Why We Need “Bad” Films

Justice League is out, “Huzzah!!” but like the majority of its predecessors in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) it’s not reviewed very well, “Who’d have thunk it…” but is being bad, actually a bad thing?

Now, in all honesty, I’ve not seen the film yet – neither am I planning to – so I’m not going to talk about it in a good way or a bad way, simply from the perspective of an observer.  I’m fully aware that bad reviews don’t make bad films.  I mean, my parent’s favourite movie is Battleship… yes, the one based on the board game with Rhianna in it.  Even my favourite movie is Real Steel; though unlike my parents I’m willing to accept that it’s by no means a great example of a movie, it just works for me.  So if you’ve seen Justice League and you love it, please don’t take offence to anything I may say, we’re all entitled to our opinions, and this is the point I’m trying to make.

If all we got were Oscar winning films like 12 Years a Slave, Birdman and Lala Land – whoops, I mean Moonlight – then we wouldn’t have big blockbuster epics to fulfil our Friday nights.  If all we got were good Marvel films, then we’d miss the variety of stories and tones that other comicbook adaptations provide.  If all we got were movies that made a shed-ton of money then we wouldn’t get to see new and innovative ideas from smaller studios.  Not all films need to be successful to be “good”.

Look at Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.  It wasn’t produced to win Oscars, it didn’t intent on being a shameless copy of Pixar and – whilst I’m sure its Producers would have preferred it to earn more money – it only grossed $71 million.  But despite this, I got to see a movie based on the series of books that I adored as a kid and chuckle at all the toilet humour I’d ever need in 90 minutes.  Surely that’s what the creators of the films wanted, for the people it was aimed at to enjoy it?

The other good thing that might come out of Justice Leagues release is an end to ‘Cinematic Universes’.  Marvel got it right, they started small with a decent film and scaled up from there, one step at a time, until they could release Avengers Assemble (still hate that UK title…).  This – I’d imagine because it was the 6th film – was the 6th goal that the company strived for.  So why other companies feel like they can start at the fourth goal and skip the first three is ludicrous and so obvious in their downfall.

I bring this up as even despite critical criticism, Justice League opened to a decent $96 million in its first week in the States and $281.5 million worldwide.  But compare it to Avenger Assemble’s $207 million opening weekend in the states and you can see there’s a bit of a difference, especially when you consider the five year gap between the films and the comicbook culture that’s grown since then.

Having a failure in Hollywood usually sends up warning flares for Producers who realise there’s no money in whatever the problem was: whether it’s a genre, director or strategy.  So instead of repeating mistakes, they go out and find new things, letting us watch different films instead of re-making the same old thing over and over again.

In the last few years we’ve had pre-Marvel Spiderman, Ghostbusters and Dark Cinematic (The Mummy et al.),  Cinematic Universes go under and I don’t understand how either a) Producers haven’t worked out how to do it right yet, or b) It just isn’t working.  Now hopefully they’ll start to learn…maybe…possibly…what’s that?  They’re making Star Wars, Transformers and X-Men into Cinematic Universes… Why do I even bother?

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