Internet trolls can no longer ruin movies for us

Ursula Muñoz Schaefer/ Staff Writer

“Captain Marvel” is a critical and commercial hit.

The newest spandex-clad super heroine had the sixth-biggest box-office opening of all time, exceeding expectations far and wide and blowing away its competition like the dust at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

It currently stands at 79% on Rotten Tomatoes meaning generally high approval from critics and holds a fresh audience score as well.

Fans have showered the film’s heroine and her fuzzy cat friend with with praise.

Hot Topic merchandise with the film’s characters seems to be littering everyone’s social media.

To some, this may come as a surprise, but we’re way past the success of “Wonder Woman” now to suggest that there was ever any real doubt that this film could do well while having a female lead.

Instead, the surprise comes at the expense of the backlash “Captain Marvel” and its star Brie Larson have received in the weeks leading up to the film’s release.

Twisting Larson’s 2018 comments about the discrepancy of female critics of color reviewing “A Wrinkle In Time,” far-right trolls succeeded in planting the misconception that she didn’t want white men to watch her own movie.

Once loads of enraged and misinformed social media users jumped onto the bandwagon of hate, the attacks towards Marvel’s first female-led film touched on everything from the actress’ looks to scrutiny over the film’s directors, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden.

The toxic behavior surrounding female and minority-led blockbusters is not new and 2016’s “Ghostbusters” reboot may have started the trend.

Through Reddit forums and Twitter hashtags, fanboys of the beloved 80’s classic pointed mainly towards the newer film’s all-female cast to whine about Sony “ruining their childhoods.”

Flocking to social media sites and online databases, they succeeded in making the film’s trailer the most disliked trailer in YouTube history, as well as flooding the film with low ratings on IMDB.

This has echoed in the last few years. A year after the “Ghostbusters” debacle, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was review-bombed by the alt-right and in 2018 its actress Kelly Marie-Tran was harassed off of Instagram by fans who did not like her character in the movie.

The rhetoric displayed in these hideous online forums and toxic comment sections seems to suggest that any minority character in any blockbuster film is nothing but an effort to pander to “liberal” audiences and destroy the public’s perception of white males.

Not only are these ideas ludicrous, but they offer interesting implications towards the common troll’s lack of self awareness.

While there are definitely female fans angered by the likes of “Ghostbusters,” “Star Wars” and “Ocean’s 8,” it’s no secret that the majority of the backlash these films receive on social media comes from a particular demographic.

In 2016, IMDB showed data that the proportion of male votes to female votes for “Ghostbusters” was approximately eight to one.

It says a lot about the male trolls’ privilege in our country’s current sociological state when their primary concern is erasure from a popular culture medium that has historically favored them above everyone else and still continues to do so.

Additionally, seeing any female protagonist as nothing but a pandering tool no matter how well-written or how accurate she is to the cannon, says a lot about how the average internet troll views women in general—as having no value or significance other than to be strategically manipulated against men.

Through their massive social media campaigns, Film Bros succeeded in making “Ghostbusters” a box-office failure.

Barely recuperating the $114-million it cost to make the film, “Ghostbusters” under-performed at only $128-million domestically, becoming a financial disaster for Sony and diffusing any plans for a sequel.

Though not nearly the failure that was 2016’s “Ghostbusters,” Disney’s “Star Wars” franchise received similar backlash just last year when “Solo” under-performed at the box office—a loss many attributed to the alt-right backlash surrounding the series’ two previous hits.

The same cannot be said for “Captain Marvel.”

Having addressed the pattern at last, film review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Letterboxd have made changes to their interface, such as banning reviews and hiding ratings prior to a film’s release in order to avoid mass down-voting and review bombing from people who haven’t watched it.

However, there is still more to the equation of why the trolls failed this time around.

Bitter online users seem to finally be falling into the fate they swore they would always dodge: they have become a meme.

The nature of memes is to make fun of a trend.

When something happens more than twice, it becomes easy for the internet to mock.

Now that Vine of the guy singing “I’m an adult virgin” to the “Ghostbusters” theme has reappeared on Twitter and it’s great.

We don’t all need to like the same things. “Captain Marvel” is an enjoyable—albeit vanilla—superhero flick that doesn’t reinvent the wheel at all, but there is no need to hulk out over people’s enjoyment of it.

The war waged on this film was a campaign full of falsities designed to sabotage the success of the heroine’s arrival to the big screen, but it backfired spectacularly.

Being this involved in the hatred of something just isn’t worth it.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Ursula Muñoz Schaefer

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