Perhaps it's a sign that I'm still relatively new to this crazy world of Internet movie news, but I don't think I've seen so much anger and annoyance surrounding a "geek" film as I have in these days post-Wolverine. (I'm sure there must have been similar feelings for Daredevil or Hulk, though.) The emotions were high around Watchmen, but I think a lot of minds were made up before they even sat down in the theater, so their emotions were slightly blunted. I may have passed out and missed the operatic height of it, though ... the Watchmen week was a really really long one!
I'm not even sure why Wolverine left me so furious. Scott Weinberg teased me about it in the wee hours of Thursday morning, pointing out that I acted as though I'd never been disappointed by a film before. It was true -- and I'm not going to pretend that Wolverine means more to me than Indiana Jones, the Skywalker clan, Batman, or any other character who's been given a lousy follow-up. Nor is it the fact that I become "attached" to movie productions from their very early stages of development. In fact, Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool casting was the second piece I ever wrote up for Cinematical (one of those facts that will stick in my brain far longer than it should), and I blogged nonstop about it for months. You know. You were here! But I write about a lot of movies and if I don't like them, I shrug them off and wish I had my money back.
But when I look back on my Friday piece and on conversations I had about the film in the past few days, I'm startled at how much I have to stress what my expectations were. The first thing my friends said to me when we exited was that my expectations were too high, and I had to constantly argue against it. Oh, I didn't expect much out of the film. No, no. That's what made it disappointing, yes. My low expectations. You know, all the mutants they had cast and all. The way they changed Weapon X. I knew it was going to let me down.
This wasn't just my personal experience, though. I saw it splashed on reviews and all over Twitter by those who had enjoyed the film, or who were simply impartial to it. Your expectations are too high! Lower them, accept it for what it is, and you'll enjoy it. It's a similar refrain to that which surrounded Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dumb down! Expect nothing! It's a summer popcorn flick, why do you think it'll be good?
We've got to quit this hangdog attitude, people. When did it become a sin to expect a good movie? You should go in with the highest expectations (short of the film making the lame walk, and the blind to see) and you should have them fulfilled to the utmost. The blame shouldn't be put on the fans for complaining about an inferior product -- especially since we're beginning to be blamed for their existence, according to Maxim. The in-jokes, the endless character cameos, the marketing, the remakes are apparently all due to geeks clamoring for more while sucking on an Incredible Hulk Slurpee. But if you're a geek who dares voice complaints about weak characterization and continuity, then your expectations were too high because you live in your parents' basement and obsess ... why can't you accept that these are films made for general audiences unfamiliar with the characters?
We're damned if we have expectations, damned if we don't. All I know is that being a moviegoer feels more fraught with peril and disappointment than it ever has before. I know bad movies have always been made, and I know they always will be made. I know I'll be disappointed more often than not. But I'm really tired of having to apologize for it.