REVIEW BOMBING: Why is it so hard to stop being negative and just enjoy the show?

Most advance reviews of comic book-based tv shows or movies these days are not positive, unless they are a major event, like WandaVision or Loki, or an Avengers or Captain America movie. There are advance reviewers —self-professed geeks— who seem to go out of their way to find fault with the very movies that they should be shouting praises to the heavens for being able to witness at all. Ever since the development and release of the Star Wars prequels, I have noticed a trend toward negative advance reviews (and reviews in general), and fan bases that have become increasingly intolerant and difficult to please in the comic book and sci-fi/fantasy pop culture universes.


It's been hard for me to understand, because for some reason, I seem to enjoy everything I see, even the entertainment that others think falls a bit short. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because I am old enough to have lived through the era before comic book-based movies and tv shows became commonplace. Other than the string of Superman and Batman films (1978-1997), there were no other major comic book-based movies until the X-Men films started in 2000. But even Marvel's mega-popular mutants couldn't spark the growth of other comic book films; the birth of the MCU with Iron Man in 2008 would be the Big Bang that would create a pop culture takeover by comic book superheroes. On tv, there was the short-lived phenomenon of the Wonder Woman series (1976-78), and the critically-acclaimed Incredible Hulk series. But even that respectable series couldn't do Daredevil or Thor justice in simultaneously charming and cringy attempts at spin-offs episodes. After that, it was a long wait until the debut of Smallville in 2001. I immediately wished for more of the same genre on tv, but that wouldn't happen until Smallville ended 11 years later, when Arrow (2012) would become the second "serious" comic book-based tv series and the supernova that birthed the CW-verse of DC shows.


Yeah, yeah, but HOW COOL was it to see the Green Lantern Corps!

Make no mistake, I am capable of seeing the weaknesses and faults in even my most favorite movies and tv. The early Superman and Batman movies were revolutionary and infinitely enjoyable, while the latter ones were respectively abysmal and infamously campy, and Smallville certainly had its weaker, milking-the-cow-dry final seasons, but I was happy to have every single one of them. Again, it had been a long wait to see my comic book heroes finally come to life on screen. So I have enjoyed (to varying degrees, admittedly) every tv show or movie since...even poorly reviewed "duds" like Green Lantern, Black Widow, and The Eternals. If I hadn't had some bad advance press poison my expectations, I might have enjoyed these films even more.


To me, Black Widow was as exciting and well-made as any modern Bond movie.

While I may sometimes wish that Batman & Robin would never have been made, I am still grateful for its existence. Yes, it's a train wreck in every conceivable way a movie can be made, but like a train wreck, you can't NOT watch it, just out of morbid curiosity. It's a sight you'll never forget. But what I never would have conceived of doing, would be to start a trash-talking campaign to prevent people from going to see it.


An absolute train wreck, yes. Unwatchable, no.

So, it shouldn't be surprising that I try to avoid early reviews anymore. Thanks to the internet, the days are gone that we thirsty fanfolk can go see a movie without any preconceptions or expectations being skewed by purposefully negative "review bombing" campaigns created by fellow geeks who feel the need to piss on the parade before it's even started.


Plus, there's no good that will come of it. Review bombers may think their efforts will be rewarded if people are dissuaded to buy tickets to a movie or watch a tv show they disapprove of, for whatever reason. Sadly, the entertainment industry has never worked that way. All it will do is make the studios less and less likely to risk investing in more comic-book based material for the vast majority of us to enjoy. It's a self-defeating effort.


I wish we all could ignore the negative early buzz (and avoid creating it!) and just try to enjoy each pop culture offering on its own merits. Even the worst films have something to appreciate about them; weirdly enough, some are so bad, they become good. And let's all try harder to appreciate how fortunate we all are to be living in a golden age of comic book-based entertainment.




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