With Jurassic World Dominion defeating Lightyear at the box office, it is clear that critics’ reviews have little influence on how the general audience watches the biggest blockbusters. This testament is reflected in the Dominion‘s polar reception from Rotten Tomatoes, holding 30% with the critics and an impressive 78% with the audience.
What professional critics are looking for in a movie is often much different than what casual moviegoers want, and most audiences are just looking for a few hours of a fun time. This disparity between scores is most apparent in superhero movies, a prime example being the recently released Morbius, which has a world’s difference (50%+) between its audience and critic ratings.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020): Critics – 58%/Audience – 73% (15% Difference)
The first Wonder Woman film was not just loved by fans, but with a 93% rating from critics, it sits among the highest-rated superhero movies ever made. But director/writer Patty Jenkins failed to capture the same magic for the sequel, which sits at a certified “Rotten” score of 58%.
Critics were clearly not satisfied with what the movie had to offer, and part of the problem was the many confusing plot points in Wonder Woman 1984. The audience rating is relatively low as well, but most were more than happy to see Gal Gadot back in the role and kicking ass, joined by Pedro Pascal’s charming villain.
Man Of Steel (2013): Critics – 56%/Audience – 75% (19% Difference)
When Man of Steel was first released, audiences found plenty to criticize about it, mainly how different the tone was from what people expected from a Superman film. Superman killing the villain was also not something that sat right with many.
Though the movie is still certified as “Rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes, in recent years, fans have come to appreciate the movie and Cavill’s Superman – one of the best characters Zack Snyder introduced in the DCEU.
Blade (1998): Critics – 57%/Audience – 78% (21% Difference)
Spider-Man and X-Men are often credited for starting the superhero popularity boom at the start of the 21st century, but before them came 1998’s Blade. Starring Wesley Snipes in the lead, it tells the story of half-vampire, half-human Blade who hunts vampires.
An R-rated film released at a time when superhero movies didn’t have the kind of popularity they do now, Blade‘s success was revolutionary and set the stage for the future of comic book adaptations. Critics did not appreciate nor anticipate how ahead of its time Blade was, but fans agree that the vampire movie is a classic.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021): Critics – 59%/Audience – 84% (25% Difference)
The success of 2018’s Venom showed that a solo movie about a supervillain can work even in the absence of their superhero counterpart, and for the sequel, Sony brought in yet another popular Spider-Man villain from the comics.
The action between Woody Harrelson’s Carnage and Venom is plenty to keep audiences satisfied, and the film delves deeper into the odd chemistry between Tom Hardy’s character Eddie Brock and his symbiote partner. Surprisingly, the critic rating for the sequel is almost double that of the original, even if it didn’t earn nearly as much money (via Box Office Mojo).
Constantine (2005): Critics – 46%/ Audience – 72% (26% Difference)
After gaining a fair bit of popularity through DC Comics’ Hellblazer comic series, supernatural detective John Constantine made his big-screen debut in 2005’s Constantine, played by none other than Keanu Reeves.
The film used its R-rating to delve deep into horror themes involving demons and Hell, which didn’t impress critics who were more concerned with its weak storytelling, but pleased fans just fine. A TV show premiered in 2014 as well but was quickly canceled after one season, although it definitely deserves a second chance.
Eternals (2021): Critics – 47%/Audience – 78% (31% Difference)
Eternals is the most divisive MCU movie to come out in recent years, if not of all time. By Rotten Tomatoes score alone, it is the worst MCU movie by a wide margin and also the only one with a rotten score, an achievement that is hardly worth bragging about.
Between trying to justify its long run time and also introducing a completely new team of ambitious characters and their backgrounds, the film left quite a lot to be desired for many. As always, the audience rating is less harsh, and in many ways, Eternals is the most underrated MCU movie.
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016): Critics – 29%/Audience – 63% (34% Difference)
With BvS: Dawn Of Justice, the DCEU decided to pit the two of its most iconic characters against each other despite it being only the second film in the series. Despite a low score of 29%, the movie is fondly remembered by fans for the hype it created, the amazing action sequences, and also the introduction of Wonder Woman and the villain Doomsday who managed to kill Superman.
But the movie’s poor plot is frequently brought up as well, especially the “Martha” moment which has turned into quite a big joke over the years.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019): Critics – 22%/ Audience – 64% (42% Difference)
After two hit entries, First Class and Days of Future Past, Fox’s long-running X-Men franchise once again started to dwindle. 2016’s Apocalypse was heavily criticized but still managed to gross a decent amount at the box office. Unfortunately, Dark Phoenix flopped hard both financially (via Box Office Mojo) and critically.
The film had just enough flashy action scenes and superhero antics to not be hated by audiences. Having been acquired by Disney, the next X-Men film is expected to take place in the MCU, and there are already many theories about how the mutants will be introduced.
Venom (2018): Critics – 30%/ Audiences – 81% (51% Difference)
Differences between critics and audience ratings are commonly seen on Rotten Tomatoes, but a disparity of over 50% is a different discussion altogether. Fans obviously got what they want, which is an entertaining portrayal of the popular Spider-Man villain known as Venom, while critics were looking for something entirely different.
Venom has no shortage of things worth being critical of, but Tom Hardy’s performance saves the entire movie from being bad and is one of the biggest reasons the film went on to gross more than $850 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo).
Morbius (2022): Critics – 16%/ Audience – 71% (55% Difference)
Seeing the box-office success of Venom, Sony possibly got the wrong idea that any film based on a Spider-Man villain without the very presence of Spider-Man himself would work. The result was Morbius, a film that bombed hard at the box office, got abysmal critic ratings on every platform, and was universally mocked through hilarious tweets and memes online.
Sony has even more such projects in the works, based on similarly obscure characters like El Muerto and Madame Web.
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