Wakanda Forever’ May Be Showing Off Rotten Tomatoes’ Review Bombing Policies

Critics and audiences are starting to diverge a bit for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but this time, in the opposite direction of the first movie. Critic scores have fallen to 84%, while audience scores on early viewership is up to 94%.

This is significant because of the disparity we saw with the first Black Panther movie, which has a 96% from critics, which was and still is the highest scored movie in the MCU, but fans rated it at 79%, which put it around 20th place out of all the MCU movies.

What we may be seeing here is the result of a policy Rotten Tomatoes instituted after another Marvel movie was review bombed into oblivion on the site, Captain Marvel. That movie got middling scores from critics (79%), but MCU-low audience scores at 45%, the lowest in the MCU by a full 25%. That movie was released in May 2019, the same time that this new audience “verification” policy was introduced.

Now on Rotten Tomatoes, you can link various ticket-sellers to your profile to prove you actually bought a ticket to the movie and watched it, the idea being that it would reduce bombing campaigns like this based on things like misogyny or racism. 2018’s Black Panther had no such protections, which may have contributed to its much lower audience score. But now in 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has audience scores even above 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 94% verified number, but instead an 81% overall score, much closer to the original 79% of the first one.

It should be noted that there are no verified protections for TV shows in place, which is why review bombing still works for something like She-Hulk, a series that got 85% from critics but 33% from audiences. There’s no way to prove or disprove anyone watched a TV show with the current system, so people are voting based on anything ranging from genuine like/dislike of a show, or a viral twerking clip they saw on Twitter (you’ll get that if you watched She-Hulk). So those scores tend to still be a lot more variable.

I am guessing this was a “corporate” decision as places like Disney did not love their new blockbusters getting slammed with thousands of 1 star reviews before movies had even widely launched because their star said something about wanting more diverse film critics in screenings. This does seem to have helped with review bombing for movies, but for TV, we are still debating whether people genuinely disliked something or if they’re just scoring low to send a message about content they haven’t even seen.

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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2022/11/11/black-panther-wakanda-forever-may-be-showing-off-rotten-tomatoes-review-bombing-policies/