OR: HOW I LEARNED MY ANGER IS JUSTIFIED.
We have written a few articles on this site about fandom, nerddom and the like, but I feel that we often spend the majority of the time condemning fans for wanting things they love to match their expectations- without ever really trying to think about things from their side.
I’m going to do something out of character: I’m going to try to see how I’ve been wrong and dive into why the angry fanboy is right- even if what they do with their anger is wrong. No matter how much you hate any piece of media, you can trust that people (not all of them, sure) poured their blood sweat and tears into it and any personal attacks are not only a waste of time, but outright cruel. To do this, I’m going to be looking at some recent films and TV shows and spoil the hell out of them, so be warned….
LET’S START WITH THE (lack of) ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – GAME OF THRONES!
I love the hell out of Game of Thrones. My wife and I walked down the aisle to the theme; we have a framed poster of Ned Stark in our living room; my son has a Weirwood tree in his room. I love it. But for my buck, the whole show completely falls apart right at the end of the Battle of the Bastards. We lose our last amazing villain and the Starks have reclaimed their home. From there on out, the pacing of the show takes a nose dive so comically that you spend most of the remaining episodes going, “Wait, how the fuck did that dude get there so fast?” or “How did that dude know that dude again?” These are simple questions that used to be answered with clever writing and near pitch perfect pacing. You felt like an expert in the mythos of the world and had to do nothing more than watch the show to feel that way.
Now in the aftermath of season 8, we are all left asking, what was the point of any of it? Why did the show start with the White Walkers? Before the title of the show ever hits the screen, we see Wight art and see that they are the true threat. We don’t see Cersei sip wine and stare out a window. We don’t see Danny playing with matching burning ant hills. Slowly but surely, we are told time and time again that the squabbles of man are pointless and we should all band together to fight the real threat: global warm– I mean White Walkers. Then, 3 episodes in, one poke in the belly and its all over. Fans- like me- who take issue with this, are totally in the right to do so. And if you disagree, that’s fine too! I could get into the oddity that most atheists I know felt the show was about the human elements, and most religiously inclined folks thought gods and monsters, but that’s for another day.
If you- like me- spent the last decade reading the books, diving into online theories and re-watching the show on an obsessive level, only to be told, “Nope, fuck you, Dany vs Cersei was the whole show,” you have every right to be angry. You have every right to blow up on the internet and cry with me while we cuddle with our Night King pop figures. But, do you have the right to demand that HBO remake the whole thing to appease you? What about those people I mentioned earlier who love that the whole White Walker business was dealt with in three episodes so they could get back to the good stuff? I’m not even touching on the poor people who believed that Dany was the best written character, only to have her pull a Two-Face coin flip and murder everyone. This show was amazing, and then it wasn’t. And me- I can live with that. But… a show like this is a once in a lifetime ride that we were all lucky to be on. So when that ride goes from world class roller coaster to that weird alligator thing at every state fair, your disappointment is real, and I’m right there with you.
GOD DAMN, GODZILLA: KING OF THE MOSTERS WAS POO!
Now onward to one that most people disagree with me on. Everywhere I look (but for the actual critics) I’m being told this movie is amazing. My wife and I lined up early, got our snacks and prepared to be impressed. About 25 minutes in I got the inclination I was in trouble. Ghidorah wakes up and eats Sally Hawkins in the quickest of quick shots- so fast I thought I saw it wrong- only to not have her in the rest of the movie. Oh, I guess she was eaten. Why would a Titan the size of Ghidorah eat a tiny harmless human? Reasons I guess…. This movie is a total mess, with some entertaining-ish moments. Someone never told them that we as an audience are tired of the shaky cam and it makes your action sequences feel cheap and under choreographed. And beyond seeing what some of the monsters powers are, I’m not sure that anyone has seen a single Toho movie.
These are problems for someone like my wife and me. We both love Godzilla (admittedly she is a much bigger fan than I) and there is no more sure fire way to get us in the theater than the big cuddly guy. Well, except Star Wars of course. But here I am on the other side of this movie and I’m mad. I’m mad that I wasted an afternoon I could have spent with my son watching a movie that didn’t understand any of its source material. I’m mad that the movie totally ignores the original cast members from the 2014 movie, using them as red shirts to be killed off one by one. And I’m mad that no one is talking about how closely this movie resembles Final Wars!
