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Let’s Take a Step Back

Last week I ended a year three blog drought by posting my review of the latest Detective Comics Cinematic Universe film: Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice. I reviewed the film because those who know me know I am a lifelong fan of all things Batman. I’ve loved the character since I was a small child and that interest has continued well into adulthood. I’m still a few years shy of 40 but still get a child-like excitement when a new comic book movie comes out. Live action or Animated. Especially if it has to do with The Batman.

I will admit to spending a lot of time online looking up all sorts of stuff that has to do with Batman. I’ve watched hours of YouTube videos relating to the top ten Batman moments in the animated movies; fan made music videos using clips from the movies set to popular songs; different artists interpretations of the Batcave and Batsuits… Let’s just say I could have been spending my time more productively, but this is my hobby and it’s not hurting anyone… I’m just a Batman nerd. Who cares? There’s lots of us out there.

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When I was in high school the word “nerd” was still an insult. Now it’s a lifestyle. It seems like every city has a comic con and “cosplayers” are no longer stereotypical comic book guys (like the famous Simpsons character)… They come in all shapes, ages, and sizes… heck a lot of very attractive people have garnered infamy out of their overly sexed up costumes…
It’s all fun and games. Nerds are celebrating our collective love for fantasy. Everyone is having fun.

And yet…

There is a growing threat. Anyone who has taken an interest in anything in the last 20 years knows you can’t look up anything on the Internet without encountering the dreaded trolls.

Internet Troll:
A person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the Internet over extremely trivial issues. Such arguments can happen on blogs, Facebook, and a host of others sites.
The best thing you can do to fight an Internet troll is to not answer, or report, them.

Or, more accurately:

Internet Troll:
Freaking a$#holes who try to piss you off!

(I got both of those definitions from Urban Dictionary. Choose whichever you prefer, they are both accurate.)

Seeing posts by trolls on the Internet is an unavoidable daily occurrence. There are a few websites I visit daily. I read the newspaper online and every article that is open to public posts has dozens of troll comments posted in less time than it would take the average person to actually read the article they are posting about.

I visit imdb.com for news on the entertainment business. Click on a news article there… same thing. Haters hating for hate’s sake.

One of my favourite websites is a Batman fan site called Batman-on-film.com. The Webmaster, Bill “Jett” Ramey is a born and bread Texas boy who loves the Dallas Cowboys and all things Batman. We don’t always share the same opinion on what we wish to see in the cinematic version of Batman, but we do share a deep love, respect and appreciation for the character and neither of us has any time for trolls. Jett takes frequent flack for his opinions and his NO SPOILER rule on is website. Some of the vitriol I have seen posted on his website is shameful. And what is the reason? Because someone doesn’t share his opinions on a Movie Version of a FICTIONAL man dressed up as a Bat who fights crime in a FICTIONAL version of New York City.

I’m sorry but Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Captain America, The Joker, The Flash, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Aquaman… ET ALL… Are Comic Book Characters.

They Are NOT Real!!!

Their function, is to entertain. They’re function is to transport us to make believe worlds where grand people are granted grand power to do grand things. Impossible things like Fly; Breath Under Water; Build Super Suits that give Super Powers. They are immortal. They are aliens. They have been bitten by radioactive bugs and most of them are orphans.

The most believable part of all of that is the Orphan thing.

Tragedy. That is the underlying commonality uniting all these characters. They’ve all had greatness thrust upon them, but they were also had tremendous sacrifice thrust upon them as well.

The tragedy is also what makes these characters relatable. None more so than The Batman. He has no super powers and has to rely on his iron will which drives him to become a perfect example of human potential. Yes, Batman is the most conceivably “possible” comic book character out there. And yet…

Being BATMAN would be IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Come on everyone. A pre-teen billionaire forsakes his birthright wealth and runs away to learn how to be the world’s greatest Ninja, Detective, Escape-Artist, and Scientist? To be that young and that rich he would be the most famous human being on the planet. Hard to run away and stay hidden. Even in the furthest corners of the world. Especially if you are being trained to fight sinister fiends by already nefarious masters of these respective crafts. Then to return home 10-15 years later only to take control of a multi-billion dollar corporation all the while using your vast wealth to build (and power) a giant hidden lair under a mansion and spend most nights chasing bad guys on rooftops? Leaving Bat shaped ninja stars all over the city covered in DNA and other evidence that modern police could use to track and arrest said individual for being a brutal vigilante who cares nothing for due process?

IMPOSSIBLE!!!

symbol.jpgBut a damn good read. A story like that makes a hell of a comic book. Or a movie. Or movie Franchise! Or several movie franchises!!!
It’s terrific material for fantasy. Delicious fantasy that can inspire people to do as young Bruce Wayne did and strive to be the best he can be. A symbol.

But we’ve gone too far. People are taking the character too personally. They are projecting what the character means to them, they’re personal inspiration from the character, and railing against all other interpretatisons-of-batman.pngons. Fans are pushing their RULES for the character on other people. And they are doing it viciously. Calling each other out. Hating different versions instead of celebrating the characters versatility.

I am an actor. I pride myself on the ability to play different roles with equal skill. I have strengths and weaknesses and range. If someone were to say to me “you can only do musical comedy because that is what I’ve seen you in the most and that’s what I like and I don’t want to see you do anything else” I would tell them to go to hell.

Why should the same ridiculous constraints be placed on our favourite fictional heroes?

Why should (director) Zach Snyder deserve a pre-judged failing grade on his Batman/Superman movie because movie you didn’t like some of his previous movies? Why should Ben Affleck’s name be spit on because he made a movie you didn’t like 10 years ago? Filmmakers, actors, directors, artists, EVERYONE grows with time. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone (hopefully) learns from these mistakes.

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At the end of the day, Zach Snyder, Ben Affleck, and Henry Cavill have just as much a right to tell their stories, their versions of these characters as anyone else. More so in fact because they have proven to be leaders in their craft and they went through the same vetting process as anyone else would have to when given the responsibility of helming a mutli-million dollar franchise.

Don’t like it? That is your right? You have the right to not see the movie. You have the right to write to discuss what you found lacking or just plain bad about the film..

At the end of the day you also have the right to sit in front of your computer, protected by the anonymity of the internet and spew hateful, shameful, vitriol at people who’s sole purpose is to spend years of their lives to entertain you for a few hours at a time. Yes, you have the right to do that.

But that doesn’t make it right.

~TjM

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