Rotten Tomatoes disables comments on 'Dark Knight' reviews
Fans who disagree with few negative opinions rabidly express their distaste
Ratings for "The Dark Knight Rises" have dipped a bit on movie review aggregation site RottenTomatoes.com, sitting at 86 percent fresh after a series of written standing ovations arrived earlier this week.
Clearly, a rating like that means the majority of critics were pretty pleased with Christopher Nolan's final Batman film, but as far as those who weren't? Extreme commenter backlash.
On Monday, Rotten Tomatoes had to shut down its comments on "The Dark Knight Rises" reviews because fans who disagreed with the few negative opinions were rabidly expressing their distaste.
Rotten Tomatoes' Editor in Chief Matt Atchity wrote in an open letter on the site Monday saying that he and his staff "knew full well that when the first negative review came in, the reviewer would get pasted in the comments."
And yet it seems they didn't anticipate the vitriol that was prompted by a negative review from Marshall Fine of HollywoodandFine.com, who called "Dark Knight Rises" the weakest in Nolan's trilogy, and a second critical review from the Associated Press.
Fine told IndieWire that, like Atchity, he knew when he wrote the review that he was in for some hate mail, but he didn't anticipate the volume he wound up receiving.
"I really did not expect this level of response," Fine said. "I knew it would probably be controversial just because I was the first negative one, and the first person to bust the 100 percent always comes in for some negative response, but it was like a tsunami." (A tsunami that also crashed his website for a time.)
The second fire-starting critique, written by the AP's Christy Lemire, led to "several hours" of Atchity and his team "removing comments with misogynistic or threatening remarks" from the review, and the eventual disabling of comments.
Atchity ended up updating his open letter to state that comments on "The Dark Knight Rises" reviews would be down for a couple of days, and he told the New York Times Tuesday that he expects them to be up and running again Thursday or Friday, once more reviews are posted and more people have seen the film to be able to have a fruitful discussion.
His advice to commenters in the meantime was to "Just take a deep breath, step away from the computer, and maybe go for a walk. Have a smoke if you need one. There are plenty of other things to get angry about, like war, famine, poverty and crime. But not movie reviews."
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