Over the past decade, there has been a heavy increase in Hollywoods desire to franchise anything and everything. Along with these big tentpole franchises comes dedicated and loving fans who have a dark side that can make being a fan an insufferable experience. The constant arguing and bickering over which franchise is best or why a certain filmmaker is ruining everything is truly exhausting at this point. Yes, you can have a different opinion from someone else about a movie. That is fine no one is trying to say you can’t. Just don’t try to put someone down to build you and your point up. It’s lazy and makes for a conversation not worth having and leaves a sour taste about franchises in general in your mouth.
The most recent and loudest example of this is in the Star Wars franchise after the release of Star Wars The Last Jedi. Yes, it truly is a tired subject at this point but that fact that it helps prove the point about how toxic things have gotten. It is crazy to think that we’d ever reach a point where people are sick of talking and hearing about Star Wars but here we are. After the release of the Rian Johnson-helmed installment, the film was met with backlash from fans about the directions the film went in. Which is again fine, if you don’t like that’s great and you should voice your frustrations and criticisms. Where the issue comes in that many of the people who take issue with The Last Jedi often turn out to be die hard prequel fans. These fans who have been told time after time that the films they like aren’t that good and have to listen to exhausting criticisms.
It isn’t fair that fans of the prequel films had to listen to the constant insufferable complaints from anti-prequelers but that is being used as a license to just be the nastiest people online. The idea that because someone did something to you so you need to do it back to them is so childish it’s amazing that this even needs to be said. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because someone was loud and obnoxious doesn’t mean you should be. Be the bigger person and don’t stoop to such childish behavior. Not only do your actions and words hurt the fan base but it hurts the reputation of that fanbase. Why in the world would someone who has never been interested in Star Wars be willing to give it any sort of honest chance after reading the comments on one of the billions of Anti-Rian Johnson videos? They wouldn’t have any interest and understandably so. It is literally grown men throwing tantrums because they aren’t able to form worthwhile arguments or talking points.
Star Wars fans are also far from the only ones who are at fault when it comes to the toxic side of fans. Additionally, Marvel and DC fans are major culprits and are constantly taking turns being either the elitists or the victims. Interestingly though they each have their own unique ways of playing elitist and victims. When Marvel fans are elitist they go full Stark and are just sarcastic and don’t really address the criticisms but rather just joke it off. This likely stems from the comfortability they feel since the franchise has seen critical, audience and financial success consistently for 10 years. DC fans, on the other hand, have a franchise which has struggled for the reasons Marvel has seen success. Fans of DC are much more vicious and exhibit a superiority complex when defending a film like Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice. They will either directly or subtly infer that people who don’t like those films simply don’t understand them for the layers and nuance. When inferring something like that it automatically weakens the argument because it coming from a place of anger and suggests those who don’t like it are incapable of having their own opinions.
The other side of the Marvel and DC coin is the victim mentality they have. DC fans will never entertain the idea that there is a problem with the films or the process in which they are made. Instead, they play the victim and blame Rotten Tomatoes and petition to get it shut down or they come up with insane theories that Marvel is somehow responsible for the lack of interest and poor reception of their films. To be fair it is a small minority of the fanbase that does this kind of stuff but they are a very loud minority that taints the reputation of the fanbase substantially. Marvel fans also play the victim and act like any criticism against the films is a personal attack on them and get extremely defensive. It’s weird to think that fans of a highly successful franchise would get so defensive but they do and it often reflects as childish. Both fan bases are passionate, dedicated but can also be extremely petty and just plain arrogant. It is something that needs to change. It will only benefit them to have real discussions rather than constantly bickering like children. They’re both fans of the same genre and want success for it so it’s troubling to know that they are constantly trying to bring each other down rather than building each other up.
At the end of the day, fans will be fans and there will always be a divide. The big issue that needs to be addressed is the toxicity that comes along with that. Everyone needs to remember that it is okay to not always agree. It breeds good discussion that can hopefully be noticed by the people who make the things they’re fans of so that real change can happen. If you want to change the way Star Wars is currently being made then open a dialogue but not one that opens with demanding someone being fired or a bunch of sarcastic remarks. We’re all fans and should start respecting each other instead of being absolutely unbearable. Also at the end of the day fans of Star Wars, Marvel and DC should feel good about not being as unbearable as Rick and Morty fans.