Musing: Cautiously Optimistic vs. Inevitable Dread.


Worst. Article. Ever.

Everyone has movies or books they go into loaded with hype.  There are also movies I expect I will hate unconditionally.  I avoid those to keep from turning into the Comic Book guy on the Simpsons.  I’m not talking about movies like that in this post.  Instead I’ll talk about the movies I sit on the fence wondering which way it will go.  Will it tumble into the abyss of terrible or will it soar into “surprisingly good?”

I recall a time when Marvel decided to get ambitious.  Spiderman movies made money no matter their quality, the X-men played hit and miss and the Hulk was dropping Gamma Bombs in the Box office.  They announced the intent to start the Big Three of the Avengers and I groaned.

I love me some Captain America.  Don’t get me wrong, but I dreaded them making a movie with Cap.   Worse still I was dreading the Thor movie.   The problem with those two are their innate cheesiness.   Iron Man?   I saw they casted Robert Downey Jr. and realized he’s a guy in a bad ass robot suit.  “Even if it is terrible, I’ll enjoy the special effects and it will make a butt-load of money ™.”

Both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger impressed me.  They transcended by low expectations in the best way possible.  Eventually I built an expectation for the Marvel movies to be good and I’m anticipating Guardians of the Galaxy.  (I plan to see it this weekend.)

Some movies are just beyond this hope, like the Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I tried to give it a chance.  I tried to force myself into cautiously optimistic, but I plummeted to inevitable dread and settled firmly into imminent face palm territory.  Trailer after trailer tells me I should adopt the “Even if it is terrible, I’ll enjoy the special effects and it will make a butt-load of money ™.” mentality, but my childhood bleeds whenever I look at it.

Eventually I may watch it thanks to Redbox and HBO, but I’ll have to make sure I have an escape route planned.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers, released via director Zack Snyder's Twitter account as media announcement 7/27/2014

I want to be cautiously optimistic on Gadot’s Wonder Woman, but I’ve shifted to ‘wait and see’ mode.

In 2014 we stand at a crossroads.  Batman is DC comic’s Spiderman and they have some ‘X-men’ (In the form of Superman) and ‘Hulks’ (Green Lantern Anyone?) out there too.  They just released some promotional stuff for Wonder Woman and a while back some convincing rumors arose regarding who has been cast to play Aquaman.  DC is in a similar situation as Marvel 2011.  There are some key differences.

They are introducing Wonder Woman, one of their big three, in an ensemble movie.  For simple comparison, let’s say Batman = Ironman (the surefire dynamo that will rake in money at a reliable rate.)  Superman = Captain America (the fan favorite that is high risk high reward)  Wonder Woman = Thor (the dark horse that requires an establishing movie to show people how awesome they are)

Thor and Wonder Woman are both great characters, both based on mythologies but because of Wonder Woman’s gender she isn’t getting her own movie?  This is problematic.  Consider all the backlash Marvel got for ‘shirking’ Black Widow and multiply it by a hundred.  Wonder Woman is a crucial part of the Justice League formula.  DC is shooting themselves in the foot.


Ben Affleck as Batman. Again: “Wait and See” mode.

This is one of the factors shifting “Dawn of Justice” (I refuse to call it by the ridiculous title that sounds like a fighting game) from cautious optimism to inevitable dread.   Say what you will about the last Superman Movie, it made a butt-load of money.  However Batman?  They’re pushing their luck by switching Batman actors without an establishing Solo movie.  So they’re not only rolling the dice on Wonder Woman, they’re doing it on two-thirds.

“Even if it is terrible, I’ll enjoy the special effects and it will make a butt-load of money ™.”

It’s funny how many movies are fine with this.  Books do it as well but you change out the ‘special effects’ with some key element in the story.  There’s nothing wrong with liking a piece of popular media for a single element as long as it’s done on purpose.

Anything you’ve seen (or plan to see) that lurks in these dubious positions?  Let me know in the comments.

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