Everyone’s a critic. This phrase has never been truer than it is today. The internet is a breeding ground for comments, critiques and unsolicited opinions. On every social media platform or website, comment sections fall at the end of the page.
Many of us have grown up with a comment section, leading us to believe that sharing our opinion on anything and everything is some sort of civic duty. Sometimes it’s appropriate, and sometimes it’s not. The internet has created an entire generation of commenters, but within that, it has also created a lovely little subgroup called trolls. Trolling is even defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as antagonizing others through comments or other content.
Trolling has been in the news lately due to the release of “Captain Marvel,” Marvel’s first woman-led superhero film in its entire cinematic universe. The movie was subject to a number of negative reviews, causing the movie to plummet to a 33 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes just a few hours after its release. The steep plummet in ratings was due to a high amount of ratings being posted before the movie’s actual release. The comments came from trolls who wanted to see the movie do poorly. Rotten Tomatoes attempted to remedy this by turning off the ability to comment before a movie was released, but a glitch in its system allowed for all the negative comments to still be intermixed with the real comments and ratings.
However, “Captain Marvel” is set to have the second biggest opening weekend for a superhero origin movie, behind “Black Panther.” This means the movie’s 33 percent rating seemed to have no real effect on how the movie will perform monetarily. So does that mean the age of the troll is over?
The answer is probably not. Trolls and commenters are never going to just go away. It’s a part of human nature to comment or to add to the conversation, but it could be that trolls aren’t gaining the audience they used to. People don’t have to listen to what trolls are saying, and if “Captain Marvel” is any indication, they aren’t. “Captain Marvel” received 58,000 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes within a few hours of its release, culminating in a low rating on the website. If these opinions really mattered, they should be reflected in how the movie is doing at the box office. However, it’s breaking records and is set to make $153 million in its opening weekend in the U.S.
Trolls have been around since the inception of the comment tool, but in reality, how much power do they really possess? In the grand scheme of things, a troll is just someone with a keyboard and a nasty opinion. People get trolled on the internet every day, but that doesn’t stop people from making content on YouTube or tweeting a hot new take.
Over the years, we’ve fallen into this idea that trolls have some kind of control over the internet and its users, but they don’t offer up much to the conversation. The best case scenario for a troll is that a Twitter fight will ensue. Maybe they’ll even get a headline out of it. Worst case scenario, they’re ignored, and everyone moves on with their lives. Trolls don’t have the power we tend to think they do, and they never have. Opinions aren’t changed by a troller because people tend to not respond well to hate. As a generation that has grown up on the internet, a troll has just become a small blip on the radar that causes no real change. A troll’s power is only in creating change, but when their words don’t cause any ripples, their power becomes obsolete.
This image released by Disney-Marvel Studios shows Brie Larson in a scene from "Captain Marvel." (Disney-Marvel Studios via AP)