• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

'Shazam!' star Zachary Levi: Why I stood up for 'Captain Marvel' against online trolls

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Zachary Levi
    Zachary Levi
    American actor and singer
  • Brie Larson
    Brie Larson
    Actress

Zachary Levi plays a stand-up superhero in the forthcoming DC Comics-based blockbuster Shazam! But the actor recently stood up for truth and justice in real life as well. Prior to the release of the Marvel Studios hit Captain Marvel, online trolls took to social media and websites like Rotten Tomatoes to badmouth the Brie Larson-led movie. And Shazam’s name ended up in the mix because the DC-owned hero used to be Captain Marvel, before a trademark dispute put that name up for grabs.

But Levi made it clear he wasn’t here for a Captain Marvel vs. Shazam grudge match. In a widely circulated Instagram Live video, he took the fight directly to the trolls, saying: “For anyone out there who thinks you’re doing me a favor or you’re doing Shazam! a favor … you’re not.”

Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment, Levi elaborated on his decision to support another Marvel-ous hero. (Watch our video above.) “I was just getting hit on Twitter by a lot of people … saying what was clearly false, inflammatory things about Brie, about Captain Marvel and looping us as Shazam! into that,” he explains. “I’m not going to be a part of lies or defamation, nor is this movie. Nor should any of you! There’s no reason why any of this needs to be going on.”

Even after being called out by a genuine superhero, the trolls didn’t give up without a fight. Levi remembers that some tried to defend themselves by saying they were just expressing their honest opinions. Of course, many of those “honest opinions” were based on false information about Larson and her film, which went on to score a record-breaking opening weekend, defeating the trolls once and for all.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Levi noted that Captain Marvel’s online foes weren’t quite as numerous as they attempted to make themselves appear. “Unfortunately, people who are negative online get amplified even though they have very few followers and that becomes a story. I think it’s probably more effective if we stop giving them a voice if they’re going to be negative with it.”

Even as he’s been praised for defending a fellow superhero, Levi declines to take the spotlight away from Larson’s triumph. “I don’t think Brie needs me to defend Brie,” Levi tells us. “But we all need to defend what is true. If we have an opportunity to do that — and I had an opportunity to do that — than I wanted to be able to do that.”

Shazam! opens in theaters on April 5.

Watch: The twisted history of Captain Marvel and Shazam:

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle’s newsletter.