Preface: I don’t like to stir the pot but I mean just look at that title. It was too fun to pass up the opportunity to write that.
I feel it necessary to warn you all that there is something truly terrifying that I will be discussing today, and it is something that may have you in tears by the very nature of how shocking it is. I greatly caution you that if you can’t confront this ugly and gruesome fact than I’d encourage you to look away now: People can have different opinions.
Wait I forgot… we are talking about “Avengers: Endgame there’s no opinions only facts”. Yeah remember that quote from my Endgame review that was supposed to be a satirical account of someone who attacked critics for having anything negative to say about the film… well I found him. Of course, such a guy exists, I was recommended a YouTube video “4 Critics Gave Endgame a Bad Review” by the Generation Films channel. Now I don’t necessarily agree with the critics of these reviews, I found Endgame an enjoyable enough time to be generally positive towards but when you want to essentially make a 15 minute video “exposing” Rotten Tomato critics I think it might help if you come with an actual argument. Whether we agree or disagree with people, I find the toxic hostility something unnecessary in the world of reviews, so I want to dissect the video as it is a great example of what not to do when confronting one of those terribly nasty dissenting opinions.
You can see the video in its entirety here: below I will time code and quote all the points if you want to follow along. I’d recommend opening side by side tabs of this analysis and the video for convenience.
“giving a negative review is a fair thing to do”
Early on Ben is establishing himself as the good guy, staking a claim that seems to be simple common sense. However, from watching the rest of the video I have my doubts about this. Ben also kind of “virtue signals” to his audience in a not so subtle way by being very forward with his love for Captain Marvel. Ben goes out of his way to basically grow a connection with his audience based on their shared love for Captain Marvel and the MCU. Ben’s tactic appears to be to get you to believe that he has similar opinions to you therefore you should be more inclined to listen to him.
Ben despite being unnecessarily condescending considering the critics statements “laughable” and making a hasty generalization that a movie critic is certainly going to concentrate on a film’s legitimacy as art he makes some decent albeit subjective points.
He notes that cinematography and visual effects setting the industry standard and establishing a global outreach about heroic themes of bravery and justice. These aren’t bad subjective observations; Ben never gives examples or evidence to support his claims about the cinematography being influential or kids being positively influenced. These aren’t bad points but I can equally just refute this with saying something like “Marvel has uninspired very by the numbers shot compositions and have left kids with rudimentary understandings of good versus evil and violence as an effective means of problem-solving” I guess because neither of us back up these claims I guess it’s up to the audience’s confirmation bias to prove if it’s valid to say or not.
“the quote would have been right here if he just stopped at it’s made up of many good parts”
Ben’s anecdotal evidence feels appropriately summarized as “I thought the jokes where funny, and I don’t go for the comedy therefore your opinion is invalid”? Comedy is judged by the deliverance of a “few funny lines”… apparently or what you expect to get out of the film. I wonder if because Manchester by the Sea has a couple surprise chuckles if that makes it comedic? Of course I’m just teasing Ben’s weird argument against a point about how “the good parts” which are “comedic moments” and the “genuine emotion moments” are few and far between with just stating how much he liked the movie. Ironic that someone who goes on to accuse others of being narcissistic and “self-indulgent” considers his personal feelings enough to discredit someone else’s personal feelings. Of course, Ben doesn’t just rely on himself though.
Ben uses an appeal to bandwagon unironically and disarms criticism by saying your opinion isn’t popular enough to be valid criticism. The crowd I saw loved it therefore you must be wrong. I don’t know Ben, that crowd might have all thought the Earth is flat too or where going to go jump off a bridge after the screening. Care to continue following the collective? As he continues to use popularity as an argument stating “worldwide phenomenon” and “not a popular one” as a critical shield I think he just might.
Nice Tu Quoque Fallacy, anyone unfamiliar Tu Quoque translates to “you too” and it is a red herring tactic that attacks someone for being hypocritical despite that information not necessarily being relevant. Ben provides a nice little distraction away from the main argument at hand, the point of the video being reviews against Endgame are illegitimate. A nice attack against the critics’ credibility but because he is “wrong” about Fast and Furious you never use it as evidence of pure hypocrisy by showing why he likes that movie and how the same should apply to Endgame. The point that is currently being made in your pull quote is that if you are going to have this movie hyped by external factors outside the movie then you better deliver some sense of “entertainment value” which is a subjective assessment.
