50 Shades of Bad Reviews

Time to start treating female fantasies equally to the male ones


It took a couple of days to realize how unreasonable the derision of the recently released, and stunningly successful female movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the completely different view awarded to male equivalents such as the “Batman” movies.

Batman movie from 1966

Batman movie from 1966

The otherwise fine critic, NY Times’ A.O. Scott says: ““Fifty Shades of Grey” might not be a good movie — O.K., it’s a terrible movie” — a typical statement of critics and other journalists about it.  But to the best of my knowledge, the only things that motivate their hatred is that it is a women’s fantasy, and worse one with plenty of S&M in it.   

Batman of course is a male (comic book based) fantasy, and one with plenty of cruel torture and murders in it.  But since it is from the boys will be boys department it gets taken with great seriousness and downright respect instead of the mockery against the girls will be girls department.  

Let’s take just one example to compare the two — again from Scott’s review: “Christian Grey, the kinky billionaire bachelor …. He runs a big, vague company but doesn’t really seem to do much work.”

Does this sound like an exact comparison of “Bruce Wayne aka Batman, the bat suit, tight underpants wearing billionaire bachelor … He runs a big, vague philanthropy company and a rich mansion but doesn’t really seem to do much work”.

I’ll grant you that the original “Fifty Shades of Grey” novel was pretty poorly written, but lets face it — so were the original Batman comics — indeed the original Batman movie and TV shows starring Adam West in the 1960s was a self-mockery as it was obviously supposed to be.  The latest, absurdly overpraised Batman movies by director Christopher Nolan seem to have among other things utterly lost their sense of humor and reality, but vastly increased the brutal violence.  Sure, his Batman, British (Welsh) actor Christian Bale speaks flawless American English.  But “Fifty Shades of Grey”, British (Northern Ireland) actor Jamie Dornan speaks equally flawless American English and lead actress Dakota Johnson is superb.  Indeed director Sam Taylor-Johnson is also an amazingly talented woman, whose previous film, “Nowhere Man” (about John Lennon’s early life) was superb and received plenty of praise - but it wasn’t a girls will be girls movie so it certainly doesn’t count.

There were plenty of smart boys will be boys comics: take last year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. But so were there well written women’s S&M fantasies like Pauline Réage’s (Dominique Aury) “Story of O” which none of the books or film public haters of “Fifty Shades of Grey” ever seem to bother to mention.  Yet another more proof of the denial for female fantasies.