Comic Book Films: Critical Reception V. Fan Reception

Critical Reception is oftentimes one of the determining factors as to whether or not a film is generally considered successful. Critics have been seen as an important factor in determining how a film is received and comic book films are no exception to this attitude. There have been several Comic Book Films that have been released and while some achieve critical and commercial success while others have not, but few have hit the point where the critics consensus and the fans consensus are at a divide. This year it seems like we have had this come to the forefront as big properties have made divisive films and entries in their series, but it has been a constant occurrence that makes film criticism more interesting and complicated.

In 2009 when Zack Snyder released Watchmen it was met by a sharp divide of opinions. Critically the film got mixed reviews, but many fans of the original comic embraced it because of how accurately it adapted it. In fact it is regarded by loyal fans as one of the most accurate comic book to film adaptations so far with dialogue being for the most part word for word the same. I am definitely one of those people who disagreed with the critics because I thought that Snyder did a wonderful adaptation that was visually striking and captured the tone set out in Alan Moore’s work well. It’s a film that has garnered a cult following of sorts. A cult following is defined by a smaller group of loyal fans who are dedicated to it. The term is generally used when referring to horror films that have garnered a following, but comic book movies are no exception to this type of following.

With this in mind Man of Steel and this year’s Batman V. Superman faced the same sort of divisive reception. Many DC fans have embraced both films and absolutely loved them while critics were mixed for Man of Steel and generally strongly disliked Batman V. Superman. Opinions vary for both of these films. I’ve read and heard arguments for people who loved these films and from people who absolutely hate them. These two films are some of  the most polarizing comic book films of all time and in the long run that might not be such a bad thing. It just shows that these are films with a little more depth to them and they keep being talked about. Having a film that is talked about is never a bad thing and there is a potential for a following for both films from loyal DC fans.

I’ve also seen some people come to the defense of X-Men Apocalypse. Some reviews for this film  have been quite mediocre, but fans of the franchise have also praised it. I’ve read a myriad of opinions on this film that range from comic fans who complain about the accuracy, film critics who don’t like the way the film was made, and fans of the film franchise who enjoy the film as part of the series. Whatever side you fall on it could be another example of fan divide.

Film is a fascinating medium. One that can be dissected from both an objective perspective, but also seen from a subjective point of view as well. There are rules when it comes to editing, cinematography, sound editing, acting, but it all comes down to whether or not the audience was entertained by the final product. If you happen to see a film that has gotten less than favorable reviews, but you happen to like it then that is great and shouldn’t be looked down on. It’s your own opinion because film like any art should be subjective. Art and film is about self-reflection so your tastes often reflect who you are.  If a film worked for you then it succeeded in what it set out to do.

The goal of most filmmakers is to make finished products that affect people in some way. They want their audiences to be entertained by the film that they make and even if their film is met with negative reception from critics the fans can really bring new life to a property. There are so many stories of films being released to some poor reception, but gaining popularity because of fans over the years. John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing was met with initial negative reception, but over the years it has gained traction and is considered as one of the greatest horror films. This example may be in the horror genre, but the comic book fans are just as passionate and have the ability to change the perception on how a film is received .

When you have an opinion don’t be afraid to differ from the mainstream consensus. Challenge the established opinions if you must. Be respectful about your opinion and hold onto it because it represents your own feelings and experiences. A bad review on a film doesn’t mean that it should determine or lessen your personal experiences with it.


So what do you think of this? Has there been an experience where you strongly disagreed with the critics?  Let us know in the comments!

Christian Michael Stoic

Christian Michael Stoic

Christian Michael Stoic is a writer, filmmaker, and comic lover from Los Angeles, CA. Heroic Hollywood is his introduction into the world of Journalism which...