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. @greenknight

    Of course there was a “slant” to the article – it was a response to Ratner’s vitriol against comic book fans.


  2. It was justified to a point..

  3. Ratner’s vitriol I mean

  4. Like Josh Rose, I’ve given Ratner the benefit of the doubt because of the behind-the-scenes issues with X-Men III, but this pretty much quelled that for good. No, he clearly didn’t get what was wrong with the film from day one. Anyone with half a brain could look at that script and go, “The plot makes no sense.” A good director would fight to make the script better. From what he says in that article, all he cared about was throwing a bunch of cool scenes together. Bryan Singer’s X-Men films weren’t “intellectualized,” they were simply coherent and well-written. Characters did things that made sense instead of doing things that were completely out-of-character for the sake of advancing the film to the next scene (and even in that regard, X-Men III didn’t do too well).

    • i agree with you bill blume.

  5. @Greenknight, I’m confused why bias in the article would bother you? This is called “Screen*RANT*” for a reason. I don’t always agree with the articles, but I prefer reading something that doesn’t bother feigning objectivity (a skill no human being truly possesses).

    I will agree that Ratner is right about some of the die hard fans, but it’s pretty clear even when you take his statements by themselves that he’s using that as an excuse for a poorly-made film. I think the proof of his failure is in the absence of an X-Men IV. The failure was not all his, though. It’s clear many, many mistakes contributed to the film’s problems. It is fair to say that a better director would have fought for a better script, and in light of his own words, it’s clear he didn’t.

  6. First of all, let me preach to the internet choir:
    Not everyone hated the choice of Brett Ratner of directing X Men The Last Stand AND *not everyone* hated the film overall.

    No matter what film you are making, you will not please everyone. But there will be a strong number of those (hopefully) who are satisfied.

    I’m NOT going to be well-liked for the rest of this comment

    Before Ratner came aboard, wasn’t it already leaked that come X-Men characters would die in the film? I suppose he could have spared them at the last moment…wait. We know Professor X was spared in the stinger (sort of)…Magneto might get his powers back…we never “saw” Cyclops die…in the comics there is the Jean Grey clone Maddy Prior…maybe Juggernaut escaped…

    There are also a dozen ways to bring characters back from the dead. There’s even a few Deux Ex Machinas that could take place. Proteus, Days Of Futures Past (remember: Senator Kelly died in the first film!) but my point here is that I don’t hold Ratner 100% responsible for this. As for Cyclops, I will agree that the character had little screen time- but he was also underused in X2; the question of his ‘death’ is unsure (but likely) and the general reason was that the actor, James Marsden was also going to film Supeyman with Bryan Singer.

    Brett Ratner “killing/ending” the franchise is also silly. Alright. Let’s say Cyclops is dead. Stays dead. There is no Grey clone, she’s dead. Professor X is…on Muir Island in another body. What is your point? Many other characters are still alive. There are many other characters that could show up in a direct follow up to “Last Stand”.

    The visual effects were fine.

    As for Ratner’s ranting and rough language…I don’t approve of it either, however, he’s been put to task for the alleged “failure” of X-Men The Last Stand. Do I think that the film was rushed? Not really. Given what we got, that was pretty darn good for a film with “rushed production and low budget effects” (yawwwnnnn…) so maybe he’s a bit sore over it all (then again, he SHOULD be ashamed of having the nod to the Juggernaut internet parody -especially if he “pays no attention to the internet”)

    While I’m not totally defending Ratner, I think he did get a bad rap, and it’s times like these which I find myself not alienated from what comes out of various directors interviews, but rather the internet movie communities and the comics fans.

    Do I think Last Stand could have been better? Of course. Do I think the storylines they presented, The Cure and The Dark Phoenix could have been expanded? Yes. (and it sort of is in the novel, but that’s a novel- Claremont went to town with it) Do I think the Juggernaut “line” should have been excised? Yes.

    Do I think there is still loads of room for “X4″ you bet (of course, since Fox is taking its dandy time with that, it might as well be a Days Of Futures Past thing and –__ blasto__–it’s Star Tr–I mean a new X-Men timeline!

  7. @Bill Blume

    It bothers him because it doesn’t agree with his opinion on the topic.

    Anyway, I think Paul was being too nice, Ratner is a foul-mouthed moron that’s full of himself and X3 was a piece of crap…

    I agree with that statement that his attitude is like Michael Bay’s and is the exact reason why they’re satisfied making mediocre movies as long as they can trick enough people into watching them so they make money…

  8. Here again is another classic example of what I’ve talked about before. You know this would have been a great opportunity for him to at least say “Given the circumstances we did what we could for the production. I can understand peoples unhappiness but it’s history now, we can’t unmake it, lets ignore it and move forward. If people are reluctant to do that, then consider the money you spent a lesson learned. A smart consumer always educates him or herself before making choices.” BUT he didn’t even Do that… Like so many before him, he spoke about the money made, as if that’s the only measure of a success. That’s a craftsman or a business man talking, NOT an Artist! Perhaps there should be some kind of formula for that? Like about autos; I think it’s Speed, money, reliability pick two. Maybe for movies it’s Craftsmanship, money, Artistry pick two.

  9. @The Old Man

    “Craftsmanship, money, Artistry pick two.”

    You know, that seems perfect.

  10. The problem I have with these statements, while Mr. Ratner has a point about all of us comic books fans having our favorite characters. Is his belief that his knowledge of the movie industry formula supersedes why we love the characters and story lines that we love. Hollywood has it in it’s head that us comic book dorks are essentially just looking for action movies, character development and logical story lines are secondary. Please Hollywood quit using your “put butts in seats formula” and make comic book films with substance and fans quit piling into the theatres (ie. Transformers 2, Wolverine, X-3, Fantastic 4) over and over again rewarding studios for their ineptitude.

  11. @Brian… I have say that I don’t think “Wolverine” belongs in that category. I know enough about the character to where I felt like the film did stay fairly true to him while providing a plot that actually flowed well. I didn’t go into it expecting much, though, so that might have colored my opinion. And having just gotten the DVD and seeing the alternate explanation for Wolverine’s memory loss that got ditched, I think they do score points for trying to work for a storyline that stayed true to the choices the characters would have made… because the alternate explanation was just awful. Thank God they didn’t use that!

  12. @Bill

    I’m not planning on buying the DVD, but out of interest what was the alternate explanation of his memory loss? Because if it’s bad enough to be worse than Amnesia Bullets I really want to know.

  13. @Joshi… the alternate explanation diverges from the scene where Wolverine learns about how Silver Fox had been playing him all along. Only in the alternate version, when Stryker reminds Wolverine that he’d warned him he wouldn’t like what he learned, he also offers Wolvie a chance to rid himself of the memories. At first, I just assumed it was going to be Stryker walking up to him and doing the bullet trick thing, but instead, Wolverine actually allows Stryker and his goons to put him in a machine that can erase his memory (seriously). It was one of those things where you could just tell the writers had copped out while looking for a way to explain the memory loss.

    No matter how you feel about the way the movie does explain it, I think the final film version works much better and even lets the characters stay true to themselves in the process. I don’t think anyone would have believed Wolverine would actually let Stryker near him again like that. The filmmakers scored some points with me when I saw how they truly worked to find a better explanation.

  14. IMO that explanation for the memory loss was a total joke. It was a cop out if you ask me.

  15. @Bill Blume While the Wolverine movie was somewhat decent it was not even close to as cohesive as the comic origin story the movie was roughly based off of was. It was a lot of helicopters blowing up and neat effects without any real emotional connection. I have to agree with Mcat the explanation for the memory loss was a joke, it seemed like an afterthought just like the “Deadpool” villian at the end. The problem was they wanted to get him to go from Little kid to super bad ass killing machine in less then thirty min. Translation they grazed over some of the most interesting parts of his origin. I will say I think Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber did very well playing these characters, someone just really dropped the ball overall.

