Critic Marshall Fine saw The Dark Knight Rises and didn't care for it much. That's bad enough, but then he had to go and post his opinion on the internet, thereby ruining the film's then-perfect Rotten Tomatoes rating. (Since then, it's dropped down to 85 percent, with eight "rotten" reviews overall. Sorry, fanboys and girls.)
Cue the geek rage. Fine's post was inundated with hateful comments, including — yes — death threats. Maybe it was the attachment they feel to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Maybe it's just that Comic-Con is over and these nerds have nothing to lose. Either way, fans were out for blood.
I haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, so I can't speak to its quality. But I can give my opinion on Fine's review, which is not very good. It gives away too much of the plot, for one thing, but it's also condescending. Here are two bits I especially hated. The first implies that the film's viewers are all teenagers and twentysomethings, and thus ignorant fucks.
None of which will mean anything to the target audience of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," an audience too young to have been born, let alone old enough to read (or willing to read, for that matter), when the Bane storyline first surfaced in print. They want it now — hold the history or context — with a side of Imax, and snap it up.
Then there's this line from his closing paragraph—
Hell, I'd say that anyone forecasting serious Oscar love for this lumpish, tedious film has been smoking too much of that potent, prescription California weed.
Hey, Marshall Fine, you leave California weed out of this.
And yet, I don't want to kill Fine, because I am a sane person who understands that critics are entitled to their own opinions — and also that killing people is basically never the answer. The anger that fans feel when a critic pans something they love (something most of them haven't even seen yet) is misguided, to say the least. It's as if they don't realize that a Rotten Tomatoes rating has no bearing on the film's box office success: I promise you no one is going to not buy a ticket to The Dark Knight Rises because of what Marshall Fine thinks.
But alas, the internet is full of whiny manchildren who think the only valid opinion is their own. And while they have the right to post their vitriol on every message board they can, Marshall Fine should probably be executed for comparing The Dark Knight Rises to a Transformers movie. This kneejerk fandom reaction will likely never change, which is a bummer. Death threats, however hyperbolic, make people a lot more squeamish about airing their grievances, and we should all feel free to gleefully shit on blockbusters, no matter how much we're internet-obligated to love them.
So please, don't say you're going to kill Marshall Fine, no matter how butthurt his review makes you. If you want to have a chat with him about talking down to his readers, however, by all means.
[Image via AP/Warner Bros. Pictures]