Critics and audiences are starting to diverge a bit for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but this time in the opposite direction from the first film. Critics’ scores have dropped to 84%, while the audience’s score on early viewers is up to 94%.
This is important because of the disparity we saw with the first Black Panther movie, which has 96% from critics, which was and still is the highest-rated movie in the MCU, but fans rated it at 79%, which is the placed around 20th out of all MCU movies.
What we may be seeing here is the result of a policy put in place by Rotten Tomatoes after another Marvel movie was bombed into oblivion on the site, Captain Marvel. That movie received mediocre ratings from critics (79%), but the MCU low audience scores at 45%, the lowest in the MCU at a full 25%. That film was released in May 2019, at the same time that this new “verification” policy was introduced to the public.
Now on Rotten Tomatoes, you can link several ticket sellers to your profile to prove that you actually bought and watched the movie ticket, with the idea that it would reduce bombings like this one based on things like misogyny or racism. Black Panther from 2018 had no such protections, which may have contributed to the much lower audience score. But now, in 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever outperforms even the more skeptical critics, and we’re not seeing the same thing at all. However, you can click on “all audience scores”, which will not show you the verified figure of 94%, but instead an overall score of 81%, much closer to the original 79% of the former.
It should be noted that there is no verified protection for TV shows. That’s why review bombing still works for something like She-Hulk, a series that got 85% of critics but 33% of the audience. There’s no way to prove or disprove that someone watched a TV show with the current system, so people vote based on everything ranging from really like/dislike a show, or a viral twerking clip that seen them on Twitter (you get that if you’ve watched She-Hulk). So those scores are usually much more variable.
I’m guessing this was a “business” decision as places like Disney didn’t like their new blockbusters being bombarded with thousands of 1 star reviews before movies even launched widely, as their star said something about wanting more diverse ones. film critics in screenings. This seems to have helped bomb reviews for movies, but for TV we’re still debating whether people really didn’t like something or if they just scored low for messaging content they didn’t even see.
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