In life, three things are inevitable: death, taxes, and male Marvel fans openly weeping about superhero movies that center around women superheroes. Change is admittedly hard! I remember struggling to adjust between preschool and kindergarten drop-off, when my mom no longer held my hand and walked me into the classroom. Of course, I was a small child, and these are presumably adolescent to adult men—at least age-wise.
ICYMI, earlier this week, Marvel Studios dropped the trailer for its highly anticipated Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels, which will feature Brie Larson reprising her role as Carol Danvers as well as the delightful Iman Vellani returning as Kamala Khan of Ms. Marvel fame. Teyonah Parris will also return as Monica Rambeau, who became a fan-favorite on WandaVision in 2021.
In The Marvels, all three are up to some intergalactic hijinks and leading their own movie, sans Iron Man or Captain America or any other tired male superhero. And that has predictably pissed off a number of proud, male, self-identified nerds: Within 24 hours of being posted on YouTube, The Marvels’ trailer became the most disliked Marvel trailer in history.
Per a Thursday Rolling Stone report:
On YouTube, the official upload from Marvel Studios has been hit by over 300,000 dislikes and thousands of copypasta comments—a popular way to spam content and drown out positive replies by inundating comment sections with similar messaging.
By comparison, the magazine notes that the widely despised superhero (?) movie Morbius, clowned on by critics and audiences alike, has garnered only 11,000 dislikes on its trailer, first posted ahead of its release last spring.
None of this should come as a surprise to those aware of the ongoing trend of review-bombing that targets Marvel projects that feature a) women superheroes, b) POC superheroes, c) LGBTQ superheroes/characters, or d) some combination of all of those. The Disney+ show She-Hulk was extensively review-bombed on Rotten Tomatoes, as was Ms. Marvel, which centered around a teenage Muslim girl. Larson, specifically, has long been a source of ire and fury for some male Marvel fans and incel forums due to her outspokenness on gender parity in the entertainment industry—and, of course, for leading a franchise’s first, big, female superhero-centric film.
Some of the aforementioned copypasta comments on The Marvels offer a window into why the film, set for a November release, has garnered this level of online hate: “Captain Feminist and the Patriarchy’s stone. What piece of crap!” one comment reads. This remark is so on-the-nose that a part of me wonders if it was actually written by a gender studies scholar trying to be ironic. Of course, for all the negativity, I will admit that this comment by another user—presumably a father—warmed my heart a little: “This movie seems like a lot of fun. Cannot wait to take my daughter.” (insert teary-eyed emoji here)
In any case, the miserable, bonkers reaction to The Marvels reminds me of an episode of She-Hulk last year in which the show used real-life comments from sexist Marvel fans in an episode wherein She-Hulk goes online and reads comments about herself. Some of these comments included, “Why everything in Marvel gotta be female now,” and, “So we have a metoo movement and now all the male hero’s and [sic] gone?” In that same episode, a Jordan Peterson-type vlogger groans, “They took the Hulk’s manhood away, but then they gave it to a woman?”
As a reluctant Marvel fan, I’m glad the studio can poke fun at its sexist trolls and remains undeterred in building a more diverse superhero roster. But I do wish the massive studio, with all its resources, would do better in the way of supporting and standing up for its stars, who are all too often hung out to dry on the digital hell-hole known as YouTube dot com.