Godzilla has 35 movies and as someone who has seen 32 of them, having a movie get things so comically wrong is beyond upsetting. There is a known camp to these things- that somehow even Roland Emmerich understood. That’s right, I’d rather watch the 90’s Godzilla… or Final Wars… seriously- see Final Wars. Even the movies that don’t have anything real to say (looking at you Son of Godzilla), there is still an undeniable charm that is Toho’s Godzilla. King of the Monsters fails on nearly every front beyond getting monsters on screen to punch each other. That said, if you enjoyed the movie, great! I’m glad you did- it means I might be getting more of these movies! Maybe with a different creative crew behind it… hopefully.
WHERE BETTER TO END THAN ENDGAME?
There is no denying there a LOT of issues with this movie. Even if you loved it, most of you out there say you love it in spite of the problems. So when I tell people I give it somewhere between a six or seven out of ten, I’m met with “that’s low“. I’m totally confused. I’ll take on a few of the issues- not all to be sure- that I think sink this otherwise genuine crowd-pleaser.
Bye-bye black widow. After it’s all said and done, we lose 2 Avengers, Tony Stark and Black Widow. Tony gets the moment that comic book movies are made for. Black Widow? Ugh… First we have the Wheadon problem where she defines herself as a monster for being barren. While not the intention of the line, its definitely the message that is received. Then, she sacrifices herself because Barton will have more to live for: wife, kids and such. Hoo boy there is a lot to unpack there. I thought we had moved past the point where a woman’s worth was tied to her reproductive organs, but here we are. Not to mention that the entirety of the scene is fundamentally flawed. To get the soul stone, you must sacrifice something you love. Got it. Then both Black Widow and Barton go streaming for the cliff side like toddlers when a pinata bursts. Where is the sacrifice again? If Black Widow flings herself to the depths, by all rights, Barton should be standing up there saying, “Where is my rock?” To be answered, “The monster-no-baby-lady killed herself, what did you sacrifice?” This should have been a tear streaked fight to the death where one of them had to kill the other, not a race to Vahalla.
Lastly, I have a huge bald-headed, purple people beater problem. From the moment the Avengers ended and we see that iconic smile, Thanos is a threat. Slowly but surely, all the stones come into the world and Thanos is compelled to complete his mission once and for all. Throughout Infinity War he tracks down each stone, losing companions as well as servants and ultimately sacrificing his one daughter that he loves- all to achieve his goal. He pays a heavy toll and retires to a shack, where he is promptly beheaded by a justifiably cranky Thor. But we can’t be done with him just yet, he’s the big bad of the MCU! So we go back in time and cherry pick a Thanos that is somewhat aware of the Avengers (as they just slapped Loki silly in New York). But that’s it! He has no emotional stake in this war. He’s only there because it’s convenient. A plan he figured he would do sooner or later, but now that all the stones will be in one place, why not give it a shot? When Scarlet Witch goes to face off with him, he doesn’t even know who she is! Sure a clever line, but it highlights the biggest problem in the movie. Removing all he went through, making him yet another punchable, beatable, bland MCU villain. This is coming off of Josh Brolin being, what I consider, one of the greatest comic book villains ever! I understand the reasoning behind why they killed the good character Thanos, that’s the story they wanted to tell. But I can’t shake the fact that they told the wrong story, and left us with an unbalanced character that irks me to no end… game…
There are far more pop culture moments that fans have gotten angry, hurt and upset over, and I don’t have time to go into all of them. But my point is this: after anyone has spent that much time invested in something, only to be so incredibly crushed by it, their anger and pain is totally understandable. Their complaints are real, and the movies and shows some say are good enough, are not good enough for all. Some boys and girls take it too far; death threats, boycotts, the always-successful petitions- but most are just people who loved some silly little story so much that it hurts (nod to Almost Famous). And when things don’t go the way that they wanted in such a spectacular fashion, of course they will be upset. To many of us, this nerdy shit is our lives and we take it seriously. So before you write off the crazy nerd down the hall, remember that their feelings are coming from a real place, and no matter how much you want to say, its just a “blank,” to us it’s not. Pop culture is a gift that keeps on giving. We will move on to some new thing and hopefully that one will provide the satisfaction we all crave. But if not… Well, we always have (pretend I just said your all time favorite nerdy thing here.)
Bryan is the Host and Producer of After the Hype. He loves talking. About everything. But mostly Batman, Star Wars and Green Lantern.
He also lives in Los Angeles and works in TV Post Production