In his attempt to avenge the less-than-rave review the New York Times gave The Avengers, Samuel L. Jackson may have just made a hero of A.O. Scott.
"#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let's help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!" tweeted Jackson in response to Scott's sarcasm-laced review, which included the observation that Jackson's Nick Fury "is more master of ceremonies than mission commander."
But instead of getting fans to pile on Scott, the veteran critic found out who his friends were—and he exclusively told E! News how "touched" he was by the response.
"I don't think Mr. Jackson is actually trying to get me fired," Scott said. "Actors and filmmakers sometimes respond angrily to negative reviews—I can't say I blame them—and Twitter is a relatively new and very public forum for that. Rallying 'fans' against skeptical critics is a time-honored tactic, and I don't take it personally."
In response to one Scott defender who reminded Jackson that just because a movie makes money doesn't mean it's any good, the biggest box-office star of all time tweeted, "Actually, sometimes IT DOES!" (Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks The Avengers' favorability at 92 percent.)
The Film Nest tweeted that they were "disappointed" by Jackson "responding irrationally" to Scott's opinion, to which Jackson retorted, "That is My Opinion! @TheFilmNest & what's irrational about it? They aren't going to fire his jaundiced ass & You & I Know It!" (To which the Film Nest replied, "Ok, that's genius." So, they've made up.)
Scott, who surely has received his share of angry letters across all platforms, continues to turn an analytical eye on what happened.
"If I'm going to dish out criticism, I should be able to take it," he tells E! News. "But I must say that I was touched at how many people on Twitter had my back, and more importantly how many were eager to defend the idea that honest and independent criticism has a place, even when the targets are superhero blockbusters and big movie stars. As usual with Twitter, there was a mixture of silliness and insight that made for a fun afternoon."
The back-and-forth even encouraged Scott to adopt his own super-villain moniker: "Jaundice Maximus."
Besides, is anyone really worried that one review entitled "Superheros, Super Battles, Super Egos" is going to drag down attendance this weekend? More than 1,800 Thursday midnight screenings are sold out already.