to chill out. But in the interest of fairness, I think it’s worth pointing out that a lot of Marvel-only fans DO get a kick out of “poking the beehive.” Again, that’s not an excuse. Rather, I state it just to point out the general stupidity of online behavior. Stupid Marvel fans try to rile up stupid DC fans. I’ve seen quite a bit of this online. Bottom line is that everyone just needs to chill. Like what you like, but don’t be an ass. Keldroc I dunno, I don’t remember too many death threats being reported when X-Men 3 and Wolverine: Origins turned out to be terrible and critics and fans said so. Or Spider-Man 3 and the Amazing Spider-Man disasters. Or the Ghost Rider movies. Or last year’s Fantastic Four cratering. I think saying this is peculiar to DC fans is not incorrect, and I think in large part it comes from frustration and anger at the fact that these classic characters deserve much, much better than Warner Bros in general and Snyder specifically are delivering. In most fans that manifests as disappointment and/or argumentative defenses of the subpar films in question, but in a select few it seems to spill over into psychosis. This should be DC’s time to shine at the cinema just as Marvel does, but the studio is fumbling the ball with some of the most bulletproof characters in the history of pop culture. While the people sending threats of death and violence are pathetic and inappropriate, I can definitely understand the current of defensiveness and frustration that seems to pervade DC fandom in general. And that’s not even taking into account how the actual DC universe has been treated over the last 10 years or so. ZackBop Two different situations. Since 2012, there’s been a narrative that DC sucks and doesn’t know what they’re doing. Certain fans just get a kick out of crapping on EVERYTHING they do. And as someone who enjoys MOST of what DC does (GL excluded), it’s frustrating and annoying. Either way, I’m not saying it’s an excuse. I’m just saying that there are morons on both sides. But to say something about being a DC fan makes this type of behavior inherent is just stupid. It’s the tribal mentality that’s the problem. ZackBop Most of those movies came out before there was any sort of (stupid) “war” between Marvel and DC movies. Point is: I think it’s a mistake to assume that being a DC fan makes one more likely to act in this manner (as if there’s a relationship between being a DC fan and being psychotic). I think it’s just tribal fans in general who are like this. Because the Marvel movies tend to hit with the general public (right now), Marvel fandom (at its worst) tends to manifest as a severe sense of smugness. And unfortunately for DC (because their recent movies aren’t really connecting), their fandom (at its worst) is manifesting in some really ugly ways. My point is that both sides need to just stop. QTN “before there was any sort of (stupid) “war”” Really? Funny I thought Marvel and DC comic fans have had a rivalry for 50 something years. And for the record, here’s the difference between the two fandoms basically: DC fans have a persecution complex, that everybody is biased against them and the shield and always kiss Marvel’s butt while trashing DC. Marvel fans think the red bumper is the cream of the comic book movie crop and center of that spectrum. “This is how you’re supposed to do it.” And if you have hint of common sense, you’ll notice what nonsense a lot of these beliefs are. People tune in to THE FLASH and the other Greg Berlanti-produced DC TV programs weekly. The last two Christopher Nolan Batman films each made a billion bucks. People don’t hate DC. People just hate crappy products that WB/DC put out sometimes. Marvel Studios didn’t invent the shared movie universe (thank the old Universal monster movies), what they did was refine it to a commercial/popular art and re-define the blockbuster movie formula (for better or worse) for Hollywood. It’s like how James Bond wasn’t the first movie spy. Hell DR. NO wasn’t even the first James Bond “movie.” But because of the Sean Connery movies, he’s become “the” movie spy. Most sane people like characters/properties from both of “The Big Two.” My favorite superheroes as a kid were Batman and Spider-Man. I thought MOS was a slog and BVS was an even bigger one, but I’m not going nuts like some DC fans are. Why? Because I look at THE FLASH on TV where we got a King Shark episode in all its wonderfully absurd glory and you realize things aren’t that bad. mr_teaspoon “Marvel fans think the red bumper is the cream of the comic book movie crop.” Is it not? G.B.P.P. DC fandom is at it’s lowest point?? In reality, the entire fandom is at it’s lowest point. No need to just mention DC fans. Have you seen the vile comments left by MCU fans at http://theyoungfolks.com regarding the negative review of Civil War? Look at how many comments have been deleted from the article. bookee There is no excuse for death threats but dont make it seem like DC fans are the only ones. People are childish and fell comfortable hiding behind a keyboard. Hope they are somehow caught and answer for their threats. Im not saying there is an agenda but DC (or maybe snyder) seems to be more harshly graded than other movies. There is a long list of superhero movie with better rotten tomatoe scores that I think have had about the same response from fans if not worse. I dont think there has ever been a superhero movie with as wide a gap between critic scores and audience. For BvS its a 40% difference, next closest is probably 20%. And I follow Grace everyday (along with other geek outlets like collider) but she never said disney bribe people. She loves Disney, like alot. Sean Gerber No, she didn’t, but she’s been very active in pushing the idea of an anti-DC agenda that doesn’t exist. QTN I hate when fandoms point the finger at other fandoms as a way of trying to excuse their actions. What rubbish. Eye for an eye, but what happens when the whole world goes blind? Here’s what I don’t get. Why didn’t DC fans lose their crap when BATMAN & ROBIN stunk up the joint? Why didn’t they do this when CATWOMAN or JONAH HEX or GREEN LANTERN equally trashed their respective characters? Usually if there was a bad movie, DC fans would know that WB failed the smell test. So why are they drawing the line at BVS? My theory: the promised DC movie universe that’s potentially threatened here. “If this and that fails, I’ll never get my Sgt. Rock movie in 7 