A Note to the Guardians of the Galaxy Fans Who Are Calling Our Critic a "Harlot"

Categories: Film and TV

guardians_of_the_galaxy_cast.jpg
They look just broken up that one woman in New York didn't adore their movie.
Hi, comic-book movie super-fans! Yesterday the last remnants of the ol' Merry Marvel Marching Society gathered on our website to let us know that Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie they haven't had the chance to see yet, is absolutely the best movie ever -- and that our chief film critic, Stephanie Zacharek, was terribly wrong when she wrote lines like this in her review:
"Guardians of the Galaxy is proof that a picture can have a sense of humor yet have no real wit. It hits every beat, but it hasn't got the beat."
Inflammatory! Anyway, we're happy to have you here, just as we were when you made similar complaints about our pre-release reviews of Man of Steel and that one movie where Batman cried in a hole for an hour. You were absolutely right about those, of course -- both flicks are undisputed masterpieces.

So, please, fire away at us! But maybe do yourself and your fan community the solid of actually responding to Zacharek's arguments rather than just spewing sexist hate.

I mean, I know very few of you would want to sound like this comment from a dude calling himself Greenarrowmn:

"She's just pissed because she lives in the Village full of gay men and no one wants any of her old, dried out pie."
(Note that the only proof I have that Greenarrowmn is a guy is that Greenarrowmn types loathsome crap only a guy would, crap that's pretty funny coming from someone whose online handle ends in the letters "wmn" -- "woman" without vowels.)

Or this one from 5thailandvkk:

"We live in a world where 1000s of people are being beheaded and murdered throughout the world each and every day and this harlot has the nerve to knock it because it's too fun?"
(Is that one meant to suggest that the critic was having too much sex in an age of genocide to enjoy the space raccoon movie? And, if you'll allow a follow up: Aren't harlots pretty much the opposite of anti-fun?)

Or this from Alexanderhomevideos:

"She should stick to reviewing chick flicks only."
(Yes, because these kabillion dollar Marvel movies aren't actually enjoyed by all types of people worldwide -- they're only truly appreciated by angry men obsessed with a perfect Tomatometer score.)

I know it's a minority of you who puke up such bile. But to those of you who do, please allow me to remind you of the words of a man I hope you know already: Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of Marvel's current Guardians of the Galaxy comic-book series, as well as the creator of the wonderful Alias and Powers series, the author of the second best Daredevil run ever, and the co-creator and longtime writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, the single greatest mainstream superhero comic of the 2000s.

This April, talking to Vulture, Bendis said

"Just yesterday, a woman wrote an article analyzing what she thought was a poor comic book cover, and she was met with just a bunch of shitty anonymous people being awful to her online. I think that a huge problem is people who read comics and don't understand the point of superheroes, which is to be the best version of yourself. You love Captain America? Well, you know what Captain America would never do? Go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion."
Please, assail us and our reviews as much as you want. We love a good dustup, especially with thoughtful folks. We can take it. (And, if you're curious, you can hear Zacharek discuss Guardians of the Galaxy with critic Amy Nicholson and myself on the latest episode of our Voice Film Club podcast -- but, be warned, she proves herself to be plenty fun, and she makes it through the full 45-minute show without once sneaking off to perform acts of harlotry.)

But remember that when you eschew argument and instead act like sexist pricks you not only encourage all of the lonely-dude stereotypes that comics creators and fans have been working to shake for decades -- you make Steve Rogers cry.

(Also, if you don't know Bendis, why not try reading some of his work? Reading comics -- like reading any work of well-wrought fiction -- helps build empathy and emotional intelligence, which might not be bad for you.)

Update: Much love to the internet for whipping this up:

Bt4kcD1IcAATPNh.jpg

(h/t to lamontcranberries in the comments below)

--
You could do worse than following Alan Scherstuhl on the Twitter thing.


