The movie grading website has been on a crusade against what it deems are trolls who have been attacking the Captain Marvel movie since before it was released.
Many took to the Rotten Tomatoes website before the release of Marvel’s latest outing in order to express why they weren’t going to show up to the film, oftentimes citing the fact that lead actress Brie Larson had made many feel unwelcome, namely white men.
At the time, Rotten Tomatoes had something of a hype meter that allowed you to express whether or not you planned on seeing the movie or not, and why. Thanks to Larson’s social justice politicizing of Captain Marvel, moviegoers expressed enough disinterest due to anger that the film had a low rating. Rotten Tomatoes, however, eliminated the feature from their website in short order.
After the movie’s release, many moviegoers took to the website and dogpiled Captain Marvel, giving it a horrible rating and making it the lowest rated Marvel movie to ever be released by the MCU. Rotten Tomatoes ended up purgings thousands on thousands of reviews, artificially bringing the film from a score in the low 30th percentile to the 50th.
All the while, Rotten Tomatoes said that the changes were to counter the “trolls” attempting to damage the movie’s reputation, though many would argue that was already done by Larson herself.
Regardless, there’s no doubt that trolls did have a role to play in score surrounding Captain Marvel and that there were reviews that were placed there illegitimately. There are also reports, however, that positive reviews that populated the site mysteriously had the exact same wording from different accounts.
Rotten Tomatoes is now planning on making yet another change to the site according to The Hollywood Reporter in the form of forcing moviegoers to prove they attended a film before being allowed to review it:
A rep for the website now tells The Hollywood Reporter that additional measures are being considered in terms of audience reviews. Namely, a user may be asked to verify that he or she has seen the film in question before being allowed to post a critique. (It is unclear what that prompt would look like in practice.)
“We are disappointed that there was a group of people who were obviously very passionate and who had a negative opinion of the movie, whether they saw it or not,” says Dana Benson, vp communications for Fandango, parent of Rotten Tomatoes.
Let me start by saying that the taking away of the hype meter was, in my opinion, a wrong move on the part of Rotten Tomatoes. Movies are oftentimes considered worthy of seeing or not seeing based on many different factors, and not wanting to see a movie based on the divisive politics it promotes is a perfectly legitimate reason to not want to see it. Rotten Tomatoes eliminated that feature while people were using it in the correct manner, and sent the message that it would protect a movie should it align with said divisive politics.
This latest move, however, is perfectly fine with me.
I absolutely have no problem with people having to prove that they saw the movie in order to review it. Whether I agree with the politics surrounding the movie or not, I want to get an honest review. As we can see with even the fake positive reviews of Captain Marvel above, politics brings out passions in people and drives some to be less than honest in order to protect their chosen narrative.
The truth of the matter is that audience score currently displayed by Rotten Tomatoes for Captain Marvel (now in the low 60’s) isn’t remotely real. Too much tampering by Rotten Tomatoes and trolls (pro or anti) have given us a bad account of how people really feel about the film.
The only problem left is the fact that we now know Rotten Tomatoes will intervene in the audience’s expression of a film if that film has a certain narrative. While Rotten Tomatoes is on the right track to require proof that one has seen the movie before reviewing it, how can Rotten Tomatoes prove it hasn’t tampered with scores in the future?
We know it’s perfectly willing to.