years!” In other words, if BATMAN & ROBIN (as bad as that turkey was) had launched (or was supposed to) its own DC movie universe back in the day…would those fans have given it a pass just because of that? I wonder. Kerry Vanderberg This is a great article, and is definitely a problem that needs to be called out and stopped. So nicely done Sean! What I’m about to say in no way excuses or gives creedence to this terrible behavior, but I think it’s worth discussing. I don’t believe that there’s an anti-DC agenda out there from critics and so on, but I do think there is a narrative of disappointment from DC fans that is lying behind all this. Even as someone who loves MOS and BvS, I’m really disappointed how divisive they are and that they haven’t gotten slighly better critical support (just to keep things in perspective, Sharknado has a 92% approval rating on RT, so how that gets support but BvS doesn’t is kind of beyond me). Marvel has been killing it with their films for almost a decade now, and shows no signs of slowing down. I love that, because I love those movies. But I also want the DC on film side to equally succeed. I will probably admit after seeing it that CA:CW will be a better film, but I also think that BvS is going to mean more to me personally. That’s because it took me 3 years to get a follow-up to MOS, whereas I only had to wait a year after AOU to get CW. It was great to have the Nolan films, but those aren’t cinematic UNIVERSE films, so I’m reluctant to include those in the tally of Marvel vs DC films released. Because of Marvels success, I do think they have re-conditioned the audience to see every comic book film now through the lens of the Marvel films. The X-Men films are now being evaluated through the lens of Marvel, even though the X-Men film franchise has been around a long time. There were a number of times when I’d see a trailer for BvS in theatres, and I would hear the person next to me say to the person they were sitting with, “I’m so much more excited for Civil War.” Likewise, on opening night of BvS, when they showed the CW trailer and Spider-man appeared, that got the biggest applause from the audience. Less than half the crowd cheered when Wonder Woman showed up. So I do think that mainstream audiences – in a very general sense – are now more “pro-Marvel” in that they think all superhero films should be like that. So, as a DC fan and as someone who loves BvS and wants the DCEU to really match Marvel’s success, experiences like that are really disappointing and frustrating. At the very least, that’s my take on it. Sean Gerber Good points. Every time we get a new, great film in the genre, it raises the bar for everything after it. Marvel’s made some of the best films, so Marvel is part of the standard that’s been set, but so is DC with TDK, BB, the first two Superman films, and (sometimes) TDKR. The X-Men films had trouble clearing their own hurdle after X2, but most people feel like with did with First Class and especially DOFP. That movie came in at over 90% on RT and became the franchise’s highest grossing film by a mile until Deadpool (which has now also contributed to the new standard.) Audiences are pro-Marvel right now because Marvel has proven that they can be counted on, but even Marvel sometimes runs into trouble when its new films are compared to its big hits. Not every film is immediately hailed as Marvel’s best (nor should they be unless they deserve it) and if Marvel goes too long without meeting or clearing the bar of its previous successes, audiences will lose trust in the studio. While it’s much easier said than done, I think Marvel has succeeded in consistently satisfying the basic wants and needs of a blockbuster movie audience while often providing something extra. They’ve gone about it a little differently, but ultimately, the needs Marvel has satisfied are essentially the same as the ones satisfied by The Dark Knight Trilogy and most of the other great comic book movies. People want protagonists they can care about and like. Bruce Wayne may not be as funny as Tony Stark, but audiences still loved him in 2005-2012. They felt that way because they saw his struggle, but also saw him remaining a good man in the end. Batman Begins spent a lot of time earning the audience’s affection for Bruce. Nolan has even said that the only way BB would’ve worked is if you cared just as much about Bruce before he puts on the batsuit as you do when he’s got the costume on. He was right and he executed that point properly in his film. The DC films haven’t really done that for their heroes yet. I’d go into detail, but this really isn’t about MOS or BvS and I’m not trying to start any debates over how they’ve handled the characters. The audience reaction has been enough to show moviegoers are not as connected to them as they are to Marvel’s characters or previous onscreen iterations of Batman and Superman. In my view, this is a direct result of faults in the storytelling and character work, as I firmly believe audiences are just as inclined to love DC’s heroes as Marvel’s, especially the big three. But yes, I do agree that part of all this trouble stems from a general dissatisfaction over the DCEU or at least it’s place in pop culture. DC fans know their favorite characters are just as interesting as the characters from any other company and want the world to shine a light on those DC characters. People often fall in the trap of drawing satisfaction in life by how they compare to others. How good I perceive my life to be depends on how nice my house is compared to the neighbor’s, how much money I make, etc. It’s not hard to imagine this same line of thinking extending to the Marvel/DC issue. DC fans might love their house, but everyone else seems to think their neighbor’s house is nicer and they focus on that instead of the fact that they already love their house. Once that dissatisfaction creeps in, it’s time to assign blame and that’s where these conspiracy theories start rolling in. The neighbor can afford that house because he’s a crook and everyone only says they like it better because the neighbor throws the most expensive parties and showers everyone with gifts. ZackBop Everything you said is accurate, but I’d like to expand on the house analogy you used. And please don’t construe this as me making excuses for some of the deplorable DC fans. I have no sympathy for them. They are horrible. I just think it’s fair to point out something I’ve