Ratner On Crazy Fans

By | Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2 comments
In a recent interview, director Brett Ratner spoke about some of the negative fan reaction to X-Men 3. I seem to recall seeing these or similar quotes before, but they struck more poignantly today since I just happened to finish some writing on exactly this topic for my book. (Have I mentioned that I'm writing a book? I am. No, seriously.)

While it's certainly frustrating for creators like Ratner to deal with this sort of criticism, fans do actually have something of a point. Each fan has his/her own version of the X-Men in their head. Maybe based on Stan Lee's writing, maybe Claremont's, maybe Lobdell's, maybe Morrison's. But each reader has a view of what the X-Men is and should be that is absolutely unique to him/her, and no one has the exact same version in their head. So when Ratner puts his version on screen, fans cry out, "Ratner betrayed who and what the X-Men are!" Which is completely and totally valid, provided they include two more words (which they rarely do): "to me".

Try the same quote again with those two words added: "Ratner betrayed who and what the X-Men are to me!"

Seems much more reasonable now, doesn't it?

What fans seem to forget is that the version of the X-Men (or any character) in their head is NOT the same one that's actually on the page. They, as readers, have interpreted what the creators put down on the page, patched it in with all of their own biases and past experiences and worldviews and whatever else is rolling around in their heads, and come up with a version of the X-Men that is wholly unique and, more significantly, inaccessible to anyone else. So of course Ratner betrayed that vision -- he couldn't have possibly known what that even was to begin with!

(Saaaay, that's pretty insightful. I'd better write that down so I can use it in my book!)
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Jeff said...

Granted, but I think that Ratner could have made a movie where he didn't betray "my" version of the X-Men, and the writing on the movie still would have been a let down. It certainly didn't live up to the first two movies, which didn't represent my version of the characters either, for what it's worth.

I don't think Ratner really ever addresses the QUALITY of his movie, compared to the others, and most of the fan complaints he cites were ones made before the movie was completed. (Despite the interview taking place well after.)

Granted, there's room for criticism for Ratner's X-Men irrespective of the comics, but the complaints he cites don't center on that.