Entertainment is fun, spirited, and wonderful to appreciate. Yet, all things considered, those awful, never-going-anywhere fandom debates take the fun out of everything.
One minute, you’re discussing the worth of binging on a Netflix series. The next minute, folks plaster a diatribe so furiously on someone’s DM that they begin to experience early-onset carpal tunnel syndrome.
Trolls are different. Those are the brain-dead troglodytes who will do anything to make you twist into a nerd pretzel just because you liked Captain Marvel and think Brie Larson did a respectable job. (Yeah, you know who you are, douchenozzles.)
All fandom debates began a trek down the nerd entertainment rabbit hole. However, that’s when hashtags are muted, topics are avoided, and people are perpetually ignored. That’s why we’re here today.
These top 10 fandom debates need to die, like yesterday.
But first, a word from our sponsor:
Think about fandom debates that, while they are now so toxic, make COVID-19 seem tame. Those never-ending, nut-kicking, vomit-inducing discussions that people treat as nasty as “So, who are you voting for in the next presidential election?”
Therein lies the rub. A right to make an opinion does not make the opinion right.
That’s because opinions are never objective. You can back your claim with facts and create a PowerPoint if you wish, but if dumbassery prevails to call this planet flat, then a pancake it is. Why? Because they believe it. Opinions aren’t about you; it’s them. Even if they are absurd. Why again? Because that is your opinion. Get it?
So, we need to really stop whining about these fandom debates! Not because they are “wrong,” but because they suck. On with the show…
10. Is Disney Too Powerful?
For many, this is an absolute “yes!” They own theme parks, movies, timeless characters and songs, animation, toys, and even a word. Their brand is “magic,” so much so that David Copperfield should have paid for the rights to use it in Vegas. Yet, the cornerstones of Walt Disney’s empire weren’t enough — they were only the beginning.
Today, Disney owns these–and more (deep breath):
- 20th Century Studios (formerly FOX)
- Searchlight Pictures
- Touchstone Pictures
- Muppets/Jim Henson Holdings
- The History Channel
- Hollywood Records
- Core Publishing
- Hulu (well, 67% of it; NBC Universal owns the rest)
- FX Networks
- Lifetime (the sappy network, not the gym)
Ethically, Disney’s fiefdom is broaching a monopoly and should be investigated by the FTC. Legally, it’s free capitalism. There is absolutely nothing we can do about the mouse hoarding every little bit of cheese he can gather. So, go ahead and boycott Disney if you feel so inclined.
But do you believe your personal cause will dent Mickey’s pocketbooks? Stop whining. Enjoy their properties. And cut them a check monthly. You know? Like the rest of us.
9. CBMs or All Those Other Movies?
Remember the good ol’ days of Hollywood? If you forgot, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola were around to remind you during the Oscars in 2019. These esteemed gentlemen sullied their legend in the eyes of nerds when they became cantankerous old farts claiming that “comic book movies were not real cinema.”
Sure, they were butthurt because Todd Phillips‘ opus Joker was getting all the Oscar love, snuffing out three industry icons in Scorsese’s magnificent The Irishman, but to call CBMs “not cinema” was inaccurate and untrue. If you don’t like comic book movies, fine. I’m sure there’s a sweet rom-com that would tickle your fancy out there, but there is a legion of nerds who love them.
What’s the most profitable movie in history again? That would be Avengers: Endgame (because Avatar has been re-released four more times to beat Marvel there, so screw Cameron). Admittedly, “profitable” doesn’t mean “best.” That superlative is way too subjective, but ask a geek, and a Marvel’s or DC’s “non-cinema” film will be at the top of most lists. Kids, get off their lawn. We’re never going to change those geezers’ minds.
The moral of the lesson is this: Just because something isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean it will not hydrate someone else, Pops.
8. What Weapon Works Best in the Zombie Apocalypse?
No joke. I have seen two dorks almost get nose-to-nose over this argument. By now, we have seen enough zombie movies to feel like we could become a tour guide during a Zombie Apocalypse. Yet, what weapon do you know would do the trick if you had that job, and some ne’er-do-well walkers got on your bus?
