Website Rotten Tomatoes has had to close its comments section after a torrent of abuse from raging Batman fans. The website, as you know, allows movie fans to review and rate films they have seen, and a number of reviewers have expressed their dislike of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Personally I loved it, and you can read my review here, however I believe in free speech and all that, so if there really are people out there who didn’t enjoy the film, then they should be free to speak their minds. I am all for a good debate though, and I totally agree with fans being allowed to argue their own points that differ from the reviewers, because that is what makes movies so special. There will ALWAYS be someone who see’s things differently, has an alternative point of view, and this leads to debates, banter, friendly arguments, and, who knows, maybe even help you find some new friends. If it wasn’t for the power of debate, then this very website would not exist for it was founded on a group of movie lovers who enjoyed a good ol’ waffle about films they love.
However, where the line should be drawn is when things go too far, and that is exactly what has happened on Rotten Tomatoes. Batman fans have expressed their rage and hate at the reviewers by sending vicious message and, sadly, even death threats. Death threats!! Come on, now that is just silly and utter madness and it should never be allowed to happen. Rotten Tomatoes are sickened by it, and they have closed their comments section for the first time since the site opened in 1999, and are now planning a ‘sign in to comment’ approach to halt any further activity like this.
Two US reviewers were targeted: Marshall Fine andChristy Lemire. One of them stated that The Dark Knight Rises was “grandiose, not grand” while the other said “ ”the feeling of frustration and disappointment is unshakable”, and he continued to describe the film as “an epic letdown”. Now, I do not agree one bit, but blimey I am not going to send death threats to the poor fellows.
“Broadly speaking, threats and hate speech will get your commenting privileges revoked,” explained Matt Atchity, editor in chief of Rotten Tomatoes. “Marshall has the right to not like the movie, and people have the right to express their disagreement with him (although if you haven’t seen the movie, your arguments may be on shaky ground). And we have the right to pull your comment down and ban you if we think you’re acting inappropriately.”
Good on you Matt Atchity, a smart move. Now, with the film due for release across the world tomorrow, I am hoping to read plenty of good natured debates because there will be many who dislike the film, and I have a sneaky suspicion our very own Dr Lenera is not going to like it too, so stay tuned here to hear his thoughts later this week (if he disagrees with me of course!)
By Matt Wavish