I just find this funny, because of how hypocritical this guy comes across.
If one of your major premises is that it is unfair to project exaggerated caricatures to oppose, then maybe you shouldn’t repeatedly treat all the critics like they’re Jake Gyllenhaal in Velvet Buzzsaw, some holier than thou, superiority complex art critic who thinks everyone should conform to their pretentious beliefs. I could see for Endgame maybe they were saying the film’s presentation both from being littered with fan service and cooperation from the fan-base gives off the impression as money hungry marketing product manifesting in this imaginary PR rep. Similarly, you could have maybe made a fair point saying these critics are attempting to serve the role of the pretentious critic and feel the need to hate Endgame to build up that front… but you don’t. Instead you just characterize them as such to belittle them and you even moments ago gave contradicting evidence with the guy saying Fast and Furious are some of his favorite movies.
You keep insisting that the guy is so concerned with the artistic merit of the film… but you fail to mention that one of his favorite film’s he gives a review titled: The Fate of the Furious review: Big, dumb and undeniably fun. Your mis-characterization is honestly pathetic.
Fan-service is needed. And every moment of it was good.
I really want an elaboration why fan service is not fine or not something to not knock a film for but was “needed”. What?
Evil critics only love their Little Miss Sunshine and depressing iPhone films… see we’re really leaning into the straw man argument of they hate it because it’s successful.
Maybe keep reading it seems that literally two sentences later she emphasizes that “it’s a tonal mismatch for a dreary outing”. That point isn’t that the film should only be depressing but that it didn’t have a consist or concrete tone.
But nice straw man it was cute to twist the argument by oversimplifying it towards how dark the movie should be instead of was the tone consist or appropriate for the film’s overarching narrative. I will admit he does assert that comic relief is there to balance the tone, now argue why that is in service of the Endgame plot or the audience watching it… oh no you’re moving onto your next point… cool.
A lot to unpack here:
Why an assumption the critic is “angry” over the spoil hashtags, the point isn’t that it’s stupid or ruinous but that putting it into perspective: does it make you wonder if it has cornered critics to be quiet as not to ruin other’s experience and demonstrate a massive following and support in place of the film pre-release? There’s no blatant expression of anger, could it be that our host finds himself reaching to remain in the film’s defense.
Calling The Return of the King a good movie is completely subjective…clever use of appealing to the authority of the Oscar Academy (the one that totally loves Avengers: Endgame right?) but this point is tricky. The LOTR comparisons seems very deliberately chosen for how ambitious the project is. I don’t know how relatable the material would be in failed efforts to delivery too much, but the Kobe Bryant analogy seems like a gross oversimplification of comparing “greatest” instead of selecting areas of critique. The critic even sort of listed the criteria for why they chose the comparison and demonstrated a degree of level-headedness when making said analogy and didn’t do it just to be hyperbolic.
You’re really going to hound on this poor word choice this hard. Yes, blessing might have been poor word choice as it is often associated with a sense of superiority as from blessings from God or from a parental figure for marriage, but I mean come on… it’s just a synonym for approval and encouragement. Does anyone really see it heinous to say “hey, if you like a movie that I didn’t like that’s okay I approve” Does using blessing really find it necessary to harp so much on this clearly false accusation of “the critics think they’re better than me”.
Choosing to do an accompanying piece is not fair criticism against your criticism. Elaborate on why that’s relevant; does the critic spend more time dissecting and “giving a chance” to the more obscure film or is there any comparison in review style or do you just have this hatred for people who enjoy things you don’t? Again, it just seems like you’re doing cheap characterization so you can seem so smart by attacking straw men and slapping red herrings all over the place.
Let’s break this part down:
Premise: This guy didn’t pay attention to the film
Evidence: Guy says Hulk looks like Shrek or weird in this film because of his fused appearance
Argument: That’s something that’s explained in the comics.
I can’t be the only one having difficulty connecting the dots here. The guy made a point that the hulk visually appears silly in the film… a simple rather comical observation, how does that prove he didn’t watch the film? How does not being aware or knowledgeable of something that happened outside of the film serve to prove the critic didn’t watch the film? How does him looking like Shrek have anything to do with his appearance in the comics… did he also look like Shrek in that comic or are you just spewing a bunch of bullshit and pretending your making salient points against a critic you don’t agree with? Your arguments are no longer poorly constructed but are full on nonsensical at this point.