Would you go air-powered rifle or the forearm blade? Anyone has seen zombies walk through a machete or buckshot, so whatever. Katana blades and those brass knuckle zombie hammers are impressive to put a beat down on those drooling bastards, but still, they keep on coming.
Crossbows to tomahawks. Missiles to hand grenades. Cleaving saws to jigsaws. Why don’t these freaks of nature feel pain?!
And then, it dawns on you to think way outside the box. Well, outside the galaxy. You know? Far, far away. Darth Vader sliced his son’s hand off like he was preparing a nice charcuterie plate. Many young Jedis have issues with sabers because of their gyroscopic forces. You try to fight a zombie with some fancy fencing move, and the next thing you know, your foot is missing some toes.
Han Solo used one to create a Tauntaun microwave, so why couldn’t you use one to plow through a throng of zombies? And before you start bickering, go check Michonne in Season 4. She could have smoked all of them with a Darth Maul special. We would have saved seven unnecessary seasons of TWD. It is possible, Zombie hunters. This is the way.
(And if she had one of those in Wakanda?! Lawd, have mercy!)
7. Is Woke Casting Good for the Industry?
Ever since Michael B. Jordan was paid to play Johnny Storm in that beleaguered remake of Fantastic Four, “race-switch casting” has been a regular open scab for the CBM world. And now, Hollywood has been flirting with “woke casting.” Will it work? Should it happen? Is it even necessary?
On one side of the casting fence, we have “Well, it’s not Marvel’s or DC’s fault the characters were chosen as they were.” Actually, Captain Politically Correct, it is.
You see, comics have been around since the 1930s. In case you’re not up to date on American history– and if you weren’t white–you may have been frowned upon as a fan. So, the comics have tried to retroactively correct the heinous ills of the past and usually cast someone “different” for the same comics.
Take Zazie Beetz in Deadpool 2. She was great as ‘Domino.’ It worked, but canon shows that woman was slightly paler. The same happened with ‘Baron Mordo’ in Doctor Strange or ‘Valkryie’ in anything Thor. Did those actors present an appealing character? Definitely. (Well, maybe not for Jamie Foxx as ‘Electro.’) However, canon-committed nerds were ready to petition. This leads to the other side of the fence: “Comics need to wake up and smell the 21st century.”
Yes, they do, but is it a risk? Did you know ‘The Ancient One’ from Doctor Strange wasn’t really a bald British lady? In the movie, that part was wonderfully portrayed by Tilda Swinton, and she crushed it. What about Heimdall? No, he didn’t look like Idris Elba originally (dude was Scandinavian, remember), but did you even notice this affected canon in any way? No, you didn’t!
So, before you try to make your narrow-minded point and throw shade on Halle Berry as ‘Selina Kyle,’ know this. In that particular case, nerds did not back her as Catwoman because she wasn’t white; it was because that movie sucked. That sometimes happens with CBMs regardless of sex, color, gender, or overall acting ability. Just have a Coke and a smile, and enjoy the movie.
6. Is It a Good Idea to Jack with Canon?
It’s time to fight whenever you bring this up in a heated room of nerds. You’re watching a fantastic CBM, and then, when you least expect it, BOOM! Where in the spandexed hell did that change come from?! It sure wasn’t in the comics you remember, but that doesn’t stop the director from messing with the canon you love.
Mythos to pathos. Characters to plots. Movies in the nerd world will tinker with the canon you grew up reading (or watching cartoons). It just happens, but should it? Most CBM directors don’t have a problem with it. Come to think, neither do some comic book legends. (Go read Frank Miller’s take on Batman or Chris Claremont’s X-Men and get back to me.)
Not many DC enthusiasts complained when Christopher Nolan gave us the ninja skills behind Batman with the League of Shadows. Why? Because it worked. And it was awesome. Christian Bale hasn’t looked that intimidating since American Psycho. What about Jon Favreau creating Edwin Jarvis into J.A.R.V.I.S. (who eventually became Vision)? Any moan in DMs about that move? Not once. And why? It worked. Arguably, the most prolific kink to canon was inside the Fortress of Solitude.
