How Lucky Are We?

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We live in the greatest time to ever be a fan of something. There are new comic books coming out every week, comic book movies are getting Oscar nominations every other year, people stand in line every month to watch the next big spectacle, and, most of the time, these spectacles are about the characters we love.

So far, this year, we’ve seen one film about the X-Men, one film about Wade Wilson, two films in the DC Comics universe, and one film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In early November, the second 2016 Marvel Studios film of the year opens in the United States, and it will be about Dr. Stephen Strange.

Around the same time, the Harry Potter franchise returns to the silver screen with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In December, we’re getting the first Star Wars spin-off film – Rogue One – and Episode 8 opens next year. We have already seen the Avengers in multiple films, and next year we are getting the first Justice League movie ever.

You can turn on Netflix and watch four seasons of Marvel TV shows about characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. The CW has its own universe for DC Comics characters like Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and Supergirl. There are so many shows and movies about comic book characters out there that we don’t have time to watch them all.

How lucky are we? When I was younger – after having seen Frodo’s journey end in The Return of the King – I remember asking my mother – almost with tears in my eyes – if I would ever see something that great again? Would I ever have something as exciting as that. You have to understand that that was in 2003.

This was before Spider-Man 2 blew me away, which my Mom also took me to see. This was before the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was before we knew that there would be new Star Wars movies after the prequels. This was before the X-Men reboot.

This was before Superman returned. This was before Batman ‘began.’ This was before the Hobbit films. This was right before the greatest age in fandom began. How lucky are we that we as fans – and that fans to come – have everything at our fingertips. that we can pick up comic books featuring multiple versions of Superman (including one from a different culture).

That we can watch a show about Supergirl on TV. That we, in that show, have Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. We still have Tom Welling’s time as Superman to look back on, and we can watch the old films whenever. We also have a Reeve-esque sequel called Superman Returns, and Man of Steel, although polarizing, started a huge cinematic universe.

We have no reason to complain. Zero. Yet every year, we find something new to complain about. This year a group of DC Comics fans started online petitions to take down a review aggregator for doing what it’s supposed to. Critics were attacked for disliking movies with superhero characters again.

There’s this ongoing competitions between fans. To some, Marvel movies have to be better than the DC films or vice versa. And if that doesn’t happen then groups of fans scream that people are biased against their characters. How do you get to that conclusion?

There was a time when superhero movies were looked down upon. There were times when it looked like Star Wars had ended. But that isn’t the world we’re living in. A guy won an Academy Award for playing the Joker. We are going to get at least one new superhero movie every year in the next couple of years. A-list stars want to be superheroes.

Realize that a lot of these critics grew up with the same characters you did, some of these critics even grew up with Christopher Reeve’s Superman films or Tim Burton’s Batman. Realize how many films critics watch every year. And then you hear about people claiming that the critics are paid to give some films negative reviews?

Realize that if the comic book genre is going to last, then Warner Bros., Fox, Disney, and Sony all need the superhero films to be good. Why would, for example, Sony pay critics to bash, for example, a Batman film, when they need their Spider-Man films to make money?

Who knows where we’ll be in five years? At least, right now, we know that films like these are still being made. They are still making money. And a lot of these films are popular both with critics and fans. I don’t know how long this will last. So, please. Realize how lucky you are.

– Jeffrey Rex

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