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 StarPulse.com 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 StarPulse.com asks Ratner, give a bit of his answer and then I'll respond to his remarks. You can head over to StarPulse.com for the entire lengthy interview.
StarPulse.com : "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".