Some people just like to watch the world burn, in the words of Christopher Nolan’s iteration of Alfred Pennyworth. Truer words have never been spoken. There are people in this life who simply refuse to enjoy the little things, in lieu of excuses to complain, critique, or flat out slander. A perfect example of this has been the response from a small collective of “fanboys” in their response to Matt Reeves’s “The Batman.”
A well-done, hard-boiled, slow burn crime noir film is never going to make everyone happy. Some people don’t have the focus, the intellect, the patience or even the will power, to enjoy something that doesn’t give instant rewards. They cry “fan service” about half the films they can’t help but hate, and — when they get a film that doesn’t cater to anything but the art form — they find fault that it doesn’t provide the “fan service” they previously lamented about at whatever pop cultural iconic film they were spurning.
One need only to scroll through “The Batman” film’s hashtag to find a rabbit hole of whiners and generally unhappy people who choose to use something the general public has responded positively to as their target. They “want to be different, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE,” and, while this is simply a stable of a privileged society where we’re taught at a young age to walk to the beat of a different drummer, it doesn’t make it less frustrating.
Obviously, Exhibit A, is the biggest contrarian tool bag on Twitter, Ben Shapiro — a mountain of awful takes in an era ripe with them:
Now, I understand not liking a film and expressing the “whys,” in the ill-fated words of fired former Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy. Why was it boring? Was it the pacing? The dialogue? The constant rain? “I told you so” isn’t an intellectual argument, despite what many smooth brains would like to think. The problem is (as with many parts of society), they don’t provide any evidence outside of a bland attempt to contradict something a majority of society enjoyed. The Contrarian Personality is alive and well in today’s social media scene and it’s profitable. The Ken W.o. Effect is real. Ignore common sense, and simply take the other side of what most enjoy.
The problem with this is there is a reason it is universally loved or accepted. You’re not some special snowflake who is somehow in a secret club of wise, sage film lovers. To be honest, you’re more like QAnon than Roger Ebert.
With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to have something take us away from the doldrums of life, the stress of a pandemic and the worries of a potential World War III starting in Europe. “The Batman” is a great film, as me and Pete spoke about on the March 8th episode of our podcast. It’s visually stunning thanks to cinematographer Greig Fraser, scored brilliantly by Michael Giacchino, and cut with an impactful pace by editors William Hoy and Tyler Nelson. Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig penned a fantastically deep look into a new Gotham we’ve not seen before on the big screen.
But, whether it’s an allegiance to Christopher Nolan or Tim Burton, or simply a “misery loves company” mindset, many were doomed to dislike it no matter the quality. Alfred was right. Well, almost.
Alex Burley sure doesn’t want to watch the world burn, and his review was beautiful.