After all the great news that came out of San Diego Comic Con and all the great projects that are in the works its a great time to be a nerd; especially a comic book nerd. We are living in the golden age of high end movies and television programs that are dealing with topics and characters we love. From comic book heroes to giant robots fighting giant monsters, nerd culture is everywhere. For god sakes the word kaiju is a part of our normal vocabulary now! Wearing glasses is no longer a thing to be ridiculed for but rather a fashion trend. Having extremely detailed levels of knowledge about certain topics is seen as being cool(er) these days. So in this age of nerd enlightenment why is hatred for these movies BY NERDS at an all time high? As a person who self identifies as a nerd (hence, this website) I am excited to see my favorite properties get proper treatments. While not ever one is a slam dunk, the majority are highly entertaining attempts that make me more excited for the next project that is in the pipeline. I've been really thinking about why a group of people who have been constantly pushed to the outskirts are angry that people are finally appreciating what they have been clamoring about for decades now. "I've been waiting for an action packed Superman movie for years," is a comment I've heard tons of times, but when images first get released for the movie I hear, "oh god this is gonna suck...etc." Never giving the movie a real chance. Its a bizarre phenomenon. The trend however goes even further than that.
We see the very announcement of major projects that nerds have been yelling to happen and then they turn on it. WB has been slammed for a while now because they haven't created a movie with Superman and Batman in it together. This weekend that announcement finally happened. I immediately start reading on forums (that are heavily populated with comic book nerds) that they don't want this movie. "Ugh...who cares about Superman and Batman teaming up." Why the anger? Why the disappointment? I have pretty much decided that I wouldn't even read fanboy reactions to this news because its so par for the course. However, we still have not gotten to the heart of the matter. The question of WHY. Here is my hypothesis.
The nerd culture like any other culture that is created from folks pushed out of the mainstream suffer from one of many major flaws. When asked to join the mainstream it just can't figure out how to do so. Its wants to but like an abused animal it feels instinctual to protect itself above all else; logical or illogical for that situation. So when comic book, kaiju, and even anime stories are being adapted and appreciated in the mainstream something happened. Side note: the nerd community much like any community isn't a monolith. Not all nerds think the same. This is a discussion on the culture in general. Like a pendulum, the excitement of seeing their properties on the big screen was awesome. Then the swing happened. The height was The Dark Knight. Up until that movie came out people who didn't know nerd culture were seeing these movies but not on the level that we see today. The Dark Knight was fanboy approved and critically approved. Mainstream folks loved it and sat side by side with super nerds and we all rejoiced together. A guy who only knew Tim Burton's Batman or when Arnold played Mr. Freeze could enjoy a retelling next to a guy who actually knows what The Killing Joke is. A very fascinating time indeed.
So from there we see Hollywood realize that "Hey people like these movies and maybe we should take a second look at them." You have people like Chris Nolan WANTING to direct these movies. You had stellar actors like Christian Bale WANTING to be in these movies. Before this time we had to trick people like Tom Hanks into doing Road to Perdition. That's right, he was purposely not told the movie was based on a comic because he refused to do a comic book movie; that's where we were. So back to that pendulum.
Nowadays the nerd culture seems so afraid to actually enjoy anything. A new Avengers movie is announced based on a a classic story with Ultron. Nerd reaction, "Ugh I fucking hate Ultron...not seeing this!" Well to that I say, FUCK YOU. Do you remember the shit we had before? Does that mean you have to settle for crap, absolutely not. However, you could give it a goddamn chance. Do you remember the Justice League made for TV show...in 1997? It was pure garbage! We are living in the golden age of the shit we love. Do you think it will get more popular than this time right now? Marvel is its own movie studio and is cranking out 2-3 quality movies a year and you are still pissed? Get over yourself. Not liking something after watching it is totally fine. There are plenty of things I've watched and thought were bad. However, I give a movie a chance. It just seems to be uncool in the nerd community (how ironic) to like anything anymore.
That brings me to some other points. The initial hate of anything that is being brought into the mainstream is very bothersome. The matter of not being able to be too excited for something. You know what, when I saw the Age of Ultron and World's Finest announcements I was completely stoked. Holy crap stories I loved will be done by good directors who give a damn...oh poor me. If I hear "I don't want to get too excited for this" one more time I think I will go insane. Why not be excited? Stop being so damn negative. High five a nerd next to you and rejoice. The other phenomenon I am seeing is what I call the "2 week turn around." Sometimes it goes to 2 months. However, the end result is the same. "This movie was awesome, I loved it," and some time later it becomes fashionable to say you didn't like it. Making you feel above it all because everyone else enjoyed it. I actually hear people say that The Dark Knight wasn't even that good. Some will goes as far as to say it was even bad. GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE. There is one thing to dislike a movie, but its another to dislike a movie because you see that its now popular. The same could be seen with The Avengers as well. Adored by casual and hardcore fans alike. One year later fanboys complain that is wasn't good. The very same fanboys who said it was the best comic book movie they've ever seen.
So after San Diego Comic Con is it ok to get excited for the next group of nerd projects coming out of Hollywood? YES! Its ok to be vulnerable and say you liked something. No one is going to push you in a locker for also digging The Avengers or give you a wedgie for thinking that Man of Steel was actually fun. Agree or disagree with folks, but at least give something a chance. When the nerd phenomenon in Hollywood dies, and make no mistake...it will eventually, it will be these same bitter nerds complaining that no one wants to adapt their pet projects anymore. Just enjoy the ride!
Lastly, when I see these nonsensical complaints from bitter nerds I begin to wonder if comic cons around the country will start to look like this: