Even though the general public has not yet had the chance to see Captain Marvel, that didn’t stop trolls from preemptively trashing the film on Rotten Tomatoes in what can only be described as an sexism-fuelled attempt at convincing people that a movie about a female superhero couldn’t possibly be good. Now, the ratings site is taking action to deal with the problem.
Yesterday in a blog post, Rotten Tomatoes announced that its moving forward with a number of steps to “more accurately and authentically represent the voice of fans” and reduce the influence of “bad actors” (i.e. trolls):
“We are disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date. Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership. We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have.”
Rotten Tomatoes is also removing the “Want To See” rating on movies’ pages before they’re in theatres, saying people often incorrectly assume that percentage is the same thing as ratings from people who’ve actually seen the film. While Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t mention Captain Marvel explicitly, the decision feels very much like a response to the trollish backlash that only intensified following Brie Larson’s call for a more diverse press pool to cover the film.
To that point, this kind of trolling issue isn’t unique to Captain Marvel—other films featuring lead characters who aren’t white men like Black Panther and Star Wars: The Last Jedi faced similar issues.
In the past, Rotten Tomatoes has insisted that it was confident that people weren’t trying to negatively game its system, and so it’s good to see that the site actively paying attention to the realities of the situation and taking appropriate action.
Whether the angry dudebros like it or not, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is female. Captain Marvel is about to save the Earth damn-near singlehandedly when the movie drops on March 7, and she’s going to wallop Thanos’ arse in Avengers: Endgame a few weeks later on.