As a fan of comic book movies of all stripes and oftentimes dumb and mindless action films (such as The Expendables) I have long had a love/hate relationship with film critics who often forget to look at the movies they review through different filters. But for the most part, I’ve learned to simply tune most of them out and look for my reviews from other sources and enjoy what I want to enjoy despite what anyone else says. Seriously, I’m a fan of the Star Wars prequels.
That being said, this particular story about what has been going on over at Rotten Tomatoes over some critics who gave The Dark Knight Rises less than stellar reviews has made me more than angry. In fact, it has pissed me off. Despite still boasting an 86% “fresh” rating, the film carries at the moment 16 reviews from critics who rated the film as “rotten.” And after reading several of the reviews, it feels like it was for good reasons. It’s not that these reviewers “don’t get” the character of Batman or comic book movies in general, but instead offers actual criticism of the films, from Tom Hardy trying to deliver Bane’s lines through a face mask (seriously, who thought that was a good idea?) to Nolan’s apparently ham-handed attempts to speak about the recent Wall Street movements through the film.
Plain and simple, this movie had a lot to live up to. Batman Begins started a trend in recent superhero movies. The Dark Knight, released three years later, elevated the genre to dizzying heights (lessons of which Marvel has taken to heart with the latest releases of their IP’s films if The Amazing Spider-Man is any indicator). And because of the incredible success of that film, I fear that The Dark Knight Rises was doomed to some amount of failure and disappointment before it even began. Speaking personally, I haven’t been able to get excited about the movie, and I’m not sure how much of that is coming off of the acclaim and accolades that The Dark Knight garnered.
However, this hasn’t stopped numerous “fans” of the movies from lambasting these critics, using everything from ugly words to death threats against these critics on Rotten Tomatoes’ site. It has gotten to the point where moderating these comments becoming so difficult that the simpler solution became simply turning off comments on the movie altogether. And while the really offensive comments have been removed, the remaining ones really go to show you how bad fans can get and how quickly the label of “fan” can quickly change to the label of “fanboy.” I won’t do them the service of posting any of them over here, but you can still go and read them over on Rotten Tomatoes.
Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief of the site has taken the lesson of what has happened here to heart and they are looking to the future, as well as talking about overhauling their site’s comment engine.
“There are a lot of options on the table. We may do away with comments completely or get to a place where comments are only activated after a movie opens.”
Other options apparently include linking the site with Facebook to remove an overwhelming number of anonymous posts. And any of these moves wouldn’t be unheard of. Other aggregating sites already have some of these policies in place to cut back on ” too much hate based on reactions to reviews of movies that people hadn’t even seen.”
Whatever they do, expect to see a change made soon, as the next film they are worried about having this kind of reaction is part one of Peter Jackson’s telling of The Hobbit coming out this December.
In the meantime, fans of Batman (or any popular IP for that matter), do the rest of us that you’re representing on the internet a favor and check your egos at the door when you encounter these situations. You aren’t doing anyone any favors and it gives all of us a bad name when this is the kind of press people see.
As for which camp of critics has the right of it, we’ll just have to wait for Friday to come so the rest of us can see what they’ve seen.