EDITORIAL: Is Film Subjective?

Batmaniac analyses whether or not film is subjective. Hit the jump to check it out!

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By Batmaniac - 5/4/2014
It has come to my attention that a few here on ComicBookMovie seem to think that it's somehow wrong to claim a movie is perfect. Today I noticed somebody saying to another "I love Movie Y, but I don't think it's perfect, so you should admit that Movie X is not perfect". There's something wrong with that statement to me. Why should somebody admit that Movie X isn't perfect because another says so? Isn't it just their opinion after all? Well, I've decided to analyse once and for all whether film is subjective or objective.

So the question, is film subjective? The simple answer is yes, and here's why. At the most basic level, good and bad as descriptors of a film is always subjective. Film can only be made objective through a agreed upon set of principals by which to judge the various aspects of a given film. However, such judgement is only valid to a group that has agreed on those principals.

"I think Movie X is perfect."

Statements like that usually irk people, for reasons I do not care to explore, but it usually leads to the person who disagrees telling them that they're wrong for whatever reasons, but how can they be? The mistake people often make is assuming that there is only a single set of artistic principles to judge a movie on, which isn't the case.

Just because you disagree on a particular standard doesn't make the other person wrong. For example, somebody might say a movie is flawed for having a predictable plot, while another might say a movie is great for having a predictable plot, so who's right and who's wrong? The answer is neither.

"You're stupid if you think Movie X is good."

If two people have a different set of standards to objectively judge a movie on, there is no way to come to conclusion that one is right, since the standards of which people judge a film on is only valid within the group of people that have agreed on those standards, making the matter completely subjective, as one group may consider what the other group considers to be a flaw an attribute.

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong. There isn't single set of standards to objectively judge a movie on, making the matter completely subjective. So if somebody thinks Movie X is perfect, that's fine, because it's perfect to them. It doesn't mean you have to think it's perfect, it just means that you and the other person have different set of principals of which to judge the artistic aspects of film.

Feel free to share your thoughts below, and thanks for reading.
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Brainiac13 - 5/4/2014, 4:40 AM
The Marvelites complain the most!!

Thumbs Up!
Brainiac13 - 5/4/2014, 4:41 AM

This is one of your best statements....

You don't get it? Well, allow me to elaborate.

You can say whatever you want about any studio except Marvel Studios and be considered a 'concerned fan', but if you [frick]ing dare say anything even remotely negative about Marvel Studios, you're not a fan, you're a hater, because Marvel Studios simply can do no wrong.

Marvel Studios are perfect, and you have no right to question their perfection. I hope that helps you understand.
MexicanSuperman - 5/4/2014, 4:45 AM
@Brainiac13, so true. They think marvel studios is so perfect but when someone says something negative about they flip out and call you a troll.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 4:51 AM
Haha, thanks Brainiac13.

The thing is, if a fan thinks Marvel Studios is perfect to them, who am I tell them they're wrong? It's perfectly fine for anybody to think Marvel Studios are indeed perfect and can indeed do no wrong, but it becomes an issue when people think that others should also think it's perfect just because they do, you know?

A bigger issue arises when those said fans refuse to accept that others may think differently, which usually results in a situation I satirically described in my comment.
Klone - 5/4/2014, 4:52 AM
Is see I've inspired an article.

My stance has not changed at all.


Nice article.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 4:57 AM
In a way, yes MAK, as I consider you to be one of the few people that have a hard time accepting the fact that there isn't a single set of principles to judge the artistic aspects of a given film, but it was not your comment that inspired me to address the issue today, so I can't give you all the credit.
MexicanSuperman - 5/4/2014, 4:58 AM
@BatManiac, good article. Nothing in this world is perfect, and if you think so then you are an idiotic person. People have as much right to that opinion to someone telling them it is stupid. I only respect someone's opinion if they base it on facts and some super clouded biased judgment these fanboys (all kinds fanboys) have.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 5:05 AM

Thanks man. I think people take the word perfect a bit to literally sometimes, if I may be honest. Something being perfect is an opinion at its core, as something can be considered perfect for having all the desirable qualities you're looking for. For example, if you ate a burger, and it had the desirable qualities you were looking for, and more, would you not consider it perfect? As in, "Dude, I just are the perfect burger."

