15 Movies Geeks Need To Quit Complaining About
Geeks like to complain. Whatever it says about nerd subculture or psychology remains a subject of debate. In the internet age, however, given the cyber-echo chambers that allow people to post opinions without source or accountability, the fact has become undeniable: geeks have a perpetual battle ax to grind against somebody all the time.
To their credit, that angst comes from a place of passion. On the whole, geek culture has a reputation for intelligent men and women, for creative personality types, and for people with a good deal of personal ambition. Those passionate qualities drive the emotional agitations that make geek culture so passionate about just about everything.
On the other hand, those complaints can get out of control. Geeks up in arms over Gal Godot’s bust size, or Hugh Jackman’s height? Hunger strikes over Spider-Man having organic web shooters? Death threats over the death of Spock? Don’t geeks have more important things to get upset over, like world hunger or income disparity?
No power on Earth will ever stop geeky complaints from populating the internet, though at least the culture could stand some progress! Listed here, find 15 film subjects that geeks need to let die. Several of the films are part of series that have been rebooted since (some more than once), and plenty of time has past since each.
15. MAN OF STEEL
A very vocal segment of geeks loves to bash Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s modern take on the Superman mythos, and the step-off for the DCEU. Said detractors love to bash the film for being everything from depressing to homophobic (?!) to incoherent. While not a great film, Man of Steel is by no means bad, and actually does some very inventive reimagining of the Superman myth. In particular, envisioning Krypton as a fascist-eugenic nightmare actually addresses an underlying problem: if everyone on Krypton is so smart and has such advanced technology, why can’t they see the planet will explode? In Snyder’s film, the rigid caste system and decadent lifestyle of Krypton becomes their undoing.
Ok, so Henry Cavill isn’t Christopher Reeve, and Amy Adams isn’t Margot Kidder. Here’s a revelation: nobody is (see also: Superman Returns). More importantly, though, 1979 has long gone. The world, and superhero movies have changed. If Donner made his film today, geeks would riot over the film’s camp factor and Lex Luthor’s real estate plot, not to mention the lack of a physical threat to the Man of Steel. Superman Returns tried to take the Donner approach, and fans hated that too!
In sum, quit bashing the movie. It’s a fully competent effort, well acted, and features some great action and ideas. Just like 1979 has come and gone, so has 2013. On a related subject, no more complaining about Superman reversing time by spinning the world backwards, either!
14. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Bat-fans seemed universal in their acclaim of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, two films that took a grounded approach to Batman and his world. When director Christopher Nolan capped off his trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises,critics acclaimed it, audiences flocked to it, and die-hard Batman fans split over it. Some found it a fine and worthy ending to the Nolanverse saga, while others attacked it for its choice of Bane as the villain, the twist-inclusion of Talia Al Ghul, and for pacing issues. Even in a post-DECU world, outspoken geeks continue to grumble over the film.
Seriously, of all movies to attack, this one?! We’ll fully concede that it’s tough to wrap our heads around Batman’s surviving his final heroic act in the cape and cowl, but in the end, The Dark Knight Rises provided grand spectacle and action, great performances and an always-engaging story. If the plot structure doesn’t copy that of a Marvel movie, that’s okay: Batman isn’t a Marvel character! Most importantly though, given the recent divisive response to Ben Affleck’s introduction as Batman in the DCEU, and the also-divisive response to the DCEU movies in general, Bat-bashers should place their priorities elsewhere.
13. THE MATRIX SEQUELS
Have any other sequels to a hit movie—a seismic hit at that—caused as much uproar as the sequels to The Matrix?The original 1999 film hit at just the right cultural moment, and its ideas of philosophy intertwined with technology and the way it changes human consciousness created a Star Wars-level cult. Black trench coats came into style, and Matrixism became a bonafide religion.
When the sequels hit screens in 2002, however, the audience response changed, big time. Even the most die hard fans of The Matrix didn’t know what to think of the sequels, which revealed Keanu Reeves’ Neo wasn’t a foretold messiah, but another means of controlling the human population. Large portions of the movies focused on new, bland characters living in an underground city, and the amount of philosophical technobabble made the message of the films impenetrable. Still, the Matrix sequels do offer some great production design, incredible action and some fascinating ideas. On repeat viewings, the meanings of the films do begin to make sense—at least as much sense as they ever could. Perhaps fans should just take the films for what they are: movies, not religious texts!
12. SPIDER-MAN 3
Without question, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy changed the way the public—and movie studios—view superhero movies for all time. The first became a runaway box office hit, while the second scored even better reviews and ticket sales. Then came the much-hyped part three, and audiences changed their tune.