When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Kal-el in the 1930s, he never needed a pep talk for a dead facet of Daddy back home. And why? He was Superman! You going to tell that guy how to polish his usage of super strength, flying, heat and X-ray vision, and the random iceberg breath?! No way.
Yet, Richard Donner did it in 1978 with Marlon Brando, and Zach Snyder did it in 2013 with Russel Crowe. Did you complain? Nope. Why? Well, to be honest, many nerds didn’t even know that was a canonical tweak in the first place. But, largely, it worked.
If it doesn’t work, complain. If it does, shut up.
5. To Reboot or Not to Reboot?
Unfortunately, that is the damn question. What has made fandom debates around this issue more toxic is Hollywood asks about it weekly. So many franchises don’t need reboots because of sanctity or stupidity. (Yes, Hellboy, Fantastic Four, Terminator, we’re looking at you.) There have been several films that demand sequels or prequels. There are others that need a reboot, remaster, or remake. Given what modern Hollywood can do to some films considered “classic,” all that perceived lack of originality could do some good.
Be honest: It’s about a cash grab. (And Disney isn’t the only one guilty of this.)
Some producers may not have an original thought in their pea-brain skull to create a movie, but they believe the cash registers would create a symphonic sound at their bank to recreate a monster movie. How did that work out again, Universal? Regardless, some movies should never be touched. Can you imagine a remake of GoodFellas? Others should repel the thought. (Remember when Jason Momoa was the new Conan the Barbarian?)
It’s a sinister part of the world we live in. Quick cash is what we want. This is a terrible way to get it. If you don’t like the “re-whatever,” don’t see it, but you’re the one that sucks if you hate on those who do.
4. Book or Movie?
Here we go. Easily, one of the banner topical arguments in the “Books vs. Movies” fandom debates is Stephen King accusing Stanley Kubrick of aborting his vision from his book. Even fans of the book thought to themselves, “Eh, Mr. King, sir? If you know the book, you know the areas Kubrick took some creative license with the book adaptation, but it was still The Shining. The film was great, but ever since, people have wanted to arm wrestle over which medium tells the better story.
Among those lively water-cooler chats and fandom debates has been the analysis of a book, graphic novel, or comic book outperforming the movie adaptation. Regardless of the genre, this argument is bound to cause others to scream, fight, plot each other’s bodily harm, or call cancel culture for a personal favor. Movies never get into the depths of characterization and story arcs as the author intended. However, a movie can make a book seem more realistic (and spike the second round of book sales).
Comics do it. Graphic novels do it. Books do it. Shoot, a nice Audible reading does it too. If you’re not a committed reader, you will likely never side with the author on this argument. Trust us: There is an argument to be made. Besides, reading a 2000-page book can’t be done in three hours unless you’re that oddball in CBS’ Criminal Minds.
If this is one of those fandom debates you loathe, remember one irrefutable fact: Books are written for imagination. Movies are made for entertainment. These are not necessarily the same and, rarely, interchangeable. Don’t believe me? Just ask Stephen King.
3. Should Batman Kill?
Ah, yes. Denting the bullet-proof armor of the Caped Crusader. Should he kill and go against his ethos because his parents were killed? The guy has no powers, except as Batfleck said brilliantly…
He’s a genius tactician and one of the world’s best-ever detectives, but his ability to squash the bad guys is not just mental. He’s a supreme martial artist (like up there with Shang-Chi, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Lady Shiva). The bad guy is worm bait if a nerve lock or a flying crescent kick goes wrong. However, as canon enthusiasts will tell you, this is not about his self-control; it’s about Bruce Wayne not wanting to become like the element he is ridding from Gotham.
However, those guys shoot to kill. If they catch Batman, he will die. His moral code is among the strongest aspects in comic lore, but if the villains are using nuclear bombs to smoke him (and another continent), he may spray some lead. That means bad guys may die. I don’t think the CBM fan will lose much sleep over that.
Did you know when Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the Cape and the Cowl, there was no rule about not killing in the earliest comics? Batman carried a gun, but after a couple of years, he took on the “no-kill” rule after adopting a teenage sidekick. Besides, the kids, right?
