Brett Ratner vs. Comic Book Fans (A Friendly Response)

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

Have you ever wanted to look deep into the dark recesses of a comic book movie director’s mind – nay – heart? You don’t have to look much further than the interview recently held with director Brett Ratner. The Q&A session was mostly a junket to build hype for Ratner’s upcoming film The Shooter Series, but also touched on Beverly Hills Cop 4 and his thoughts on comic book fans, and it’s that last part I want to focus on.

There are sites out there (that we are most certainly friends with and fans of) that regularly rip Ratner and his films a new one. So I’m going to preface this article by saying that if you search Screen Rant you’ll find that while we may not be his biggest fans, we haven’t jumped on the “‘Brett Ratner sucks’ bandwagon” in our coverage of him or his films.

The interview is standard fare for the first part – with Ratner praising himself and all he has done. But soon enough the focus turns toward his work on X-Men 3: The Last Stand and all the flak he took from comic book fanboys for helming what many consider to be the worst installment of the trilogy. It is at this point Ratner’s true feelings towards his highly critical audience come out and the confession isn’t pretty. In fact, it should make every person that ever had a critical comment to make towards any of his movies stand up and thrust forth the proverbial finger and say “Spin on this Captain Franchise Killer!”

I’ll start with the question asks Ratner, give a bit of his answer and then I’ll respond to his remarks. You can head over to for the entire lengthy interview. : You mentioned X-Men. Is the comic book fan the hardest demographic to please? If you look at the numbers: Bryan Singer‘s X-Men made $157 Million, X-Men United made $214 million and your X-Men: The Last Stand made $234 million. Yet that group wasn’t particularly happy.”

Ratner: “Absolutely. Bryan Singer gave me the best advice when I was doing “X-Men 3,” Bryan is a really good friend of mine. Bryan said, “Whatever you do, do not read the Internet.” I’m like, “Why?” He’s like, “First of all, they hated on me the whole time I was making ‘X-Men’ and ‘X-Men 2.’ They said, ‘Gambit should have been the star of the movie’” They’re such rabid fans, they’re so passionate about their comic book characters that they think that their favorite character should be the star of the movie. Someone might be passionate about Iceman being the star. So, you can’t win. Everyone’s going to have their own so just stay away from their opinion and do what you feel’s best.”

Me: First off, I’m glad that Ratner clarifies that he and Bryan Singer are good friends, nothing like a good name drop and “nudge-wink-nudge” to validate the comments you are about to say. Yes we did “hate” on Singer the entire time he was making the first X-Men film but not so much with the second one. Singer needed to prove he could pull off a multiple character comic movie film that didn’t look and feel like Batman & Robin. If Singer had failed (which he didn’t), then all of the other comic book movies that came after might never would have materialized. Before X-Men, the only examples “rabid” fanboys had to look to in the comic book movie world were a handful of bad Batman movies (Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman excluded), a very bad Punisher movie and a made-for-TV Spider-Man flick – so excuse us for being overly concerned about X-Men’s transition from page to screen.

Ratner: I kind of made rules for myself. I said to the writers — Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg — I only want to put scenes in this movie that exist from actual comic books. That way I protect myself. Even though I protect myself they’re still saying, “Why the f*ck did [he] kill Professor X?” He died in five different comic books! People are crazy. “Brett Ratner killed Professor X! How dare he do that!” He died in five different comic books and came back!”

Me: First Ratner calls us rabid and passionate fans, implying that we know way more about the comic characters than he does, and then insults us for allegedly not knowing that Professor X has died on more than one occasion? Superman and Robin also died but I don’t see the other directors killing off their major characters. By the way, nice language to use during an interview.

Am I supposed to be impressed that Ratner made rules for himself and then chose to only follow the one where a character dies? He also killed off Cyclops in a manner that is not consistent with the comic stories. I don’t ever remember reading in the comics that Jean rises as the Phoenix, finds Scott by a lake and obliterates his molecules. One could argue that Cyclops did die in Uncanny X-Men #377 while sacrificing himself to save a friend from the villain Apocalypse (special thanks to Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw for pointing that out), and that Ratner simply took creative liberties with said death, but I don’t buy it. I think the “Great Sultan of the Lens” took the cheap way out by tossing Cyclops – a pivotal corner of the X-Universe – on the sideline.

I’m not done with his so called “rules”: Ratner says he we wanted to stay true to the source material from the comic, but then he throws in some throw-away characters and really messes up others. Fanboys gave him mad props for trying to include as many characters as he could – the inclusion of Angel, Beast and Colossus were among our favorites visually, but then he did nothing with them. They were just there to look at and chew up scenery. Some of the worst were Juggernaut, Leech, Siryn and Callisto; he put no thought into translating them from page to screen and for that I call “bull crap” on his “rules”.

(Continue to pg 2. for the “Waffle House” Effect)

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  1. “They’re such rabid fans, they’re so passionate about their comic book characters that they think that their favorite character should be the star of the movie. Someone might be passionate about Iceman being the star. So, you can’t win. Everyone’s going to have their own so just stay away from their opinion and do what you feel’s best.”

    I can’t say I like Singer’s remarks either (if he actually said that). You’re making a movie based on characters whose fan base spans more than 70 years, and your advice is to stay away from the opinion of the people who atually do know more about the characters than you? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Although, while I am able to see Singer’s point of certain fans wanting their favorite character to be the star of the film, I, however, think that any rational and creative filmmaker would be able to decipher between what would make sense and what would not, whether a fan is merily looking out for their favorite character or the excellency of the entire film. Why? Well, to start off both Singer and Ratner have tons of comic books to refer to, and should have referred to them months, even a year before they started production. This would have helped them to understand and know the characters and the fans. By Ratner saying that the x-men cartoons and the x-men comic books are the same thing, does lead me to believe that he relied on the cartoons, instead of the true source–the books themselves.