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67 comments
Juliebecky
Juliebecky

That's really amazing movie .... Specially Starlord looking astonishing in his costumes like Jacket and Coat and this time I decide to buy a Guardians of the Galaxy Coat from "Slimfit Jackets" online store. Really inspiring by Peter Quill.

celebsjacket
celebsjacket

Guardians Of The Galaxy was fantastic and I wish that it comes again in Part 2 nice trailer and brilliant whole in one word: Thanks Here something for movie: bit.ly/1xQnJ97

brettmiles
brettmiles

i really like Guardians of the Galaxy Movie, but i am a huge fan of Chris Pratt. recently i bought a leather jacket like he worn in movie. look here http://ow.ly/ADQC7

harrissteve969
harrissteve969

As for the review i am totally agree with it, Guardians of the galaxy movie got the business of billions dollar. The jacket had worn Chric pratt is awsome and fabolious. i have purchase the replica to UltimoFashions dot com after a big searching online stores and markets . I apperciate to UltimosFsahions dot com who have a huge amount of ans product that worn in movies and Drama. 

freshhawk
freshhawk

"But maybe do yourself and your fan community the solid of actually responding to Zacharek's arguments rather than just spewing sexist hate" and "Note that the only proof I have that Greenarrowmn is a guy is that Greenarrowmn types loathsome crap only a guy would" are separated by two sentences.


You could have so easily kept the high road here, instead it's a sexist moron calling out sexist trolls.


What a waste of time.

FoodStoned
FoodStoned

Holy crap, I LOVE that Cap meme!

As for the review, I seriously disagree with it, but I can also articulate why I disagree without being some anonymous e-rapist.

However, she's certainly entitled to her opinion and I don't feel like instigating a Guardians debate via a comment thread that likely won't get responded to.

jmdude
jmdude

In terms of Guardians of the Galaxy, it´s ok to be a talking raccoon just don´t be an a-hole. I have read things as "How many film critics read Marvel Comics?" or "Stand for yourself, girl" (that´s an Ok Gamora answer, I will give you that). I don´t need to brag about my geekness (I live really far away for US and I have paid five or six times the cover price of a single issue: try be a fanboy in a collapsing economy not designed for 30-40 year old geeks, Guardians of the Marvelverse) or that I work as a film critic. A Comic Book Guy (or Girl) that believes so strongly in Marvel fundamentalism isn´t something to argue with.

I love comics, so fucking much, I actually really tough that Guardians has a beatiful mixed tape feeling about all the things that does right and the ones that don´t hit the spot, I love people writing about movies and , hey!, I even love a-hole comments. And I sincerely don´t mind If Captain America cries or not (even if they weren´t anonymous, the heavy ammunition wasted in those comments are something to worry about). 

Zacharek is a skillfull and heartfelt critic. You don´t agree? Ok, that´s perfect. Just try to elaborate an idea that goes beyond a geek/hooligan shoutout. I can argue days with Zacharek about the happiness that I feel in GotG and I don´t feel in any other Marvel movie (not even Avengers), Who doesn´t want to love a movie were a raccon creates weapons that can blast moons? 

I think superheroes, or movies, are nothing more than believing what someone is telling you, to believe in a tale or an idea so well told that you fell in love with it. Same goes with film criticism. It´s Ok to hate Zacharek. Just argue like a man or a woman. Or a talking raccoon. Or even a three-word Groot. 

randarchist
randarchist

Wow, yet another Time Warner owned subsidiary employed writer didn't like a Marvel movie? Whodathunkit?

But, to all you knuckle dragging cromags who made those obnoxious sexist comments: shame on all of you, you make me ashamed as a man, as a fan and as a human.

montecristo264
montecristo264

I really don't agree with some asshat degrading someone because of their opinion. That being said I would like to know how a critic feels when they blast a movie that everyone else seems to like. Do they feel out of touch with what everyone else seems to be enjoying. Like, I wonder how the one critic who hated 12 years a Slave feels after seeing that movie win an Oscar. This is just something I have legitimately been thinking about. By the way, I saw Gaurdians last night and thought it was the best movie of the summer.

alistar.heimlich
alistar.heimlich

Yes there are terrible people on the internet--but how is that news?   Laugh it off Stephanie!  Don't give them the power by writing articles about f-cking internet trolls of all things...  I don't think "some men who use the internet are vocal misogynists" is much of a revelation.


Another thing to keep in mind is that these angry commentors are working in a very impersonal, dehumanizing medium.  They don't see your face, only your disembodied name telling them that the movie they probably already bought tickets for is a waste of their time and that they are dumb and inferior for going to see it or liking it.  This is how they feel, anyway.  They also have the unfortunate ability to post a comment without revealing so much as their own real names.  None of these people would say these things to your face.


