Following runs of negative online reviews for Captain Marvel, directors Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) and Paul Feig (Ghostbusters) shared their thoughts. Johnson and Feig's entries into their respective franchises both received extensive backlash, due in significant part to female characters taking on most or many of the lead roles that had been predominantly filled by men in previous installments. While their films were in theaters, detractors took to social media to vehemently voice their opposition to the directors, stars, and studios. In 2018, a Facebook group took credit for driving down The Last Jedi's Rotten Tomatoes reviews, and harassing star Kelly Marie Tran until she left social media.
Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as the titular superhero (aka Carol Danvers) in an origin story that takes place in the 1990s. The film has generated extensive buzz as the MCU's first female-led feature, with its first trailer having previously ranked as the MCU's second most-liked shortly after it was released. A familiar routine of troll activity started in February, when vicious comments about the movie and Larson were posted on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was Certified Fresh and held a score of 83 percent, though trolls have persisted in trying to bring the score down. The movie currently sits at 80 percent.
With their movies having been subjected to similar tactics, Johnson and Feig both took to Twitter to voice their opinions on circulating reports of Captain Marvel's would-be saboteurs. Johnson made his remarks early this morning, while Feig weighed in later in the day. Check out their responses below:
Pretty much the new “Certified Fresh” badge https://t.co/uCia16jzaD— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) March 8, 2019
What a sad sad pathetic group of people are who organize to do things like this. I mean, seriously. In the immortal words of William Shatner, “Get a life.” Good lord. https://t.co/mtcc32Upa2— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) March 8, 2019
While Johnson appears to be clapping back with humor, Feig's exasperation may be due the upcoming reboot of Ghostbusters. The director recently supported Leslie Jones, who starred his the 2016 version, after she was again met with a string of vile responses after she criticized the reboot. Feig's reference to William Shatner's "get a life" quote seems to epitomize both the directors' previous comments that the severity with which some viewers treat fandoms says much more about those individuals.
In recent years, efforts to promote and normalize more diversity in popular series have become apparent. An MCU representative recently stated that it was time for the universe to include a queer superhero, following the examples of Captain Marvel, as well as Black Panther, which was primarily spearheaded by people of color. However, despite a growing number of opportunities for women to lead action and adventure movies in prominent projects like Oceans 8, Birds of Prey, and possibly a female-led Rush Hour adaptation, a pattern of misogynistic backlash appears to be persistent and likely perpetuated by the same parties. In Captain Marvel's case, a strong start was made this weekend, and all signs point to another big hit for the MCU. Whether some fans like it or not, it's likely that the most powerful Avenger won't be going anywhere.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Ghostbusters 3 (2020) release date: Jul 10, 2020