Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Like Liking Things (in defense of my ratings)

  I know I've mentioned this before but I'm not here to hate on stuff.  When given an option I prefer to like things.  I try to enter any situation with an open mind ready to have fun.  Of course this mostly applies to comic/superhero related stuff.  When it comes to other social situations I mostly just feel total anxiety and sheer terror.

That's me, Mr. Thumbs up.
  Just one look at my tags and the numbers associated with them shows that there are 43 reviews ranked 3 and up to the 15 ranked 2 or below.  Sometimes when I'm reviewing something I wonder if I should be more harsh on it.  This is especially true for the movies I see in theaters because, let's face it, going to a theater pretty much guarantees a positive review (3 or above), so far.  Now you can say that the recent releases are especially good but you also have to take into account that I paid $20 for the experience so you're damn sure I'm going to enjoy myself.  If I'm going to go to a theater and pay that much money I'm going in with an open mind WANTING to have fun.  I've paid for my ticket both literally and figuratively and I'm ready to enjoy the ride.

  This doesn't seem to be the case with a lot of people.  The guy I overheard when I was leaving the theaters, some of these internet reviewers, they don't seem like they want to have fun.  It's like they showed up ready to hate this thing they were meant to enjoy.  What a terrible way to go through life.  What a terrible way to go through fandom.  To hate the thing you are meant to enjoy.

  It's not popular to like things are the internet, I don't really understand that, but I don't watch these movies to hate them.  There are things to hate about some of these movies for sure, but I invest my time in them hoping that I'll be entertained, that'll I get an escapist experience, that I'll get to spend some time in a place that isn't here and life that isn't my own.

  I guess I'm saying these things because looking at my review scores, if I was an objective third party, I wouldn't trust this person.  I would say "Well he likes everything, he's the Peter Travers of super hero stuff.". But I don't like everything, I do dislike stuff and if I dislike it then it probably is bad.  The thing is most of this stuff doesn't fall in the "terrible"  category (2 or less).  Most of it falls into the middle category (3 or 4) and a few fall into the excellent category (5 and above).

  As an example I'm rewatching Fantastic Four as I'm writing this.  What is terrible about this movie?  You have a decent script (nothing innovative or exceptional).  3 out of your 5 main actors put in awesome, character defining performances, once actress puts in a decent performance (dwarfed by the 3 excellent performances) and one actor who was really miscast more than anything (Julian McMahon is a terrible Doom but no one plays Julian McMahon better than him, if you didn't want Julian McMahon Julian McMahoning it up then you shouldn't have gotten Julian McMahon).  And the special effects are really good.  There is no one part that brings down the exceptional parts of the movie.  There isn't a performance that brings down the other performances, the effects don't detract from the visuals and the script isn't so terrible that ceases to make sense or becomes incomprehensible.  That's a solid 3 out of 5 (check it out).  It's not a "drop everything and go see this" and it's not a "genre defining movie" but those factors don't make it something to avoid.  To me that is an accurate review score influenced minimally by own bias.

  I really enjoyed Man of Steel.  It took the level of fighting that Avengers brought (an already game changing amount of stakes, destruction, display of powers/abilities and fight choreography) and upped the ante in ways that you may not have thought.  The fights alone in Man of Steel will change how people create super hero fight scenes.  The innovative use of powers, the level of destruction the incredible, unbelievable visuals is a step in the evolution of what the "epic superhero disaster" movie will become.  That's not to say all superhero movies will be epic disaster movies, Nolan's Batman showed us a superhero movie with much lower stakes (comparatively) and how that can be compelling as well.  So I think the experience I had in the theater, combined with the facts of the movie (acting, script, effects, etc) made it a 5.  I had more fun at that movie than Dark Knight Rises but less fun than Avengers.  Dark Knight Rises got it's score because in the context of the Trilogy it was better than one but not better than two and Avengers got it's ranking busting score because it was the first of it's kind that I ever saw.

  Ultimately I think my ratings make sense, I think they are fair and I think they are accurate for my experience of the media.  If you align with my opinions then you can be pretty sure that if I don't like something then there's very little appeal to see it and if I do like it then you're probably going to like it as well and really that's what matters most, not a bunch of manufactured hate towards things that don't deserve it.

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