The cynical fan and “Why can’t we trust filmmakers”

Among one of the various topics that ate away at my brain over the weekend, but between cable men minded timing landlords and failing toilets,  an unexpected supposed to be notified but wasn’t “planned” blackout, and a tree collapse, I couldn’t really do much about it but munch  (*tee-hee* read that one again. ;))

I read the sequart article via my twitter feed (“Why can’t we trust filmmakers?”  )and it got the old marbles rolling for I can see the point was making, but I’m not sure I can fully agree. I myself have, and will still probably be considered a “cynical comic book fan” – aka Someone who is never happy with the outcome of a new take because I’m “hipster” old school true grit like that, who’s idea of characters and genera lay mostly in one’s own clouded vision of nostalgic fantasy of the character(s) one thinks can only be done one way and if not done that way are complete and utter tripe aka wag finger: wrong, wrong, wrong! Stuck in my opinion of…well my own opinion.

I very much understand where he is coming from. We as a society are too quick to judge going off of very little. Personally though I do not believe in going into anything blind, but rather informed but with an open mind.

When fans hear who is going to be in the film they may have an opinion of the actor, and if they are a fan of the character they may not be able to swallow without difficulty. Welcome to Hollywood and film making.  So many people are cast with their own “celebrity” histories and past and so will have built-in deserved and non-deserved stigma based on things wholly unrelated. So when you bring character/genera with its own characters and past well, yes, there will be judgment.  Yet it is unfair to out right say it will suck without any other proof then your own personal taste.

I personally take all “leaks”; studio and fan, with a grain of salt. Somethings can make me more skeptical than others, but I leave it to vision. Because I myself know all too well the creative vision in process. What makes sense to you can make others look at you all cock-eyed and judgey. “It will make sense in the end” you say and go back to puttering your seeming muttled mess of story. So I give every film that same leeway. And with adaptations- I know I have made many an adaptation- It is a very hard road on a very thin line.

I am never skeptical that it can be done. I know it can be done, and well, and to much success and praise. It would be impossible to put novel to screen verbatim whether it be because of budget, screen practicality,  or just plain physical sense. A film is like a tapestry and you have to take visual flow into consideration. There are also timing limitations etc. I get all of the insider biz.

With all of this being said; I am not a cynical fan but skeptical one when I go into a comic book film. Not because it does not match up to my vision of the comic/characters but rather because of what has come before. Not because of other “bad” comic book film adaptations, but because of how it effected the genera on the whole. How the medias have overlapped and how it has changed the characters for good or bad.

It is not that I don’t trust them to make it, but rather to understand and respect it, and the world and continuity that comes along with. Comic books are, unlike novels, ever-changing universes. The characters live life, as we do, changing because of their situations and circumstances. There can be many different versions of said characters. Many different “takes” on who they are, how they came to be and where they go from their etc. So when being translated to film I am not expecting the comic book, But! I am expecting the essence of character.

Now, let’s say that, without telling anybody anything of your book (no plot details, no synopsis, no cover) you post a random page from that book. It is only one page, and the reader has no clue about what came before it and what comes after it. Now, the internet reads your one page and says your book will suck. It will be the worst thing they will have ever read. They may not even read it, based on this one page. Really? Are you truly going to judge a whole novel on one page? Will you trample on the author’s feelings for a piece of work taken out of context? The author has worked on it for two years; they know the plot forward and backwards, have all the characters’ backstories, and know how every piece fits together. They can see, and know, the whole picture. Why do we feel we can do this for films?

~

I see, understand and agree with what he is getting at, to a point. But consider the fact that you put the page out. It holds a certain amount of essence of context. It would be unfair to say it will suck, sure,  but if it is taken from something that has already an established presence in the realm of fan existence (comics, novel etc.) there would be a level of familiarity. Not enough proof to make any kind of definitive statement but enough to leave a taste.

Does it excite one to want more, to want to understand? To start eager thinking how it could apply to any number of versions of story and character? Or does it leave on with the befuddled sense of how the hell are they going to make this work/make sense?

This is where I believe the finest line exists. What most fans are expecting (don’t get me wrong some do think it is their way or the high way, they have a vision and everything else will disappoint.) but on the greater whole, and why most comic book films do rather well at the box office is that the fan just wants to see their hero in real life. In physical presence. They want the child in them to gasp!

That is why Marvel will get more cheerleaders then haters. Because they know how to get that gasp. They give you a romp of cool action scenes, funny lines and a carefree almost cocky in your face demeanor of an unapologetic good time. Take it or leave it. So the fan does because at least it’s enjoyable.  Yet ( and this is what sets me apart and I guess would classify me a “cynical”) I believe they veer too much on the lack of  real substance.

Vise-verse DC can be way too self serious and almost apologetic in the fact that the story being told is about…”sigh”…a costumed superhero. Like it is a genera that can’t be taken seriously on its own so they hit you with the realist real that ever “oh my god crack some humor” realed. Both are trying to please too many different “audiences” that the characters can get lost in the shuffle.

I have no problem with what sells, what they want to do or what direction they go. What I have a problem with, and I believe discontents most “cynical” fans is when the hero becomes adapted to a point where they don’t recognize them, any version of them, any more. Good time or not, the real disappointment lies when their “hero” becomes just another blockbuster.

(*Taken from a previous publication)

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