Rotten Tomatoes Forced to Shut Down Comments on The Dark Knight Rises Reviews

Surprise, surprise… The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t even hit theatres yet and the fanboy arguments are already shaking the internet to its core. Over the past few years we’ve seen a disturbing trend on Rotten Tomatoes where passionate followers of a particular movie track down negative reviews as they are posted and leave nasty comments — usually without having seen the movie themselves. I first remember seeing this happen with Pixar movies like Wall-E and Up, but this summer they hit a new low with many fanboys piling on the few unfavourable reviews of The Avengers, some even making misogynistic attacks on female critics. Now that The Dark Knight Rises reviews have started to surface, things have gotten so bad that Rotten Tomatoes had to disable their comments temporarily. What is wrong with people?

Rotten Tomatoes confirmed today via the Associated Press that they have currently suspended comments on The Dark Knight Rises, the first time they have ever done so. (Yes, apparently this whole thing is even newsworthy outside of the movie blogosphere.) Editor-in-chief Matt Atchity said that they would probably restore comments on Friday when the film opens to the public. Still, something tells me that even if people have seen the movie, the hate-filled comments will not stop. When it comes to a movie like this, for some reason fans demand absolute uniformity among all critics and a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

One of the main reasons for suspending comments was the fact that Marshall Fine, who published the first negative review of the film, reportedly received death threats and attacks on his web site. Adding to the craziness, film critic Eric D. Snider posted a fake negative review of the film just to bait fans and was kinda sorta banned from Rotten Tomatoes for doing so. The whole thing is a mess and even if they decide to move to a Facebook comment system that does away with anonymity, it’s clear that no one can stop the mob mentality that results from these massive geek properties. Surely film critics have a right to their opinion, but should the unwashed masses have the right to forego sensible debate and simply attack them outright? Is there any reasonable way to prevent this from happening in the future?

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  • Jackson

    Let me be the first to say f@%& you Filmjunk, how dare you post this? I’m coming to burn your town down!

  • Justin Harris

    Be careful what y’all say on the podcast. LOL.

  • scott gibbons

    Back in 2008, i knew this would happen if ever a third part came to be. i myself personly attacked online, nasty comments, threatening behaviour towards me, my crime ? thinking The Dark Knight was good but not great, and a sloppy third act, it was my personal opinion and i didnt critisise others diferent from me. i named these people, “The cult of Ledger/Joker, and it seems they are on the rampage once more. I have decided with Dark Knight rises, i will not be giving my opinion(good or bad) on this film, i feel people are not allowed to have negative comments on anything Dark Knight without having abuse thrown. why i should feel this way is wrong, yeah its only a computer screen and they are just words, but its pathetic, and i know there are genuin good Dark Knight fans out there, whom are not like this, it does these people in big time

  • Owozifa

    I’m sure 99% of them are some kind of vague personal attack of why their opinions are wrong. Like having a vagina.

  • James

    Yay, another blogger (and waaay to late to the party) is writing about this. Obviously it’s sad and pathetic, but why focus on the negative things? This has been going on for a long ass time – how about talking about the movie and not the hype around it?

    Come on Sean! Don’t be a sheep man.

    However, when are people going to point out that many of these bad reviews are blatant shameless self-promotion? Marshall Fines review is obviously a comment on the (ridiculous) hyperbole and since I haven’t seen the film I can’t say much more about that particular review. But Christy Lemires “come at be bro” comments on twitter, that many of her colleges are retweeting, is just poor journalism and should be slammed as well. Her review is fine, but talk about unprofessionalism. Review the movie and not the noise around it.

    Being on the extreme of things is what give you traffic, and this is sadly what a lot of bloggers/critics are doing. It goes both ways. Give me a level headed review with some genuine thoughts about the film. I’m tired of the hyperbole reviews – and the gimmick complaints. How many films can you write is “too long, bad action, bad acting ect” without giving ANY fucking vindication!

  • I think this story has big implications for movie discussion online in general. It’s not just related to The Dark Knight Rises “hype”.

    And I’d love to discuss the movie but I haven’t seen it yet.

  • Christopher Nolan/Dark Knight fans in ‘World’s Most Disgusting Savages’ shocker.

  • Agreed Sean, it’s been going on a while. I’ve seen it in regards to Avengers particularly. Seems to be worse now than ever before…I do agree that there’s sometimes some baiting on the part of the reviewer as well. Seems to be the trend…

  • Indianamcclain

    I hope this doesn’t stop people from posting negative reviews of the film. I’m interested in the good and the bad.

  • Gerry

    For me the main score system on Rotten Tomatoes was discredited a long time ago, with films getting huge scores from fanboys before they had even come out.

