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  1. #1
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    Default “The fans had the wrong expectations!” - How legitimate is the argument?

    I started thinking about this over on the Star Wars board, but it’s something that’s creeped up with Game of Thrones, the DCEU, sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother, cartoons, and comics (as many of you know). Since the movies and TV shows are the more visible and more hyped up products, I figured it fits better here.

    Basically, there’s been this argument, especially for big franchises, that when audiences speculate or get hyped for another entry in an initially successful/almost always successful long-form story, they may at times become too enamored with their own speculation or ideas and therefore “watch the product wrong” in some way.

    I’m talking the disappointment and complaints people had at Game of Thrones’s ending seeing to turn Dany too evil too quickly, HIMYM’s prescripted ending wasting the last two seasons, The Last Jedi’s take on Luke and answers to The Force Awakens’s mysteries, Rise of Skywalker’s handling of The Last Jedi’s left over story threads, Batman V Superman’s handling of of the title characters and conflict, Iron Man 3’s handling of the Mandarin, etc.

    When is a complaint a problem with the fan, and not a problem with the product? When is a complaint a problem with the product and not with the fans?

    I feel like we could all probably agree that it varies depending on the product, but I’m more interested in the specifics and nuances you guys see to it-

    -Does a criticism have to be rooted in an idea’s execution, where issues and distaste with a concept are disqualified by some right of the creator that the audience can’t complain about?

    -How important is long form storytelling to these complaints: could a story *require* some particular type of answer or block off a particular answer by the way it has already been developed?

    -How important are previous standards from the long-form storytelling’s previous entry?

    -Are there any works of art that “disqualify” the defense of the stories (I.e, does the general success good mysteries have with playing with audience expectations mean that some subversive storytelling techniques need more than subversion to succeed?)

    I mean, I’m a guy who generally holds that all the mentioned examples have more execution and conceptual problems than they have fans who are too picky, but on at least one I know there’s immense argument.
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  2. #2
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    Its not the producers problem what the individual think of his product (unless the individual does not buy his product anymore) because everyone has his own story in mind, not the one the writer intended to tell. He, the writer can only try to suit his story for everybody, but he will never succeed.

    I, almost ever accept endings how they are shown or written. Hows the saying?: If you don't like my story, write your own

    In case of Got...I was perfectly fine with the ending. Everybody around me...not. Some even hate Got because of the ending. If the ending doesn't suit some viewers, they start to hate the whole movie. I cannot understand that. The Got ending wasn't a happy end, nor was it a Hollywood ending, it was a typical Got ending.

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    In case of Iron Man 3...?

    They just botched it. Mandarin was menacing. It was suspenseful. The right actor for the main villain...and they destroyed it for a joke. I laughed at first before I realized that the whole movie went downhill from that point.

    In this case the fan has a right to be angry, because the Comic book presents you a whole different Mandarin. Even for a non comic fan the movie had to stunk up the place after that revelation, because the then main villain was boring as hell. Iron Man 3 is just a bad product, maybe the worst MCU movie even if that is debatable.

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    I had no problem with Mandarin or Guy Pierce in IM3. The movie did not fall apart for me at all. I didn't like the end big battle with all the Iron Suits. Until then, it was fine.
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  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    It's an interesting topic of discussion, but the general answer will likely be: A little from column A, a little from column B. The rest boils down to the specifics for each project and each viewer's personal reactions:

    In terms of GoT, it's not like we hadn't seen Daenerys be ruthless and entitled and slaughter people. It's not like they hadn't been saying she could kinda go either way, depending on who she has by her side to counsel her. And yet, when she broke, we weren't allowed to be there with her to really see how it happened in her mind. The plot took over and we were left with Arya on the streets wondering what was going on and Dany's thoughts were hidden from us though we had been with her all along up til then. (it kinda reminded me of "Emerald Twilight" in that way, but that's neither here nor there) So.... for me, I would say that it's kinda both. The show set us up for her being bad, but they were the ones who also had been building her up as a hero, so they needed to be more careful with convincing us to believe her motivations and emotions at the time.

    In terms of Iron Man 3, for me it was execution because of simple plot priority - did the twist add to the story or take away from it? And for me, it took away simply because they had built up the Mandarin to be an impressive and scary foe but didn't replace him with something better. Killian as the main villain may have been a bit of a surprise (we already knew he was bad), but there was nothing surprising about him as a character - we already knew what he was about by then, and he wasn't that interesting, imo. The reveal took away from the Mandarin as a threat, but didn't add to Killian, since we already knew he was bad and his Big Plan didn't raise the stakes or make his motivation - greed - any more interesting.
    Last edited by j9ac9k; 05-19-2020 at 06:33 AM.