    Hey, when I was in junior high it was easier and more fun to watch a movie based on a book, which we had to do a book report on, than to actually tediously read the book itself, though my teachers gave us an adequate amount of time to read the book. But alas, because they read the book and knew its contents and characters inside out, they easily deduced that some of the reports was based on the movie and not the book itself. As a result, some students received a bad grade., which is what Ratner got from the fans. Furthermore, I still don’t think the first 2 x-men films were all that great. But as stated before by our host blogger, they only made so much because the were the first x-men films ever made and were highly anticipated by fans. I say, Marvel needs to choose another production company to make their films. I think they are partly to blame to.

  2. AT Jack

    I am a real fan of the comics (mostly marvel). Frankly, I agree with you that you cannot put so many characters in a comic movie. I have been saying that since day one. The reason being is that the film will do very bad beause each character needs their own camera time and it’s just too much going on. However, I think you are wrong with your assumption that most of the the comics’ audience are at puberty or under. That may vey well be true for Archie Comics or crime/detective based comics, but not for Marvel. Stan Lee, himself, said the majority of comic book readers and fans of Marvel are adults, well into their late 20s and upward, in Comics Books Unleashed/Abound. Christian Bale’s Batman did well simply because the plot was well written, in that it made sense, and here’s the big one…it was geared toward the adult audience. I remember critics telling parents to not bring their children to see Bale’s second bat flick because it was geared toward adults (because of its dark content).

    DC’s characters, in my opinion, are more so aimed toward the puberty and and under puberty crowd, with the exception of Batman. Batman has always been a favorite of both the young and older male audience because of the seriousness of the character. He is, in my opinion, the only DC character that can easily cross over into the Marvel Comics realm/family, as his origin fits the origin of many Marvel characters: He is a character who possesses some sort of great power, but in Bat’s case strong witts and intelligence, and is somewhat of a disturbed man, one who sits in a cave with bats (the smell of the place must be unbearable), and dresses up like a bat to fight crime. This was a point that Jack Nicholson’s Joker character made note of, pointing to how ridiculous and disturbed this guy must be…just like himself. Therefore, in that sense, Batman fits well into the Marvel family unlike most of DC’s characters who seem to have bright and picture perfect origins, and seem to have no flaws because they are the “perfect” person.

    The film studios gear these comic book movies toward a younger crowd (10-14 year olds) because they think it will generate more money, when in fact it doesn’t. Why? because 10 and 12 year old kids, believe it or not, wouldn’t frequent a movie theater to see the same flick 5 times, as compared to there adult counterparts, who actually have money in their pockets because they have jobs, and a stronger attention span. I have read that some people (adults) saw certain Marvel flicks (such as Ironman) at least 5 times.

    There is a way to make movies based on our comic book heroes (at least Marvel characters), excellently well: gear them toward their proper and intended and original demographic…the adults. All 3 X-men films made well over 100 million. It wasn’ because they were actually good (though 2 was the best out of the 3), but because X1 was the very first movie based on marvel’s favorite team, while 2 and 3 road the wake of X1′s first time appeal.

    I don’t need to see Wolverine in his yellow and blue scrubs, just make the character into what he is in the books, a man who has anger management issues, who is also trying to keep himself from going berserk, but does from time to time, incorporate one villain for him to fight, and give temovie the presence of say…Charles Bronson’s Death Wish flicks.

    Finally, mostly nothing in their origins need to be changed since many characters (again, mostly marvel) are based on real life events, nor are their origins boring or “stupid” as you put it, Jack. I think Wolverine has an exciting origin, considering how old he is (well over 100). The Hulk has another non-boring origin, and even Captain America, whose state of natural cryogenics does seem plausible or at least wants to seem possible by the human mind, which in turn makes for an exciting movie because of it’s appeal to the human imagination (providing that it is directed well, geared toward its proper/intended audience, etc. etc.)

  3. my problem with x-3 is it feels like a dissconect from x-1 and 2 while fun it lacks the tone of the first two. it dose not flow scenes go from scene to scene with no flow to them. did the guys who wrote x-3 forget the x-men are based in ny not sf and if it was ny there is bno way in hell icekid would go looking for Rogue and be back at the school so damn quick. Ratner did get it out fast but if you don”t have a good story then wtf is the point of it. i agree with the guy in the article idk which was worse x-3 or wolverine.

  4. Storm and Cyclops on the set of X3. Love it, :-)

  5. No wonder this guy’s film blew chunks, never read the comics, pretty unapologetic about it 2. If growing up you didn’t at the very least catch x men vol 2 jim lee style I don’t care how much fox kids you’ve watched bro you don’t know s*** about the classic x men stories. if u ask me every single x men film right up to that last abomination called days of future past sucked! then again 4 me the comics havnt been interesting since Grant Morrison. the funny thing is his x men kinda looked like the movies but there was far more substance there. wish the MCU could somehow acquire xmen. what a waste

  6. Another biased rant against a like-it-or-hate-it comment. Again, no one ever said that Mr. Ratner would rank up there with the greats of cinema but to act like he only made tons of money because of the actors he has is being pretentious. That goes for ANYONE’s work but there are plenty of people who will go and see a movie just because they’re sold by a trailer.

    Also, you’re being overtly PC by making a humongous deal about him cursing? REALLY?? Have you ever seen an interview with Quentin Tarantino. That’s hardly worth ranting about.