black panther

You know, I’m honestly surprised it took this long.

In a world in which certain segments of fandom will complain about female leads in ‘Star Wars’ movies or harass critics who heap anything less than unquestioning praise on DC’s latest cinematic misfire, it’s something of a minor miracle that we’ve come so close to the release of ‘Black Panther’ – if not the first, then certainly the biggest superhero film to date to boast not only  a majority black cast but a black director as well – with fan discourse largely achieving a certain minimum of basic human decency.

But no longer! This time its courtesy of a Facebook group (which is no longer available as of this writing) dubbed “Down With Disney’s Treatments of Franchises and Its Fanboys”. Because nothing says “I have a reasonable argument” quite like that name. The group, who’s moderator identifies as “alt-right”, announced their plans to sabotage Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score for ‘Black Panther’, the stated reasons for which include “corporate manipulations which created false bad press for the DCEU” (as if Warner needs any help in that department), and which I’m sure have nothing whatsoever to do with retrograde racial politics.

The same group has claimed credit for (and declared success at) a similar bot-driven effort to artificially lower the audience score for ‘The Last Jedi‘. Speaking to the Huffington Post, the anonymous moderator explained that the groups objections to the latest installment of the ‘Star Wars’ saga included a so-called “feminist agenda,” the supposed “danger” of Poe Dameron and Luke Skywalker being “turn[ed] gay” and a claim that “men should be reinstated as rulers of society.”

All of that should give you a pretty good sense of how seriously to not take this crowd.

Now, I’ve spent this entire article making my opinion… let’s just say “less than subtle.” But what about the film’s director? In response to this none-too-surprising development, Ryan Coogler had this to say:

“For me, I’m looking forward to everybody seeing the film. I’m really looking forward to sharing the film with audiences regardless of what their political views are… that’s kind of where I [stand on that].”

With regard to the emphasis that tends to be placed on Rotten Tomatoes generally, Coogler added:

“It… can be an oversimplification of what critics are saying about a movie. It’s quicker to look at the consensus than it is to read the articles. But I’m a person who definitely respects film criticism and draws on it in the filmmaking process.”

Helmed by ‘Creed’ director Ryan Coogler, ‘Black Panther’ will be the eighteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film, which stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis, will arrive in theaters on February 16, 2018