Everything is some kind of war within geek culture these days. Everywhere you turn there's another rivalry, another movie or TV show to praise, another comic book or video game to completely trash and everyone around you is circling each other like vultures drawing their own Venn diagram around the group and making sure they stay on just one side of the line. The problem of course is that Venn diagrams overlap, and even though people want you to pick a side and stick with it, that means you are cutting off something else that at the very least you don't hate, or maybe even actually like.
It is this distinction that is causing a lot of drama among geeks and nerds today when it comes to our favorite properties and characters being adapted for anything or being continued at all in a new form. It isn't just with comic books either, it's with any and everything we can think of pretty much.
There are several different fandoms, right? DC Comics fans, Marvel Comics fans, Image Comics fans, Dark Horse Comics fans, DC Extended Universe fans, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans, X-Men cinematic franchise fans, Star Trek "Prime Timeline" fans, Star Trek "Kelvin Timeline" fans, Star Wars fans, Transformers cartoon fans, Transformers movie fans and so on and so forth with many other things. Those are just some of the big ones that we deal with constantly.
Then there's people like me, who are "Fans of EVERYTHING." Believe it or not, we DO exist but the geek world at large would have you believe that we don't because the idea is that anyone who says they are a fan of everything is a complete liar and they really hate something while being a complete fanboy of the other because that is truly how people really are. Any claim otherwise is just a pretentious attempt at trying to better than the rest of us while taking shots at whatever it is you don't like.
What if I told you that it was possible to like many different things while still having a favorite thing, WITHOUT actually hating any of the other things? Allow me to elaborate on that.
The following is a list of completely 100 percent true statements about my personal fandoms:
- Watching Star Wars when I was eight years old led me to watch Star Trek religiously because it came on every week and was a different story instead of just being a few movies that never really changed. I love both, but I prefer Star Trek. Screw the rivalry.
- I love Star Trek enough to know that the Kelvin Timeline movies are fantastic, especially the last one Star Trek Beyond, which was like an awesome two-hour long "modernized" episode of the Original Series that paid great respect and tribute to the original show. In fact, I teared up at the end when Spock opened the picture of the old crew. Those movies ARE Star Trek as far as I'm concerned and there's no logical reason not to think of them as such in my opinion.
- The Force Awakens is the fourth best Star Wars movie behind Episode V, Episode IV and Rogue One in that order. I knew what we were getting into with Disney buying the franchise and I'm ready for a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future. That's not a bad thing to me and I don't blame TFA for lifting so much out of Episode IV because after the prequels, we needed a "nostalgic" Star Wars movie and I just look at it as history repeating itself in the Star Wars Universe.
- Batman is my favorite superhero of all-time, but I've watched every Superman movie including the bad ones just as much as I've watched every Batman movie, including the bad ones. The same goes for all of the comics I have ever read for both characters. The two greatest moments for me in the Justice League movie will be any time Batman is incredible and when Superman comes back from the dead. Screw that rivalry too.
- I've watched all 14 MCU movies at the theater, most of them in IMAX and I will continue to do so because I enjoy that franchise. I like the DCEU better for several reasons, but I don't consider any of the MCU to be actually "bad," not even Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 2 or either of the Thor movies. I actually think Thor: The Dark World is better than the first one for several reasons. No one tells me what to like and what to not like.
- The only bad X-Men movies in my opinion are X-Men the Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The rest range from good to great, with Logan and X-Men: Apocalypse being my personal favorites. FOX should keep the X-Men franchise to themselves. They've learned what they want to do with them now and it's awesome.
- I like the DCCW enough to co-host a weekly podcast on it breaking down each show, which means I like it A LOT. I might personally prefer the DCEU, but since I believe in a multiverse, I can appreciate the DCCW as another version that can completely co-exist with the other. Tyler Hoechlin is Superman just as much as Henry Cavill is. Just because I like Cavill better doesn't mean Hoechlin is garbage or vice versa. I didn't like when they killed Earth One Laurel at all, but I like Dinah Drake because she's an actual meta-human and with all due respect to Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy is a more believable fighter to me on camera. I like them both and can accept what the both of them have contributed to Arrow as different versions of the Black Canary. Oh, and I like Felicity Smoak. I never thought Oliver was a great fit for her so Season 3 and 4 were weird for that reason among others, but her character has never ruined the show for me at all.
- I enjoyed the Transformers cartoon as a kid and I have willingly seen every Transformers movie in the theater. In fact, I saw Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon twice. Why? Because I got what I wanted, which was two hours plus of giant toy robots fighting each other. I don't look for anything else out of those movies because I remember that Hasbro is in the credits and that it's not that serious. At all.