P.S. - I saw the movie last night.  It wasn't perfect, but it was quite enjoyable and did most things right.  That's my personal experience of the film and seems to be what most people are saying.

larry9362
larry9362

So greenarrowmn must be a man because they are saying things only a man would.  Who is being sexist now?

airion69
airion69

So this damsel in distress critic needs a man to stand up and fight her battles for her. If she was any kind of journalist - or human being - she would defend her own opinions!

weeksiv
weeksiv

Slow news day? Why write an article about some losers who troll a critic for having a differing opinion? Hell, Robert Ebert use to get death threats. This article is promoting the idea that comic fans are sexist, it might not be direct but, you can tell by the comments that that is the way people are interpreting it. Some of these comments that are sticking up for women are also stereotyping an entire group of people, both men and women, to the point of bullying. Which I'm sure is a cause they also stand behind when they are not blantantly participating in it. No matter how good or bad a movie is some fan and critic are going to have differing opinions, that is fact. If you don't want to get trolled don't have an opinion on the internet. The sexist comments are unfortunate but both genders say hurtful things behind the protection of their computer. Why? Because they know it affects someone to the point of writing an article about it.

tomreedtoon
tomreedtoon

I remember when Ms. Zacherach wrote for Salon. She was a remarkably good critic, better than most, certainly more literate about popular culture than their current unpaid media writer, Andrew O'Hehir. One should never completely believe a critic, but pay attention to why they dislike something, rather than the fact that they dislike it.

Humor is especially individual. Some people still think Ben Affleck is funny, for God's sake.Arguing about what is funny and what isn't is a mug's game. I will say that Guardians looks more fun than a lot of the movies of the last year, and adds the necessary silliness to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I'll have a far more complete critique when I see it Saturday, but thank you, Village Voice, I won't pollute your bandwidth with my opinion.I just wanted to say that the attacks on Ms. Zacherach are just fanboy whining.


aliceanyone
aliceanyone

Harlot?  Really?  You would think he would at least have gone to a more unique insult like strumpet or trollop.  Of course, what can you expect from an obvious malapert clodpate?
(/sarcasm)

twopoundradio
twopoundradio

There is no defense for being a completely mindless and classless idiot when posting your objection to reviews. However - how do we know there are all men? Were we not just calling them out for being Anonymous? Just saying. Anyway as reviewer for 2 different sites I can say I get my fair share of hate mail, nothing like this though. 

mark.j.cassidy
mark.j.cassidy

"the only proof I have that Greenarrowmn is a guy is that Greenarrowmn types loathsome crap only a guy would,"


Lmao. Oh the irony 

jason.malmberg
jason.malmberg

Ya know, neck beards...

If you could find a way to disagree with women in ways that didn't ultimately (and sadly, inevitably) lead to you disparaging their sexual purity. Hell, if you could find a way to even *relate* to women in a way that didn't involve you acting as an imaginary guardian of / plunderer of / impugner of women's sexual purity, that would go a long way toward getting you at least into the proper mindset to navigate your way out of the dread "friend zone" you Nice Guys are always seeming to corner yourselves in to. 
That a woman's sexual purity is a bullshit construct and is no business of yours is a topic for another time. Baby steps and all that.

rashomon
rashomon

These idiots are attacking her views in part because they are not comfortable with their own feelings about the movie. Suddenly they have come to the realization that not everyone is a comic book zombie in lock step with consensus over this movie and it makes them mad. They have to learn that when you form your own opinions you don’t need confirmation. They can't seem to handle that. Good for her. She knows how to think on her own.

lauraling
lauraling

I love that you're calling out these comments.  Let's make them as public as possible, show them for the awful comments that they are, and then turn our backs on the little boys who can't play nice.


I am a woman, I'm a fan of comics and Joss Whedon and Lord of the Rings and Dune and Star Wars and pretty much everything nerdy, I have been since before I could walk when my dad started introducing me to them ... and I also don't say awful things about people who don't like these things.  Seriously, what's wrong with you basement-dwelling lot?  Learn to express your opinions like the grown up people you are, or go back in your basement and stay there.  Your choice.  


