And lest we forget, many of these sneers and complaints and cries of (ugh) “raping my childhood” preceded Bay’s first Transformers movie as well, which was just as ridiculous then as now — after all, the idea of someone angrily defending the artistic integrity of a half-hour cartoon advertisement for a toy line is downright comical. But it’s easy to lose track of one simple truth as you get older, and it’s this: Just because you liked something when you were a kid, doesn’t mean it was good. Revisiting some of this swill with a critical eye and an open mind reveals that many of our beloved childhood properties haven’t aged all that well. We’re attached to them as totems, symbols of a particular moment in our lives, rather than as works of art (or, more often, commerce).
But that blurry line is indistinguishable for much of the Internet’s angry-fan contingent, which blasts away at every perceived slight to their well-cultivated entitlement. So here’s a wild thought, for fans of Ninja Turtles and Star Wars and whatever other aged masterpiece Hollywood is ruining: you’re under no obligation to go watch the train wreck. Back in 1999, I saw Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, said, “Whew, that stunk,” and didn’t bother with the rest of the prequels. And here’s what’s amazing about that: Not only did the original Star Wars movies not disappear from my shelves, but I continued to view and enjoy them. Your cartoons and movies will still exist, superfans. But when you throw a giant tantrum every time someone touches them, you look less and less like the adults you’ve presumably grown into.