Don’t expect a defense of the creative choices in Spider-Man 3 here. The movie suffers from trying to do too much—the shoehorning of Venom into the story, the useless Gwen Stacy, the laughable Harry Osborne subplot and the inexplicable Mary Jane musical numbers. Raimi always had a penchant for camp, but Spider-Man 3 gets downright loony.
Yet, in 2016, audiences have sat through not one but two complete reboots of the character. The Andrew Garfield-ledAmazing Spider-Man made for a great new start to a Spider-trilogy, only to collapse in the second installment under ridiculous studio meddling. Tom Holland showed promise in is brief scenes in Captain America: Civil War, though if the actor can carry a movie remains an open question. Still, instead of grousing over Spider-Man 3 and how it ruined the Spider-films—which are obviously going strong—why not complain about something else…like how many times the character needs to get rebooted in a decade! At this point, the movies feel like a clone saga of their own!
11. STAR TREK NEMESIS
Star Trek: Nemesis is not a good movie. In fact, it’s an unholy mess, courtesy of the drifting direction of Stuart Baird. Do yourself a favor and page through John Logan’s original script to see just how far Baird strayed from the mark, and how a different director could have made a great movie from the material. Or better yet, move on entirely…
While Star Trek: Nemesis does the Next Generation crew a nasty disservice by sinking their final big screen outing, that ship has long since gone to warp. Three Trek movies have hit screens since then, giving Trek fans plenty more to complain about! Die-hard Trek fans still lament the sub-par end for Picard, Data, et. al. in a vein so obviously borrowed from The Wrath of Khan that it doesn’t so much invite eye rolls as eye spins. And let’s face it, anyone with the wherewithal to still complain about Nemesis after all these years, or to even make it through the movie in the first place, is a die hard fan! While it’s unfortunate that the Next Gen crew couldn’t have a better sendoff, now that we’re so far removed from its relevance, it’s time this film was left alone for good.
10. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
Indy fans spent damn near 20 years complaining that a fourth film took so long to make. Said contingent then shifted their grievances to the actual movie as soon as it hit screens.
Is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull really that bad? Yes, it has computer effects whereas the others had none, though that’s just a result of the times. Yes, Shia LeBouf lacks charisma, and plays a character that pales in comparison to Indy, Marion or heck, even Short Round. Karen Allen has little to do, and Januz Kaminski’s cinematography doesn’t have the character and richness of that of the late Douglas Solcombe. For that reason, the visuals of the movie don’t match it’s predecessors.
Surviving a nuclear blast in a refrigerator fits more with Looney Tunes than with Indiana Jones, though that said, Indydid once fall out of a plane and survive on a raft. Viewers complaining about two parallel trails in the jungle should consider if the same folks who built parallel mine tracks over lava in the Temple of Doom did the same construction. And as for the aliens…well, is the existence of psychic aliens really more absurd than a magical box full of sand?
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull might have rubbed fans the wrong way simply because it’s a movie of the 2000s and not the 1980s. Viewers who saw the original films as kids and took the absurdities in stride might have become more literal-minded in their adulthood, and the shift from 1930s-style fantasy to 1950s-style sci-fi might have taken audiences off guard. Still, even if Crystal Skull isn’t on par with Indy’s previous adventures, it’s still better than contemporary rip-offs like The Mummy or Tomb Raider movies. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skullmight not have the same impact as the character’s previous outings, but it’s still better than half the dreck out there…dreck far more deserving of complaints!
Comic book afficianados clamored for years to get a movie adaptation of Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons’ seminal graphic novel Watchmen. As soon as said movie arrived and opened to strong box office and relatively positive reviews, fans immediately gnashed their teeth and moaned that director Zack Snyder had botched the movie. Viewers complained about the pacing, the lack of action, and the odd color palate of purples, yellows and browns.
Just to review: the power of the Watchmen novel comes from its deconstructionist take on the superhero genre. Instead of admirable, likeable characters like Superman or Spider-Man, Watchmen provides, at best, antiheroes, or in some cases, outright psychopaths. It also begs the question what would make someone dress up in spandex and fight crime; the answers Watchmen posits range from everything from lack of accountability (and mental stability) to sexual fetishism.
Watchmen may not satisfy all viewers who expected a safer, more cartoony superhero adventure, or for those who read the book but overlooked its literary style. Action does not drive Watchmen on either the page or the screen. Still, it’s a valiant, thoughtful effort to translate a story once thought unadaptable. The fact remains that many other comic book films deserve attack more than Watchmen, including others made by the same director. Give Watchmen a rest!
