For instance, while I did not review Mad Max: Fury Road, I did enjoy it in the theater. At home though, a two hour special effects laden, over the top car chase just doesn't hold up. While it was somehow nominated for best picture (all the evidence the #OscarsSoWhite crowd needed), there were many folks turning it off without finishing over how ridiculous it all seemed to them, and I'm hard pressed to disagree.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was a film that apparently worked for me a whole lot more than most, especially the critics, who'd basically equated it to a C-. My review produced heated debate between those giving the thumbs up, and others who either wanted or expected much more, or don't understand the serial format in which all comic books and television shows are created.
During the re-watch, there were absolutely segments that forced me to step back and admit, 'OK, that was cheesy'. And like a yo-yo on a string, I was snapped back to my original impressions of 'hey, this is pretty damn good' during others.
But the lasting impression that it gave me, against the backdrop of conversations I've been having with a friend who'd recently released his first novel (excellent so far, by the way), had very little to do with the story itself, but with the characters, the process of creation and what it meant to my own work moving forward.
I don't quite know whether or not anyone who is not a writer or artist can truly appreciate what a mammoth undertaking and accomplishment it is to create an entire universe as comprehensive as the one Marvel Comics has. For 75 years thousands of creators have poured their souls into bringing this Universe into being. And Stan Lee is personally responsible for a large portion of the heavy hitters.
The victory of films like Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn't rest on the success of an individual movie, but in how they breathe life into this expansive world one installment at a time.
And that brings me to the point of this piece. While writers like my friend sweep people off of their feet with beautifully poetic prose, I bash them over the head. Down and dirty, raw grit; pulp fiction. But as we saw with the treatment of comic book films at last years Academy Awards, there's this sense that if a piece is not the utmost artistic endeavor refined beyond the capacity of simple tastes, it is somehow less; lacking, wanting.
In the same way you don't go looking for love in a brothel, it's important to know what you're in it for. Those out there who want to write the next great novel, go for it, do everything you can to emulate Hemingway. But I refuse to be judged by those standards. At no point have I ever desired to be then next Charles Dickens....
I've always wanted to be the next Stan Lee.....