Apr 11 2017

Rotten Tomatoes Score Dataset Updated

Published by at 9:12 pm under Comic Book Movies,Movie Review

We’re up to 72 superhero movies since 2000 (current as of November 2017). You can download the full data here. Some observations:


  • R movies are making up the quality gap with PG-13 movies.
  • Superhero movies are improving. Over the last 5 years (2013-2017), the average superhero movie is averaging 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, up from 58% from 2000 to 2012.
  • Marvel properties tend to score better on Rotten Tomatoes than DC properties — Marvel’s averaging 65%, compared to 51% for DC properties and 69% for other superhero movies.
  • Both DC and Marvel movies are getting better over time. Movies based on DC properties averaged 55% over the last 5 years, up from 48% over the 12 years before. Movies based on Marvel properties averaged 74% over the last 5 years, up from 59% over the 12 years before.


  • Sci-fi movies and drama movies do noticeably better than average.
  • Thrillers and fantasy do noticeably worse.

Notes on genre classifications: Each of the movies had 2-3 genres assigned by Google metadata. I changed any values that struck me as obviously wrong (e.g. according to Google’s metadata, Spider-Man 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy are “action / fantasy” and Green Lantern is “fantasy / thriller”). Disclaimer: Genre classifications are always highly subjective and arbitrary.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Rotten Tomatoes Score Dataset Updated”

  1. Xbimpyxon 16 Apr 2017 at 8:02 am

    There’s gonna be a sudden flux of non DC and marvel superhero adaptations like tiger and bunny and I am inviqbale

  2. Kenon 31 Dec 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Ben, what did you think of Spider-Man Homecoming? I personally think that it’s the worst Spider-Man movie ever made. What you said about Spider-Man being emasculated and the writers bending over backwards to make him as annoying as humanly possible in Civil War applies in Homecoming.

  3. B. McKenzieon 31 Dec 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Ken, I haven’t seen Homecoming yet. The trailer made me cringe a few times. In particular, Tony Stark feels like an odd choice for an overbearing mentor figure, and Spider-Man feels like a super-odd choice to deliver a line like “I’m nothing without the suit!” When Captain America suggested that Tony Stark was nothing without his suit in Avengers 1, Tony had a much more interesting response (assertive, confident, charismatic). Not seeing a lot of any of that from Spider-Man in his trailer. Not sure why they’d take the character in this whinier/more desperate direction. :-/

    Also, I think the relationship between an overbearing mentor figure and a teen protagonist is VERY formulaic, which I think will probably make the plot very predictable. Related: Batman’s movies tend to be much better without Robin than with him.

    I’ll try semi-live-reviewing the movie.

    90 seconds into the movie, there’s a character (likely a villain) that sneaks off alien materials after white-collar government types get in his face in an assholish manner. He’s probably not a scientist but spends several years working on semi-illegally acquired and highly dangerous material in the face of assholish government resistance. That’s, uhh, sort of feels like a better starting point for a hero than “hey, what if we made Spider-Man the wannabe sidekick of Tony Stark.” Five minutes into the movie, it feels worse than Robin, actually. I don’t think Robin would be dumb enough to try taping a fight scene and narrating it while he’s having it. And Robin could do a fight scene without his gear, and I think he might not complain about it, either.

    His friend wants to play Legos with him. Umm, respectfully, I would have disregarded Marketing’s pleas for product placement here, no matter how desperately they wanted Legos and/or Star Wars included in the movie. Also, they were probably hoping that their customers would not be portrayed as losers, so I’m guessing even they were disappointed by how it turned out.

    Off the top of my head, the only way to make a teen superhero less promising is to have school bullies.

    MOVIE: “What’s the heaviest naturally occurring element?” B. MCKENZIE TO AWKWARD AIRPLANE PASSENGER AWKWARDLY WATCHING HIS COMPUTER FROM THE NEXT SEAT OVER: “Uhh… uranium, I think. Yeah, if it were Jeopardy, I’d go with that.” MOVIE: “Uranium is correct.” B. MCKENZIE TO GALAXY: “SURPRISE MOTHAFUCKAS THIS SHIT IS LEGIT.”

