Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Voice of Reason #13: Haters Gonna' Hate

Man of Steel may be raking the big bucks across the globe, but critics haven't been as impressed as the audience- with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 56%, Man of Steel is classed as 'rotten', as well as being outstripped by World War Z, Fast and Furious 6 and Iron Man 3. So, this week, we ask this; "Is Man of Steel getting an unfair bashing?" and "Why is this blockbuster season so filled with hate?"

With an opening weekend that broke box-office records for the month of June all over the world, Man of Steel can only be considered to be a whopping success for Warner Bros. Up there with Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness as one of the highest grossing films this year, Man of Steel has been a gigantic hit with audiences.

It has already surpassed 2006's Superman Returns (which earned a total of $391 million) and is pegged as totalling somewhere around $700-800 million overall. Not bad for a comic-book character that is 80 years old huh?

However, Man of Steel hasn't been universally appreciated by both audiences and critics alike. In fact, the critical reception has been surprisingly frosty.

The glitz and glamour of Gatsby didn't win over many critics
Many of the reviews written on Man of Steel have been less than favourable, commenting on the excess of action and over-reliance of CGI - I myself found that the final hour seemed to abandon any narrative coherence in favour of gigantic explosions and destruction.

Justin Craig from FoxNews remarked that Superman had been stripped of his "greatest assets: wit, charm, and most importantly, hope" whilst Australia's ABC Radio concluded that Man of Steel "suffers most when it degenerates into a seen-it-all before, CGI-laden action fest".

Hardly the acclaim and praise that Warner Bros. would have hoped for when launching their latest superhero behemoth - a score of 56% on Rotten Tomatoes even puts it behind Superman Returns, the film deemed bad enough to justify rebooting the franchise in the first place. This vast divide between critical and audience opinion left me wondering; how come there is so much hate surrounding some of this years' summer blockbusters?

Man of Steel isn't alone when it comes to dividing opinions. Other big-sellers like Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby have raked in the big-bucks whilst being slammed by critics.

The same can be said about last week's big release, The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp. Whilst the film has under-performed at the box-office, I found that it was nowhere near as goddamn awful as Rotten Tomatoes had me believe.

It was silly, it was over-the-top and it was goofy but that's the films big selling-point. It basked in tongue-in-cheek humour and didn't pretend to be anything other than an entertaining summer thrill-ride, something which critics need to realise doesn't constitute a scathing review.

The Lone Ranger is set to make a loss
at the box-office despite being
a lot of fun
Yes, we've all seen Johnny Depp put on a silly hat and make a funny face a thousand times, but does that mean The Lone Ranger is a complete disaster? Many critics would reply "Yes" but to that I say this; "Haters gonna' hate".

It won't win any awards for film-making, but The Lone Ranger was perfectly acceptable at being what it was; family-friendly, silly and most importantly unashamedly fun.

The same can be said about Man of Steel; it coated the final third in action and explosions because that is what audiences wanted to see. They wanted to awe at Superman laying into Zod through the magical wizardry that is CGI and experience pure cinematic escapism for an evening. Is that not good enough for critics anymore?

This trend that films must now be something more than 'just a bit of fun' can be interpreted many different ways and is probably not going to go away anytime soon (in my mind it has something to do with what I am now calling 'the Dark Knight effect'). There will always be haters' who hate on films for trying to please as wide an audience as possible. Just don't let them put you off enjoying something you enjoyed. At the end of the day, it's only their opinion.

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