(By the way, this is how I treat my kids if they act the way you do.  I'm sure your mothers would do the same, and I'm also sure that's exactly why you're only saying these things anonymously on the Internet.  Grow up.)  

number1lakerfan23
number1lakerfan23

It was just a terrible review. Nothing to do with the gender of the person who wrote it for me.

Oh and by the way, the majority haven't seen it yet but there have been numerous early screenings across the country, namely in that big New York City all the kids are talking about nowadays. So pretty good chance at least some of the people who thought it was a terrible review, like me, have in fact seen the movie.

And please have a word with this reviewer about throwing around the sexist remark just because some people don't agree with her reviews. A little bit of "practice what you preach". Unless you enjoy being the pot calling the kettle black.

kylemacca
kylemacca

@montecristo264 if you legitimately want to know, I would say it depends on the movie.  All the critics I know (including myself) critique work simply from a place of wanting it to be good.  It seems more an more people conflate negative criticism as "blasting" a movie. A review that completely lacks any negatives is a bit suspicious.

"Guardians of the Galaxy is proof that a picture can have a sense of humor yet have no real wit. It hits every beat, but it hasn't got the beat."

That is hardly "blasting" a movie.  It's bringing up both good and bad, which is what review is SUPPOSED to do. I laughed at GotG - it was funny - but overall it was too frenetic.  Would I recommend people to see it?  Sure.  So if that, why would I bother even covering the negatives?  It's in the hope that they get FIXED in the future.  That the next movie that comes out is funny in a tempered way.


No movie is perfect.  So if a movie I've negatively critiqued gets an academy award, I don't necessarily care.  It may have been good overally, with some rough spots.  Or it may have been the least worst.  Someone has to win the award.  Additionally awards (and tickets sales) are not based in objectivity.  People tend to like movies that tug at their emotions.  Once a film has that going for it, it rarely matters if the plot is properly paced or makes sense at all.  People will generally enjoy it.


And okay, have fun with that, but just because something makes you laugh and cry doesn't mean it's a "good" movie.  Critics are able to distance themselves and recognize that - because that's part of their job.  The typical audience does not need to, hence enjoyment of crappy, crappy movies (and television shows).


As is mentioned further in the comments, it's really more important to pay attention to the specifics of what a critic says than the "overall" theme of whether you think they're being "positive" or "negative".  There are some critics I trust completely.  They liked x, y, and z for the same reasons I liked them, and disliked them for the same reasons as well (again, nothing is perfect), and vice versa - some critics liked a, b, and c for the reasons I DISLIKED them.

kylemacca
kylemacca

@alistar.heimlich nobody should be asked to "laugh it off" when they are personal attacks for no reason other than sexism.


People who insist subjects of such acts do so are PART of the problem.  So please knock it off alistar.

kylemacca
kylemacca

@larry9362 could also be because their username is, essentially, greenarrowman?  green arrow's a dude, and they needed to follow that up with man?

I dunno, I guess "dudebroman", who is spouting misogynistic comments, COULD be a woman....

kylemacca
kylemacca

@airion69 it is standard in journalism for editors to comment on potential controversy in a publication (e.g. "letters to the editor" sections in mags and newspapers), not the original author.

Educate yourself a bit before spouting off on things you don't understand.

thisisnotapost
thisisnotapost

@airion69 No reviewer should have to defend him or herself against personal attacks because they just wrote a movie review.  If people started calling you "harlot" because of your post, I would hope people would tell the responders off.  

Bellbivdevoe
Bellbivdevoe

@airion69 she shouldn't have taken that column out in such a revealing manner. blame the writer, not the peanut gallery. 

randarchist
randarchist

As a life long comics fan, I am disgusted by the sexist attitude of some fans and the misogyny of too many comic book artists and writers. There is a very sickening level of sexism AND backhanded bigotry in the industry. Frank Cho draws some truly grotesque exaggerated female body forms, for example, which cross over the line of offensive to a level where the line is a dot, to paraphrase Joey from Friends.

The number of women creators, writers and artists needs to be increased. The amount of sexism and bigotry in our culture needs to be confronted in general.

So, ladies who createraw and write, please fight back, keep pushing the Neanderthals off the hilltops.

kylemacca
kylemacca

@weeksiv no, what's promoting the idea that comic fans are sexist are the comic fans that are behaving in a sexist manner.

