Captain Marvel review controversy doesn't stop Marvel's latest from being certified fresh

Brie Larson's superhero can save the universe and evade review bombers.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Jennifer Bisset
2 min read
Brie Larson promoting Captain Marvel in Singapore
Yasin Rahim/Marvel Studios

Captain Marvel just flew higher, further, faster than its prerelease review bombers.

The Brie Larson-starring film about how Carol Danvers became one of the world's most powerful superheroes officially opens in the US on March 8, International Women's Day.

Before the release, critics have offered their reviews -- and unsurprisingly, given Marvel Studios' excellent film track record (Marvel TV is another story), they're good. "It's two hours of pure female empowerment packaged with all the visual power you'd expect from a Marvel blockbuster," CNET's Patricia Puentes writes in our review.

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Aggregating those reviews is Rotten Tomatoes, a site whose team of curators collects the reviews of its "Tomatometer-approved" critics and generates Tomatometer scores. On Tuesday, Rotten Tomatoes tweeted that Captain Marvel was sitting at an 87 percent Tomatometer score, based on 93 reviews.

At time of writing, the film's score has slid to 83 percent with 126 reviews, but it's still Certified Fresh.

This is a win for Marvel Studios' first venture into female-led film territory, following highly rated female-led TV shows like Jessica Jones and Agent Carter. Both the film and Rotten Tomatoes had faced controversy over the comment section of the Captain Marvel page, in which users were leaving negative comments before seeing the film, a process called "review bombing." The comments were aimed at Larson, in part for telling Marie Claire magazine she had noticed the critics covering her films were "overwhelmingly white male."

In a blog post on Feb. 25, Rotten Tomatoes detailed new changes to the site that would see the comment section of a film's page disabled prior to its release date.

"Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in nonconstructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership," the post read.

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Paul Yanover, president of Fandango, which owns the site, told CNET that it was not a direct response to the Captain Marvel controversy.

"[The changes] are not simply a reaction to, 'Oh, gee, there's some noise created around [certain movies]'."

Despite the bumpy journey, Captain Marvel seems to be doing just fine: It set the record for Fandango's best-selling prerelease film, beating Avengers: Infinity War, ComicBook.com reported.

CNET is currently running a Women of Marvel package of stories, celebrating the women who help bring the MCU to life. You can check it out here.