A small but rowdy bunch of mostly male comic-book fans spawned this latest case of toxic fan culture. Using Gamergate-style harassment techniques they honed with coordinated attacks on fans and stars of diversifying franchises like “Ghostbusters” and “Star Wars,” they turned their attention to “Captain Marvel,” voting it down or leaving negative comments on platforms like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. In a new twist, some detractors, including the actor James Woods, have even pitted the Marvel hero against “Alita: Battle Angel,” which doesn’t make much sense at all unless they want one action movie with a female protagonist to quash another at the box office. In response to the latest attacks, Rotten Tomatoes announced that it would disable the comments and audience scores of movies that haven’t been released yet.
“Captain Marvel” defenders have made the movie a cause celebre. The party line is that by supporting it, you are inherently supporting women and diversity in the entertainment industry; if you don’t buy your ticket, you’re hurting the cause. The charged situation has left little room for dissenting or lukewarm opinions. You’re expected to like this movie or you’re a bad feminist — or, worse, a misogynist. You must feel empowered by this movie or you didn’t get it.