Woe unto Marshall Fine, the film critic whose negative review of the massively anticipated Christopher Nolan Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, was the first negative one to hit the review-aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes. Fine now faces the extreme wrath of the film's defenders, almost all of whom, we presume, haven't seen the movie, which doesn't premiere until this weekend. There are, as of this writing, 550 comments on the Rotten Tomatoes post about his review. Many of them are enraged. This has prompted Rotten Tomatoes to tweet a reminder that "Comments that violate our TOS (i.e. threats) will get you banned from the site." (Deleted comments so far include "die in a fire." Charming.)
Fine, a former Gannett News reviewer, posted his review to his site Hollywood and Fine, saying of the film, "At times, the action is so massive and thunderously clunky that I might as well have been watching one of the Transformers movies." (His site has crashed as of this writing, so we're using the excerpt Rotten Tomatoes pulled out.) Thus did his "rotten tomato" sully an otherwise perfect record for the film thus far; 27 positive reviews to Fine's one "rotten" review, if you're counting.
Calmer commenters have called out the more violent fan boys, pointing out that they haven't even seen the movie, and it's just one reviewer's opinion. "C'mon fanboys. You want critics to lie and say they liked a movie that they didn't, do we want them to tell the truth? You haven't seen the movie yet, you can['t] bash this guy for doing his job," cautions Jordan L.
A lot of film critics, of course, don't mind embracing an iconoclastic reputation, and Fine's certainly getting a lot of attention for his today. Maybe it's good for business. But he's written before about his problems with Rotten Tomatoes itself on his blog and on the Huffington Post's site: " I think Rotten Tomatoes creates false equivalences and forces critics to reach for black-and-white conclusions on movies where there's bound to be a lot of middle ground," he wrote last year.
Given the angry comments are still rolling in at a time when his review isn't even available beyond the one excerpt Rotten Tomatoes pulled out, and the site's judgement that it's "negative," we imagine his views of the site are only getting reinforced. On the bright side, this is probably something of a temporary situation; the heat is bound to lessen as other negative reviews come in. The AP's Christie Lemire, for instance, already wonders if the film is a "letdown," and the world awaits the trolling of always cantankerous Armond White.