noticed SOME Marvel fans doing. —– How good I perceive my life to be depends on how nice my house is compared to the neighbor’s, how much money I make, etc. It’s not hard to imagine this same line of thinking extending to the Marvel/DC issue. DC fans might love their house, but everyone else seems to think their neighbor’s house is nicer and they focus on that instead of the fact that they already love their house. —– For SOME Marvel fans, it’s not good enough to think their house is better and to appreciate that more people prefer their house. They get kicks out of constantly reminding DC fans that their house is “better” and that more people enjoy it. In so many words, they get kicks out of kicking people when they’re down. The vast majority of Marvel fans are fine. But I have noticed an air of smugness that surrounds some of them. They have to constantly remind everyone that “DC sucks” and “DC doesn’t know what they’re doing” and that “DC should be more like Marvel.” In a perfect world, people would just be cool with letting people like what they like. But some Marvel fans (and I want to stress that it’s a small minority of them) seem to actually get upset with people who prefer DC movies. I’ve seen it. You can see it on just about any major forum that discusses movies (lookin’ at you, IMDb). Again, none of this excuses what some DC fans have done/are doing. I just wanted to point out the fact that some Marvel fans get a kick out of poking that bear. QTN DC absolutely has strengths over Marvel. Take their horror/supernatural comics (old school Vertigo, anybody?) Yet what is DC ‘s track record? CONSTANTINE the movie tanked and the TV show got cancelled after a season. Meanwhile, DR STRANGE drops later this year and probably is another Marvel hit and that’ll be their access into the supernatural/horror properties. I can’t blame fans who feel like their own company sometimes doesn’t know what it’s doing. As for Marvel, they’ve done what Disney and (in more recent times) Pixar have been able to pull off: they’ve found a magical movie formula that makes money. And which also produces a few good movies too. I mean notice the Marvel movie template works like a roller coaster. Action, laughs, action, laughs, Feelz, action, laughs, etc. GibLesPaul456 I agree with the Marvel movie template working like a well-oiled rollercoaster. Marvel Studios is 12 deep now with no stinkers…the consistency is quite remarkable. They have definitely figured out how to make an entertaining and successful cinematic shared universe with their characters. I personally liked BvS…the entertainment value of the spectacle brought enough joy to overcome the shortcomings in the editing and characterizations for my viewing experience. I thought it deserved neither a home run nor a turd RT score….higher than MOS but not by much. WB/DC needs a figurehead who has a better handle with creating a modern cinematic universe with these ICONS. And I will say this…it’s a uphill climb when you have A-listers who already have past successful movie franchises built into the memories and expectations of audiences. There’s no coming in with a clean slate with the Trinity. stock Well, I would call Thor TDW and IM2 stinkers, but that’s just my opinion. Absolutely agree with your last statement. Could not believe the SS preview where Supes is hypothetically branded a villian. Sorry, there are other dangerous characters in the DCU to insert into a “what if” scenario. Why use Superman? At the end of BvS they gave him a military funeral when an hour before, they were accusing him of blowing up Congress. The DCEU is in disarray, and I imagine against Marvel it looks even worse. No excuse for kevinwhatshisname to post that crap. He should be found, bound, and spend a few nights in the cooler with somebody who just doesn’t care what he thinks. getanaccount Sean, the sad thing is that now with the Internet, you have people that will say stuff on-line that they wouldn’t dare say to someone in their face. Being anonymous has its strengths and weaknesses, and being able to say what you want without reprisal is one of them. For the record, I went to the first Sunday night viewing of “Batman v. Superman” last month, and I was throughly underwhelmed by the movie. I left the theater that night throughly disgusted at how Superman, Batman, heck, the whole movie played out. I didn’t care at all for any of the characters in the movie at all, and that’s a shocking revelation from me, a huge fan of Batman and Superman (when he’s properly portrayed on the big screen.) With Superman’s character being altogether out of character while watching the movie, Batman being more vicious than even Michael Keaton’s (and not being able to see that he was being played for a fool by Lex Luthor is unforgivable by the screenwriters,) I just didn’t want to see this movie again. I’m not even sure I want to purchase the Blu-ray when it comes out later this year. In my opinion, Zach Snyder is a mediocre, at best director. He can do all the pretty pictures with the best of them, but his plots leave a lot to be desired. Compare him with say, Christopher Nolan, whether people love or hate him–and there are still people on-line that hate his Batman of “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, preferring either the Classic BTAS (Batman: The Animated Series for those who don’t recognize the acronym) or Michael Keaton’s turn in his two Tim Burton flicks–but at least with Christopher Nolan you had a very capable director that knew how to set up a scene, and was equally adept at motivation of the character(s)/plot as he was in explosions/visual stuff. I’ll admit I’m more a fan of Batman and DC overall than Marvel. But, I will admit that one thing that Marvel has over DC right now is that they have a singular visionary person in the background in all their movies, which is Kevin Feige. DC is stuck with Snyder, who, quite frankly, is not up to the task of doing any Universe building. I shudder to think what the end results for Justice League: Part 1 will turn out to be when the movie comes out a year or so from now. torrencedavis Zack Snyder didn’t write BvS. These aren’t “his plots”. GibLesPaul456 It’s Snyder’s universe and vision…he changed the characterization of Batman and Superman to fit into his movie instead of trying to fit Batman and Superman from the comics into his universe. Snyder has a habit of cherry-picking the parts he likes from iconic graphic