It is that time of year where all the major entertainment companies and mega corporations are having their giant promotional expos to tease the next year or so of projects. If you are remotely aware or interested in media, then you probably have a general idea of what I am speaking of. The Comic Cons (San Diego and New York being the biggest two) and State of Plays (PlayStation) and Directs (Nintendo) and all the other ones that are basically PR tours for the biggest movie, television, and video game productions that will be coming just in time for the holiday shopping season and beyond.
With the advent an emergence of new media through YouTube and Twitch and TikTok and all the other ones that I am sure exist as well who have given rise to an entire industry that exists solely to review, react, and theorize concerning the productions these giant companies are working on. Seriously, there are hundreds of people whose entire careers consist of keeping up with what these companies are making and reviewing, reacting, and farming engagement from these films, television series, and video games. Now to be fair, these types of entertainment journalists have always existed, but never quite to this extent nor were those writers fully dependent on constant engagement from a limited audience to survive in a somehow both expanding and shrinking industry. This new wave of “journalists/critics” have led to some questionable practices.
So, the issue is that a bunch of YouTube reviewers, reactors (yes, that is a thing now), critics, etc. had been theorizing what would be announced at D23 Expo (the Disney company’s annual in house press even). Then they spent weeks hyping up the rumors and speculations they started. And they also spent that time engaging with their audiences on various social platforms farming their enthusiasm for views and hoping that they would tune in to their live streams of the event. Basically, it was all a calculated business decision that vastly backfired against them because, unsurprisingly, most, if not all, of their predictions and supposed inside intel and sources turned out to be utter bullshit.
The difference this time around was that the backlash was against the reviewers and theorists and not the mega corporation. Granted, I would not defend the Mouse and its practices because, as a company, they majorly suck. However, the executives and creatives under the infamous House of Mouse, and more specifically Marvel, cannot be held responsible for lies you formulated based on nothing but desire to have an audience. It is an odd thing that has become more and more pervasive with the democratization of entertainment news, media, and “journalism” that critics will be disappointed and exasperated not with what was presented or given onscreen, or in this case on stage, but with the lack of the ideas and images they conjured up in their own minds.
Yes, you can be disappointed if a casting announcement or project or plot point did not go the way you desired, but you cannot judge the actual production based solely on that disappointment. Furthermore, you certainly cannot blame a company who promised nothing of the sort for your embarrassment at being outed as just another fan with as much inside knowledge as anyone else instead of the supposed insider with industry knowledge and contacts. If anything, I hope this situation shows just how many self proclaimed insiders are really just grifters and con artists with one or two low level friends in the entertainment industry. Actual insider contacts and friends takes years and years of working in the industry and a long history of being dependable and trustworthy with such information. Not exactly the definition of most YouTube personalities.
So, the real lesson here, that unfortunately these grifters will not learn, is that expectations are okay to have, but approach and engage media with what is presented. Make criticisms and judgements based primarily on what is actually shown and not what you want to be present. Otherwise, you are not being a critic, you are simply being a whiny asshole. And, frankly, there are just too many of those at the moment, especially on the internet.