With each critique the arguments just keep getting weaker, this guy really comes across as a fan-boy parody because of how lazily he just throws out his arguments. So back to that previous premise, the only reason Ben feels that the critic doesn’t have enough authority to talk about the movie because he obviously “didn’t pay attention” is because he jokingly says that nothing happens in the 2nd act of the film worth watching. Hyperbolic and subjective: yes… a legit reason to find someone’s opinion invalid: no.
The critic is admittedly being cynical attacking the fervor surrounding the film as being over the top, that to discuss the films plot would be sacrilegious. C’mon it’s all tongue in check is it a really fair assessment to characterize him into a jerk and self-important because according to Ben he failed to hop on the bandwagon and his review was short therefore lesser… for some reason. As they say “brevity is the soul of wit” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being concise Ben and considering how many times you reuse the same tired arguments over and over maybe you should consider practicing it yourself. “Every other critic didn’t have a problem” see exactly, right on time you’re hitting us with appeal to popularity…again, again.
First, I love that your argument to devalue his criticism starts with… don’t think about it. I will give Ben credit, I don’t know if I agree much with the emphasis of the Wakanda troops was well elaborated and Ben uses some effective examples to debunk this claim such as the Asgardians and sorcerers being present as faceless troupes. However, maybe you should have unpacked that paragraph because would you look at that it’s another straw man argument. Maybe you should have read his final paragraph that you seemed to have glossed over, you know this one:
This narrow dramatic determinism is the principal reason that the Marvelization of movies ultimately feels deadening, despite the occasional spectacular delight or dramatic twist. It’s not because of the ubiquity of the advertising or the number of screens on which the movies play. It’s because their hermetically sealed aesthetic narrows the inner lives of the characters depicted to a terrifying homogeneity, grooming audiences to welcome precisely such movies and to imagine themselves in their terms.
Did you read the full article Ben??? From my understanding (to be fair this is a very dense reading) the point isn’t more diverse characters should have been more prominent in the film (an easy thing to refute) but the claim is actually despite the cast diversity, everyone acts the same. It was stated in the paragraph you refused to dissect that the critic notices women are featured prominently and act heroic but lack personality or mental differences. Same does he point out that most of the men have this paternal relationship at the forefront… you think these characters for how ethnically, mentally, and in their experiences maybe all wouldn’t act like a stock hero archetype. Now I’m not saying that I agree with this point of criticism on the film but am I saying that you shouldn’t be allowed to think about it and that quantity of diversity justifies rejection of a qualitative diversity argument… well I’m no idiot.
So, as he wraps up Ben closes it off by using his anecdotal evidence that because he hasn’t heard a good reason, they don’t exist. They are only rated negatively because of personal agendas. This video of nitpicking and completely ignoring major premises of the criticisms by arguing completely irrelevant statements proves this…. somehow.
“Yeah the reviews were annoying”
Thanks Ben, for just completely showing your bias and falling victim to everything you argued against in this video. A pathetic argument based on personal bias and attacking gross assumptions rather than interpretation of the subject of discussion.
It’s disheartening that this video, one that I hopefully demonstrated lays some very questionable rhetoric has such a positive like to dislike ratio. Whether you agree or disagree with the critics, the critic’s critic or me on Avengers: Endgame the main point I want to get across is maybe let’s try to be aware of our biases and understand that it is a okay to tolerate differing opinions then your own. Hopefully, we all see fallacious reasoning in motion throughout the video and will be more cautious of how we might be guilty ourselves. I don’t want to give Ben a hard time as a part of me hopes that it’s a work of transparent satire but also because I’m sure all of us have spread our fair share of BS being clouded by our personal opinions and subjectivity. Ben, I hope you can be less condescending and more compassionate in future videos, and maybe put a lot more thought into what you’re arguing in future videos.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this analysis. Let me know what you thought in the comments below and I hope I made enough of an argument that’d you’ll consider returning here at the movies!
Main image credit: Marvel Studios
Special thanks to:
I used these to refresh on argument fallacies and would recommend anyone interested in such a topic to definitely check these out.