novels and inserting them into his universe even though the original meaning, context and intent of said parts are completely different in the source material. getanaccount GibLesPaul456 , you’ve said all I needed to torrencedavis, no disrespect to torrencedavis. Basically, Zach Snyder puts the stuff in from stories he likes without putting the proper context, and making his movies a mess. The fact that Snyder wants to redo Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” is all I need to know about Snyder’s vision and philosophy. I’m not a fan of Ayn Rand and I certainly don’t want her Objectivism viewpoint put into the mouths of my favorite superheros. Just give me a good movie. I’ve given Zach Snyder 2 tries at the theater. Both times I left the theater totally disgusted at what I seen on the screen. I’m seriously leaning towards not even watching “Justice League: Part 1” when it comes out sometime next year. Adrian Edmondson Stop making sense Sean 😎 I hope/pray DC goes back and looks at what worked , avoid the mopey , my shoulders aren’t strong enough to carry the burden of having super powers Superman and actually have him be the beakon of hope , without the 70’s goofy Clark Kent act . I want the Superman that was excited when he learned how to fly . Is that to much to ask for ? stock I agree with you on Supes, although I actually liked the goofy Clark Kent because, if anything, that sold the idea of these guys being 2 separate characters. A testament to Chris Reeve’s acting chops as well. Adrian Edmondson I agree on the late great Reeves Shakes_McQueen Sharknado is a film that’s tailor-made to be a “bad” B-movie, and it is scored by critics along those parameters. I actually hate the Sharknado movies (you can’t intentionally make a good bad movie, in my opinion – you need sincerity), but I don’t take it having a 92% RT score as any evidence of anything vis-a-vis BvS. Kerry Vanderberg I strongly disagree. A bad movie – even one that’s made to be bad on purpose – should have a bad critical rating, not 92% approval. It can be a “qualified” bad review where they say, “this is a terrible movie, but I had a hilarious time watching it.” But at the end of the day, it’s still bad and the critical rating should reflect that, not be seen in a positive light when one is browsing through top scores. So yeah, as someone who loves BvS and thinks that film deserves a better critical review (I give it a solid B), it pisses me off that a movie that EVERYONE knows is terrible from the get go has a higher rating. Sean Gerber I’ve never even bothered to watch Sharknado, but I can’t really agree with you here, Kerry. Sharknado is a B movie and it’s perfectly okay for critics to grade it as such. Considering the intent of a movie based on a number of factors from style to genre and more is a very common, very valid approach to film criticism. Generally speaking, a lot of the superhero films with high RT scores would not be in that space if critics were evaluating the superhero films just as they evaluate the dramas aiming for Oscar consideration. Family films aimed primarily at young children, romantic comedies, and many more are usually evaluated based on the genres of which they are part. The relevance of Sharknado’s RT score pretty much begins and ends with comparisons to its fellow B movies. More relevant comparisons for BvS can be found within the superhero genre. Hey berto Does a film live up to it’s premise?.. does it succeed at what its wants to be? That’s the difference. Sharknado is trying to be utter ridiculousness, and while I haven’t seen it, that’s the fun of it. Apparently it succeeds at it. I have to say that BvS does not succeed on it’s own level. Kerry Vanderberg Yes, each movie should be evaluated on the basis of it’s own genre, but RT doesn’t factor that in at all. It just presents scores on an even playing field regardless of genre, style or intent. So the average mainstream audience member who might be browsing through RT scores will look at the two and go, “Wow, Sharknado is better than BvS!” So I disagree, in that the average mainstream audience member isn’t always going to take genre and context into consideration. They’re just going to compare scores, and that’s it. On that basis, it makes me mad! Ugh, where I’m coming from is this: I love BvS. I’ve seen the movie 5 times, and cannot wait for the extended cut. I don’t think it deserves the crap-fest reviews it’s recieved, meanwhile a movie that’s designed to be crap has a rating that’s screams, “It’s great! Go see it!” Sean Gerber I really don’t see the mainstream audience comparing the RT scores of Sharknado and BvS. So far, the only people I’ve seen using that side-by-side comparison are those who love BvS and use the comparison to discredit RT. It wouldn’t occur to the average moviegoer to wonder how BvS’ RT score compares to that of Sharknado. The only way they’d become aware of it is through the side-by-side graphics created by people who like and wish to defend BvS. In those cases, the point of the post they’re seeing is clear in that BvS is better than Sharknado in the opinion of the person who posted it. If the mainstream audience is comparing RT scores, I don’t believe it’s as random of a pairing as BvS and Sharknado. More likely, they are comparing the RT scores of movies in theaters now if they’re undecided on what they want to see. Perhaps they also compare scores to films that they believe to be similar or are from the same genre. I don’t think you’re giving audiences enough credit. RT doesn’t need to clarify that a basic approach to film criticism is in play and factors into the scores movies receive. What could RT really do anyway? There’s no need to tell the audience what genre a film is in since they can decide that for themselves by watching the trailer that’s right their on the film’s dedicated RT page. The mainstream audience inherently understands the concept of critics evaluating a film within context because the mainstream audience does the same thing. We don’t see a ton of mainstream audience members acting confused when the Best Picture nominee list is not directly pulled from the year’s top RT scores. People get it because they don’t sit down and watch Paddington, Sharknado, Batman v Superman, and The Revenant with the same set of expectations. You love the movie, so you defend it. You think it’s a good movie, so of course you don’t think it deserves a 28% RT score. It’s fine to make