We seem to have broken movies down to numbers and nothing more. The sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have become so ubiquitous that whether or not a movie is “fresh” is part of the marketing. The truth is these numbers only have meaning because we say that they do. That being said, just because the numbers don’t actually say much about the movie overall, they do have meaning to people.
This segment looks at the numbers from the two major sites and compare them to my own numbers to see where the differences are, why they might exist, and what they might mean. This is not meant as a personal callout to any other critics; all opinions are legitimate, even if I don’t agree with them.
This week we look at Spider-Man: Homecoming and A Ghost Story.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Kaitlyn: 9 / 10
While no one was really that worried about Spider-Man: Homecoming being bad — Marvel pretty much has this down to a science — there were some worries about it being stale. This is a character that we’ve already seen on screen twice in the lifetime of kids getting ready to graduate high school. Marvel would make a good movie, but how were they going to make a different one from everything that we’ve seen before?
It turns out focusing on the “teen” part of this hero was the way to go, and critics agree. While Metacritic came down a little harder on the movie than myself or Rotten Tomatoes, it’s still a big improvement over where we were.
The big part of the Rotten Tomatoes consensus to focus on is “without getting bogged down in franchise-building,” which is almost hilarious. Homecoming does a ton of franchise-building, but it is so subtle that unless you’re familiar with the Spider-Man mythos, it will swing right by you. The fact that so few people noticed the franchise-building means it was seamless, which is the way it’s supposed to be. Homecoming is about on par with the critics/users on both sites, with Metacritic users pushing it a little higher. It’s not perfect, as some have said, but the amount of fun you have watching it devolves any complaints to nitpicks.
A Ghost Story
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Kaitlyn: 9 / 10
The numbers for A Ghost Story are so close it almost seems pointless to go over what happened here. This is one of the rare times when we all seem to be on the same page. A Ghost Story is brilliant, but it’s brilliant in a way that’s hard to describe without giving away the game. This is movie I saw at Sundance knowing virtually nothing about, and it’s one that I recommend seeing — especially if you know nothing about it.
The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes says “deftly manages its ambitious themes through an inventive, artful, and ultimately poignant exploration of love and loss,” which it absolutely does. This is a movie that I was unsure how I felt about for hours after the fact. While all of us critics seem to agree when we look at the user reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, there aren’t any on Metacritic yet, it yields a 75%, which isn’t surprising. If you can groove on A Ghost Story, you’ll love it; but if not, you’re going to be left wondering what the fuss was. This is one where the audience/critic divide is likely going to be strong, because it’s so different. That weirdness might work for critics, but for everyone else it’s going to be a crapshoot.
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