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Criticism of Black Widow Shows a Deeper Problem With Comic Book Fandom

The misogynistic criticism of Black Widow and other women-led movies continues to be a problem.

Black Widow finally made its theatrical and Disney+ debut. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it ranked in $60 million on Disney+ and another  $80 million at the theaters. That’s a total of $240 million in earnings. A win by anyone’s standards. Does this mean that the movie was good? Not necessarily. We all know the phrase that numbers lie. However, this writer thoroughly enjoyed Black Widow.

Two things stuck out. First, the movie was darker than we’re used to seeing. The fight scenes looked more painful than normal. A testament to Black Widow and Yelena Belova’s fighting skills. Hopefully, this trend of darker Marvel Studios movies continues. Second, was something friend and Culture Comic Book News co-host Supa Woke Octavius commented on. He said that it was very much like a James Bond movie. That, on top of a well-told story, made it a complete movie.

Of course, some people may have found it boring. Nothing wrong with that at all. We’re all going to have differences of opinion. It’s part of what makes the world great. If we all agreed, things would be boring and the world would be stagnant. Our tastes in art don’t have to align. It becomes problematic when you dislike something based on something racist, homophobic, or, in this case, misogynistic.

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Comicsgate

Some of you may not know what Comicsgate is. For those of you who don’t Wikipedia says, “Comicsgate is a campaign in opposition to diversity and progressivism in the North American superhero comic book industry—targeting the creators hired, the characters depicted, and the stories told—which proponents allege has led to a decline in both quality and sales.”

Ladies and gentlemen, ridiculous as this is, it’s an actual thing. People truly believe that the decline in comic book sales is due to comic book companies doing what they can to be progressive and inclusive. In some ways, it’s true. The decline is because oafish fanboys who believe that comics and their superheroes should be all white males have stopped buying comic books. So, yes, there will be a decline. But, let’s be honest, we don’t need them and they don’t deserve the goodness that comic book companies have been producing.

How does Comicsgate relate to Black Widow and movies and shows with all women leads? It’s pretty simple. Men who believe this trope will be the ones who leave overly negative and aggressive comments on websites. Again, honest negative reviews are always welcomed. They help creators make better projects. There are times when we’ll read a comment and go, “You know, that’s a good point.” What we don’t need is A perfect example of this is what happened to Captain Marvel.

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Examples of toxicity

Before Captain Marvel was released in theaters, people were giving it negative reviews. You’d assume that someone would take the time to at least watch the film before speaking about it. Not in this case. In 2019, people were leaving negative comments on Rotten Tomatoes saying things like they were tired of the “Social Justice Warrior nonsense.” Because of this, Rotten Tomatoes changed the rules so that reviews couldn’t be put out until the movie’s release.

A lot of the backlash from Captain Marvel came because of Brie Larson’s approach to her promo run. According to indiewire.com. Captain Marvel star said, 

“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of color, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”

The name of the game is inclusion. The gift with this is having differences of opinions and ideas. Something that fanboys say they want, but only when it’s their voices. Having interviews from different walks of life means you’re not getting the same kind of questions and answers from the cast. Something that gets tiring after a while. New and honest thoughts on a product make it more desirable. That is if you’re actually looking for an honest opinion.

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Black Widow isn’t the first or the last

In conclusion, people need to get over themselves. So many more have graced movies, video games, and TV shows for decades and helped define the genres that we enjoy today. Black Widow isn’t the first woman lead movie and it won’t be the last. There is a long line of women who’ve helped define the genres we love. Ellen Ripley from the Alien film series remains one of the most iconic characters in action. The Bride from Kill Bill has some of the best action scenes in movie history.

Then we have comic books. Wonder Woman is one of the two or three most iconic comic book heroes of all time. Okoye and Shuri of Marvel Comics have defined strength, resolve, and intelligence in theaters as well as in comic books. There are also so many Power Rangers over the years that have been the epitome of leadership and power.

This writer would like to believe that this is new, but it’s not. Toxic energy has been around longer than we’ve been alive. It’s alive in more genres than we may realize. Something this writer highlighted in a previous article. The difference is now these “people” have found platforms to organize their hatred. It’s why we had the act of terrorism in January. An unfortunate truth that we have to deal with. 

Thankfully, we outnumber the fools, we’re smarter than them, and we know how to not like something without being hurtful.

What do you, the readers, think? Did you enjoy Black Widow? What are your thoughts on the toxic behavior that we’ve seen in the media over the last few years? Let us know in the comments below.

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