that argument, but if you’re going to compare RT scores, you’re better off comparing an apple to another apple instead of an orange. Luke Charles Well when people see a CBM and feel that another company is doing/handling certain things so much better, of course they’re going to think this way. Marvel has set a new standard, a lot of the things comic movies use to be able to get away with just don’t fly nowadays, because Marvel is making all kind of crazy shit work Ben Yamano This piece is spot on. You even pinpointed exactly when the fan base started to turned ugly, 2013 after Man of Steel. I feel like DC fans were so sure that MoS would be the second coming that when IM3 was received better by critics and lapped MoS at the BO it truly shook them. And after three years of DC being off the board they pinned all of their hopes on BvS, only for it to be even less well received than MoS. The awful thing is, it’s only going to get worse with the inevitable success Civil War. As a fan it is heartbreaking but it is no excuse to be delusional, whiney, or in the case of some, violent. For the record, I’m a huge DC fan. I’ve spent enough money on DC Comics to buy a pretty decent car, my favorite superhero related thing ever is Justice League Unlimited, and I pray to the comic book gods that Gotham Academy will be turned into a tv show. But I think it’s time for some people to be less of a fan, and more of a human. Intelligent and insightful as usual, Sean. Charlie When the fan base turned ugly? Give me a break. It’s a small, very vocal minority. Like I said in another post, this crap happens in all kinds of fandom. Sports, movies, tv, video games etc… And even if MOS or BvS were huge successes they’d still go out and find the people who didn’t like them and spew their garbage. They’re insane people who probably really don’t belong in civilized society when you really think about it. Ben Yamano When I said the fan base turned ugly I was mostly referring to the delusion, whining, and fingerpointing. The “persecution complex” that Sean mentions sums it up perfectly. I agree with you that the “insane people” are the minority, and I said only some were violent. As for all of the other fandoms that you mentioned, you’re right. But this article isn’t about those fandoms so it isn’t relevant. Shakes_McQueen The JL/JLU cartoons are two of my all-time favourite things ever. The only comics I own are Batman and Flash comics. I loved the Nolan Batman films. I thought Man of Steel’s trailers looked fantastic (and then thought the film kind of ruined Superman). I also have no problem acknowledging that BvS wasn’t a very good film. People get too invested in defending a “side”. stock I’m not sure what to think of this since MMM is generally the only comic book movie site I visit and I have no interest in Twitter or Snapchat or any of that stuff. It does trouble me more on a societal measure, however, because it relates to the general maturity level of these people and the easy, mostly anonymous nature of social media. Fact is, most of these movies deliver about as much as they can, even when they suck. So, as an older guy, I take whatever entertainment value I can get and either take them to my heart (like the Nolan flicks) or generally let them fade away, (like most Marvel flicks). And I loved Marvel growing up. But this isn’t life–its entertainment. I like debating ideas, but this stuff is not my religion. IMHO few, if any of these movies match the master storytelling of say, Ben-Hur, or Lawrence of Arabia, or early Welles flicks on up to Touch of Evil, Seven Samurai etc. I’m not trying to be a snob, but those are the flicks that mean something to me, and a lot of what you see today tries to copy them, but don’t ever pull it off. I think you need to be versed in good movies that aren’t connected to Superheroes to know if you’re seeing a good superhero flick. But that’s just me. I liked some of BvS, but like a lot of people, I don’t care for what they’re doing to the characters, especially Superman. But I’m hoping Suicide Squad is good. Once they get past hypothetically indicting Superman, that is. That pisses me off, but that’s the direction WB is going these days. Heck, I remember a day when Superman told Lois Lane his weaknesses so she could print them in the Planet. At the time, nobody batted an eye. Now, they’d get the torches and pitchforks out for a faux pas like that. Just wierd. Charlie This kind of nonsense happens in all sorts of fandoms. Whether it’s movies, tv, sports, videogames. It happens everywhere. It disgraceful any time it happens, but it’s really nothing new. Gareth There is no excuse for some of the comments you get online but sadly they are not confined to just DC . , marvel , Star Wars , GOT etc have fans who make just as crazy comments online as the ones pointed out here . To think it is just the odd idiot DC fan is a bit disingenuous. pud333 The sad part about all this, is that I don’t see this as newsworthy these days. I see this behaviour all the time in all corners of the Internet, not just from DC fans. That’s what’s sad to me; that behaviour like this is normal these days. Shakes_McQueen The complaints about people using Civil War reviews to “trash” BvS, is just beyond stupid. They are two comic-book films released in close proximity, both with roughly the same conceit (pitting the two biggest faces of their respective universes against each other), and both with completely different audience and critical reactions. Of course people are bringing up BvS for comparative purposes in their reviews. And I’ve not only seen it in “enthusiast” reviews, but just general newspaper publications and whatnot – essentially saying “see, THIS is how you do this kind of hero-vs-hero conflict”, which is a completely valid thing to bring up so soon after BvS released. Do people like Grace Randolph seriously think the old man who does reviews for the newspaper has some kind of rooting interest in the juvenile Marvel/DC fanboy wars? I saw BvS in theatres twice. It had some neat moments (almost entirely a product of Batfleck), but the rest was mostly awful, unmotivated schlock that mistakes a maudlin tone for “seriousness” and “thoughtfulness”. And the end of the titular conflict hinges on one of the sillier scenes in comic book movie history, featuring Superman delivering obtuse lines of dialogue hand crafted by a script writer to “trigger” Bruce, such as requiring Clark to unnaturally