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The point of critics is to help provide information to help you, potential audience member,  make an informed decision. What you decide to do or not do with that information is your own business. Of course, there is absolutely nothing worse (from an entertainment perspective I mean. There are way worse things… like cancer, Donald Trump, and oatmeal raisin cookies) than being all excited and pumped for an upcoming movie release, only to see said movie get absolutely eviscerated by movie critics. Even for those who do not take much stock in what critics have to say, it does sour the experience of going into a flick without some sort of preconceived notion. It’s deflating is what it is, generating that “ahhh, goddammit” voice inside your head (as well as maybe a vocal one).  And that’s just your everyday movie.  When it comes to the superhero genre, particularly Marvel (Disney) vs DC (Warner Bros), online angst is turned up to 11. Fans/people are getting flippin’ fed up at critics sucking the proverbial dick of Marvel and their overwhelmingly positive reviews for all but a few of their movies. Meanwhile DC/Warner, which is now into its 3rd cinematic installment with the release of Suicide Squad (Fri 8/5), and the scale is so un-balanced there might as well be a 5 ton brick on it. The particular reviews, in this case, are the ones featured on Rotten Tomatoes. Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received an infamous low critics score of 27% vs Captain America: Civil War’s 90%. And as of right now, David Ayer  Suicide Squad has a critic rating of 37%.

With a system that appears to be rigged (it’s not), has frustrated one DC fan to the point where he has started an online petition to have the review aggregator site shut down. 

A fan has started a petition demanding that Rotten Tomatoes be shut down because it’s mean to DC films. Here’s the text on the petition:

We need this site to be shut down because It’s Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust Bad Reviews, Like

1- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016

2- Suicide Squad 2016

and that Affects people’s opinion even if it’s a really great movies

As of the publishing of this article, the petition has 5,879 signatures.  *facepalm*

The DC fan and the other 5,000 odd sum people with him are A) taking things too personally and B) kinda sort of right. No, they’re not right about shutting down Rotten Tomatoes. That’s stupid (Petitions do nothing but put you on a email list for more petitions). However, it’s not about shutting down Rotten Tomatoes… it’s about sending a message. This whole “fuck critics” thing comes down to a whole other systemic issue. That issue being: critics holding themselves and their views to a higher regard than everyone else.

When a reviewer talks above and or more specifically AT the audience, it results in a critic writing for a critic and not writing to a fellow audience member. Despite whatever credentials and experience anyone has, critics are part of an audience, not above it.

When critics aren’t being elitist in their expressive opinions, they tend to be overly critical to the point there it reads from a clearly biased and down right insulting perspective. This is a complete turn-off. For example, there is absolutely no need to call “Batman V Superman The Worst Comic Book Failure Of All Time” (which one reviewer did) and sell that as a headline, and then proceed to eviscerate the movie with expletive diatribe. That’s not honest, that’s no fair. That’s basically making a long-winded statement that if you like this then you’re an idiot. Yeah, sometimes a movie is just a bad movie and there’s no way to sugar coat it. However, there are always gems or saving graces somewhere in the movie that means something to someone. For example, Kevin Smith did a long review on Batman v Superman and he was fairly critical about it but he came up with what he called the “Parademon Theory” in which he stated that the reveal of Parademons and the implication of Darkside was, to him a comic book fan, “enough” to satiate.

With the exception of The Iron Man sequels, the two Thor movies, and the second half of Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel has a solid track record both in general audience reception and critical acclaim.  Their movies are good and they’re good for very reasonable reasons (See article “Why Marvel Does It Better”).  DC’s movies, so far, have not been as good, and there are, again, reasonable reasons for that (See article: Video Essay Explains Fundamental Flaw That Made ‘Batman V Superman’ A Terrible Movie). What’s happening here is, ultimately, that it is easier to hate than enjoy. It’s also volume vs expectation.  Marvel has, quite simply, been outpacing and outperforming every other superhero franchise for almost a decade now – they’ve been at this whole superheroes at the movies thing a lot longer than DC. By comparison, anything DC does, it’s going to be graded against Marvel. That’s just the way it is – call it unintentional bias.

Now, a really good critic remove themselves from the equation and offers objective, well thought out analysis that engages critical thinking. We don’t have enough of those. Online bloggers can be the worst. Everyone has a voice and everyone wants to be heard… and everyone wants to be the next Perez Hilton or  Nikki Finke, or they just want to say shit to drum up traffic. Egotism leads to nepotism which leads the assertive reviews that plague the net. This, in turn, causes a great upheaval, it’s why we get dumb petitions like shutting down Rotten Tomatoes (which btw, which shows a truly fundamental misunderstanding of how Rotten Tomatoes even works… and the fact that 30% of Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Warner Bros).  All of this noise, is removing the opportunity for intelligible discourse. And the same goes for these conspiracy theorists who, as soon as a movie doesn’t pan out the way they want to hear, immediately cry out conspiracy. Goddammit, people.

With DC’s slate of films, the complaints are mostly justified (and there are intelligible pieces out there that are really interesting if fanboys can take their fingers out of their ears and listen). Now you, the viewer/reader, may disagree. That’s OK. But just because you like a movie, doesn’t mean its a good one. Just as the similar can be said to critics –  just because you don’t like a movie, doesn’t mean that viewers are wrong for liking it. Everyone needs to stop talking AT and OVER, and talk WITH each other.

This, of course, is the Internet. So good luck with that, right?








Category: Featured, Film, WTF?