If you don't want people to think comic fans are sexist, you should be condemning the ones that display blatant sexism such as this, not complaining when people comment on their blatant sexism.

Complaining about people noting the sexist trend in comic fans makes it awfully suspect that you condone this behavior in action.  One of those people who say, "oh, sexism is wrong", but belie your words with your actions, laughing at sexist jokes.

nekouken
nekouken

@aliceanyone The fen-sucked mountebank was fair bedeviled; by my troth, for one to bescumber the internet while full of jest and whit is more than one gormless lout can offer.

porcupine88
porcupine88

@twopoundradio If women were saying those things, it doesn't make them any less misogynistic, hateful, or irrational things to say.

kylemacca
kylemacca

@twopoundradio no one is saying they were ALL men, but let's face it.  Most of them were.  If you think most of them weren't, something is wrong with you.

kwilm
kwilm

@number1lakerfan23 Did you read it? The article wasn't by the reviewer complaining about people who "don't agree with her reviews." It was written by someone else entirely, commenting on the people who use abusive language to disagree with the reviewer's reviews.

droneforever
droneforever

@kylemacca @montecristo264 holy wow.  you really think it's a good idea to pull the "critics know which movies are REALLY good and which are REALLY bad, and dumb audiences enjoy bad movies all the time!"

dude, if someone enjoys a film, it's not "bad" - certainly not to them, and not by some ridiculous objective yardstick.

randarchist
randarchist

Just asking a question, but how many of the film critics who disliked the Marvel movies are actual readers of comic books? Do you?

alistar.heimlich
alistar.heimlich

@kylemacca @alistar.heimlich You are only reading the part of my comment that you want to see.


Of course it would be lovely if everyone on the internet would be nice, and stop being sexist but...heh...that's not going to happen. ever.


If someone wants to submit their opinions to a public forum, then they have to be mature enough to handle things that anonymous internet children will say.  If they aren't mature enough to handle it--if they base their self worth on what they see in text online, then they have bigger problems.


The problem with your approach is that there is no solution.  You can't silence everyone who offends you unless you're Kim Jong Un.  You can, however, grow up and realize that the fact that they are posting sexist things online means that they are sad and lonely and most importantly--PEOPLE WHOSE AFFIRMATION YOU DO NOT NEED TO EARN.


Do you see what I am saying?  I'm not advocating sexism, I'm just not living in a fairyland of naive idealism.

If you can't understand, that's fine.  No one has ever changed anyone's mind on the internet, even about a small thing like this.

alistar.heimlich
alistar.heimlich

@kylemacca @alistar.heimlich Of course these people are a problem.  Of course it would be nice if people would be nice to other people.  You misunderstand what I am saying.


I am saying that part of growing up is learning to not base your self worth on what other people say about you--especially not what anonymous people say over the internet.

weeksiv
weeksiv

You're last paragraph lends to the truth of my post. Please don't make assumptions about complete strangers because they have a differing opinion. My entire point was that there are outliers in all large populations and the reason they are outliers is because they don't represent the mass. Explain this trend to me and do it without questioning my integrity and making false assumptions, like an adult.

mark.j.cassidy
mark.j.cassidy

@OhsureDude. @mark.j.cassidy Here's the full sentence: (Note that the only proof I have that Greenarrowmn is a guy is that Greenarrowmn types loathsome crap only a guy would, crap that's pretty funny coming from someone whose online handle ends in the letters "wmn" -- "woman" without vowels.) ...Yes?

DanMitchell
DanMitchell

@NatTowsen @number1lakerfan23 Nope, I don't think he can. 

Fbourg
Fbourg

@randarchist I don't buy the argument that it matters. If the movie can't stand on its own, then it doesn't deserve bonus points just for being good in the books.


Suggesting they must be comic book fans to have a valid opinion of the movies strikes me as a false argument. Fans aren't necessarily going to give honest criticism.

katie.a.molloy
katie.a.molloy

@randarchist Does it matter, if they're film critics? We critique the movie, not the source material. A good movie should stand on its own.


I was also not as keen on Guardians as a lot of other people. I thought it was fun, but lacking the emotional depth and spark that other Marvel movies have. I don't feel out of touch, just that I like something different to what some other people like. No big deal, right?

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