refer to his own mom by her proper first name in his death throes. The fact that such a disappointing film came out a few weeks before what is being hailed as one of the best MCU films ever? Of course people are drawing the comparison. Shu That’s what the DC, especially BvS, teach them: spurn the dissidents, disrespect the distinction, hate those who hold opposed opinions because we’re different And you forget to mention x-men Nap60 Too bad they are sending death threats. People actually defend the ones that send those threats. Plus you guys should check out a guy on YouTube that calls out random people on the internet because they don’t like BvS. Joshua Nathan Strong Serious question: Why is DC Comics being blamed for the Clarke Wolfe incident? I saw that she mentioned them in her tweet where she shared the threat from Instagram. And now people are pointing the finger to DC and DC fans as a whole it seems. And what responsibility does DC have in any of this? What that lunatic said is terrible and I hope that justice is served for the victim. It just seems like this terrible picture of the entire fan base is being painted because the actions of the smallest minority in addition to the company. Mr. Darkseid I have some qualms with this article in the sense of certain things that you said so I want to lay that out clearly, Mr. Gerber. “this no longer feels like a handful of trolls lashing out independently, but an actual movement. It may not be organized,” Okay, so what you’re trying to say is that it’s an actual movement but that it’s not organized. That made no sense. With that logic, it is then not a movement. It is just an individual few. I do not know how people do not get that. It’s like you’re saying “DC fans are not part of the problem, but they are!” and it makes little to no sense since you act as if only DC fans have sent death threats and acted rather immature about this film. How come you don’t highlight the antics of the MCU fans who attacked Joss Whedon after his remarks about Age of Ultron. He literally had to delete his Twitter for a little after that. Let’s not forget the various people that have suggested Snyder should commit suicide on Twitter as well. Both fanbases have knuckleheads in them. It’s a considerably obvious fact. Now I’m not trying to be rude here but it feels like you sort of missed that point or turned a blind eye to that. OB I’m totally confused and a little disappointed Sean… Why waste time writing this? This is a huge pot stir and and log toss into/onto a pot/fire that needed none of it. This rivalry will exist FOREVER. No matter how well either side is doing. If I spent enough time I could find atrocious things EVERY DAY that DC/Marvel fans do/say/post. So, really what’s your agenda here? Look at all the unnecessary flame going back and forth over this. I like MMM because things like this AREN’T posted and there isn’t any real favoritism for any camp. This is something a Marvel website posts to throw shade on DC. I mean, come on man, you’re better than this, right? Sean Gerber Organization is not required for something to be a movement, though it obviously helps if the movement is to eventually be successful. As I further elaborated, this movement presently takes the form of a hive mind, which happens when people share the same set of “knowledge” and opinions amongst themselves over and over so that seemingly independent thoughts coalesce and produce uncritical conformity. It’s not always a negative concept, but in this instance, it certainly is. We have more and more DC fans subscribing to baseless conspiracy theories without any critical thought as to how ridiculous such an idea really is. People buy into the theories and think what they are doing is fighting back for some legitimate cause. I’ve already had DC fans from this group responding to this article in ways that prove my point. I have messages from DC fans in response to this article in which they explicitly state what they are doing is fighting back. No, it’s not like I’m saying, “DC fans are not part of the problem, but they are,” because I explicitly stated in the article that I’m not talking about ALL DC fans, but rather SOME fans exhibiting specific behaviors. I have not turned a blind eye to bad behavior outside of DC fandom. In the article, I explicitly acknowledge that deplorable behavior happens across the internet. That obviously includes MCU fans, music fans, sports fans, and pretty much all fans of all things. It includes conversations that have nothing to do with any type of fandom. The point is that there are, in my observation, specific behaviors exhibited by SOME DC fans that are creating a general sense of unrest that is leading and will continue to lead to more and more instances of aggressive behavior. On top of that, and this is in the article, even if, for the sake of argument, we agree that all fandoms are equally guilty of the exact same acts occurring with the exact same frequency, “That it happens elsewhere on the internet and that the behavior is sometimes exhibited by fans of other things does not make it reasonable or acceptable for DC fans to take part in it.” I’m a DC fan. I’ll put my love for these characters, especially Batman, against anyone’s. I am PART of the larger community in which I’m seeing these problems. Looking outward and screaming, “Hey! Other people are doing it too!” justifies nothing. It does not, in any way, make it less important for these behaviors within DC fandom to be addressed. OB I’m totally confused and a little disappointed Sean… Why waste time writing this? This is a huge pot stir and and log toss into/onto a pot/fire that needed none of it. This rivalry will exist FOREVER. No matter how well either side is doing. If I spent enough time I could find atrocious things EVERY DAY that DC/Marvel fans do/say/post. So, really what’s your agenda here? Look at all the unnecessary flame going back and forth over this. I like MMM because things like this AREN’T posted and there isn’t any real favoritism for any camp. This is something a Marvel website posts to throw shade on DC. I mean, come on man, you’re better than this, right? Sean Gerber This pot was stirred long before I jumped into the conversation with this article. This is not a Marvel vs. DC article, nor do I make any claim in the article that the rivalry could or should go away. I have no agenda here outside of honestly expressing my opinion on what I believe is a