Ben Affleck still gets heat over his outing in the 2003 superhero adaptation of Daredevil, which is a bit of a head-scratcher. Affleck had little input in the way of creative direction of the film; he did not write or direct it (in fact, he basically apologized for it). Those duties fell to Mark Stephen Johnson, who ran into conflict with 20th Century Fox during filming. The studio had decided mid-way through production that it wanted a more family friendly movie in the vein of Spider-Man instead of the brooding, dark, violent tale Johnson had begun to shoot. Hasty rewrites and reshoots helped retool the movie into a more romantic, sanitized tale…and fans have never forgiven Affleck for it.
Look, Affleck has since acquitted himself well. His Batman made for a highlight of Batman v Superman, while he’s since proven himself a fine director. The failure of Daredevil should not rest upon his shoulders, and hardcore fans of the character should relish the Netflix series which offers more adventures with the character in equally violent episodes. The Daredevil move will never get a sequel (and Electra hardly counts), and has no continuity with the new or recent Marvel films. It may or may not have been a great moment in superhero fandom, but Daredevil is an object of the past!
We get it, Avatar bares many similarities to Dances With Wolves and Pocahontas. It also resembles the forgotten animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. For all the innovations of technology the movie employs, the story remains very worn.
We get it!
Avatar caused a sensation on release and went on to become the biggest movie in history, thanks to some incredible visuals, director James Cameron’s knack for direction heart-pounding action, and a lack of other action movies sharing multiplexes at the same time. Box office success doesn’t make Avatar a great film any more than the use of the explorer-joins-natives-and-appreciates-nature story makes it a bad one. Apart from the visuals, Avatar has had little effect on pop culture. Nobody quotes the dialogue, nobody has created their own army of Na’vi in the way stormtrooper legions or Starfleet crews have sprung up around the world. Heck, apart from offering a few new tricks to special effects wizards, Avatar didn’t even change filmmaking that much…unless you count the trend of making movies in IMAX 3-D to boost box office hauls. Fans should give a rest to the Avatar complaints since the movie came out more than five years ago, and with
three four sequels in the pipeline, there’s no doubt Cameron and Avatar will give detractors something new to complain about soon enough.
6. SUPERMAN RETURNS
Few movies get the hype of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, and fewer still experience the odd mix of indifference and backlash that movie did when it opened. The idea seemed like a good one: make a sequel to Richard Donner’s beloved Superman films, use the same stylistic approach, and give a meta-commentary on Superman returning as a character to the movie zeitgeist. Maybe Singer’s hubris got the best of him, or maybe the movie just spent too much time dwelling on nostalgia without finding a reason of its own to exist. Or maybe the woeful miscasting of the two leads sank the film. Whatever the reason, haters just can’t seem to stop hating on Superman Returns.
How ironic then that so many of Superman Returns’ critics who bashed it for a lack of action, and sacrificing a new take on the character in lieu of an old one would later attack Man of Steel for too much action, and for a lack of warmth in the title character! Maybe nobody can ever satisfy Superman fans…
But we digress. Superman Returns has some of the most beautiful cinematography in recent years. It also has first rate effects and a lot of heart. That doesn’t make it a great film, but for goodness sake, that movie is damn near 10 years old! Singer has since acquitted himself with some excellent X-Men outings, Brandon Routh (who floundered in the lead) has found a home on Legends of Tomorrow, and Warner Bros. has erased Superman Returns from continuity. Super fans had best move on!
5. FANTASTIC FOUR
Enough already with the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot gripes! Fans started complaining about the movie long before it even went before the cameras. Fox rushed the film into production in a bid to hold onto the rights to the property. Had they not, the Fantastic Four would have reverted to parent company Marvel, which has made no secret of its desire to integrate popular elements of the title to the MCU. Besides woes over Fox doing the film to block Marvel, fans immediately attacked the casting, calling the five leads far too young for their roles. Some racist trolls also attacked the casting of African-American Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, a character traditionally depicted as white. That Jordan’s performance would turn out to be one of the few highlights of the film also speaks volumes.
As production rolled on, the rumors started: director Josh Trank behaved erratically on set. He’d opposed the casting of several actors that the studio hired. Fox hated the rough cut of the film, and demanded extensive rewrites and reshoots. Trank fought the restructuring, leaving producer Simon Kinberg to take on directorial duties.
That Fantastic Four proved a disaster on release surprised nobody. Geeks complained about the meandering story, the inconsistent characters, and the scenes of obvious reshoot footage, as evidenced by changes in the appearance of the cast (notably, star Kata Mara’s wig). Complaints about the movie, bad though it is, miss the lager point: it’s not thatFantastic Four is just a bad representation of the characters, it’s that the movie has become emblematic of the studio meddling, rushed schedule and would-be franchise mentality that has absorbed Hollywood. Hating on the movie won’t solve anything. Hating on the forces that made it awful, however, might prevent another disaster later.
