Have you ever gone to see a movie based on a critic's opinion and wanted to demand two hours of your life back? The fact is that critics don’t always get it right and audiences don’t always care about the opinions of critics anyway. Critics sometimes even change their minds about a movie after a few years. It’s not just critics and audiences who sometimes differ vastly on whether a movie is good or not. Sometimes a film’s cultural significance changes over time. It may be that a movie was simply so cutting edge and ahead of its time that everybody hated it when it first came out. There have been many movies that were despised when they were first released, but as time went on they eventually became classics. People just didn’t understand these movies when they were first released, so they naturally hated them. Sometimes the exact opposite happens. Maybe some critics were blinded by nostalgia and thought the movie was good when it wasn’t.
Here’s seven times the critics and the audiences disagreed.
1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
It’s mind blowing that this has a 78% fresh critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s possible that nostalgia played its part in the critics' reviews but audiences didn’t share it. It was a financial disappointment, a proposed trilogy was scrapped and it only has a 54% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. Superman Returns
Empire magazine called it "The best fantasy since The Lord Of The Rings". Despite a 76% fresh rating Superman Returns seldom soars to the height of 1978's Superman: The Movie. The movie runs nearly half an hour longer than it should, with a new plot strand introduced in the third act that has questionable vitality in the presumed sequel. Audiences failed to bond with it and the franchise would be rebooted once again with Henry Cavill in the blue tights.
3. The Dark Knight Rises
Critics absolutely loved The Dark Knight Rises, and its score is a very impressive 87% compared to The Dark Knight’s 94%.
To be fair, many people loved it, but it was fans of comic books that were left disappointed. Many found it boring, long and nonsensical. Even worse is that it’s a Batman movie with barely any Batman in it. Third movies in series are often bad, and for many hardcore Batman fans that is certainly the case with Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Believe it or not, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a critical failure. Perhaps it was seen as a little too weird for the critics of the day or perhaps they just didn’t get it. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 49%. Audiences evidently disagreed because it has a 90% audience rating and frequently makes it into 100 best movies ever lists.
5. The Shining
The Shining is one of the best horror movies of all time and is often considered Stanley Kubrick’s best work. And yet it was mauled by the critics upon release and was even nominated for two Razzies.
Critics often failed to understand Kubrick in his lifetime, as highlighted by his never having won an Oscar; and yet he’s now considered to be one of the best directors of all time.
The Shining has become a cult classic over the years and holds a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Clearly one that the critics got very wrong.
Today it’s considered a horror masterpiece. But when it was first released it was reviled. The shocking nature of the movie and the filming techniques used by Alfred Hitchcock proved to be too much for many of the critics at the time of the movie’s release in 1960.
Godzilla was almost universally hated when it was released in Japan in 1954. Many called it exploitative and criticized the film for trying to capitalize on the destruction suffered by the Japanese during World War II. Of course, Godzilla would eventually become a phenomenon in Japan and beloved by many in the rest of the world. later critics would give a much different view, praising the movie for its originality.
Sometimes, a movie is expected to do very well and is critically aclaimed prior to the audience reaction. Other times, the movie is expected to flop and is mauled only to find a cult following and be given a more favourble reception as time goes on. There are plenty of reasons why audiences and critics disagree.