Two days ago I noted that MAN OF STEEL had an impressive 84% rating among critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Since then, more reviews have come in, and the rating has plummeted to 58%, moving the film out of the “fresh” category into the “rotten” designation. Statistically, it is not immensely surprising that the early average rating would be somewhat volatile – it takes a while for enough reviews to be averaged together to give a broad consensus – but it is remarkable that almost all of the trend has been in the negative direction, creating a 26% drop in two days.
Perhaps later reviewers have been over-reacting against the early positive reviews. Perhaps more traditional fans of Superman are getting a glimpse of the rebooted version and not liking what they see. Personally, I found MAN OF STEEL to be a mixed bag, but on balance the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. No doubt the film will still be a superhero at the box office, but what initially looked like a triumph that would silence naysayers and skeptics, now seems to be a bit more polarizing.
Early reviews and audience reactions to MAN OF STEEL, the reboot of Warner Brothers’ Superman franchise, have been overwhelmingly positive: critics rate the film at 84%; audiences rate the film at 97%.
Says Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter:
To the oft-asked question of whether or not the world is really starving for yet another superhero origin story, Man of Steel simply responds by serving up what could be as much spectacle and action — minute-by-minute, frame-by-frame — as any movie anyone could think of. Zack Snyder’s huge, backstory-heavy extravaganza is a rehab job that perhaps didn’t cry out to be done but proves so overwhelmingly insistent in its size and strength that it’s hard not to give in.
Variety’s Scott Foundas, on the other hand, was considerably more critical, calling the film a humorless and relentlessly noisy drag.
Update: As of Wednesday, June 11, the tomato-meter rating had dropped to 66% – still fresh but not overwhelmingly so.
Interesting tidbit: Among films that have divided audiences and critics on the Rotten Tomatoes tomato-meter, SCARY MOVIE 5 ranks third. The film earned a 4% approval rating from critics and a 79.1% approval rating from viewers. The difference of 75.1% places the film just below MOGDALINI (2004) and just above OUT COLD (2001).
The first wave or reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes have little good to say about AFTER EARTH, the new science fiction film starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. So far, the rating stands at an inauspicious 12%.
Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal even wonders whether the film is “the word movie ever made.” Slightly less negative, Jeffrey Westhoff of the Northwest Herald opines that director M. Night Shyamalan “has clawed his way from terrible back to so-so.”
AFTER EARTH was produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, apparently as a vehicle to turn their son into a movie star – a pointed noted by several reviewers, who dismissed the film as a vanity project. Shyamalan directed and co-wrote the script, with Gary Whitta.
AFTER EARTH officially opens tomorrow, but public screenings began tonight at 9:00pm.