Scott described the Joss Whedon directed film as “grinding, hectic emptiness” and “bloated cynicism”. The movie critic added:
“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 ATM for Marvel and its new studio overlords, the Walt Disney Company.
In an attempt to avenge Scott’s sarcasm-laced review, Jackson took to Twitter expressing, “#Avengers fans, NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let’s help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!”
Also noted within Scott’s less-than-favorable review is criticism of Jackson’s Nick Fury character, calling him “more master of ceremonies than mission commander.”
Jackson’s twitter response quickly got people talking. Many lined up behind Scott’s right to express his criticism of the box office smash.
One Scott defender reminded Jackson that a movie that makes a lot of money is not necessarily good, to which the actor responded, “Actually, sometimes IT DOES!”
New York magazine TV columnist Matthew Seitz chimed in with: “The latent fascism of fanboy culture manifests itself through Samuel L Jackson. A few negative reviews in hundreds? Get ’em, boys!”
New Yorker music critic Alex Ross added: “@AOScott His call for you to lose your job only supports your point about ‘glowering authoritarianism’ in pop culture”.
The Film Nest tweeted they were “disappointed” by Jackson “responding irrationally” to Scott’s opinion. Jackson furiously responded to the tweet with, “That is My Opinion! @TheFilmNest &what’s irrational about it? They aren’t going to fire his jaundiced ass &You &I Know It!”
Still, some people did defend Jackson for taking issue with Scott’s position on comic book films. Brian Lowry at Variety wrote:
“Scott’s review seemed to dismiss the genre of comic-book movies, and by extension “Avengers” without really engaging the material on its own terms. OK, let’s stipulate you’re not a big fan of spandex-clad people with super powers, and view films devoted to their exploits more as corporate products than movies. For those readers who might be looking for a more down-to-Earth, less-existential reaction, how did it measure up as an action flick?”
Ironically, it was A.O. Scott who had the most profound defense of Samuel Jackson, telling E! News, “If I’m going to dish out criticism, I should be able to take it. ”
The mini Twitter war is unlikely to effect what The Avengers rake in at the box office this weekend. After raking up nearly $300 million overseas, The Avengers’ is expected to do domestic numbers that rival that of The Hunger Games’ and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ openings.