Then obviously, somebody else could eat the same burger, and disagree, but if that burger was perfect for you, how can you possibly be wrong? You can't, because something can easily be perfect to you while not being perfect to another.
MexicanSuperman - 5/4/2014, 5:06 AM
If someone tells me they like/love movie x, I'm fine with it no matter what I think of movie x, but if someone tells me the movie was perfect I want them to back their opinion with reasons why it is or I will call bs and they will be invalid in any situation, at least to me.
Klone - 5/4/2014, 5:06 AM
Yes, but from an objective standpoint no film is perfect. Every film will have flaws in some capacity. If they do not bother you that's fine but that doesn't mean they do not exist.
MexicanSuperman - 5/4/2014, 5:11 AM
@BatManiac, that true because everyone experiences different situations differently. If my homeboy tells me that a burger joint has the best burger ever, I will call bs until I have eaten there and many other burger joints to compare and if that burger place is that great as he says it is, then I would agree.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 5:13 AM

You still don't get it. The only way to determine whether or not there are flaws within a movie is to judge it on a set of standards, and since everybody could potentially have a different set of standards, it's subjective because there is no definitive set of standards to judge a movie on.
Brainiac13 - 5/4/2014, 5:14 AM


MexicanSuperman - 5/4/2014, 5:17 AM
@BatManiac, people do have the right to call bs to someone's opinion. People always say "this is my opinion on this subject matter, and you can't say my opinion is wrong on it because it is my opinion ", then these same people will jump on someone else's opinion when they don't agree to it, like hypocritical liberals.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 5:30 AM

I agree, people do have the right to disregard somebody else's opinion, however, it doesn't stop their opinion being true to them. For example, I could say movie Movie X is perfect, and you could call BS and disregard my opinion altogether, but it's not going to change the fact that I think Movie X is perfect, you know?

I don't think there's anything wrong in disregarding somebody else's opinion. If you don't want to hear it, you don't want to hear it. Sure, it's polite to respect people's opinions, but you don't have to if you don't want to. However, I don't agree with people telling people that their opinion is wrong just because they say so, because an opinion about a movie or any form of art can't be wrong, since it's an opinion.
soforizo - 5/4/2014, 5:52 AM

Damn son! Good job!

Even more could've been said on this topic, but thanks for keeping it simple.
CherryBomb - 5/4/2014, 5:58 AM
Yeah, film is like art. It's entirely subjective and rightly so.
Like art, it's someone else's vision (the director's or a group of people that put the vision together) so of course their visions won't match up to everyone's standards.

There are a ton of films that I love and can watch over again that I know we're badly received. That's the beauty of film.

There is criteria that you can just a film on:
- Acting
- Writing
- Direction
- Visuals

But it's impossible to objectively judge because everyone thinks differently and that's a great thing.
soforizo - 5/4/2014, 6:01 AM
"Yes, but from an objective standpoint no film is perfect. Every film will have flaws in some capacity. If they do not bother you that's fine but that doesn't mean they do not exist."


So MAK if you repair these "flaws" that according to you exists "in some capacity", does said movie becomes perfect?
MexicanSuperman - 5/4/2014, 6:12 AM
@BatManiac, "any form of art can't be wrong" unless it's morden art. Haha.
As long as people can back up their opinion, no matter if I agree with it or not, then I will respect it.
soforizo - 5/4/2014, 6:14 AM
"They can only be made objective through a agreed upon set of principals by which to judge the various aspects of a given film. However, such judgement is only valid to a group that has agreed on those principals."


