The Perplexing Binary of Quality
The world is full of discourse, and nowhere is that more clear than Social Media. This past year my love hate relationship with Twitter has developed somewhat, since finding it was the place to get the best engagement. Not to mention the awesome comics community I have the pleasure of saying I am now a part of. Twitter has been responsible for a considerable growth in my following, performing much better than Facebook and Instagram.
The trouble is, the good, of course, comes with the bad, and for every fifty positive experiences I have there is that one negative that somehow manages to stand out against the sea of good. And what makes it so frustrating, is that so much of the discourse is about things that aren't all that important.
I find myself wanting to write about a phenomena I have recently noticed, that is a side effect of social media. For the purposes of this I've called it the Binary of Quality.
The media we love, be it movies, television, books, video games, etc, all have fan bases of varying sizes and fanaticism, and in many of them there is a level of, what we have come to refer to as, toxicity. Put simply, fans that take their fanaticism to such extremes, they ruin it for everyone else, with their aggressive opinions and attitudes, to put it mildly. And it is within these communities that I have observed this binary.
It seems there is no longer a place for "Good" or "Okay." To me, my observations have found that many people's attitudes these days are that things are either super amazing and the best thing ever, or the worst garbage ever produced, there is no longer an in between, and this is the binary I refer to
An example that inspired my to write this, is the Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. There's something I have to admit about this movie; I quite like it! It's not great, it's far from amazing, but I find it enjoyable and entertaining. It is an okay film.
Why is this an admission? Why am I announcing it like a confession? Like I feel it's something I should be ashamed of? The answer is because of the above. There is a contingency of super fans who are utterly devoted to the works of the director Zack Snyder and the DC Comics movies he started, now referred to as the "Snyder-Verse," and that's okay. Just like there are those that love the sequel trilogy of Star Wars, when I do not, there are those who find the Snyder movies are their favourite adaptations of DC Comics to the big screen. Art is subjective and people tastes, their likes and dislikes, should be treated on a live and let live basis.
However, there is a further contingency, that are referred with names such as "Snyder-bros" or "Snyder-Cultists" who are incapable of a live and let live attitude towards these films, and actively attack and harass those that refuse to state that the Zack Snyder movies are the greatest there ever were. Any rendition of the Batman character that isn't by Zack Snyder is automatically the worst thing ever. Matt Reeves' The Batman was one of the best films I saw in 2022, but stating that openly on social media will draw the torches and pitchforks of the Snyder-Cult.
By the same token, there are those that have chosen to oppose the Snyder-Cultists' toxicity, but are equally toxic in said opposition, refusing to acknowledge any merit in the Snyder movies and attacking anyone who professes to like and enjoy them on any level.
These are two ends of an extreme scale, with people like me in the middle, who just enjoy a good but not great movie, and afraid to admit it, for fear of getting lumped in with one crowd, and drawing the ire of the other.
It perplexes me further how people lie to themselves in these matters. They know they see the quality of things but refuse to acknowledge it for fear it will appear as some betrayal to their fellow fanatics. If the Snyder version of Batman is your favourite, that's okay, but that doesn't mean you're not allowed to admit you enjoy someone else's version.
I realise this has descended into a rant over the discourse and toxicity specifically within the Zack Snyder following and opposition, but is a prime example of this quality binary, where fans face off over something. Neither side willing to say anything other than a movie deserves a rating of 100% or 0%. But I could have made the same point using Star Wars fandom, about either the prequels or the sequels. And I will readily admit, once upon a time my attitudes were similar, but time and changing attitudes, plus being far to tired to argue these things anymore, have given me a different outlook on these things. There are much more important things in the world to get bent out of shape over than movies.
I will sign off on one last thought about the Snyder-verse. Batman v Superman is the only film (other than Wonder Woman maybe) in this series that I have enjoyed. The Snyder fanatics think that he is the saviour of DC movies, holding the director in an almost messiah like status, and that he should be allowed to finish what he started. I'm sorry Snyder fans, but no. After all I have just said and looking at it subjectively, I cannot agree. That is because I finally watched the Snyder cut of Justice League, and it is bad! I wanted to like it, and there are a lot of parts I did enjoy. The original Joss Whedon release of Justice League was bad as well, but the Snyder cut just didn't work. It felt like a directionless mess of mashed together parts that lacked any sense or cohesion. The best way I can describe it is if you took a number of standalone episodes of a tv series, like Star Trek The Next Generation, played them back to back, and called it a movie. I'm sorry it just didn't work.
It's biggest crime though, was this bit of dialogue.
Silas Stone: "I'll die before I tell you!"
Steppenwolf: "You'll die if you don't."
Yes... that's what he just said!