The following remarks were delivered by Dingo Fontana, professional interventionist, to a group of overzealous comic book movie fans during a town hall organized by executives from Marvel and DC Studios.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Whoops, sorry. Looks like it’s all dudes again. Thanks so much for taking the time to come visit with us this afternoon. I’m sure you’d rather spend your day screaming obscenities at 12-year-old gamers or cataloging all the ways your favorite superhero films didn’t faithfully adhere to the source material, so I appreciate you being here. Think of today’s session as an Algonquin roundtable for the Internet Age. A way for people with different views to meet as equals and share…
/guy wearing an Aquaman costume made from discarded figure skating outfits emerges from a 1,400-ounce Mountain Dew cup
AQUADEW: “Sir, I’m a little perturbed with your opening analogy. Al-Gonn Kwinn — or Mr. SparkleTaint, as he was more commonly referred to — is a well-known, golden-age Marvel villain who appeared in four issues of Amazing Untold Secret Universe Tales Vol. 18. Your obvious Marvel fanboy biases are showing and we’ve only been here for five minutes.”
What? No, no, no. The Algonquin Round Table was a diverse group of famous actors, writers, and critics who met daily at the Algonquin Hotel beginning in 1919.
AQUADEW: “Yeah, that’s where the celeb pow-wow got its name. From Mr. SparkleTaint.”
Let’s, uh, let’s try to move on, shall we? We’re here because comic book movie fans have cultivated a well-earned reputation for intransigence that blows right past insufferable on its way to toxic. To put it bluntly: you’re annoying as shit. Marvel and DC fans snipe at each other like there’s only enough celluloid for one shared universe. And when you’re not fighting each other, you’re declaring jihad against anyone with the temerity to question whether your favorite superhero film belongs on the AFI Top 100. These juvenile arguments stemming from blind allegiances force rational fans to pretend they don’t even like superhero films to avoid being guilty by association. You’re risking everything to gain nothing. What’s the point?
/guy wearing a Spider-Man pajamas hangs upside down from a rope attached to the ceiling
SPIDER-FAN: “The world needs to understand Marvel’s cinematic dominance. We run shit, OK? We’re the blueprint for how this is supposed to work. Everything we release makes a billion dollars and gets certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.”
AQUADEW: “What about Fantastic Four?”
SPIDER-FAN: “My Spider-sense is tingling. Gotta go!”
/guy tries to climb rope to ceiling; fails
Marvel has put together a damn good run, no question. Their films are immensely profitable, extremely enjoyable, and mostly manage to function both as standalone stories as well as setups for the larger endgame.
/guy who rips action figures from children’s hands on Black Friday stands up
DICKPOCKET: “YEAH HEAR THAT, DC FANS?! WE’RE THE CHAMPS! MARVEL, SON! WHY DON’T YOU AND HACK SNYDOUCHE GO MAKE LIKE THE WAYNES AND GET MURDERED IN AN ALLEY IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN? PREFERABLY A DARK AND GRITTY ONE. THE BEST PART OF YOUR BATMAN/SUPERMAN MOVIE WAS A GIRL! SUCK A D. SEE? WHAT I DID THERE?”
Hey! This senseless antagonism is exactly what we’re here to prevent. Yes, Marvel’s consistency is a remarkable achievement. But nothing they’ve released approaches Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Those films contain more risk and weight than Marvel has been willing to attempt thus far. There’s value in swinging for the fences sometimes, even when you whiff. Can’t you see the positives in both approaches? Different isn’t necessarily inferior.
DICKPOCKET: “Those movies are OK, I guess. But the new Snyder-led stuff is rancid diapers. Batman versus Superman? The central conceit is beyond stupid. Superman is an all-powerful immortal god. Batman is played by a Massachusetts liberal whose affinity for the nanny state cost him his marriage. That fight wouldn’t last 12 nanoseconds.”
Well, Batman has kryptonite at his disposal.
DICKPOCKET: “Oh, isn’t thaaaaaat convenient? Batman just happens to have the one thing that turns a previously ridiculous showdown into a fair fight. Of course. What lazy writing.”
AQUADEW: “Hey, how come Thor and Hulk aren’t around for Captain America: Civil War?”
DICKPOCKET: “Toys R’ Us just restocked their limited edition Star Wars figures. Gotta go!”
Look, guys, you’re missing the point. None of this stuff is worth fighting over. There’s more than enough room for…
/man in Batman T-shirt and black yoga pants materializes from the shadows
BATMEHN: “I’ve stood by, listening, like a bat, for far too long.”
Oh for fuck’s sa…
BATMEHN: “This man is right. We need to put aside our petty differences and unite against a common enemy.”
Ok, that’s more like it. Wait, “common enemy?”
BATMEHN: “Film critics.”
BATMEHN: “To borrow a line from Spencer McWonderBread’s acoustic cover of Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems:’ Critics, you can kiss my whole asshole. Longstanding biases against DC properties create an unfair playing field where Marvel movies receive every benefit of the doubt.”
So how do you explain the average 89 percent positive score for Nolan’s Batman trilogy? Or the overwhelmingly positive reviews for DC animated offerings? Or the uniformly well-reviewed DC television shows, including the pants-shittingly bad Gotham? (h/t Neil Miller)
BATMEHN: “‘Hello, Alfred? Robin used the Batcomputer to download GILF porn again? OK, on my way.’ “Gotta go!”
Critics aren’t out to get you. They don’t have the time or inclination to troll fans, or hold grudges, or let their childhood affinities supersede their professional responsibilities. Hell, most want to like highly anticipated blockbusters. If anything they allow comic movies and rebootquels of treasured properties a longer leash than they do prestige films. Indy 4 sits at 78 percent fresh on RT, for god’s sake.
BATMEHN: “Can you prove there isn’t an anti-DC conspiracy? How else can you explain terrible movies like Batman V Superman and Green Lantern getting terrible reviews? You can’t, is the answer.”
You’re still here?
BATMEHN: “Waiting on an Uber.”
/a green-skinned man in a red and gold wrestling outfit holding a “Fuck Gawker” sign makes his way to the front of the room
What comic character are you supposed to be?
What the f…
BRUCE HOGAN: “I agree with the man in the black stockings. His shitty movie is clearly the victim of systematic bias and not the result of people with fully functioning optic nerves and brain stems sitting through three hours of dreck.”
BATMEHN: “Finally, someone understands what I’m trying to…wait, that’s sarcasm, right?”
BRUCE HOGAN: “Now I see why they call you the world’s greatest detective.”
BATMEHN: “I’m going to beat you like an appeals court you piece of…”
Bruce! Stop fighting!
/both men stop and look at each other
BRUCE HOGAN: “Wait, your name is Bruce?”
BATMEHN: “Your name is also Bruce?
BRUCE HOGAN: “Holy hell, man! Why are we fighting when we have the same first name? Let’s work together.”
BATMEHN: “OK, Bruce.”
/everyone hugs and no one ever argues about comic book movies online again