With the release of Suicide Squad and it’s terrible reviews fans were outraged, so outraged to the point where there was a Change.org petition to get Rotten Tomatoes shut down, never mind the fact that the site that simply does a metric of all review scores and doesn’t actually review movies itself. Also the site was started by Warner Bros. Studios, the studio who produced and owns Suicide Squad.
This film, like the previous DC Movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice pitted film critics against fans. A lot of the time fans move to defend these films before they’ve had a chance to view them themselves. We as fans are invested in a lot of these characters from comic books, movies, and video games and we want them to be good so badly that we become deaf to the faults of these films.
Also, recently, No Man’s Sky came out for the PlayStation 4 and PC after a very long development cycle where many of us where adding things to the game in our own mind because the marketing from Hello Games and Sony was pretty vague. Because of this fans of the game have completely over reacted to mediocre and bad reviews of the game. These fans have put a lot of time in reading about this game and spending a lot of time just imagining what this game could be and in their mind it was going to be the greatest thing they had every played and damn anyone who says anything differently.
Lastly there are tech reviewers like CNet.com where they review high ticket items from televisions to cell phones. I know a tech reviewer who’s reviewed many a television and one thing he’d do after reviewing the TV is talk to people he knew who had purchased the device and asked them their thoughts. Some of the times people who bought this high end item would sing it’s praises and say it has everything and more than they wanted in a device. Then he’d go back to his review on the item and he said things like it doesn’t have all the features and isn’t as good as one that costs 25% less or so. This kind of thing is a buyer’s biased, this person has invested a lot of money in something and can’t return it so in their mind this high end item is everything they ever wanted even if it isn’t.
All of these things, movies, games, and high end items we bring a biased towards them. With say a movie adaption of something we love like a book or especially a comic book we want it to be good. We want it to blow our minds, this is especially true with those of us about 25 years old or older with comic book movies because we grew up with these characters and we want them to blow our minds on the big screen much like they did the first time we picked up a comic book. Because of this anticipation it’s tough for us to admit when it’s bad.
Batman v. Superman is a prime example of this. That is a bad movie, it’s poorly made, poorly paced, and poorly edited. It’s so bad that a lot of people have latched on to Wonder Woman and saying she’s the best part of the film. This isn’t to say Gal Godot is bad as the Amazonian, but she’s maybe in 10 minutes of a 3 hour movie. If that’s the best part then your movie has failed. In spite of this many fans defended the movie against its poor Rotten Tomatoes score of 27%. At first fans were saying how much they loved it and it’s viewer score was in the 90s. However as we’ve moved further away from it’s release a lot of people defending the film have backed down and admitted to its faults. It’s viewer score is not a 65% and I suspect that a lot those positive reviews are still from people who want to defend the movie because they wanted it to be good, not because its any good as a movie.
This fan biased can also apply to a game like No Man’s Sky (and this isn’t the only game that suffers from it). However, in stead of something we grew up loving it’s something we caught on to in early development and because there were a lot of promises made, along with some very vague marketing we begin to add our own things to this game, features that were never promised or hinted at and the game becomes much more to us than it was ever intended and in our mind it will revolutionize gaming. So because of this in our mind there is no way this game can be bad.
We are all guilty of this at some point or another and that’s why we need reviewers. A lot of times reviewers aren’t fans of something that they’re reviewing and we hope because of that they come into as a blank slate. A good reviewer will review something based on it’s own merits as a film, game, TV, or say a car. They’ll also review it based on what it’s trying to be. A major blockbuster like Batman v. Superman will be reviewed differently from from a straight to DVD movie like Sharknado, Fallout 4 will be reviewed differently from say an indie game like Shovel Knight, and you won’t compare an iPhone to a flip phone or a Chevy Malibu to a BMW M3. You review things in its own class, so saying “How could Sharknado get an 82% and BvS get a 27%?” isn’t comparing apples and apples.
But this is why we need reviewers, they come in with a clean slate and when reviewing something they review it against things that are like it. A triple A video game will be reviewed differently than say an Indie game because there is a distinct difference in make of the two games, same with big budget movies and straight to DVD camp. A reviewer is meant to appeal to the masses, educate them on something they might not know much about so they don’t waste their money. This isn’t to say critics and reviewers are always right or that you have to agree with them. However, any critic worth the paper they’re reviews are printed on will explain why they gave a movie/game or what have it’s score. And if you’re the type who over reacts and just scrolls down to see a score you might actually take time to read the review. Sometimes you’ll see something in a bad review that sounds like something you’ll like and will end up liking it, same thing goes for good reviews. You might read things in the review that the reviewer likes but you wouldn’t so even though they gave that item a good review you wouldn’t like it.
So in the end a review is just an opinion, a lot of times it’s reviewed by someone who is an expert in that field and knows a lot about what makes a good game/movie/car, etc., so you can take it or leave it. It’s intention is to give the consumer an informed opinion on something before they spend their hard earned money on it. That’s why most reviews are fairly long so the reviewer can explain themselves. It’s good that we have critics they inform us on things, but they’re not perfect authorities so take their reviews as opinions and not facts.