Blonde Bonds And Batmobiles: 7 Times Fans Overreacted

Fandom is a group of people united by a shared passion. They all love something enough to follow it, to memorize it, to criticize it, and to get genuinely angry when it lets them down. Fans tend to feel a smidgen of ownership over the movie or TV show or book series that has appropriated so much of their time. In other words, fans tend to overreact. A lot.

And can you blame them? After all, you surely know the feeling. You know what it's like to watch from outside the bubble as something you love is put through the wringer by creatives who have no idea what the hell they're doing. When you're not in the room, when you don't know the reasoning for a certain casting choice or a certain creative decision, it can be nerve-wracking. What are they doing to the thing that you love?

However, not ever knee-jerk fan reaction has been accurate. Movie fans have recoiled against some truly great ideas and they have recoiled against aspects of films that, in the end, simply didn't matter. You may very well remember these movie fan controversies. You may have tried to do the wise thing and forget these controversies. As these examples show, sometimes movie fans are the absolute last people you actually want making decisions in the moviemaking process.

movie fan controversies

Black Leather Mutants

The Film: X-Men (2000)

The Controversy: The X-Men, the comic book team whose iconic outfits were defined by their color and variety, underwent a fashion makeover for their first big screen outing. Gone were the outrageous costumes that made these mutant superheroes look like Marvel's most badass gay pride parade. In their place were a bunch of generic leather jumpsuits that made every hero look identical to one another. X-Men even featured a joke about whether or not Wolverine would prefer to wear yellow spandex, which feels like a deliberate jab in fandom's eye.

What Happened: It turns out that regular folks, the people who actually decide whether or not a movie is a hit, didn't care about what the X-Men wore. The black leather outfits have stuck around for the rest of the series so far and while fans may grumble in internet forums, each film has been a hit. Early images from the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse suggest that a few classic costumes may put in an appearance, but the fact that an alternate ending to The Wolverine where Hugh Jackman's near-invincible mutant receives his classic yellow costume was cut suggests that those at the helm of this franchise aren't in a hurry to put theses characters in garish blue and yellow quite yet. It's kind of amazing how quickly everyone just accepted that this is just what the X-Men wear now.

movie fan controversies

Beetlejuice as Batman?

The Film: Batman (1989)

The Controversy: The internet didn't really exist in its current form when director Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne in Batman. So rather than complain on Twitter, fans had to make themselves known the old-fashioned way: they wrote 50,000 letters to Warner Bros., demanding that someone else be cast in the part. Batman co-creator Bob Kane, screenwriter Sam Hamm, and producer Michael E. Uslan were also skeptical, pushing back against Burton's decision to cast his Beetlejuice collaborator as the Dark Knight.

What Happened: And then everyone actually saw Batman, saw how the film utilizes Keaton's talents, and got over it real quick. Honestly, it makes sense that fandom would be nervous about this one. Prior to putting on the cape and cowl, Keaton was primarily known as a comedic actor. The thought of Mr. Mom protecting Gotham City from the Joker does sound laughable. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Keaton is a national treasure and one of the most reliable and versatile actors out there. Burton knew this before the fans did and acted accordingly.

movie fan controversies

The Bat-Tank

The Film: Batman Begins (2005)

The Controversy: 16 years after losing their minds over Michael Keaton being cast as Batman, Batfans once again proved themselves to be the most, uh, passionate fandom in existence. While Christopher Nolan was still filming Batman Begins, Warner Bros. released a photo of the new Batmobile and the response was... let's just say it was unkind. A far cry from the slick and instantly iconic designs of past movies, the "Tumbler" went under immediate fire for its busy design and tank-like build. It didn't help that the very first photo, the image tasked with introducing this vehicle to the masses, was less than flattering.

What Happened: These days, Nolan's more realistic take on the Batman iconography is beloved, with fans lauding his down-to-earth approach to the material. When fans saw the Tumbler in the context of the movie and noticed what Nolan was trying to do, everything clicked. When in motion (and when properly shot and lit by cinematographer Wally Pfister), this Batmobile gels perfectly with the grounded movie surrounding it. And unlike the vehicles in Burton's movies, this one actually drove properly and turned without assistance, allowing for more dynamic action.

movie fan controversies

Flame On, Optimus Prime

The Film: Transformers (2007)

The Controversy: When it was revealed that Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots and father figure to a generation of people raised by television commercials, would be covered in flame decals in Michael Bay's 2007 Transformers movie, the fans revolted. They demanded that this affront to their great hero be removed. This noble warrior, this robot that turns into a truck, wouldn't be caught dead covered in such a tacky design!

