By: JD Hardin

So far, anything touched by DC on the silver screen has done fantastic in the box office. But according to the website Rotten Tomatoes, they can’t do anything right. The critic aggregator site’s critics claim that Rotten Tomatoes shows a bias in favor of Marvel films. David Ayer even went so far as to send out a (now deleted) tweet outright accusing critics of taking bribes to judge DCEU films more harshly. He has since tweeted a retraction of that statement but, he seems to have struck a nerve with the fan community.

When I first caught wind of this nasty rumor, I thought it was nothing more than smoke. I thought to myself, “There’s no way a site that big would risk everything on something like that.” But, just like the guy I am, I did my due diligence and found some disturbing evidence to support the conspiracy theorists. With an average fan rating and critic rating difference of a whopping 41%, I found it a little disturbing. I expected it to be a little bit closer than that. With the highest rated DC film to be Man Of Steel at a, still rotten, 55%, and Suicide Squad garnering a 98% fan rating, things do seem off. I didn’t understand how far off until I saw the ratings for Marvel.

Suicide Squad (2016)
33%
98%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren’t enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie
Director: David Ayer
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
27%
65%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story — and some of America’s most iconic superheroes — in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
Director: Zack Snyder
Man of Steel (2013)
55%
75%
Critics Consensus:Man of Steel‘s exhilarating action and spectacle can’t fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
Director: Zack Snyder
On the flip side of the coin, it seems that Marvel can do no wrong.
Doctor Strange (2016)
99% WANT TO SEE
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams
Director: Scott Derrickson
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
90%
90%
Critics Consensus:Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Marvel’s Jessica Jones (TV Show, 2015 – )
93%
Synopsis: A PTSD-stricken superhero hangs up her costume and opens her own detective agency in this superhero drama.
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, David Tennant
Number of Seasons: 1
Ant-Man (2015)
81%
86%
Critics Consensus: Led by a charming performance from Paul Rudd, Ant-Man offers Marvel thrills on an appropriately smaller scale — albeit not as smoothly as its most successful predecessors.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
Director: Peyton Reed
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
75%
84%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor’s unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Joss Whedon
Marvel’s Daredevil (TV Show, 2015 – )
86%
Synopsis: A blind lawyer fights crime by day in the courtroom and by night as a superhero with extraordinary senses in this adaptation of the Marvel Comics character Daredevil.
Starring: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll
Number of Seasons: 3
Marvel’s Agent Carter (TV Show, 2015 – )
87%
Synopsis: An action-adventure series following Peggy Carter as she does undercover work for Howard Stark while also holding down a routine office job for the Strategic Scientific Reserve. Based on characters from Marvel Comics.
Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Dominic Cooper
Number of Seasons: 2
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
91%
92%
Critics Consensus:Guardians of the Galaxy is just as irreverent as fans of the frequently zany Marvel comic would expect — as well as funny, thrilling, full of heart, and packed with visual splendor.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
Director: James Gunn (II)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
89%
92%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards.
Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
66%
78%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston
Director: Alan Taylor
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV Show, 2013 – )
93%
Synopsis: An action-adventure series based on the Marvel Comics secret-intelligence organization headed by Agent Phil Coulson.
Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton
Number of Seasons: 3
Iron Man 3 (2013)
79%
79%
Critics Consensus: With the help of its charismatic lead, some impressive action sequences, and even a few surprises, Iron Man 3 is a witty, entertaining adventure and a strong addition to the Marvel canon.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Director: Shane Black
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
92%
91%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes’ humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Joss Whedon
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
80%
74%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.
Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving
Director: Joe Johnston
Thor (2011)
77%
76%
Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Iron Man 2 (2010)
72%
72%
Critics Consensus: It isn’t quite the breath of fresh air that Iron Man was, but this sequel comes close with solid performances and an action-packed plot.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Director: Jon Favreau
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
67%
71%
Critics Consensus:The Incredible Hulk may not be quite the smashing success that fans of Marvel’s raging behemoth might hope for, but it offers more than enough big green action to make up for its occasionally puny narrative.
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth
Director: Louis Leterrier
Iron Man (2008)
94%
91%
Critics Consensus: Director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. make this smart, high impact superhero movie one that even non-comics fans can enjoy.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Director: Jon Favreau
The worst performing Marvel film, Thor: The Dark World, still boasted a 66% rating from RT to still achieve a fresh rating. Even The Incredible Hulk got a rating of 67%. As a Hulk fan, I’m not afraid to admit that although it was better than it’s predecessor, the film hit the screen lacking. I do believe that it deserves a rating in the 60% range, to outperform every DC film is a little hard to believe. The average difference between the audience and critics is 3.6%, and that’s pretty much the standard for the rest of the films on their site (with a few terrible exceptions). But when compared to the 41% gap for DCEU, some of the complaints against the site seem to have a bit of merit.
All this doesn’t mean that the site is being bribed, I can’t even be sure the uneven reviews are even out of malicious intent. Numbers don’t lie, however, and the numbers say that DC has not gotten a fair shot. I’m not saying for sure what’s going on over at Rotten Tomatoes however, I am saying that things are not as they should be.
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