If you're still reading this after all of that, I'm hopeful that you understand where I am coming from. A lot of people that are loyal to those different fandoms think I am full of it for believing everything I just stated but it's completely true and this war between "real fans" and fanboys and "haters" is tiresome to me on several levels. What makes someone a "fanboy" or a "hater?" The truth of the answer is that it's close-mindedness. The ability to not see another fan's point of view or respect whatever it is they like or consider good is what makes you a fanboy or a hater. If you attack DCEU fans for their love of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, or for their appreciation and respect of Zack Snyder, while constantly singing the praises of Kevin Feige or the Russo Brothers for their work on the MCU, you are a fanboy. Period. The same goes if you are someone that attacks an MCU fan for their love of Captain America: Civil War while constantly singing the praises of Snyder and/or Geoff Johns.
If you attack someone for liking the DCCW more than the DCEU or vice versa, you are a fanboy/hater. If you attack someone for liking Batman more than Superman or vice versa, you are a fanboy/hater. If you attack someone for actually enjoying the Transformers movies for ANY reason, you are a fanboy/hater.
If you disagree with any of this, then I ask you to focus on the key word that makes someone a fanboy or a hater instead of just a fan. It's the word "attack." Seriously. All you have to do to not be a fanboy or hater is "DON'T ATTACK OTHERS OVER THEIR FANDOMS." It's that simple, and before you say that you don't ever attack people for their fandom, consider the types of "attack" that exists on social media and otherwise:
- Commenting on someone's positive status or tweet about a franchise just to say that you think it sucks or isn't as good as the one you like.
- Telling someone that it is okay for them to like what they like so long as they accept the flaws that it has, as though you are giving them permission to like something that you think is "objectively bad," even though it's based on a subjective opinion that is anything but objective.
- Telling someone that they are "not a real fan" because whatever it is that they like doesn't follow the original comics or the original incarnation, especially if there have been several different incarnations made over a long period of time.
- Using subjective reasoning and opinions as "fact" to argue why someone's high opinion of something is wrong and incorrect, and then thinking that you are right because you treat your opinion as fact since so many people and critics agree with you.
- Any name calling of people because of what they like. That includes calling people "delusional, shills or mindless" only because of a positive opinion they have offered on a fandom, not because of an attack they have fired against you or someone else.
None of the above is simply "sharing or voicing your opinion," no matter how much you try to rationalize it. No, actually sharing or voicing your opinion means posting it while respecting others. That is more than possible and I know because I have done it many times. I've also done the opposite and acted like a fanboy or hater, but I'm working through that. An important part of all of this is being able to admit when you are wrong or being able to admit when your personal feelings about a fandom are affecting your judgment of another one, like when people try to make "objective" excuses and reasons for why the DCEU movies are "factually bad" instead of simply admitting that they just don't like them. There's no shame in that, save for the bruised ego that comes with the humility of accepting the truth of the situation.
Now, what makes THAT the truth and none of the other opinions the same thing, you might ask? It's the fact that no opinions on movies or any other art form is objective whatsoever. Everything about movies and media is meant to hit us on a subjective level and appeal to our emotions in many different ways. Our opinions formed on these things therefore draws on some bias and personal connection or even lack of a personal connections to make a determination. Nothing about that is objective, because we are not dealing in fact other than the fact that the thing, whatever it is has affected us emotionally on some level. If emotions are part of the equation at all, then objectivity goes out the window and there's nothing wrong with that so long as you are willing to take responsibility for it.
So no, the DCEU is not objectively bad. Neither is the MCU, or the DCCW, or the new Star Wars movies, or the new Star Trek movies, or even Transformers. Good and bad are subjective. Just because you and a lot of people do not like a thing or consider it bad doesn't mean that everyone shares that opinion, and it IS an opinion, nothing more.
That is what separates the fan from the fanboy/hater, the ability to take responsibility for their own opinion while respecting the opinions of others, even ones that they disagree with. You may not agree with my stance of liking so many fandoms and not truly hating any of the ones considered a rival, but there should be a level of respect for it, just I would respect your disagreement on anything as well. If there are no attacks made from you, then there is no reason to argue about it and everything can be harmonious. Sadly, it seems like too many people are only interested in arguing for the sake of wasting time and winding people up to get emotional, which is the true goal of fanboys and haters in the first place. If you don't want to be one of those, then avoid that kind of behavior at all costs. It's not necessary to be that way in order to like whatever it is you like. Ever.