At the end of last year, IMDb named Captain Marvel, which hits theaters on March 8, the most anticipated film of 2019. On Tuesday night, though, it looked like viewers were in for a letdown: In the hours before Marvel Studios and Disney lifted its social media embargo on reviews of the film, it received an overwhelmingly negative response on Rotten Tomatoes, which panned both Captain Marvel itself and Brie Larson‘s portrayal of the titular superhero, also known as the earthling Carol Danvers, who suddenly develops superpowers just in time for a galactic war between two alien races.
Sadly, the criticism didn’t come as much of a surprise, seeing as Captain Marvel marks the first time that a woman has led a superhero film in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (it is also, in another MCU first, primarily written by women). Within a few hours, though, the reviews, many of which were racist and sexist in their critiques of the film, which one user described as “SJW [social justice warrior] nonsense,” were actually debunked as fake, seeing as the film was only screened for the first time on Tuesday night. Even then, only select members of the press were allowed to attend the screenings, which took place in Los Angeles and New York. (The “Tomatometer” rating feature on the film’s Rotten Tomatoes page is “currently not available.”)
When the actual reviews came out a few hours later, they offered quite a different take. According to several reviewers, Captain Marvel is actually a TOTALLY AWESOME” “blast” and “pure joy” to watch, thanks in large part to Larson’s performance. (The actress spent nine months training in judo, boxing, and tae kwon do for the role, and was also the first woman to land a lead role in the Avengers series.)
Those who described Captain Marvel as “very vocal racist and sexist aimed at white males” will be disappointed to learn that it’s also apparently full of “piping hot feminist takedowns.” (Though those tired of”Strong Wamen … Hollywood BS” might be heartened to learn that Ben Mendelsohn and the film’s character of a cat also deliver strong performances; one viewer even declared the latter to be “Marvel’s latest, greatest treasure.”)
This is not, of course, the first instance of fans interfering with online ratings. The trolls came out in such full force around the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017 that Kelly Marie Tran—the first Asian-American woman to land a starring role in the series—eventually decided to quit social media. That trolling, apparently, isn’t over, as it resurfaced in the critique of Captain Marvel: “Oh boy first off this will be worst than the last jedi im calling it now critcs will love it audience hate it,” wrote one reviewer, who apparently didn’t even pretend to have seen the film.
A Brief History of Male Actors Complaining About Superhero Costumes
On the skintight wet suit for his starring role in Aquaman: “It looks like it’s easy to pee in that, but really it’s not. And if you have the poopsies, it is very challenging. You’ve gotta be really good at holding it.” (Page Six)
On his infamous chest in Batman & Robin: “Well, I wasn’t thrilled with the nipples on the batsuit. You know that’s not something you really think about when you’re putting it on. You figure all batsuits have nipples, and then you realize yours was really the first. Batman was just constantly cold, I guess.” (Comic Book)
On the motion capture suit he wore for The Avengers: “I felt really uncomfortable. I’m not well-endowed, and those suits don’t really show you off in the most…The first day I was a miserable bastard, that I was just a trained actor reduced to the state of a Chinese checkerboard.” (Incidentally, the film’s visual effects supervisors have since clarified that the Hulk does not have a penis.) (Slash Film)
On his skintight suit for The Amazing Spider-Man: “I knew there were paparazzi taking terrible, unflattering shots of my, you know, everything…knowing that your keister has been shot from many different angles makes you very uncomfortable.” (Digital Spy)
On his own Spidey suit, for Spider-Man: Homecoming: “The first thing you need to know, all I have on under that costume is a thong. They brought them in on my first day, like, ‘Here are your thongs.’ I had serious misgivings—would my arsehole ever be the same again? But I had to get used to it. Even though I was thinking, No way, no way!” (ShortList)
On his signature claws seen throughout the X-Men series: “I can’t tell you how many people I stabbed, how I stabbed myself. They were killing machines.” (Entertainment Weekly)
On the spandex suit he wore in Captain America: Civil War: “It was suffocating. Literally, it closed off every possibility of air getting to you. I was in it, put the mask on. I said, ‘Hey, you got to get me out of this!’ ” (Variety)
On the heavyweight suit that War Machine transitions to in Iron Man 3: “It ain’t no lightweight thing. It’s very heavy. It’s fiberglass, I think that’s what it is. But it feels like it’s some special alloy that they made in a torture chamber that Torquemada created…and Robert’s was not really heavy. Robert’s was nice and light. It’s racism, let’s just be honest. I mean, what else could it be?” (Huffington Post, YouTube)
His takeaway from starring in Daredevil: “By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero. Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn’t want to do again soon.” (Irish Examiner)
On his completely CGI suit for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, following his famous last words: “the most humiliating, ridiculous thing in the world…but it’s easier for the digital effects guys. You can see who the priority is.” (Total Film)