And before you talk smack about Batfleck and that fantastic warehouse scene, Michael Keaton killed folks (he tied one dude to a bomb), Christian Bale killed (his trek to the League of Shadows, anyone), Battinson was brutal (that poor guy in the Court of Owls), and even the drawn version of Batman killed in the comics (e.g., Reverse Flash, KGBeast, Joker, and even Green Arrow). Get over it.
Now, can we move on from this debate and get to another Bat-related question: “Why can’t D.C. keep a Batman for more than three effin’ movies?!”
2. Are DC Films Too Dark?
From The Dark Knight trilogy to Zack Snyder’s all-too-briefly experienced DCEU, the worry has always been the same: “Why are DC Films with Warner Bros. so dark?” That one sentiment seemed to echo on timelines worldwide. Even Deadpool smacked DC around for one of these fandom debates…
Few people discussed the genius of storytelling or the depth of filmmaking in the DC/WB tandem productions. It was about the destruction and eternal somber feeling the viewing left you with as you clutched your box of Milk Duds hoping they were razor blades.
Then, the ballyhoo of Snyder’s personal tragedy was the first domino causing a colossal fart-and-fall-down moment for the entire DCEU. Sure, WB spoke up, disbanded the dark brotherhood, and brought us Aquaman. Yes, it became WB’s powerhouse. They thought they had a formula, so next came the fan- (and family-) friendly Shazam! But they just couldn’t help themselves, and we got the most morose and bleak depiction of a comic character yet (and probably, ever) with Joker and a touch more morose, The (Emo) Batman.
So, why are these movies so dark with WB and DC? They work. It’s Hollywood. You will get some and miss some, but they have a formula they like and one that sets them apart from the competition. Not for nothing, but what is the latest DC/WB film, “Black” Adam? Even the title gives us darkness. Sure, every movie will be a visionary trek into the abyss, but more will come. Accept it, buy your ticket, and enjoy the ride. This stuff is getting good.
1. This Vs. That?
Yes, these age-old fandom debates are fun to have, if that’s what they remain — fun. Unfortunately for nerds, we don’t get grown-up things anymore because some people can’t handle adult responsibility. The entitlement of some nerds and their toxic fandoms is borderline insane.
There are handles about “Who Would Win” (pioneered by the great James Gavsie) where these abusive fandoms are euthanized because this is a fun way to do it. Could Superman have difficulties whooping up on a bald dude from Kahndaq? Who knows, but it’s fun to discuss.
That said, simple fandom debates like “Star Trek vs. Star Wars: Who ya’ got?” have ended up in fisticuffs because the pressure is too great for closed-minded dorks who can’t articulate any argument. Be passionate about your brand of comics. Boast their accomplishments. Brag about the minutia you know during a trivia contest. But please, just because you favor Marvel over DC doesn’t mean the guy or gal who loves Zack Snyder’s Justice League is wrong, and you may troll them now.
That makes you the fool, not them.
Just leave people alone. Let them love…wait, here’s a novel concept…both brands. Do you think there is a world where that can happen? Reason with your Twitter colleagues. Appeal to their senses. If you don’t agree…who the hell cares?! This is nerd stuff. We are not curing cancer.
I can like all comic publishers and even appreciate both space sagas. There is worth in Joel and Mike from MST3K. I can love LOTR, but The Hobbit film trilogy was woefully inept (and yes, it was). Anyone should be able to find good parts in the prequels and Star Wars sequels. I can breathe easily if I believe Battman (or is it, Battinson) and Batfleck was more convincing than BaleMan (and Michael Keaton put them all to shame).
Regardless of what I think, I’m happy to discuss your opinions. You may sway me. You may not. But this is geek stuff. “Change my mind” is not a threat, just an icebreaker.
So, for the love of all geek chat, take that fake pink slip of “ownership” out back with the rest of the debates. Just shoot it in the head and make glue out of it. It’s been a long time since to learn to appreciate what we are given in entertainment, then maybe fandoms can get along with everyone else who already does.