The DCEU Vs Rotten Tomatoes?
If you've been awake in the last 12 hours, and are reading this, you probably know that Wonder Woman currently holds a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Why is that significant? Because unlike their Cinematic Universe's older brother, the MCU, the DCEU has taken quite the critical beating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. This marks the first DCEU film out of the 4 to date, that's been rated fresh. Man of Steel, the previous highest scoring film, took home the gold at 55% fresh. The lowest rated movie was Suicide Squad with a paltry 25%. I don't have to remind you that the poster child for the bad PR facing Rotten Tomatoes is Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which sits at just 28% on the tomatometer.
Critics lambasted BvS, citing everything from poor plot structure to an "unnecessarily bleak" superhero movie palette. The fans on the other hand, well, let's just say they were divided. Some fans called for director Zack Snyder to step down, while others heralded him as the man who brought their childhood dreams to life. All in all, divisive was probably the word heard most often when discussing the movie. The Superpowered Review wasn't much different, as we liked the overal film but couldn't get over some severe issues the it had.
It's a DC film that has Batman in it, so of course it made a grand total of all the money. However, not enough money to keep the rumor mill from buzzing about everything from Snyder's possible departure to bringing in other creative minds to "tweak" his process for Justice Leage and beyond. As evidence of this, we need not look further than the next DCEU film, Suicide Squad. The film had a glorious cast, including Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie. The problem? Fear. At least, that's what I chalk it up to. Everyone was so afraid of Suicide Squad faltering that they did everything they could to fix it, which ultimately meant a film that was less than the sum total of a million too many parts. It lacked cohesion, character building and substance. Word got around that there was another movie's worth of material that didn't make it into the final cut that would actually have made the film better. True? I have no idea. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if it was.
Needless to say, there are many (definitely not all) DC fans (especially the DCEU faithful) who hate Rotten Tomatoes. To them, Rotten Tomatoes is in love with Marvel. Marvel pays them off to shit on DC films. RT has no idea what a good movie is. A lot of these people are just fanboys fanboying. That's their right as fanboys. However, many of them, and maybe many of you, don't actually know what Rotten Tomatoes is. Lots of you think that the tomatometer is a movie quality scoring system that rates movies from 0-100. If a movie is rated 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, then it must mean that the movie is perfect, right? No.
Rotten Tomatoes aggregates critiques from hundreds of critics and reviewers. All of their reviews are there for you to read and judge based on their merits. However, the Tomatometer rating represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show. What does that mean? Basically it means that if a movie or TV show has a tomatoemeter score of 80%, it means that 80% of the critics who reviewed it leaned more to the positive when asked about it. That's it. It doesn't mean that the movie get's a B- based on some archaic grading hierarchy in the school system because "80 is the equivalent of a B-, just as 94 is an A+". I'll put it to you another way. If you're talking to 4 friends and 3 of them say a movie is PERFECT, then, based on how the tomatometer works, the movie would get a 75% on the meter. That doesn't sound amazing does it? But the fact remains that those 3 guys are absolutely in love with the movie. On the same token, if 3 of those guys said the movie wasn't bad, guess what the score on the meter would be. Yea. 75%. So let's say your favorite movie has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Does that mean that movie is 95% better than other movies? Does it mean that the movie is almost perfect? Nope. All it means is that the vast majority of critics liked it. It's possible that every one of their ratings for the movie could have been rated fresh individually, but they also felt the movie needed quite a bit of work in certain areas. As long as the reviewer felt more positive than negative about the film, his or her score for the film would be "fresh". If 75% of all the combined reviews are fresh, then the film is Certified Fresh.
So what's that mean for the DCEU? Well it means that up until Wonder Woman, most critics skewed to the negative regarding those movies. Does it mean they all hated everything about all the films? Nope. Some of the reviews had great things to say, but they couldn't in good conscience say that the overall film(s) were good enough. There's no angle. There's no secret society of the Brotherhood against The DCEU. My take on the matter? I think the DCEU takes itself super seriously. Which is fine. I prefer my Batman morose. The problem is that when you take yourself seriously, everyone else will too. The things that are forgiven in a knee-slapping space opera/action-comedy won't be forgiven in a politically charged film trying to send a message of poignancy. Get what I'm saying? I'm not saying this is what reviewers are actually doing, it's just my two cents on the matter.
Now, I don't believe in judging whether or not you'll see a movie based on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is a good guide as far as what you can expect to find. For instance, I love the Underworld franchise with Kate Beckinsale. Love it. Own all the movies. Not one of those movies is certified fresh or any kind of fresh, for that matter. I don't care. I like what I like. So should you. What do I do? I read. A lot. I found a few critics that generally echo how I feel about films. With that done, I can now trust that those critics will offer information that I'll find pertinent. If they hate it, does that mean I won't see it? It will give me pause, but ultimately, it's my dollar and my decision. It's yours too. So make it yourself. No need to fly off the handle becomes someone else loves the movie you hate or hates the movie you love. Be easy. Grab a Snickers or a vodka tonic or whatever the toddlers are getting from their parents these days.
Just for kicks, ladies and gentlemen, Sad Affleck...