  6. #6
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    Reboot: the guardian code is practically the poster child of this.

    the first animated show about sprites in a computer and a story arc that I'll put up against just about any storytelling.

    and then they decided to redo it as "teens in a computer" and then make an episode specifically to insult their original fans.

    fans had the wrong expectations, that's putting it mildly.

  7. #7
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    Alot of it fans.

    People whining about SW were because after Abrams gave us a remix of ANH everyone expected TLJ to be a remix of ESB, instead it was radically different and people went ape.

    However sometimes it IS directors/writers botching it ala DCEU where they just didnt understand their characters

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    If you have something like a book or a comic that came before the movie, where fans already exist you, as a writer has to be careful what to do with it.

    As a Spider-Man fan I can expect a guy in a Spider suit and not a Spider in a man suit or something. If the original is changed too much into something else a fan has every right to be angry.

    I was angry (I said that before) about Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I mean the writer took everything away from Deadpool. Almost everything, and changed him into a monster.

    Who the devil had that idea???? I really want to talk to that person, because I want to know so badly why he changed the character so much that he was almost unrecognizable.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member Powerboy's Avatar
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    This is inevitably going to break down based on the examples given and whether someone liked or disliked that particular movie.

    For instance, there are people who hated IM3 and cannot understand it's popularity. I loved IM3 and don't get the criticisms as anything but a set of personal dislikes/ it ain't what I wanted. The Mandarin mislead was brilliant, far more than just a joke. I think a lot of the dislike is just, "But that's not what he is in the comics" which is the very definition of simply going against expectations.

    I think "Hulk" back in 2003 fits into that category. Brilliant, gives us the introverted Banner of the comics, gets deeply into motive and characterization. Yes, I was disappointed that we got a fight as metaphor at the end rather than a knock down drag out brawl for some visceral satisfaction. But I think the audience that went to see it, mostly a comic book or superhero audience, had a very different set of expectations while an audience that would have enjoyed such a movie didn't see it because they perceived it as a comic book superhero movie.

    But still, there are movies that certainly are not executed well although that too is point of view. I think Man of Steel and B vs S had great potential and it wasn't even that the stories were bad but the execution, the ability of the people making the movies to present them at the level of their potential, was lacking.
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  10. #10
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    A lot of fans have a far more narrow-minded view of the properties they love than they realize or are willing to admit. For them, the idea that properties that have been around for decades are more fluid and flexible in their depiction is completely alien to them.

    I honestly think the backlash to both the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the DCEU are equally toxic or at least very close. It's just that the latter is considered a more acceptable target.

    Star Wars and DC fandoms are pretty much defined by how much they hate entries in their beloved franchises. They put more energy into complaining than enjoyment.
    Last edited by Agent Z; 05-19-2020 at 08:13 AM.

  11. #11
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    Some fans do get too in love with their own mental fanfic -- especially when romantic relationships are involved -- and get resentful when the canon doesn't turn out that way. That's on them... but in a weird way, it's all part of the game.

    But sometimes bad storytelling is just bad storytelling, like Dany's sudden and inexplicable heel turn.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCrossett View Post
    Some fans do get too in love with their own mental fanfic -- especially when romantic relationships are involved -- and get resentful when the canon doesn't turn out that way. That's on them... but in a weird way, it's all part of the game.

    But sometimes bad storytelling is just bad storytelling, like Dany's sudden and inexplicable heel turn.
    See, for me Dany was always a heel, albeit a very hot one, so I wasn't disappointed. She did good things, but you always knew that she will eventually get very very bad

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby101 View Post
    I had no problem with Mandarin or Guy Pierce in IM3. The movie did not fall apart for me at all. I didn't like the end big battle with all the Iron Suits. Until then, it was fine.
    My main problem was they should have saved Ben Kingsley to play the actual bad guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanMad1977 View Post
    See, for me Dany was always a heel, albeit a very hot one, so I wasn't disappointed. She did good things, but you always knew that she will eventually get very very bad
    Maybe... wouldn't surprise me at all if that's the direction GRRM will go with her. It just wasn't "sold" in the context of the TV show... probably because they were rushing the story too much. It's like they skipped over about two seasons worth of character development with her.
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    Well, in most case hype and expectations don't appear out of nothing.

    Star Wars for example, Snoke was presented as the big bad guy. People expected him to be something more than a sad joke. Expectations subverted, have a cookie Rian.

    In this type of situation fans had, in my opinion, totally the right expectations. If you build up something as important, yeah, of course people are going to have more or less big expectations about it. What a shocker.

    Now, if you were expecting Jar Jar Binks to be a secret agent of Palpatine, master of 25 different martial arts and a transexual ewoks in disguise then yeah, that's wrong expectations, don't blame the writers.

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