The war between film critics and audiences

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There has been a divide between critics and audiences that has become more apparent lately. The age of the respected critic seems to be over. Does this mean that the profession of film critic is now obsolete?

Here are some excerpts from the reviews of the critics of black adamreleased in theaters last month: Richard Brody of the new yorker said, “Dwayne Johnson emerges from a grave and finds nothing”; Trace Savior of Austin Chronicle writingblack adam is above all a film composed of strictly basic ideas, or the regurgitation of already existing ideas”; Wendy Ide from UK Observer said, “Cheaper, trashier, maybe even dumber movies were saved by the presence of Dwayne Johnson”; and finally there is Weekly entertainmentit is Joshua Rothkopfblack adam it’s what happens when artists say they want to sink but they don’t really have the courage to do so.

Oh by the way, black adam has topped the global box office for three consecutive weeks now.

The phenomenon of critics and audiences disagreeing is nothing new. The Last Jedithe star wars eighth installment in the franchise, received critical acclaim and is heartily hated by a large group of its fans. The greatest showman was panned by critics but loved by audiences. The Darren Aronofsky Controversy mother! was showered with critical acclaim but bombed at the box office.

Movie Critics vs. Casual Moviegoers

The divide between occasional and professional moviegoers film criticism has never been more evident than it is today in the age of social media and rotten tomatoes. This is an indication of the new nature of the relationship between audiences and critics. Back when the only way to see a new movie was to go to the cinema and not just subscribe to a streaming service, reviews were held in high regard. Audiences wanted to know if a film was worth the money it was going to shell out. Critics like Roger Ebert and Peter Travers have become iconic and their critics held in high esteem.

This is no longer the case. Take a look at the comments section of a movie review and you’ll no doubt see someone not only vehemently disagreeing with the review, but even belittling said review. Many see reviews as just another voice in the ocean of voices on the internet, except they get paid to do it and have a platform to get published. Well, actually, anyone can post a review of a movie these days. Tweet it. Post it on Facebook. Do a TikTok. Movie reviews are published in places like the new yorker Where Weekly entertainment.

Is the film critic now obsolete?

I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys trying different types of food. There are things I like and things I don’t like, but there are times when I can’t quite pinpoint why. Is this the way it’s cooked? Is this the ingredient they use? I don’t know, I don’t know the culinary world that well, and honestly, I don’t care either. I just want to enjoy food – sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The casual movie buff is just that: a occasional movie buff. They enter a theater to be entertained. They want to spend that hour or two getting lost in another world. For some, they might already be excited before even stepping into the movie, whether it’s because it’s a franchise they’re interested in or it’s an actor they love. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a prime example. Are there any mediocre films? Absolutely. Does the public still like it? Undoubtedly.

A film critic is – and forgive me for repeating myself – that too. The critic is there to criticize. It is their state of mind. They are there to analyze the film. They’re not just there to have fun, although they probably do in some movies they watch, but they also have to do a job. They study the film, while the audience, well, watches it. I don’t mean that every reviewer walks into a theater with a critical mindset (what an awful and utterly joyless career, if that was the case), but sheer pleasure and entertainment isn’t their only goal.

Image credit: Krists Luhaers/Unsplash

As someone who’s also done a few reviews, sometimes it’s hard to just enjoy something when there’s a deadline in the back of my head or I’m subconsciously composing what I’m going to write. Can I still enjoy something even if my intention of watching it is to write a review? Sure. But it’s a bit more relaxing when I watch something just to watch it.

Perhaps the question is not whether movie reviews are outdated, but whether we can learn that there is a different intention when watching movies. “But that just means their opinion no longer matters to the public.” Maybe, but it seems to matter to award-winners and serious moviegoers. However, like everything in life, judgments and opinions can and will vary. So why call someone stupid if they think the movie you hated was a masterpiece, and why call them deranged because they hate it? black adam when you went to watch it five times?

At the end of the day, we will each have our own opinion about the films we see. Sometimes we will all benefit. Other times, we’ll all hate it. And even other times we will violently disagree with each other. But hey, what’s cool is that at the end of the day, it’s because we love watching movies.

…Too corny?

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