Jackson's Righteous Fury: Why NY Times' 'Avengers' Review Deserves Actor's Disdain

Jackson's Righteous Fury: Why NY Times' 'Avengers' Review Deserves Actor's Disdain

It’s a good thing Samuel L. Jackson’s righteous speech from “Pulp Fiction” is too long to fit in a Tweet.

Jackson got good and grumpy yesterday after reading The New York Times’ review of “The Avengers.” Critic A.O. Scott gave the film middling praise and found more than a few flaws in the presentation. But methinks it was more than Scott’s negative commentary that set the erstwhile “Shaft” off on a Twitter rant.

Scott’s reviewed the superhero genre more than “The Avengers,” revealing his disdain for a film subset that makes gobs of money and features heroic activity.

The secret of “The Avengers” is that it is a snappy little dialogue comedy dressed up as something else, that something else being a giant A.T.M. for Marvel and its new studio overlords, the Walt Disney Company.

And how does that tell the reader if he or she should pay good money to see “The Avengers” again? Does Scott have an issue with other films which turn a tidy profit? Which ones? And why is that a concern?

Next, Scott has a beef with the scale of the film:

The difference is that, in keeping with the imperatives of global franchise entertainment, the big shootout in “The Avengers” must be enormous, of a scale and duration that obliterates everything else.

So a superhero movie should have the quaint qualities of “My Dinner with Andre?” Why can’t earth’s mightiest heroes save the globe? Doesn’t James Bond do just that every few years?

Mr. Whedon’s playful, democratic pop sensibility is no match for the glowering authoritarianism that now defines Hollywood’s comic-book universe….But 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?

Uh, I’m pretty sure they’re saving the planet. Is that still OK, or should they lay down their arms and super-toys if they are actually tied to some evil corporation?

Jackson can’t possibly come off as heroic for trashing a critic’s film review. But if his take down forced readers to really analyze Scott’s review, then that single, sassy Tweet did some good. And Scott’s fellow critics who instinctively rallied to his side … maybe they should read the actual review again, too.

Jackson deserves a tsk-tsk over wishing Scott would find another line of work. One angry Tweet won’t make that happen. But if critics wish movie stars would take their constructive criticism seriously, perhaps critics should return the favor.