Probably the part I thought could've been worded differently, but the thought can still be understood quite well. These agreed upon set of principals are still every bit subjective, but to the group are held as facts.
Brainiac13 - 5/4/2014, 6:34 AM
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 6:46 AM

Thanks. I agree, a lot more could be said, and the topic goes deeper, but I just wanted the get the point across while keeping it simple, haha.
Pasto - 5/4/2014, 7:23 AM
I was going to take your article seriously, until you centered every goddamn thing.
Klone - 5/4/2014, 7:26 AM
My stance has still not, and will not, change. In my mind no film is perfect and every film does have flaws even if it meets your standards. I categorise flaws into subjective and legitimate.
Klone - 5/4/2014, 7:31 AM

In my mind there are subjective flaws and legitimate flaws. I am referring specifically to the legitimate ones. Subjective flaws are things like acting, e.g. some people think Garfield's acting as Spider-Man is terrible, some think it is good. Legitimate flaws in my mind as things like undeniably illogical writing.

They don't necessarily have to bother you or decrease your enjoyment of a film, but they still, without dispute, exist and are flaws. Remove all legitimate flaws a film has and then it can be considered "perfect" from an subjective standpoint. I view no film is perfect because every film one way or another has legitimate flaws, in some capacity. And if a film does have legitimate flaws that, whilst not necessarily bothering you, do exist, it ceases to be "perfect" in my mind.

Again, subjective and legitimate flaws are two different things in my mind.
Pasto - 5/4/2014, 7:32 AM
I get the sneaking suspicion that Batmaniac only made this article because of Mak...
Klone - 5/4/2014, 7:35 AM

I brought that up in my first comment and he responded.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 7:43 AM

If you think I was inspired to do this article just because of MAK, your sadly misinformed. I was inspired to so this article because of people like MAK who have I hard time accepting that their opinion isn't a fact and that others actually think differently. I'm not trying to put people on blast, but I can assure you, I never made this article just because of MAK.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 7:46 AM
Thanks MrBlackJack.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 8:03 AM
Logical writing is a requirement you set MAK, and naturally, if something seems illogical to you, you're going to consider it flawed, but you continuously make the mistake of assuming that logical writing is something that everybody's expects from a movie, which isn't the case.

There are some people that simply do not care for logic in things like comic book movies, so just because that's a requirement you set, it doesn't make it a universal requirement, because everybody has their own set of standards, so it's completely subjective.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 8:09 AM
0megaDaGod - 5/4/2014, 8:12 AM
FirstAvenger - 5/4/2014, 8:18 AM
I agree, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Good job @BatManiac
FirstAvenger - 5/4/2014, 8:19 AM
@MrSid oh yeah it's getting worse. Lol
DrunkenNukem - 5/4/2014, 8:28 AM
I agree with the editorial.

Films are subjective, they are the final result or product based of several ideas from the director and the writers.

And if the film is an adaptation from a source, the more you change it or add another ideas, the film is going to be more subjective.

If i can think in one movie, that is one of the less subjective, based on a comic source, is the Watchmen.
DrunkenNukem - 5/4/2014, 8:36 AM

she is hot

what a damn beauty
DrunkenNukem - 5/4/2014, 8:39 AM
And of course, if films are subjective, then the opinions about the film coming from the audience are always going to be subjective.
Batmaniac - 5/4/2014, 8:41 AM
Thanks TheFirstAvenger and MrSid.

I agree MrSid the 'asshole population' on this site has been getting progressively bigger.
Klone - 5/4/2014, 8:42 AM

Except some things in films are illogical and that is not up for dispute. It's not always a personal perception. Somethings simply are illogical, so not it's not what "seems" illogical to people in many cases. Some films have ver illogical writing, without dispute. And logical writing is only a subjective requirement? Only a fool would would think logical writing doesn't matter and that illogical writing is not a flaw, even if it does not bother you too much. You don't have to expect logical writing, but if illogical writing is there, whether it bothers you or not, it is there.
Klone - 5/4/2014, 8:43 AM
Well duh, that's what happens to every site when it gets bigger. Look at YouTube comments for God's sake.
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