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SIGHT UNSEEN

Rotten Tomatoes users are trashing “Captain Marvel” before they’ve even seen it

By Ashley Rodriguez

Marvel’s first woman-led superhero movie, Captain Marvel, is being trolled on Rotten Tomatoes by users who haven’t even seen the film yet.

The movie, which hits US theaters March 8, has received roughly three dozen negative audience “reviews” on the platform as of this morning (Feb. 20). Users are rating the film as “not interested” on Rotten Tomatoes and leaving negative comments including disparaging remarks about lead actress Brie Larson, as the Hollywood Reporter notes. These aren’t proper reviews: The movie is not out yet and hasn’t been screened for preview audiences, so these users wouldn’t have had an opportunity to watch it yet.

Some of the comments seem to misinterpret Larson’s remarks in a Marie Claire interview published Feb. 7, in which she said that many of the critics who review her movies tend to be white males, and that she aims to make her press days more inclusive moving forward. Larson has called for more diversity in film criticism before. Apparently some Rotten Tomatoes users have taken great offense at that.

One reviewer: “Larson has made it clear…men need not attend this movie,”

Another reviewer: “as a white male i dont think Brie would want me watching this movie”

Another review simply stated, “Not interested in supporting Brie Larson’s agenda.”

Rotten Tomatoes, a movie-review aggregation platform, allows users to indicate whether they “want to see” or are “not interested” in titles before they are released. They can also leave comments, which are published in the “audience” tab of the review page for each title. As of today, 61% of the more than 9,000 users who rated the movie said they wanted to see it. Rotten Tomatoes was not promoting any of the audience reviews—positive or negative—in the featured audience review section on Captain Marvel‘s main page.

Users can also rate the film on a five-star scale and leave reviews, once the film has been released. These ratings are compiled into an audience score that indicates how much people liked the movie.

Captain Marvel is not the first Disney movie to be trashed by online reviewers, regardless of whether the movie was objectively good or bad. A rogue Star Wars fan on Facebook claimed to have used bots to lower the audience score for the latest Star Wars saga film, The Last Jedi, because of its supposed “social justice warrior” themes. Social justice warrior is a pejorative term for someone who expresses socially progressive view points. A few users on Rotten Tomatoes also remarked on “SJW nonsense” or “propaganda” in the Captain Marvel comments. So far, there is no evidence to suggest that the negative remarks are part of a broader campaign.

While The Last Jedi performed exceptionally well among critics on Rotten Tomatoes— 91% gave the film positive reviews—a mere 45% of users on the platform indicated they liked it.

It’s too early to tell whether Captain Marvel could suffer a similar fate. Early reactions to the film began publishing today, praising its fun 1990s vibe. Full critic reviews are still to come, and review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic have yet to rate the film.