Marvel’s Eternals is hitting theaters Friday, and some were taken aback by the film’s surprisingly low “rotten” critical score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes — 49% as of press time.
However, some are pointing to the movie’s much higher audience score in the same time frame — 86% — as proof positive that the film is getting a bad rap for no good reason.
If the movie’s strong early box office receipts are any indication, moviegoers may be eschewing what critics are saying altogether and choosing to check the film out for themselves. And now that the movie is officially widely released, we’re now getting an indication of whether it resonates with audiences.
The film now has a higher audience score than three critically acclaimed Marvel films — Captain America: The First Avenger (74%), Black Panther, (79%), and Doctor Strange (85%) — all of which don the review aggregate site’s coveted “certified fresh” distinction.
Fans are now discussing whether this fact is an indication that film is superior to those movies or if it is a case of superfans “review bombing” the site, which is a practice of franchise loyal audience members trying to “correct” a movie’s critical score that they disagree with, even if they haven’t seen the film yet.
But as one Reddit user points out, you are now required to show proof of purchase for a movie ticket before giving a rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On the one hand, that lessens the likelihood the movie’s score is being juiced by fans of the franchise, sight-unseen. But on the other hand, since that policy had not yet been in place for Captain America, Doctor Strange, or Black Panther, it’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges.
Another Reddit user pointed out that since the film hasn’t even been out for 24 hours, it’s totally possible this rating is still poised to change as more and more of the general public gets exposed to it.
While another Reddit user defended the film, saying it’s “in no way worse than some of the lower MCU outings,” they also said the audience scores “mean nothing this early on,” since many superfans can still buy a ticket and drop a review before even watching it.
Have you seen Eternals? Tell us if you liked it or not in the comments below.