I’ve noticed in the last couple of years, people have seemed to turn films into sports teams to cheer or root against. Now i get wanting to support a work of art that resonates with you,and i don’t think any work is above critique. But in the current landscape it feels like it is less about discussion and more about dividing people into polarized sides.
The first big example that i found weird was when some Alita was positioned as the anti-SJW answer to Captain Marvel. I personally felt like they were going for different things,and the way certain alt-right people latched onto Alita i felt like it was less about the film and its themes and more just latching onto to any random female lead film they could tokenize. And considering how a sizable amount of trans viewers felt a strong connection to the protagonist and her journey, it makes even less sense why it was positioned as “anti-SJW” in the first place.
But what really caused this trend to explode was when the Scorsese/MCU wars started. I think we all remember when it started when Scorsese wrote about them not being cinema to him. When it first came out i disagreed with his phrasing,but i could see where he was coming from with studio’s not giving space for the types of films he grew up with. I think sometimes its helpful to be able to see some points a person is making without feeling that you have to agree with everything another person said.
But most of the internet didn’t even attempt approaching it with any nuance,and people quickly settled into there respective teams. MCU fans quickly dismissed Scorsese’s long legacy and history as a filmmaker,and some Scorsese fans just went for easy potshots. And entertainment coverage didn’t help, as almost every journalist asked whoever they could to weigh in. And unfortunately most of those people seemed to take the bait. It seemed like no one wanted to have an actual conversation, and the possibility of any actual discussion about tangible things like Disney’s excessive power over the industry became a lost cause.
This team mentality surfaced sometime later, when Birds of Prey and Sonic got pitted against each other. Again, part of this was because BOP got labelled as “SJW” material, but again this match-up still seemed rather random. It seemed to me like they were going for mostly different audiences, and people were just looking for something they could use as a counter to the whole SJW label BOP got stuck with.
On Facebook and Twitter i’ve seen some people say they don’t want to talk about certain movies because of how polarized debate around them got. Most of the time, these stemmed from reactionary criticism coming from bad faith with movies like TLJ and Captain Marvel,which i think caused others to become stiff in there positions. While i did like both TLJ and Captain Marvel, while a lot of people came at them for bigoted reasons i don’t think anyone who ended up not liking them is a sexist or racist or whatever.
Now when it comes to human dignity having principles you don’t budge on is a good thing,especially in these times. And if critique is coming from a clearly bad place,i think calling that out can be important. But i think letting people disagree with you on media can be a good thing. As long as someone is coming from a place of good faith and i feel i will be listened to, i am generally open to discussion on almost all movies/tv. And i think listening to each other more would help discussion of media grow.