“The Avengers” hits theaters in North America today and besides probably breaking box office records, it seems to be the rare summer blockbuster that is loved by pretty much everyone. Critics and fanboys alike have, for the most part, aligned in their praise for Joss Whedon‘s superhero team up. And while there have been a few dissenting voices, one of the most prominent is New York Times critic A.O. Scott — and Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t like it.
In his review, Scott says that he essentially didn’t really get into the big set pieces and wishes there were more character moments, and ultimately, he wanted better motivation for why these superheroes do what they do. “…for all their maverick swagger, the Avengers are dutiful corporate citizens, serving a conveniently vague set of principles. Are they serving private interests, big government, their own vanity, or what?” he asked, while adding that in his opinion, movies in this genre tend to mostly be empty spectacle designed to line studio bank accounts. Which is hardly a shocking statement to make.
Enter Samuel L. Jackson, who read the review and promptly lost it on Twitter. “#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let’s help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!” he tweeted. Called out for perhaps being irrational, Nick Fury took it even further, adding, “That is My Opinion! @TheFilmNest & what’s irrational about it? They aren’t going to fire his jaundiced ass & You & I Know It!”
It’s plainly bizarre that Jackson is gunning for the guy’s job and we’d hardly call Scott’s review hostile. It was his take, evenly explained, and hell, he compared the best moments of the film to “Rio Bravo.” But, you would think that after doing a string of dreck like “The Samaritan,” “Meeting Evil” and the straight-to-DVD “Arena,” Jackson might be used to some criticism. This whole thing is just kind of random and absurd, particularly since The New York Times Magazine just ran a gigantic profile on Jackson.
As for Scott, he’s pretty philosophical about the whole thing. “I don’t think Mr. Jackson is actually trying to get me fired,” he told E!. “Actors and filmmakers sometimes respond angrily to negative reviews—I can’t say I blame them—and Twitter is a relatively new and very public forum for that. Rallying ‘fans’ against skeptical critics is a time-honored tactic, and I don’t take it personally.”
“If I’m going to dish out criticism, I should be able to take it,” he continued. “But I must say that I was touched at how many people on Twitter had my back, and more importantly how many were eager to defend the idea that honest and independent criticism has a place, even when the targets are superhero blockbusters and big movie stars. As usual with Twitter, there was a mixture of silliness and insight that made for a fun afternoon.” Classy guy.
Anyway, the end of the this weekend this will be forgotten and “The Avengers” will be making millions upon millions of dollars. And as for trying to take down the sacred New York Times, no one will ever beat Coach McGuirk on “Home Movies.”