growing problem, as well as what I see as the causes of the problem based on my observations. I’m quite sure you could find terrible posts from Marvel and DC fans every single day. I have acknowledged in the article that bad behavior is nothing new across the internet, which would encompass all fans of all things. I’m not throwing shade on DC. I love DC. I love most of my fellow DC fans. I’m pointing out a set of behaviors that is making DC fandom look bad while clarifying that it obviously isn’t an issue with all DC fans. I think SOME DC fans are creating an environment that is increasing the frequency and intensity of problematic behaviors that will lead to even more instances in which the line is truly crossed. As a DC fan, I don’t like seeing fellow fans throwing their own shade on DC fandom by exhibiting the behaviors I outlined in this article. I have mostly kept quiet on this issue for a long time, but ignoring it is not making it go away. It’s getting worse. If enough people acknowledge that there is a problem, then perhaps we can all be more vigilant about setting the right example for how we want DC fandom to be known and addressing things that interfere with that goal as we see them. ZackBop https://www.spreaker.com/user/4440820/the-john-campea-podcast-episode-18-the-d John Campea describes the situation pretty accurately. And without excusing the behavior of some psychotic DC fans, he DOES point out that some Marvel fans need to do their part in stopping this toxic environment too. Don’t “rub it in” when DC films under-perform, and don’t constantly tell DC fans that they need to copy Marvel. It makes things worse. We’re all on the same side here, so we need to act like it. OB I agree with everything you said above Sean. Except, I think one needs to fully think out the history and framework laid before you. You have made what I think is an honorable attempt to try and shed some light on the cracks in the DC fandom. But, let’s be honest the internet is a place of savages and cowards. I only am voicing my opinion here directly at you because I think sites like this are great because you report facts and only facts. I have been around a long time and remember standing around spinner racks at the pharmacy as a kid when DC comics went from 25 cents to 30 cents in the summer of 1976 and all the kids who “made their’s marvel” still only had to pay a quarter and had some change left over. That was the first time I remember starting the DC vs. Marvel argument. 40 years later… And many other arguments later I’ve come to realize this is an eternal battle that at times, is flavorful and fun, and sometimes gets out of hand. But even when something so stupid occurs, the worst I feel can happen in a mega-media society we live in is to draw attention to it. It just draws another line in the sand. That’s all I’m saying. Nayan Desai Sean, BVS has passed the 850 million mark for worldwide takings, it would be difficult to make the point that the film is a relative disappointment financially. Granted, it features the 2 biggest superheroes in history, so the expectation people appear to have is that it should already have made a billion dollars, but whichever way you look at it the film has turned a decent profit despite mixed reviews and some negative word of mouth. It just shows the appetite people now have for these superhero films, bad reviews or not. The rot you refer to as regards DC fandom is not specific to any company loyalty. Some Marvel fans have a similar bad streak in them. The issue is a deep rooted problem in fandom that has always been there, just check out the message boards at aintitcoolnews to see how out of control fandom can be. Sean Gerber Relative disappointment is precisely the phrasing I would use regarding BvS’ financial performance. WB is getting back half of these box office receipts, so $425m of the $850m. It’s not getting to $900m. Let’s be generous and say it gets to $880m when all is said and done, giving WB $440m. Between production and marketing WB has, in all likelihood, spent at least $400m on the film. I think the total is probably higher than that, but I’ll just keep it conservative. That gives WB a 10% return on investment, which isn’t great considering the size of the investment. The margin will no doubt get a boost from other revenue streams, but those should be the icing on the cake, not what a film like this depends on for a strong profit margin. And we can’t escape the context here. It’s going to finish well under Batman’s last two films, in which he was on his own, had no 3D, and did business in a smaller international market. Plus, BvS was spotted 8 years’ worth of inflation over TDK and 4 years’ worth over TDKR. BvS should have made at least $1 billion and it would have if more people actually thought it was a good movie. Your point about its earnings despite bad reviews and so so word-of-mouth actually supports my argument here. Of course the interest in the characters is high. How could it not be? The financial performance of the film, however, demonstrates that it failed to truly capitalize and expand upon that interest. It’s not like critics were the only or even main factor here. There are movies that have been panned and still got to $1 billion. If general audiences shared a lot of DC fans’ love of the film, $1 billion be the revenue floor. Did BvS bomb? Certainly not. Will it lose money? Hard to say without seeing an actual budget, but probably not once revenue streams outside of box office are counted. Is it a disappointment relative to the property’s potential, the recent financial history of one of its title characters, plus the event status of the Trinity together for the first time ever on film? Yes. WB will publicly express satisfaction with the number, but I’m willing to bet the real truth is they were counting on at least $1 billion here. As far as the rot elsewhere in fandom, that’s addressed in the article and in a couple of my other replies in this thread. stock It’s a deep rooted problem with humans, especially since we are no longer required to look at each other to have a conversation. It’s also a tribal mentality that goes back to our need to belong to some group that accepts us. Once accepted, pulling your weight involves forgetting social graces and fighting for the survival of the group, whether there is a real threat or not. Personally, I take the Groucho Marx view–I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me