    The movie sort of casually hates on people that aren’t white-collar. Odd approach for Spider-Man (someone that probably knows more construction workers’ kids than Senators, and is definitely the Avenger most likely to have qualified for food stamps at any point).

    Eighteen minutes in: SPIDER-MAN: “I just feel like I could be doing more [than giving grandmas directions and stopping grand theft bicycles].” There are probably 20+ ways to find a major crime, and all of them are more interesting than pleading with someone to assign you something. Grab a ****ing newspaper or start tailing random minions of interesting criminals or look at the last major case the police blew. If you can’t find a bigger case than a stolen bicycle in New York City, maybe this superhero thing isn’t for you?

    Spider-Man seems to struggle with things that most other superheroes don’t seem to have difficulty with, for example…
    –Finding crimes more serious than a stolen bicycle.
    –Stealth, all scenarios
    –Mobility, almost all scenarios. Couldn’t keep up with a van chase without it turning into a Three Stooges routine.
    –Leaves a key plot device (alien technology the villain is trying to recover) with an unreliable sidekick. Also, the plot device was known to be trackable.
    –Coming up with a suit.
    –He can’t go to a school trip without Happy/Tony going full nanny-mode on him.
    –The interrogation scene was notably slipshod. On the plus side, the extremely cooperative criminal did helpfully point out that Peter really is as bad as he appears, and needs to get better, which I think is better writing than pretending that a notably incompetent character is actually doing okay.
    –He’s absurdly dependent on his suit’s assistance to do his thinking for him. I can’t think of any other character that would have asked for a tutorial, or asked his AI for dating advice.
    –Also, he sort of struggled escaping from an unmanned vault. Like, I don’t know, you’re a genius scientist in a vault with alien technology and the first thing that comes to mind is going hand-to-hand on the door? Vulture was a lot more creative and he’s a random guy running a construction company.
    –Ned is a lot better at what he does than Peter is. E.g. he figures out how to hack Peter’s suit pretty much effortlessly, and actually is a pretty effective scientific support character. At no point did it occur to the writers to try making him outlandishly bad at what he’s trying to do, which was maybe half of Peter’s superhero scenes. I’d recommend taking Peter in the same direction rather than creating that contrast.

    If there were anyone in the galaxy that could find the Academic Decathlon subplot interesting, it’s probably me. Regrettably, at no point did the Academic Decathlon subplot get remotely interesting, or contribute to anything interesting. 1) The rivalry with Flash was completely half-assed — he literally got zero questions right the entire movie, and never posed a challenging threat to anything bigger than a high school party. 2) If the action piece in Washington is necessary, there are many other ways to get Peter and/or his friends to Washington. For example, if Peter and/or his classmates witnessed an FBI operation gone horribly awry, they might get called in to testify and/or targeted for death. It’d probably be more interesting than a trivia match the hero doesn’t participate in.

    Female character development was a bit lackluster here. The main love interest is super-generic (normal for a Spider-Man movie, I think, but Mary Jane and Gwen Stacey were a bit more active).

    The backup love interest (?) sort of came off as a sociopath that probably would have fit a lot better into something like Chronicle. She also gets a half-hearted scene against the Washington Monument (because it may have been built by slaves), which seems like an oddly pointless virtue-signaling while standing idly at the Washington Monument. I think it’d be more effective to, say, use a character’s sense of alienation to create an interesting conflict and/or develop an interesting plot. (NED: “Peter, as the only remotely competent character in your life, and your designated guy in the chair, I have to tell you that the impending romance between you and her will be your worst move ever. She mainly went to the Washington Monument to declare that she didn’t approve of it enough to go inside. Not even Catwoman is that high-maintenance. Try finding another supervillain’s daughter, that’s always worked out well for you”).

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