Realizing the damage done entertainment reporters are working heroically for a Marvel film.
For weeks now we have been mired in social fallout from actress Brie Larson taking a decidedly activist stance during her PR tour for this weekend’s premiere of “Captain Marvel”. Her efforts to diminish the influence of white male writers has led to a blowback from fans.
There was a quick recognition that Larsson had impacted things, as early projections for the film’s debut was scaled back by tens of millions of dollars. Ever since the studio Disney has been in fierce damage control. They seem to have leveraged the review site Rotten Tomatoes to eliminate the ‘Want To See’ feature from its page, because fans were indication a dropping desire to go see “CM”.
Soon after the studio staged targeted sneak previews with a passel of female reviewers, who were more than likely to deliver positive impressions. Twitter joined in and posted a page in the Entertainment section under its MOMENTS tab that touted all of the advance rave reviews. One feminist even took the bold stance that men should not even attend the film – this despite all of the mewling we had witnessed about men desiring to not see the film.
Now in the homestretch of the release we can see the entertainment press is doing all it can to prop up what is a flagging enterprise. Yesterday, as the review embargo on the film was lifted, the enthusiastic website The Mary Sue detailed that the negative reviews the film was receiving was arriving only from male film critics. This desperate claim was disproven in minutes, as it was shown at least one third of the pans came from female critics.
Not having learned the lesson that targeting the male reviewers is what kicked off this negative wave of feedback for the movie, film writer Alyssa Klein last night proceeded to create a lengthy thread where she listed out the numerous male reviewers from major publications. The purpose to this? In the interest of avoiding mansplaining, I’ll let Alyssa tell us:
So if you're a male critic reading this thread and you're asked to write a review of #CaptainMarvel for a major publication, consider saying "You know, I think I should sit this one out and make room for women's voices."
— Alyssa Klein (@dj_diabeatic) March 5, 2019
Or if you're a publication or editor reading this thread, I'll hope you'll challenge yourself to commission women to write your #CaptainMarvel reviews.
— Alyssa Klein (@dj_diabeatic) March 6, 2019
The idea that a film with a particular social demographic focus should only be covered by members of said demographic is a very odd stance to take. Films are a subjective art form, and to suggest critics from particular groups are not equipped to review films with a particular focus is drastically reductive. I would bet that Alyssa would have an issue with anyone suggesting that female film critics be told to step away from reviewing male-centric films.
This morning at The Daily Beast was a lengthy screed that detailed much of the supposedly organized outrage, dictating that much of it is arriving from white males and – somehow – incels??? Calmly entitled “How Brie Larson’s ‘Captain Marvel’ Made Angry White Men Lose Their Damn Minds” writer Melissa Leon makes her case not by citing respected and established industry names, nor entertainment journalists, but by compiling opposition from those troll haavens in the comment sections of the web, YouTube videos, and Twitter accounts.
This is held up as proof there is an widespread and organized sabotage efforts, and it is all rooted in toxic masculinity, of course. Describing what she found to be “harassment internet campaigns”, Leon attributes this to what seems obvious to many who ardently support this film — “oversensitive men threatened by blockbuster franchise leads who do not look like them.” But then the writer undermines her claim.
Referring to an active backlash she details, “Distortions of what Larson actually said…in the name of assuming victimhood for “all white man” also fuel a “boycott” of the film that hopes to pit it against another female-fronted action movie, ‘Alita: Battle Angel’.” (This is a James Cameron-produced action film that was released weeks ago.) If these angry white men are reacting negatively to a female character who does not look like them, why would they be running to see a different film — with a female character who does not look like them?!
Of course, the claim of this testosterone-reflex response is also undermined by the reality that was the smash hit “Wonder Woman”, which somehow was never saddled with claims of a toxic backlash. So yes, Larson’s words were the flashpoint for the controversy. Last year she spoke at the Women In Film conference, and we hear this is a regular stance of hers: “I don’t need a 40 year old white dude to tell me what didn’t work for him about “A wrinkle In Time; It wasn’t made for him!”
What seems to be the case is what we saw take place a few summers ago with the all-female reboot of “Ghostbusters”. After selling us on the estrogen-soaked cast, and not the content of the film, fans resisted. And once there was pushback we saw all manner of social hectoring, leading to the film losing tens of millions for Sony. I wonder if now all of the media push behind the film is not meant to salvage the box office, but to setup the explanation on why it was a disappointment.
After so many female writers invested so much into this title, if it fails to reach the usual heights of Marvel releases they cannot honestly say the content did not favor a wide audience. No, the blame HAS to be lain at the feet of males who simply cannot tolerate female characters! Oh, and the Incels, too.