The Avengers won’t officially hit theaters until May 4 in the U.S., though some international sectors will get it a whole week earlier starting on Friday. But the movie has already premiered to some critics and fans, so, naturally reviews are already being released onto these here interwebs in a not uncommon display of Firsties Criticism. You can find the 30 or so published reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, home of the infamous freshness sensor, the Tomatometer. Actually, the content at RT and its system of averaging reviews in an attempt to define a movie’s overall subjective rating is pretty great, but what makes the site occasionally dreadful are the repulsive fanboys and -girls who populate the comments section. These people seem to heap praise upon movies they think they’re supposed to like well before anyone besides a handful of film critics have actually seen a final cut, as well as vomiting uncontrolled rage and hatred at anyone who utters an iota of disagreement from the hive mind.
Accusations of “troll!11!!” run rampant on RT, and more often than not, these accusations are hurled at the critics themselves. This is especially true when the review-in-question is the first to come down negatively, or rotten, on a film preconceived to be the greatest thing in the history of ever. Occasionally, mostly when talking about Armond White, these buttholes have good reason to take a shit, but more often than not they go beyond the pale with non-critical, ad hominem attacks that anyone with a sense of decency would never even consider. And anyone with an ounce of shame would delete before ever hitting “post comment.” But, hey, if these commenters keep themselves segregated on the RT boards where they’ve built a community that approves of and supports this kind of behavior, more power to them, I guess? At least casual readers can avoid their bile, unless they seek it out. Like I do when “COPS” no longer makes me feel better about myself. But all good viruses tend to spread when given the opportunity, and so these commenters occasionally venture out to the rest of the Internet. To the reviewer’s original article where they post the most sickening thoughts, forgetting that critics are fucking people.
For The Avengers, Amy Nicholson of Box Office Magazine has the pleasure of being the first to give the movie a less-than-stellar review. I like to read a few negative pieces on films I plan on seeing, just so I can take more well-rounded expectations into the theater with me, and only when it’s the aforementioned Mr. White do I take the criticism with a heaping handfuls of salt. Of course, there is nothing unreasonable in Nicholson’s review and, in fact, she confirmed some of my own trepidations regarding the movie’s plot and character focus. Hell, she technically gives the movie a 3/5 stars and has a fair share of nice things to say about Joss Whedon’s superhero smackdown, like being unable to stop herself from smiling at the best action sequences and notably praising Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk enough to suggest the actor/character combo get his own standalone movie. Nicholson’s only “mistake” was accidentally calling Samuel L. Jackson’s character Nick Frost rather than Nick Fury, which she subsequently corrected and is an honest brain fart not unlike forgetting to capitalize the M in Spider-Man (ahem). Ultimately, Nicholson’s review indicates that the movie is far from terrible, but she argues that the pieces assembled unfortunately don’t add up to a satisfying whole. She likely classifies it as “rotten” on the Tomatometer because it fundamentally didn’t work for her while Drive Angry, another movie she rated 3/5, did. This is why it’s important to read the entire review and not just the rating, and why we here at Pajiba don’t even mess with those sorts of shenanigans.
But some people just want to watch the world burn. And they’ll do the same thing to the first person who gives The Dark Knight Rises a “rotten” score, too, regardless of how well the critic explicates themselves. These are those people, their comments are real, and their names have been removed so as not to give them the satisfaction. In full disclosure, though, a few of these are one commenter posting on multiple threads. Fair warning, you may feel the urge to kill rising before you finish:
“Amy Nicholson, you’re such a joke right now that even major movie and entertainment sites are starting to point out how inept and out of touch you are with the majority of your “peers” and how one tragic hack has brought down The Avenger’s score from a perfect 100% to 96%.
But don’t worry, insect that one rotten review will remain one especially when normal high-principled critics would best avoid being lumped in with something like you. So in a few days when you check back at Rotten Tomatoes and the New York Times has posted its glowing review of the best comic book movie ever and you see 267 fresh vs. 1 rotten I hope you’ll at least be able to muster an iota of shame but then again judging by the level of scruples a cretin like you has exhibited I don’t think any one should hold their breathe, right?”
“See internet, this is what happens when you give your PA the change to write reviews because it’s cheaper than hiring a proper male writer.”
“She asked her boyfriend what score she should give. Just stick to rom-coms, bitch.”
“She didn’t bash it for attention, it’s starting to become clear she’s a DC fangirl, so she actually had an agenda.”
“They pay her to rile people up to get traffic for this site. If everyone with a brain pans a film, she’ll give it 5 stars and will call it a “masterpiece” just to get a reaction. That’s the level of integrity these ‘professional blog writers’ exhibit. Send her to review Battleship, she’ll come come out the theater with tears in her eyes, saying she had a ‘catharsis’. Soulless demons who’ll do anything to get ahead.”
“Her boss/lover says it’s better than having her make the coffee and answering phones and besides what else was she going to do with that creative writing degree daddy paid for?”
“No she liked Green Lantern because Ryan Reynolds, rom-com mainstay, was shirtless in that film. That’s why she liked it. Numbskulls like you give REAL female journalists a bad name.”
“I hope you die in a fire Amy.”
“Everyone in the civilized world thinks this is the best comic book film ever and one woman gives it a bad review. This what happens when you send a woman with Katherine Heigl posters on her bedroom walls to review a comic book movie.”
“Bitch what the fuck is wrong with you, I knew there would be bad reviews from some people but not from spiteful assholes who bash shit for attention.”
“This pathetic ***** will do anything to get some traffic for her shit little blog. Hope it paid off you stinking ****. Perhaps next time the guy who’s **** you sucked to get the job will send someone who’s actually capable of remembering a character’s name for longer than two minutes.” (C*ns*r*d by the original commenter.)
“The bad review is fine, not everyone will love even the most beloved movie, but reading this poorly written piece hurts one’s head. Also after giving GL a fresh rating made me giggle. You seem like a femal Armond White, just not as articulate.”
Your face should look something like this right about now…
These are all exemplars of misogynistic assholery, and the worst part is that they aren’t even surprising to anyone who has spent more than a minute on the Internet. It’s even more pronounced when one considers that Joss Whedon is likely to be the last person to appreciate this sort of defense of his film. Known dirt bags Michael Bay and Brett Ratner would distance themselves from these lowlifes. But it’s this last one upsets me most of all. The irony of not being articulate is pretty funny, but no one deserves to be called an Armond White, a female version or otherwise. Not even the real Armond White deserves that.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He actually can’t wait to read what the real Armond White thinks of The Avengers.