Movies Reviews

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong
Written by Sukena Rizvi

Banner Image Courtesy Netflix

It is simply a basic fact that critics and audiences want different things from films. It is rare for a film to come along that combines the same aspects of novelty and social messaging that critics want to see with the more prosaic joys of exciting characters and dramatic action that audiences enjoy.

There are also some unusual circumstances where the critics got something entirely different out of a film than the audience did. Sometimes a film is so nuanced and peculiar that it misses the mass audiences entirely, and sometimes the critics are offended or bored by something that the general public finds amazing. It is not common, but it does occur, and in some ways it seems to be happening more often.

Although there are those who surmise there is a media conspiracy, usually based on American politics and peopled by sinister forces who just happen to array themselves against the conspiracy theorist, the truth is probably simpler. Critics and audiences simply want different things. Here are a few examples of recent films that struck the critics and the viewing audience in two completely different ways.

Read: 11 Movie Predictions that Came True

The following are just some of the examples when there was a huge difference between what the audience and the critics thought about a movie:


Movies that Critics Hated yet Audience LOVED


10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Bright

Bright is an interesting example of a low-concept approach to a high-concept idea, and it achieved much the same mixed reaction from critics and audiences. Critics found the Netflix show’s metaphor of fantasy orcs that stand in for real problems in American racial relations to be ham-fisted and obnoxiously obvious. However, audiences had no problem with a fun cop show with some Game of Thrones tossed in, and if the metaphor about race was overplayed, at least that made it impossible to miss.

Although the Netflix film model is entirely different from the theater distribution system, and it is very difficult to compare international box office receipts with the opaque Netflix viewership system, media analysts say that Bright is about as popular as an average entry in the Marvel Universe series. This is exceptionally good for a Netflix show, especially for one that is not part of a franchise, so the well-publicized lashing that critics gave the show appeared to impair the audience’s enjoyment of it not at all.


10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Warcraft

A  2016 release, and the buzz around it had people watching it out of curiosity and being left surprised at the negative comments the movie scored from renowned critics. When Warcraft came out, it was laughed at by American critics for being just another run of the mill flick made on a video game series.

The film managed to scrape only a 32/100 by critics on IMDb, but the audiences gave it a whopping 7.7 (count me in the latter category as well), which just goes on to show that you can’t judge a movie by its cover. Thanks to the monstrous reception it received in China, a follow-up is virtually guaranteed.

Death Wish

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Death Wish

Eli Roth’s new version of Death Wish, the 1974 crime classic, also illustrates the gap between the critics and the audience. For better or worse, most film critics are media professionals who live in large cities and enjoy comfortable lifestyles. They find Eli Roth’s films to be crude and unsubtle, and they are not wrong. What they miss is that Roth’s films are most certainly not made for them. Roth has crafted a taut, topical story of revenge aimed precisely at the most conservative and reactionary audiences possible, and they love it.

Although the political opinions expressed and implied in this film may be out of fashion in the media, the viewing public have made it clear that they are far from unfashionable with them.

The Butterfly Effect

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Butterfly_Effect

How can the audience hate a movie with Ashton Kutcher flaunting his heart-throbbing self? Written by Eric Bress of Final Destination fame, this supernatural thriller had the audience gasping and sighing at all the right spots. Critics calling the movie “pretty dumb” to “utterly pretentious” had little effect on cinema-goers. The movie grossed around $57,650,900 in the US alone.

Suicide Squad

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Suicide Squad

Critics continued to bare their fangs at DC Comics movies after the Batman vs Superman fiasco. However where both audience and critics agreed that BvS was pure excrement, the general populace actually turned out to like Suicide Squad. Millennials were the biggest fans of the movie, along with Hispanic and African American audiences who identified with the the diversity in the movie.  Critics could not disagree more. Anthony Lane from the New Yorker expressed the opinion that the movie losing the plot was inaccurate as that would imply that there was a plot to lose.

Movies that Critics Loved and Audiences HATED

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Star Wars Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is certainly one of the most determinedly baffling, intentionally least crowd-pleasing films to ever be released as part of a major film series. Perhaps not since 1992’s Alien3 has a major science fiction franchise had an entry so determined to place itself at odds with what came before. Star Wars: The Last Jedi goes out of its way to subvert every cliche and challenge every assumption, fighting audience expectations at every step of the way to deliver one of the most complicated, nuanced entries in this astonishingly ambitious space opera series.

It is not exactly surprising that critics loved it while audiences hated it. Critics are generally people who have seen an enormous number of movies and are desperate for something that they have never seen before. The moviegoing audience generally has far different demands. They do not mind seeing something they have seen before, they only want it to be done well. Although the Last Jedi was more than competently created, with a remarkable performance by Mark Hamill, the deliberately off putting structure and the absolute refusal to give the audience what they want has certainly taken a toll on its Rotten Tomatoes score. From the audience’s point of view, this makes it the lowest rated film in the entire series.

Paranormal Activity

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Paranormal_Activity

Paranormal activity has a creative concept to it, something that took the audiences some time to get used to. There were no gory scenes, gruesome acts and CGI animations to scare people in the cinema, which might have been the reason behind lukewarm response to it despite the critics having such high hopes.

The Blair Witch Project

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Blair_Witch

Shot in documentary style, The Blair Witch Project was a first-of-its-kind horror thriller that instantly caught the eye of critics as an ultimate win-win. Audiences, unfortunately, didn’t agree, Many thought that the concept and story were all over the place, the film wasn’t scary enough and the plot not too riveting liking.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong Charlie_Chocolate

It was sheer nostalgia that didn’t let the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory get devoured by audiences. Rotten tomatoes gave the remake of the Roald Dahl classic a score of 83. Critics may have sworn over the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp pairing, but only 51% of the audiences found the movie amusing. The rest were left comparing it with the older adaptation that came out in 1971. And as they say, you can’t beat nostalgia and childhood blues. A not-so-sweet surprise for the critics vouching for the movie after all.

King Kong

10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong King_Kong

Great things were being expected of King Kong. Critics were raving of the fact that it was a stellar visual masterpiece, had the veteran Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame behind the camera and multiple genres and emotions thrown in together to make the classic even more amazing. A sure-fire winner with the audiences, right? Wrong. King Kong failed to emerge victorious, probably because of some wrong casting choices and the long run time.


10 Movies the Critics Got Completely Wrong

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Sukena Rizvi

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Sukena Rizvi

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