Critics vs. the Fans: How This Feud is Really on a Spectrum


(Courtesy of Warner Discovery)

By Zach Anderson, Arts Writer


If you haven’t read the article already, I’ve recently watched “The Flash.” As the credits rolled and I left the theater, there was a massive knot in my stomach. A giddy, childlike wonder overtook me as I watched some of my favorite characters on screen. Superhero movies have meant a lot to me in my upbringing, and this movie was no exception to that sentiment. So, like the Zoomer I am, I decided to take a look at the Rotten Tomatoes score to help make up my mind.

The critics’ score was low, but the audience score was shockingly high. This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to “The Flash” either. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “Venom” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” were all adored by audiences and have massive disparities between audience and critics’ scores. How is it that fans and critics can disagree so heavily with one another about the same movie? Well, it all has to do with each individual moviegoer’s perspective.

For the Fans

For some, the discussion of movie criticism online has shifted from “How good is the movie?” to “How does this movie meet my expectations?” This can be seen with movies like “The Flash,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” or plenty of Star Wars media. Fans already have their entire opinions hinging on whether Han Solo or Squirrel Girl make an appearance before they ever get to the theater.

Even worse, fans tend to enjoy the things that the corporate executives tell them to enjoy — for example, cameos or callbacks to previous iterations of the franchise. Don’t they know they’re just perpetuating the tiring Hollywood blockbuster machine?

For the Critics

However, for other more critical individuals that want a challenge from their media, their problems are more complicated as their agendas change. At publications like IGN, Gamespot and a select few news organizations, critics are afraid to have an opinion without being struck down by the corporate overlords that own them. However, there are other critics at more reputable publications that live to call the newest Marvel flick a scourge of art.

These 50-year-old men sit on Twitter waiting to complain about how they just saw another protagonist walking away from an explosion this week. However, they’re missing the fact that the explosion looked really cool.

Closing the Gap

These are both hyperbolic positions on this issue, but they illustrate the point. One is appreciating how well a film was made for them, whereas the other is appreciating how original and new the idea of a film feels. So who’s more right? Neither and both.

Like in most arguments, both sides have their merits. Critics are right for wanting something thoughtful and original because of the volume of movies they watch for a living. Fans are right for wanting to be serviced by the people meant to serve them. Both want to hold their art to a higher standard.

With some films, fans and critics can even agree. The craftsmanship of filmmaking is almost always universally praised by critics and fans, but it’s simply the needs of the individual that determine if they fall into a fan or critic category.

What I’ve come to learn though is that these needs aren’t mutually exclusive. rather, they are on a spectrum. I enjoy when art pushes boundaries and stands out as something that could’ve only been made by those filmmakers. However, it’s rare that I find novelty preferable to sacrificing entertainment value.

The only question to think about is, where do you lie on this spectrum?


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