Old Criticisms

I find myself bothered when it comes to criticism. Well, not the abstract concept of criticism, but when people do it. Actually, I think I'm mainly bothered by people, period; but that's a whole other story.

With the recent surgence of remakes of classic science fiction movies, it has dawned on me that we humans tend to not be easily satisfied (if it is at all possible).

For example, fictional characters, when being remade, are usually criticized for being "too new": the new Khan didn't quote Moby Dick like the original did, Superman shouldn't kill because the original didn't, the new Spiderman is too nerdy and socially awkward from the original, and Uncle Ben didn't say the classic quote of power and responsibility.

[By the way: the original Khan Moby Dick's quotes were cute but ultimately made the Ahab comparison too on the nose and made me lose interest in the character; Superman does kill Zod and the two other kryptonians in the comics and is considered canon (Superman #22); Peter Parker was nerdy as hell, but we didn't realize it because we ourselves were nerds; the power and responsibility quote is not originally from Uncle Ben, it is said by the narrator (Amazing Fantasy #15).]

This situation is beautifully presented when it comes to Star Trek movies. There's this generally accepted rule that the even-numbered films (Wrath of Khan, Nemesis, etc.) outperform the odd-numbered ones (Search for Spock, Final Frontier, etc.). So, when people start describing something as "too new", it implies that they are comparing it to supposedly better things in the good old days. My question here is: which things are they comparing them to? Mathematically speaking, half of the things they are comparing them to are regarded as crap.

We can take this further if we then consider that those characters, in other circumstances, were criticized for being "too old": Superman Returns was too boring as there's nothing new on the character; every self-respecting Spiderman fan hated the Maguire movies because they didn't add anything to the character; the new Spiderman sucked because it's the same old story.

[By the way: Superman Returns puts Kal-El in an emotional journey having Louis' boyfriend be a good dad to his own kid, something rarely seen in the comics; the Maguire movies turned out to be the gold standard when the Garfield one came out by those same self-respecting Spiderman fans.]

So, apparently, we want things to stay the essentially the same, but have a fresh perspective on the subject matter. Sadly, this contradiction also goes for "too depressing but not too cheerful", "too violent but not too bland", and "too intense but not too indifferent".

If we want something to get better, the first thing it requires is that its faults are pointed out, and satisfaction should only be an option until it gets better. I would be all for it if it were that. This, however, is not a step to get something better, but a vehicle with which pseudo-opinions are presented as a type of evidence of an intellect that craves being acknowledged and regarded as edgy and non-mainstream. I would call it pedantry, but it would require that those opinions were well-founded, but this is rarely the case.

If you don't like something, fine, but at least have the balls to be true to yourself and know that the reason you don't like something is not because it is "too this" or "too that", it is because there is nothing that is going to beat your past. You know, the past, when you were young and energetic and everything that was good in your life happened. These types of criticisms are not objective thoughts of the present, they are subjective feelings of the past.

I drink a glass of milk after a meal and love the smell of burning wood. I'm aware that these are things I like because they have a subconscious weight on my feelings, and I let them flow through, but I don't expect everybody to regard these things as enjoyable.

I didn't like the Dragonball movie or the Last Airbender movie because they presented a reality that was too far away from what I like of those characters. However, they are not "too new" nor "too old" nor "too violent" nor "too bland", it's just that I, me, myself, didn't like them. I am the problem. The movie and I are far away from each other, but the movie is already made and can't be changed, so I am the one that is too far away. If I didn't like the movie, the problem is not the movie, the problem is me.

Answering "why didn't I like this movie?" instead of "why did this movie sucked?" provides much more interesting answers and, at the very least, makes for a much more interesting conversation when discussing the movie with other people that have a different opinion than me. Saying "the movie didn't show the character as it should have" is a statement that is really implying "the character I like is the one I knew when I was 5; this movie didn't portray that, so I didn't like it". Hell, even "there is this concept of the character in my head that no movie has shown, and this wasn't the exception" is a more amusing topic of conversation and, not to mention, it has the rarely quality of being true.