When Critics Turned Into Trolls

Richard Schertzer
3 min readApr 7, 2023

I have to talk about this and it’s only fair as we go forth into the contentious climate of critical thought and divisive debate. Critical analysis is meant to be used for critique to see where a movie went wrong and what it got right. Nowadays, however, many critics have turned to trolls that have turned critique and constructive criticism into heinous, vile, diatribe of vitriol that seems to tear down hard-working filmmaker’s work, content and art.

One such example has been when critics and audiences alike have decimated the idea of the live-action remakes and most recently given such hate towards the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Rather than being open to the idea of a new iteration with an actor of a différent race, people have been so averse to the idea that they have responded with ad hominem, childish attacks about her race not being the same as the 1989 film.

It just goes to show you that a lot of that evil rhetoric has bled over to critical thought where it seems that critics have focused on, specifically, everything that they hate about a film rather than trying to see the value in a reimagining.

I wasn’t around before the internet, but I have an inkling that critics were more critical of a film because of its execution rather than silly, innocuous details that really didn’t matter that much and which are now overblown and magnified to the point that that’s all of people’s concern, despite the fact that they may have missed the entire point of the movie. They speak so poorly of a film that they almost recycle taking points from what the masses say rather than stopping and thinking about the filmmakers’ true intentions.

For example, I was working at Film Threat from November to December 2022 and I remember watching a video where Chris Gore, the owner of Film Threat, claimed that the live-action Disney remakes were the worst films of our time and he ruthlessly picked apart these movies without finding one nice thing to say other than that The Jungle Book was the best live-action remake. I wrote an article about it disagreeing with him and I offered to debate him as I still worked for Film Threat at the time. He responded by saying, “Why would I debate you? I don’t even know who you are.” As a result, he fired me because of the article that I critiqued him on.

Imagine that. A film critic who can’t take criticism himself and who let a 25-year-old grad student get under his skin over a differing opinion to the point that he dropped me from Film Threat.

From that point on, it became very obvious to me that many critics would rather have their own egos stroked than to have civil discourse about a film because they feel in their hearts that there is no way that they can be wrong. You don’t put out content for the public to see and not have people try to pushback on it.

I feel that people have an attitude of what they are already going to say about the film before they even watch it and fail to look at it from a différent lens which could shift their ideas and perspectives to a more understanding mindset rather than one of hate and cynicism.

It’s okay if you don’t like a movie, but having a healthy debate and civil discourse rather than going around thinking that you’re always right is always better. If you live your life thinking that you are right all of the time rather than hearing the other side of the argument, you will be walking around believing that you can do no wrong and that there is no need for improvement in your argument. I may be wrong about my stance but I challenge anyone to a civil, mature and relaxed debate if I am wrong.

My email is Richardaschertzer@gmail.com BTW.

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Richard Schertzer

Richard is a Howard University grad student and is working as a content writer and filmmaker with the dream to make films in Hollywood.