Over the weekend I was able to ask Green Lantern himself what he thought of his movie.
This was my third visit to a comic-book store. Before now I have never purchased comics; what drove me to this decision was the so-far-fantastic crossover series Assimilation2, which includes the casts of both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who. (Geek-out moment, when The Doctor and Captain Jean-Luc Picard shakes hands.) It happened that this store — about which I have written — was having its grand opening. Green Lantern was there, along with Batgirl, Harley Quinn (no Marvel heroes!), and some Ghostbusters.
Knowing most consider Green Lantern an expensive flop, I asked the hero about his view.
“Yeah, it wasn’t that great,” he said (paraphrasing). “I mean, I like it okay; I would watch it again. But it could have been so much better.”
Whereas I thought Green Lantern was a fine, entertaining flick, not the best, but not a “flop.”
In this I seem to be in the minority.
I also enjoy the films Treasure Planet, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and the oft-maligned series Star Trek: Enterprise (despite its absurd attempts to add Alien Sex Appeal).
I don’t absolutely hate Spider-Man 3, and still see little point to a total reboot of that series.
With novels, even though I’ve come to reject, for now, pre-everything-ism end-times views, and still dislike wandering plots and repetitive rescue missions, to this day I still appreciate the Left Behind series. (I only dislike the final book, Kingdom Come, which has no plot.)
I have no problem with Frank Peretti’s angels-versus-demons novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, though I — along with Peretti himself — dislike readers’ abuses.
This will keep happening. A film or novel, and rarely a television program, will release that at first gains mixed reviews. Then a Cultural Consensus seems to appear: Everyone get on board, we should all hate this now. Gradually, everyone does. Except you.
These reasons may explain the difference:
- You grew up with the story. Perhaps God even used it to help you, despite its flaws. For me, this helps explain my continuing appreciation for the Left Behind series.
- You don’t know the story source, so didn’t expect more (many did of Green Lantern).
- For creative or doctrinal reasons, you naturally overlook flaws others can’t stand.
How does this happen to you? What films, series, and novels do you enjoy — or at minimum, think are okay and shouldn’t be reviled — while others despise them?
Conversely, some Supreme Classics that we’re all supposed to love seem plainly awful.
- You didn’t grow up with a story, so you have no personal attachment.
- You know the story source, and so expect more.
- Creatively or doctrinally, errors irritate you that others simply don’t see.
In the non-speculative field, we are all supposed to honor Gone With the Wind as a classic, and I do recognize that — but as Becky recently noted, it’s unorthodox. As a viewer (I have not read the book), I was only able to support the supporting cast: Melanie, Ashley, and all.
For speculative stories, I (gasp!) frankly can’t see the great appeal of Star Wars — even the original trilogy. I know it’s there. Yet I didn’t grow up seeing the films since childhood.
For me, that may also contribute to my recent dislike of A Wrinkle in Time. Several people who say they love it have apparently grown up with the story. It’s “embedded.” Thus, I may argue that, even if adjusted for fantasy-inflation, the ending is shallow and sentimental, but that doesn’t — and shouldn’t — offset readers’ long attachment. In fact, this is like how I feel about the Left Behind series, despite what I know are its doctrinal and story flaws.
This also works for some newer Christian speculative novels. So far I’ve read quite a few of them that, to me, don’t seem all that great. Even if I don’t expect “the next Inkling” (which as A. T. Ross notes can be a silly and misinformed expectation anyway), I’m disappointed.
But maybe the story isn’t intended for me. Maybe it’s meant for another reader, likely a younger reader. For him or her, it’s not clichéd or dull to read of yet another medieval setting with overt Christian allegories during the tale of another orphan who turns out to be the lost son of royalty about whom there is an ancient prophecy that he will defeat evil and bring peace. To such readers, all that is new and shiny and magical and wonderful.
If that’s true, maybe I shouldn’t complain. I might want different stories for readers like myself. But that’s a genre-based objection, not a particular-story-based objection.
So, which stories do you dislike that others near-unanimously praise?