Even with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman sequel, WW84, hitting movie theaters on Christmas week, it was still a weird one for the entertainment business. Even by 2020 standards. Early reviews had WW84 up on a pedestal. Fans were eager with anticipation of getting the first comic book movie since, wait for it… March?!
But then, everything changed.
Disappointment and hatred filled the conversation. That’s how it so often happens these days. It was the same after general audiences finally had a chance to see WW84. The reality; however, was way more complex than that.
The Polarizing Effect of CBMs
Like so many geeky films these days, the reality was that WW84 is not “hated” by the majority of the fanbase, despite what many people will have you believe – it’s simply a divisive film. It is because of this divisiveness that both sides tend to push too hard so their opinion will be heard (loudly). The more vocal one side is, the more aggressive the other one gets. It’s a vicious cycle.
Sometimes, it seems like many people online, whether they like the movie or not, seem to forget that this is only a movie. And not just that: It’s a movie about an Amazonian warrior with a Lasso of Truth that drives an invisible plane. (Actually, Steve Trevor did in this movie, but anyway.)
It’s truly not a very important thing in the grand scheme of things, and we should treat it as such.
I’m a big soccer fan. I actually have a soccer game on in the background right now, and every weekend I watch at least a couple of games. Films and soccer have very few things in common, but I’d like to invoke a common phrase used when talking about soccer from a well-known football club manager (Everton):
When I think about ongoing discussions about WW84, such as:
- Was Maxwell Lord a good villain?
- Was the CGI on Cheetah realistic?
- Did the “Make A Wish” plot make any sense?
Those questions remind of that phrase from Carlo Ancelotti. While these discussions might seem important to us in the geek community, we need to remember that they’re only the most important… among the unimportant stuff.
Movies Are Still Entertainment, Right?
WW84 is only important because of the weight we’re giving it. Having an entertaining discussion about it is healthy and also kind of fun. Geek culture has evolved over the last few years, with characters like Rocket Raccoon or Steppenwolf becoming household names. And all those Baby Yoda Christmas ornaments almost overtaking statutes of Baby Jesus in sales this year (don’t fact check me).
And it is within a part of fandom–one that’s incredibly vocal on Twitter–that the discussion over whether WW84 is the best or worst movie ever is actually driving the conversation. For those of us who spend abnormal amounts of time on that platform, it might seem like this is the general discussion – but it isn’t.
The majority of moviegoing audiences are not on Twitter. If they were, maybe the conversation would be “Should Alita: Battle Angel have made a billion dollars at the box office?” They do not overanalyze things like we are doing right now. For most, WW84 was either “a fun time” or “not so fun”. Maybe they’re also as divided on that front, who knows – but I can promise you they’re not yelling at each other.
So, this divisiveness among hardcore fans does not really mean that much for the main fanbase of the franchise and therefore for the future of the DCEU overall. (If that’s still a thing.)
If the movie performs well, it’s going to get a sequel – haters and yellers notwithstanding. The sequel might reinforce the things that people did not like about WW84, or it might just be what redeems the franchise for them.
So, what do the Twitter reactions to WW84 mean? Absolutely nothing.
The film is bound to be successful, even if moderately despite a global pandemic. For me, the film was a disappointment, but there was nothing more disappointing than the online outrage. For those of you who liked it, good for you. I’m happy you found something to have fun with during the pandemic, or whenever you end up watching it.
Ultimately, WW84 is only important among the unimportant things in life, right? So let’s remember that. Watch, and discuss. But keep our sanity, because yelling about it won’t have much impact beyond your stress level.