  16. @Brian… what was the explanation for the memory loss in the comic books or is there one?

  17. Just a short response to add to the pile. It’s not about making the best comic book movie or sticking to continuity or anything like that. What it’s about is just making a good movie. Period. Once you start straying from the source material for the sake of, or change it because you don’t understand what you’re creating…it’s going to fail. It’s been a proven fact over and over again. There have been so many movies that have changed things having to do with the movie (let’s say The Dark Knight) such as setting, the way a character looks, etc. but they have stuck to the core premise. Ratner doesn’t do that.

    Forget the comic book aspect of what he does. A bad movie is a bad movie.

  18. In the comic, I think Wolverine’s memory loss was due to implants in his brain given to him in the Weapon X program.

  19. brett ratner is a dumbass, rules??? get a GOOD director like bryan singer,not some guy who can’t direct for SH****

  20. i cannot stand brett ratner, almost everything he touches turns into complete garbage.

    honestly man you hit every mark with the xmen 3 comments he put out trying to defend him self.

    The only good movie i think he did was red dragon, which is suprising cause it was better then hannibal, and thats ridley freaking scott. ridley scott destroys brett ratner.

  21. @ Bill Blume – Kahless is correct. The point is that it wasn’t as important as what got him to the point of not wanting to remember. I would have to agree with Anthony Schiavino, it just wasn’t a good movie. There will always be bits about movies that all viewers wont like but a good movie is a good movie. The Batman movies are excellent examples, after leaving the theater I didn’t feel cheated. Sure there were things I would have liked to be done differently but the point was I didn’t feel like the studio was pandering to sell tickets or pushing the film out the door before it was ready.

  22. I am a brett ratner “hater”. Last stand was awful and he’s basically just a d-bag in general.

  23. I thought Wolverines memory loss was due to the extreme damage his body took and that his healing factor basically had to regenerate all muscle and tissue to include certain parts of his brain, which also put him into a more primitive state initially when he came out of the chamber.

    RATNER FTW!!!!

  24. First off, I did want X-Men: The Last Stand to be good. I really did. I loved the first two (especially the second one) and I was willing to give Ratner the benefit of the doubt. I kinda liked the first 2 Rush Hour film and I was ok with After The Sunset and his Red Dragon (although, compare that to Michael Mann’s Manhunter and you’d the difference), and even though he had never directed a effects laden action film before, many directors have done well despite that. After all, Chris Nolan never did an action film before Batman Begins. I went into this film with an open mind and was absolutely f@(%ing mind raped!!!!

    How dare this jerk bite the hand that feeds by insulting the fans (nice way to get more work, Brett!), but then he also goes on to insult his good friend by shitting on the first 2 X-Men and praising his own? Why did they make a Wolverine movie, Brett? Because it’s freaking WOLVERINE and Hugh Jackman produced it. it had nothing to do with you or your work!!! Let me ask you a question, where is X-Men 4? I rest my case! What you should be doing is thanking the fans for giving you the biggest hit of your career and then hating it enough to save you the embarrassment of directing X-Men Origins: Wolverine!!!! Dip-Sh!%!!!!

  25. I hate brett ratner, the fans matter, not only you

  26. I mostly agree with Brett. Although I tend to not like his films, Last Stand was not some miserable trash that pales to the greatness of the first two films; they weren’t great either. They left out major characters, didn’t have that much action, and had a host of other problems. They weren’t terrible, or some fantastic achievement in filmmaking either. And we shouldn’t be so dismissive of Last Stand’s success. The “Waffle House theory” doesn’t explain why a movie made by the film-God Brian Singer failed when it was the only superhero movie the year it came out. I agree, many of the comic book fans bashing the film had to have seen it multiple times for it to make that kind of cash.