It’s OK to Pass

I had a bit of an argument with myself this week about MY POST last Sunday.  In it I was a bit harsh about the quality of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a film that I had not and still have not seen.  Granted most of my comments were centered around critics who had actually seen and disliked the film, putting it at a fairly terrible 30% Fresh rating on rottentomatoes.com.  In the interest of accuracy, I should note that the rating had dropped to 29% Fresh as of this writing.

My issue with myself was that I was blasting something that I had no first hand knowledge of.  Sure, the critics didn’t like the movie, but that didn’t necessarily mean that I wouldn’t.  BvS made over $160 million that weekend and has continued strong into this week.  Some people are obviously enjoying it.  I even know one of those people personally.  A good friend saw the movie and had a good time.

I claimed last week to like these characters.  Shouldn’t I give the movie a chance? 

By that point, I had almost talked myself into going.  I was pretty much obligated as a fan of comic books, films based on comic books, big action movies, and these characters in particular.

But that really summed up the problem.  I felt obligated to see it rather than any actual desire.

That’s when I realized that I was being idiotic about all of this.

This movie is about characters named Batman and Superman, and I like those characters.  However, there have been many different versions of them over the years, and I certainly haven’t seen every bit of media in which they’ve appeared.  I watched the first season of Smallville and drifted away due to boredom.  I also watched the first season of Gotham and then stopped because the show was brain-damagingly terrible. 

That may not be fair.  It seemed brain-damagingly terrible to me.  Others enjoy it.  Gotham is doing fine in the ratings and was recently renewed for a third season.  Just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean that said thing is objectively awful.  It’s just not for me, and that’s OK.

Let me go back to my friend who liked BvS.  He and I are both huge Trek fans, but once Enterprise ended, he and I found ourselves going in different directions.  He was drawn to the newer version of Battlestar Galactica while I got interested in the 2005 relaunch of Doctor Who.  I could appreciate that BSG was well made, and I watched the entire first season.  The problem was that I wasn’t enjoying it at all.  As I would tell people, every moment of happiness on that show was punished swiftly and brutally.  I couldn’t take that on a weekly basis.  Meanwhile, the silliness and overall oddity of Who was very difficult for my friend to get into. 

Was either show “bad”?  No.  But each of us had trouble getting into one of them.  They just didn’t fit our temperament.  Just because I am a fan of science-fiction and superheroes does not mean that I’m going to automatically love every show or movie that involves spaceships or people with powers.

As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve gotten better at figuring out what is and isn’t going to be entertaining for me.  After several trailers, reviews, and word of mouth, I can say pretty definitively that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fits squarely in the “Not for Me” category.  This dark and gritty interpretation of these characters is perfectly valid, but I’d prefer to see a Superman who actually likes being a hero and saving people.  I want the optimistic and friendly farm boy from Kansas rather than this version of the character.  There’s room out there for all of these different portrayals of the characters.  Adam West was Batman just as much as Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, or Ben Affleck.  None of them are necessarily “right.”

And I am fortunate as a fan that this is a time when there are so many different superhero entertainment options available.  I may not have had any interest in Batman v Superman last weekend, but this past Monday night I could wait to see The Flash visit Supergirl in an episode of the latter’s television series, an episode that was pure fun, I might add.  I mean The Flash went and got Supergirl and her friends ice cream at super speed.

I can guarantee you no one was giving each other dessert in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter