Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe Fandom Too Toxic?
Few fanbases are as opinionated as that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fans made their takes on things like Brie Larson’s casting in Captain Marvel, for example, well-known on Twitter and Reddit. But are the Marvel fans too toxic?
Are fans of the Marvel movies and comic books toxic?
A few years ago, the website Birth Movies Death was already asking the question: is the MCU fandom getting toxic?
The writer commented on the “fan outrage” when it came to the comic Steve Rogers: Captain America #1. The book posited a new theory about the character: “Captain America had actually been a Hydra double agent his whole life.”
Angry Marvel fans blew up “the Twitter feed of writer Nick Spencer with so much hate that he simply had to log off,” the publication confirmed. However, it didn’t end there. They also began hating on “writer Ed Brubaker, who hadn’t written a Cap comic in five years.”
Some were even accusing other fans of being “anti-Semites” — as Birth Movies Death reported — “because, they reasoned, Cap was created by two Jewish kids to fight Nazis and now Marvel had made him a Nazi.”
While none of that theory makes sense — “even the movies went through a lot of effort to show that Hydra was aiming to fight the Nazis as well” — that didn’t stop the virtual death threats from rolling.
The fandom has strong opinions on the characters and comic book plot lines
“We have immediate access to spew any kind of hate at almost anyone instantly, and we probably also have a sense that nobody’s actually listening,” Birth Movies Death argued.
This allows for a reality where online users feel entitled to certain story lines, and entitled to expressing their opinions about those story lines in whatever language they choose.
When the filmmaker James Gunn, who directed the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy, defended the plot point in Captain America, for example, someone on Facebook issued a received a graphic, wood-chipper related death threat against Gunn’s pet.
The internet provides “immediate access to the people who create the stuff we love.” That was meant to be a feature, not a bug of the World Wide Web.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have “bridged the gap” between those creators and fans. However, that makes it so that the people love certain content feel that they can comment — and affect that content.
“The old fan entitlement has been soldered onto the ‘customer is always right’ mindset that seems to motivate the people who make Yelp so sh*tty,” the writer continued.
How social media has broken Marvel fan base
Social media only emboldened — and multiplied — the Marvel haters. Per the publication:
In a lot of ways fandom has always been a powder keg just waiting for the right moment to explode, and that moment is the ubiquity of social media. Twitter is the match that has been touched to this powder keg, and all of a sudden the uglier parts of fandom — the entitlement, the demands, the frankly poor understanding of how drama and storytelling work — have blown the f*ck up.
This argument was made years before Captain Marvel even came out. And it seems like the the toxicity in the fan base only increases each year. But it will be interesting to see how the Marvel fans relate to the cinematic universe over the next few years.