What Happened: Then everyone actually saw the movie and realized that, when compared to robots constructed out of horrifying racial stereotypes and human characters who couldn't be more irritating, the flames on Optimus were actually a minor problem. Fans still complain about these movies, but now they find a couple dozen other things to yell about before they get to Optimus Prime's paint scheme.

movie fan controversies

The Name's Blonde, James Blonde

The Film: Casino Royale (2006)

The Controversy: Gather 'round, children, and let me tell you of a time when a bunch of people thought Daniel Craig would make a terrible James Bond. Following Pierce Brosnan's departure from the franchise, the Bond producers realized that the series needed a swift kick in the pants and recast Bond accordingly. Craig was tougher, meaner, and less traditionally good looking than the Bonds of the past. Oh, and he was blonde. A portion of Bond fandom lost its collective mind. The more forgiving portions of the outcry demanded that Craig dye his hair to match the brunette Bonds of the past. The more insane of the bunch founded an anti-Daniel Craig website that is somehow still up and running today. However, it should be noted that everyone was nervous. Who was this Daniel Craig guy, anyway?

What Happened: Casino Royale happened. As soon as people saw Craig in the part, they were instant converts. Well, most of them were converts. There is still a faction of Bond fans out there who can't wait for Bond to revert back to the days where he was a charming, brown-haired sociopath who killed with a smile, but that's not going to happen. This run has been too popular and too financially successful to turn back now and most of the world, and most of Bond fandom, is totally cool with that. Bond is always changing, always reflecting the culture around him, and Craig's casting was a canny, knowing move from producers who knew which way the wind was blowing. This version of Bond, rougher and tougher and more emotional, has become the favorite of many. These days, it's hard to believe that anyone would've opposed this pitch-perfect casting. You younger fans will know our pain when they cast the first black Bond – you should just stay off the internet when that happens.

movie fan controversies

Edgar Wright and Marvel Break Up

The Film: Ant-Man (2015)

The Controversy: Just weeks before cameras were set to begin rolling, Edgar Wright departed his long-gestating Ant-Man movie. The exact reasons for him quitting the project remain unknown, but the Shaun of the Dead director did tweet (and quickly delete) a picture of Buster Keaton, the iconic filmmaker and silent movie star whose creative clashes with movie studios are the stuff of legend. And since Wright is a rightfully beloved figure among movie fans across the internet, the response was unanimous: Ant-Man was doomed and Marvel's desperate, last-minute attempt to find a replacement were laughable. They might as well cancel the movie.

What Happened: Then Marvel Studios hired Bring It On and Down With Love director Peyton Reed, who shot the movie, delivered it on time, and watched it become a solid international hit. The movie itself is very good, far from the disaster every single person on the internet predicted. Deep down, everyone knows that Wright would have made one helluva superhero movie, but Reed's film fits into the Marvel Studios mold. This is a case where a talented journeyman is more suited to a certain project than an auteur who bristles against a heavy-handed studio.

movie fan controversies

Who is Playing The Joker?

The Film: The Dark Knight (2008)

The Controversy: There is only one sect of fandom that can top Bond fans for sheer rage and there is only one story that can top the ludicrous response to Daniel Craig's casting as Agent 007. This is, of course, the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Welcome to list for a third time, Batfans. The news that Ledger, an admittedly left field choice, would take on the role of Batman's arch-nemesis nearly burnt the internet to the ground. The wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard in every forum and every comments section. "How could this talentless pretty boy get to play the Joker? Why couldn't [INSERT ONE OF A DOZEN OBVIOUS FAN PICKS] get the part instead?" It didn't help that faked photos of Ledger in a "make-up test" (i.e., poor Photoshop) began circulating, convincing everyone that director Christopher Nolan needed to be taken off the project before it was too late.

What Happened: Yes, there was a brief window when Batman fans thought Christopher Nolan should be fired. Yes, there was a brief window when Batman fans thought Heath Ledger would be the worst thing to happen to this franchise since Batman & Robin. And then The Dark Knight was released to massive box office and critical acclaim. And then Ledger tragically passed away, making everyone feel suuuper shitty when they actually saw his performance and realized just how brilliant he was. Ledger's posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor feels genuinely insane to those who lived through the early days of his casting. That something so instantly and blindly reviled turned out to be so wonderful is an example of cosmic... Well, cosmic something. There's a lesson to be learned here.