    I think it’s the same mentality as posters of reviews on Amazon, e.g. the reason you shouldn’t buy a PS3 (or whatever) is because it doesn’t have x, y and z. These come out before product releases and from people who haven’t actually purchased the product.
    It makes getting feedback on products and films I might wish to purchase / see, very frustrating.

    I thinks it’s a mixture of people wanting their fifteen minutes and not having the wit to realise that other people have the intelligence to work out their bleeding obvious points themselves.

    The one good thing about Rotten Tomatoes is that you can see the actual reviews from bona fide critics.

    I think Filmjunk should publish reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • kyri

    Thank god they closed down the comments. I don’t want people farting spoilers all over the place regarding this film- less people talking about it less chance they will spoil it for me before I get to see it.
    That is why they closed the comments . the film has a twist.

    ..See they started ruining it already!!!!!

    Pass your review put your stars – tomatoes whatever. do your thing. Why you feel the need to comment??? why do you want to fart near me? hm??? do you want to spoil?

    oh please don’t give the ethical freedom of speech crap look. We live in the shittiest fucking sociopolitical environment ever uncounted in human history we’re being fucked constantly from every hole ..and now you remembered to be all sensitive about your so called “right” to talk about.. a movie?? How about all your other rights?

    Guess what. YOU DON’T DESERVE THAT RIGHT.

  • alechs

    11.

    If you are complaining about comments with spoilers before the film is released, don’t bring up what those spoilers might be on other websites. It is enough to say that there are spoilers being passed around but to state that there is a ‘twist’ is kind of lame. I share your apathy towards RT but keep it under control.

  • kyri

    Sorry………. <3

    I don't know if there is a twist, I was being sardonic,

    seriously though.. I think there is a serious issue with RT. what does it mean …"top critic"??

    a guy who haven't watched prestige and has on his top 10 of the year Final Destination 5, puts a title …Dark knight feels more like Batman Forever..

    what does that even mean? is he trolling everyone out? in contrary to the "good Burton ones" …shall I remind the scene with the penguin speech where batman puts a CD and hijacks the mics to ruin penguin speech and… then he does a little bit of "dj scratching" ..just to have fun.. …So are we not to expect a scratching digital disk scene from the Dark knight? omg it's like Batman Forever. …what a joke that guy is.. but then why does he get to be a critic? what are the credentials anyways?

    not only I don't disagree with taking down the comments. I take it to the next level. Nobody should post reviews for this film before we see it.

    Congress should pass a law…

  • Maopheus

    I think this points out the fallacy of having a mass commentary system. It’s the biggest failing of something like Facebook. When you have thousands of people responding to something, how can a human possibly be able to process that much information? It becomes pointless and counterproductive. So some kind of numerical quantification is necessary. I understand the point of Rotten Tomatoes, in that, it quickly aggregates overall approval or disapproval of a movie. It’s of course, extremely oversimplified, but lacking any other way of cogently expressing an opinion of quality, what else do we have? Just about everything is rated based on a star or point system. We are conditioned to understand the significance of such ratings. Of course I am complaining more about the system itself as opposed to the, as we are now seeing, inevitable response. Of course, it is ridiculous. Why anyone should care so much about someone else’s opinion that they should threaten their lives is absurd. Sure, I sometimes disagree with someone else’s opinion on a movie. I might think “How could you possibly like/hate that movie? I loved/hated it!” But that’s being human.

  • kuddles

    I think it’s just a continuation of what’s been happening with social media and the like for awhile. It happens with everything from culture to media to politics.

    So much information is segmented into seperate websites where you can just find like-minded individuals who always agree with you or propose the same biases, and at the same time everyone is encouraged to “comment” or “like” or “score” everything.

    It creates an environment where people feel like their opinions are always important (whether they are making an actually valid argument or not), and also have come to the conclusion that there is a “right” opinion and a “wrong” one. Add anonymity to it and it just gets worse.

    I see this horrible trend everywhere, from Yelp to Amazon reviews to Metacritic user reviews. Everything is either a “10” or a “1”, and anyone who has a different opinion is either lying, a stooge for the company, or some other crazy reason.

    It’s kind of embarrassing in the end. Not only because it just makes it harder for intelligent discourse or dissenting opinions to happen, but also because people seem to be really apathetic towards so many horrible things going on in the world, but then seem to become really emotionally invested over a comic book movie.

  • cufford

    Pot (Film Junk) calls kettle black. How ironic.

  • La Menthe

    13@ kyri, You just stole a large of your text from a commentator from RT (“penguin DJ scratching…”), a site you apparently hate…

  • kyri

    …honestly, I don’t even know how to read the comments on RT :)

  • Critics had already been insulted when The Dark Knight hit the cinemas. Thx to the anonymity of the Interweb this (cyberbulling) seems to be the new cool thing.

    Luckily, though, Batman – at least for now – is finished. So the critics of Rotten Tomatoes can sleep well. Until The Hobbit hits the screens…