Review Bombing- Why Is This A Thing?

Reviews are one of those things that are incredibly important while also not mattering at all. I know that’s a weird thing to say considering I take a lot of time out of my life to write reviews on various subjects. In part, my reviews are for me to get my thoughts of something out into the world and to let you know if something is worth your adult dollars. And I suppose that’s the primary function of reviews. Is this thing worth your time? Let me tell you why or why not. It’s a pretty solid notion that matters mostly to the people who are on the fence about things. “Oh, do I buy the new Avengers game? Reviews are so mixed?” This is an instance where reviews have actually served a function concerning sixty dollars of mine. An instance where reviews didn’t matter so much would be my viewing of 30 Days of Night opening day. Folks, it was a vampire story in the arctic during a month of night time. Plus, those trailers were dope and perfectly used Muse. I was seeing this and despite the thirty percent Rotten Tomatoes was showing, it was going to be awesome.

It was not awesome. At all.

I personally like to use reviews to hype my expectations. New Marvel movie, what’s the percentage on Tomatoes? This helps the hype levels immensely. Mostly after I watch something do I sort through different reviews to see how my opinions match up and to maybe get different insight. This method tends to work most of the time… usually. In the case of something like I’m Thinking About Ending Things, a movie I was very much looking forward to after reading the book, and saw it was getting some pretty stellar reviews. Score, right? Nope. I watched that movie in its two hours and fourteen-minute entirety and all it did was frustrate the shit out of me. Listen, I get most of the metaphors, the ones that made sense at least, but at the end of the day, this movie was a self-indulgent mess of high concepts that didn’t mesh well together. It was weird for the sake of weird but according to the reviews, it was a work of genius. Nope. In this case, reviews let me down by raising the hype levels while the film didn’t match what was being written. It’s a bummer but it happens. I’d still like those two hours back though.

Fan reviews might be the most important reviews available. These are people like you and me who are excited about a property and review something based on that excitement and if it lived up to expectations. Critics have a reputation of not seeing the fun of certain stories and you almost know automatically that it’s not going to get good reviews from these high brow critics. They’re far too stuffy. In this case, fan reviews should be the way to go because you should be able to trust fans. Or at least you used to be.

In the ever-evolving suck burger that is toxic fandom, fans are now losing the integrity of fan reviews. Why? Well, because large groups of toxic fans flood message boards filling movies/tv-shows/video games/comics/books with negative reviews before the thing is even released or even before they get a chance to experience said thing. Why? Well, mostly because these toxic fans are clowns who only have half the information and that half of information deeply runs against their inane beliefs. Things like Captain Marvel being a woman or perhaps learning that a character dies in an upcoming video game without knowing the rest of the story or how a character’s race was changed or maybe how a show is coming out weekly opposed to being season dumped. Yes, these have all been very real, very hate-filled review bombs.

Last night, after finishing the first three episodes of season two of The Boys, I went on Twitter to see what everyone was saying and get involved in the conversation. Season two is off the charts crazy. If season one raised the volume to eleven I’d say season two is already at a fifteen. Any show that does that to a sea mammal is operating at a different level. It was during this quest for conversation that I saw an article stating fans were review bombing The Boys because it was turning into a weekly show. Something I’ve been pushing for quite some time. Keep shows in the conversation longer. Let us appreciate it. Let us talk about it and create theories. Let the show live longer than two weeks. But nope. Toxic fandom decided to throw its stupid hat in the ring.

I would have zero problems if these reviews were based on the content of the show. I mean, that’s the purpose of a review. This is just asinine. As toxic fandom continues to evolve, or de-evolve, I can’t help but feel exhausted by the stupidity. Like there isn’t enough in the world to be legitimately angry about, we now have to bomb review sites because a show you like isn’t coming out weekly. You do know that those reviews negatively impact the show and its content. Producers look to fan reviews or their scores to see how something is doing. In some cases, this is literally how a show or movie lives and dies. Your review bombing is clearly hurting something you enjoy in the case of The Boys. If an ounce of thought was put into these toxic movements…

What’s the solution though? I honestly don’t know. Do actual fans of the show do positive review bombs? That sounds counterproductive and only lowers decent fans to the levels of toxic fans. Do websites turn fan reviews off? It’s happened in some cases like in Captain Marvel but ultimately becomes too hard to police. As I said, producers rely on fan reviews. Can a site implement a method to prove you’ve experienced said property before reviewing or review said review to see if it actually pertains to the subject matter or could be deemed helpful? I honestly don’t know. All I know is that I’m tired of toxic fandom. I find it exhausting to the highest level.

Here’s the thing, if you don’t like something then you have full control to not interact with it. A crazy thought, right? Maybe focus your energy on the things you do enjoy and your life could change from a cesspool of negativity. Outside of the Snyder Cut, which has kind of turned into a running joke here, I choose not to interact or shit on things I don’t enjoy. Mostly because I know that there are some of you out there that do enjoy it. There’s nothing worse than making someone feel awful for enjoying something. That’s beyond shitty. Everyone should be able to love what they love judgment-free.

The problem with these review bombs is they’re usually fueled politically by people who hate change, women, or race. I hate to classify here but that’s what a great deal of this toxic fandom has become. They don’t care about the characters or the story. They hate how this property doesn’t fit their outdated sad ideology. And as long as websites continue to allow review bombing we are going to get nowhere in the fight against toxic fandom. And those of us who use these forums as a positive outlet or to incite conversations are the ones who lose the most. If you want to shout into the abyss about how much you hate something, I’m pretty sure that’s why Twitter exists. Your review bombing is senseless and silly and just wastes everyone’s time. Yours included.

I’m open to suggestions on how we battle review bombs. Be sure to let me know in the comments or throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. Maybe we can brainstorm a solution. One can hope anyway.

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