for a member. Hey berto Pretty sad. At the end of the day, it’s just entertainment folks. Oumar Great article Sean. You are absolutely right on all points. This type of behavior is unacceptable. There is only one point of your article I have trouble with. When you say that DC fans believe that people have been brainwashed by Marvel films. I wouldn’t say it is a brainwash. But I do believe that Marvel’s success as well as the amount of films that have been released has found a way into public consciousness as the “proper” way to make superhero films. It was present at the time of release of The Dark Knight Rises, but not prevalent. I remember many reviews touching on the lightness and fun of the Avengers film that had been released a few months earlier and deducted points from that film because of it. By the time that Man Of Steel was released a year later, it was even harder to ignore those voices. Reviews claimed this film to be too “Dark” (whatever that means at this point.) I remember one particular article going as far as calling the movie “The Batmanfication of Superman”. Although the color palette for Man Of Steel was pretty somber, the film itself is all about hope and faith in humanity and the collective good. It lacked the touch of humor and adventure and the sometimes silliness found in Marvel films and again I believe that the reception to Man Of Steel was hurt by the fact that it was not more like the comic book films made by that other company. In the three years since Man Of Steel, Marvel has dominated the Box Office with their superhero films. Even cranking out, to my opinion, some of their best work since the original Iron Man in 2008. People were used to the fun and down right escapism that came from these movies. With the Release of B V S, there was no way to review this film without comparing it to the ones made by Marvel. And BVS was taken to town in many reviews for NOT being a Marvel film in a more direct way than ever before. One reviewer went as far as to say “Just wait for the next Marvel film.” I liked B V S. I don’t mind that others don’t like it, I have enjoyed several discussions with others who haven’t felt the way I have about the film. I have listened and read to almost every word you have said and written on the film, and still care a great deal about you opinions. What I DO mind, is not judging this product on its own merits and judging it based on what Marvel has done to this point. You are right, The Dark Knight was well received by fans and critics alike. It was an amazing film that was “dark” and carried a serious tone. But this film was released prior to Marvel’s domination of the genre. Iron Man had been released a few weeks earlier and If i remember correctly Mark Hughes and yourself had a podcast on how similar Iron Man was to Batman Begins, at the very least in the way the story was structured. I am not upset about differing opinions from my own. But I am very worried, that DC/WB does decide to give us more films that are in the Marvel vein. B V S, was far from a perfect film, but I think the issues with the movie are not due to it’s too serious tone or “dark” (again what does that even mean?) themes. Pacing, editing and characterization i can perfectly understand and agree with. But there is a large number of people who do believe that Marvel has got it “right” and that their way of superhero films is the only way. I read somewhere that Nolan told Zack Snyder that he made Watchmen “Too Soon.” I don’t know if that is true, but I understand what he means by the idea of films being released at a time where the audience was ready for it. The Dark Knight was released at the perfect moment. The Dark Knight Rises a year too late. I do wonder the type of reception those films would have garnered if they were released today. They were much better made and handled than BVS. But would it have lost points for not following the Marvel way? Sean Gerber From a mainstream perspective, it’s difficult to argue that TDKR suffered due to Avengers comparisons. It actually made more money than TDK and received the exact same “A” CinemaScore from audiences. Critically, TDKR is only 7 percentage points below TDK on RT. Most of the comparative knocks I’ve seen on TDKR have come from TDK, not The Avengers. The dominant force in the genre in the years leading into 2008 was the very light and campy Spider-Man franchise. Iron Man actually made a lot more money in 2008 than Batman Begins did in 2005. If it’s true that one company can define what people will embrace from a genre, that would’ve been the key turning point. It wasn’t, however, because one company cannot really do that when another company is putting out equally great or better films, which TDK was in 2008. I think the audience actually agrees with you that the issues with BvS are not how dark or serious it is. The issues are more specific and related to things like characterization, pacing, etc. It’s not really about the movie not being a Marvel film, but simply, in the minds of those who don’t love BvS, having its own set of problems within the framework of the story it wishes to tell. Robert Reineke I don’t think it’s just DC fans, as much as it’s a change in how the culture engages in critics. I’ve seen plenty of awful comments to critics who happen to write pans of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Nolan’s films, and even Captain America: Civil War. I get a sense that there’s a large segment of fans that don’t want to engage with a critic’s thoughts or writing, they just want validation of their opinion. With newspapers dropping critics, the rise of Rotten Tomatoes scores as a substitute for actually reading reviews, and Ebert’s passing, the days of a reader having any sort of relationship with the writing of a critic are long over. Today, reviews are simply a commodity for pumping up one’s self-esteem. As much as I think it’s worth quibbling over their show, I think Siskel and Ebert coming into people’s homes every week and having debates about film and then being able to move on, was a healthy example. Maybe because you were forced to engage with them as there weren’t a lot of options. Now, it’s easy to hunt for the opinion that validates your own and dismiss everyone else. God forbid how people would react to Pauline Kael these days whose prose was among her strongest features and I think would struggle with hate mail in response to her often contrarian streak.