MARVEL HAS THANOS: DC HAS ROTTEN TOMATOES?
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MARVEL HAS THANOS: DC HAS ROTTEN TOMATOES?

An in-depth analysis of the current controversy circling DC fans and the critical titan that is Rotten Tomatoes.

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MARVEL HAS THANOS: DC HAS ROTTEN TOMATOES?
Screen Rant

With the recent release of DC’s Suicide Squad, many fans have been in uproar over Rotten Tomatoes’ treatment of the film. Rotten Tomatoes gave the action-thriller a gruesome, rotten rating of 27 percent. What is sparking a firestorm amongst moviegoers is the enormous difference between the tomatometer and the audience score: 74 percent – a 47-point difference. This does not include the claim that Rotten Tomatoes has long glorified Marvel’s movies while slamming DC’s. Fans have long speculated that Rotten Tomatoes holds some sort of bias against DC, but is such a claim valid?

Tony Stark, aka Robert Downey Jr., on Facebook posted,

As cynical as that review is, there are more to be found throughout Rotten Tomatoes’ pages covering DC films, reviews lacking any sort of intellectual esteem whatsoever. Yet the snide remark of some “critics” does not make a case, because the same sort of deficient reviews can be found on many pages highlighting not just Marvel movies, but other films as well. In light of this ongoing controversy, I have taken the liberty of dissecting the archives of Rotten Tomatoes, collecting data on every major movie DC and Marvel have created. This data is organized within the two spreadsheets below.

* For those of you who are unfamiliar with how Rotten Tomatoes works, films are “graded” on a percentage system: zero percent being the worst and 100 percent being the best. Rotten Tomatoes displays both their own “tomatometer,” how Rotten Tomatoes judges the film based upon a critical consensus, and an audience score for comparison purposes. *

DC Comics Ratings According To Rotten Tomatoes

Year

Movie

Tomatometer: %

Audience Score: %

1978

Superman

93

86

1980

Superman II

89

75

1982

Swamp Thing

64

34

1983

Superman III

26

23

1984

Supergirl

7

26

1987

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

12

16

1989

The Return of Swamp Thing

33

27

1989

Batman

72

84

1992

Batman Returns

80

73

1995

Batman Forever

40

33

1997

Batman and Robin

11

16

1997

Steel

12

15

2004

Catwoman

9

18

2005

Constantine

46

72

2005

Batman Begins

84

94

2005

V for Vendetta

73

90

2006

Superman Returns

76

61

2008

The Dark Knight

94

94

2009

Watchmen

65

71

2010

Jonah Hex

12

20

2011

Green Lantern

26

45

2012

The Dark Knight Rises

87

90

2013

Man of Steel

55

75

2016

Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

27

65

2016

Suicide Squad

27

74

Marvel Studios Ratings According to Rotten Tomatoes

Year

Movie

Tomatometer: %

Audience Score: %

1986

Howard The Duck

15

38

1989

The Punisher

28

32

1994

The Fantastic Four

29

27

1998

Blade

54

78

2000

X-Men

81

83

2002

Blade II

57

68

2002

Spider-Man

89

67

2003

Daredevil

49

35

2003

Hulk

61

29

2004

The Punisher

29

63

2004

Spider-Man 2

93

81

2004

Blade: Trinity

25

59

2005

Elektra

10

30

2005

Fantastic Four

27

45

2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

58

62

2007

Ghost Rider

26

48

2007

Spider-Man 3

63

51

2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

37

51

2008

Iron Man

94

91

2008

The Incredible Hulk

67

71

2008

Punisher: War Zone

27

42

2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

38

59

2010

Iron Man 2

72

72

2011

Thor

77

76

2011

X-Men: First Class

86

87

2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

80

74

2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

17

32

2012

The Avengers

92

91

2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

73

77

2013

Iron Man 3

79

79

2013

The Wolverine

69

69

2013

Thor: The Dark World

66

78

2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

89

92

2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

52

65

2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

91

91

2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

91

92

2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

75

84

2015

Ant-Man

81

86

2015

Fantastic Four

9

19

2016

Deadpool

84

91

2016

Captain America: Civil War

90

90

2016

X-Men: Apocalypse

47

71

After looking through all of this data, it is extremely difficult to point to any overall conclusions. Thus, I calculated the mean (average), maximum, and minimum scores.

Overall Conclusions Based On Above Data

DC:

Tomatometer: %

Audience Score: %

Marvel:

Tomatometer: %

Audience Score: %

Mean:

48.80

55.08

58.98

64.90

Maximum:

94.00

94.00

94.00

92.00

Minimum:

7.00

15.00

9.00

19.00

From this data, we can conclude several things. First, the overall mean scores across both DC and Marvel are all within an approximate ten point range (48 to 58, 55 to 64). This is strikingly close but not as close as the overall maximum scores, which all land firmly upon a fresh 94, with the exception of Marvel’s audience score. Finally, the minimum scores are all relatively close, all beneath the 20 percent mark.

Before moving on, I would like to point out an important factor that affects the data: DC has produced only 24 major films in comparison to Marvel’s 41, a difference of about 17 films. Because of this disparity, Marvel has an advantage when looking at the average score, a 58.98 percent.

It is an accurate statement that both DC and Marvel have experienced their own “highs” and “lows.” For example, while DC began their journey with the 1978 film Superman, a movie that received a 93 percent fresh rating, Marvel was off to a poor start with the infamous film, Howard The Duck, a 1986 flick that received a miserable 15 percent rotten rating.

And while fans might protest that DC’s ratings have spiraled downward ever since 1978, this is simply not true. Examples range from the 1992 Batman Returns (80 percent fresh) to Batman Begins in 2005 (84 percent fresh) to V for Vendetta in 2005 (73 percent fresh) to The Dark Knight (94 percent fresh) and even to The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 (87 percent fresh).

Marvel, not to be outdone, has also produced some epic films of its own: Spider-Man (89 percent fresh), Iron Man (94 percent fresh), X-Men: First Class (86 percent fresh), The Avengers (92 percent fresh), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (89 percent fresh), and Captain America: Civil War (90 percent fresh).

In conclusion, while some fans will persist in claiming Rotten Tomatoes has some level of bias against DC, the data does not support such a claim.

What may clear up this brawl between the fans and critics is for the fans to collect a clearer understanding of DC and Marvel’s track records, both DC and Marvel have experienced rating-fluctuations as seen in the data, and for the critics to leave cynicism out of their opinions while aiming for a more balanced, open approach.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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