4. STAR TREK V
William Shatner took on directing duties for the fifth film in the Star Trek franchise, and the man’s somewhat undeserved reputation as a hammy actor immediately cast a pall on the production. That the finished film became known as the worst of the original Trek crew movies forever haunts the series, somewhat undeservedly.
Though a bad movie without question, not all of the onus of the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier disaster should fall on Shatner’s shoulders. Paramount rushed the film into production to avoid delays from a writer’s strike, and the shoddy effects in the movie result from an inexperienced production house taking over from ILM due to schedule conflicts. The script, on the other hand, does fall to Shatner’s doing. Doing a Star Trek story revolving around the existence of God created a number of story problems, none of which were solved by the time the movie went before the cameras. An emphasis on humor gave the film tonal and pacing issues as well.
So why should geeks stop complaining? Two reasons: The Final Frontier is damn near 30 years old, and there have been far, far worse entries in the series over the years. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier may have crappy effects and a problematic premise, but at least it has some aspiration and originality!
Another movie to divide hardcore fans, Prometheus pitted the cult of Alien against itself. Well-regarded critically (it sports a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a visual knockout, fans seemed to find it a either a magnificent return to form for the Alien series, or a goofy pseudo-religious mess, full of stupid characters and plot holes. While the expanding on the “Space Jockey” into an alien race no doubt ruffles a few feathers—it does take away from the eerie mystery of the original film—does anything in Prometheus deserve the hate?
Whether or not Prometheus fulfills fan taste, the craftsmanship, effects and cast alone make it one of the strongest entries in a very uneven series. Certainly Prometheus is more fun than the nihilistic nightmare of Alien 3, or the unintentional campfest of Alien: Ressurrection! Besides that, the Alien vs. Predator movies remain the lowest, sordid dreck of any movie to bear the Alien name. Loud, ugly, and nonsensical, the films would work better as video games than as cinema. Besides, Prometheus represents the best kind of Hollywood sequel: one that tries to tell its own story without rehashing the original film, and that does so with creativity and tact.
When workshopping this article, several other writers here at Screen Rant had a hard time even believing that people would ever complain about Contact, Robert Zemeckis’ masterpiece of sci-fi cinema. The film has come up twice in recent articles, and surprisingly, we’ve received a good deal of complaints about it, mostly about a twist in the film’s final act…
So allow us to clear this up. When Dr. Arroway goes on her journey, if indeed she goes at all, and lands on a Florida beach with a doppelganger for her dead father, the scene is not meant to be taken literally! As the movie plainly states, what Arroway sees is a creation of the alien beings that built the machine, designed to give her a sense of comfort and familiarity. Moreover, the entire last act of the film leaves the events open to interpretation: a careful viewing will reveal contradictory evidence as to whether Ellie goes on her fantastic voyage, or whether she imagined the whole thing. That ambiguity and visual metaphor gives the film more power than if generic movie aliens stepped out of the mist to welcome her, and it also imbues the film with a timeless quality.
In short, stop complaining that it’s her father! Regardless of how you interpret the final act of Contact, it’s not her dad!
1. THE STAR WARS PREQUELS
We were tempted to write this entire entry in first person as Jar Jar Binks, though in consideration of the reader, and to avoid death threats, we nixed the idea. Have any hit movies ever been as watched or as attacked as the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy? Called everything from racist and boring to cinematic milestones, perhaps no movies of the past 20 hears have earned as much discussion.
Even so, nobody can seem to agree on what the real problems are. Bad writing? Stiff acting? Overuse of computer effects? Perhaps…though those detractors overlook one thing about the Prequel Trilogy which sets it apart from other films, including the latest Star Wars outing: they are damn imaginative. Never before have movies shown underwater cities, clone armies, planets populated by giant insects or aliens that look like Q-tips. George Lucas made the movies just as he did the 1977 original—to break new ground with effects. In that way, he succeeded: there would be no Gollum in The Lord of the Rings had Jar Jar not come first. We would not walk around carrying digital cameras on our phones were it not for the groundbreaking work on digital photography used in Attack of the Clones. In that way, the Prequel Trilogy succeeds: the films offer creativity and innovation to audiences. In terms of Star Wars canon, they expand the possibilities of the universe considerably.
That does not, however, make them what longtime Star Wars fans expected–or even entertaining to a general audience. It does make the Prequel Trilogy a set of landmark films. Heck, Exorcist II: The Heretic is a wildly imaginative movie, though that doesn’t make it good! Still, the prequel era has come and gone. The Force Awakens, for better or worse, ushered in a new phase of Star Wars fandom. That means it’s time for fans to move on past their gripes with the Prequels. To borrow a lyric from another Disney film, “Let it go, let it go!”