Let’s Be Civil… please?

Reading about the history of the criticism of art in any form is always interesting to me because in this day and age the community of film criticism is a very passionate (sometimes too passionate) one. Where movie reviewers and critics stand today is a place where anything they say whether positive or negative, it will be criticized itself. With websites like IMDb, Metacritic and especially Rotten Tomatoes ruling the current film discussion landscape, it’s hard not to get involved and even more so if you are a student of film such as myself.

Over the past few years websites like Rotten Tomatoes have held more power than ever before and many a twitter war have been started over it. Firstly, from the war on critics, one of the big conspiracies of recent history is that film critics are being paid off by Marvel to carry the banner of their movies and stomp DC’s into the mud. Ideas such as this stem from the idea that film critics are the end all be all of opinion on films which is just not at all true, it also comes from the fact that not a lot of people understand the way that a site like Rotten Tomatoes aggregates their film score which is rather convoluted. In class this week we discussed whether or not critics are a necessity and many people (especially online) would say no, but for myself however I believe that people view the critical machine as one whole monster and put far too much weight on the tomatometer. Film criticism shouldn’t always end with you siding with a general consensus, you should find a critic or two or three who you share like-minded opinions with and follow them. Film is subjective and personal and so should be the way you seek out professional criticism towards it.

This thought leads me to the current state of fandom and the average reviewer. We currently live in a 0 or 10 society which is to say everything either has to be the best thing ever or the worst thing ever and if you’re on the fence then either side will try to pull you over. There is no civil discussion anymore and people take it far too personally when you say that something they love is “fine”. Because we’re in this culture of ‘pick-a-side’ when it comes to film opinion it splits the film loving community in two and ruins the shared experience. We all need to take a step back, stop being so emotional and realize that as much as we may love them (and I do love them) in the end it is just a movie.

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