Jun 13, 2022 - Technology

"Ms. Marvel" becomes top-reviewed Marvel show amid "review bombing" claims

Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios Ms. Marvel.
Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios' "Ms. Marvel." Photo: Marvel Studios

Marvel's latest project "Ms. Marvel" is now the top-reviewed Marvel television show on Rotten Tomatoes — despite reports that viewers are intentionally giving the show low review scores.

Why it matters: “Ms. Marvel,” which tells the story of Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) obtaining galactic powers, features the first Muslim superhero from Marvel Studios.

  • It is the newest project within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which spans multiple feature films and Disney+ television series.

Driving the news: "Ms. Marvel" has a 97% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, leaping over "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" as the top-reviewed Marvel television production on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" aired on ABC from 2013 to 2020 and has a 95% review score.
  • "Ms. Marvel" also has a higher rating than the most recent Marvel shows "Hawkeye" (92%) and "What If...?" (94%).
  • The "Ms. Marvel" score is based on more than 160 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • "Ms. Marvel," which premiered June 8, will have five more episodes this season, which could lift or drop the score.

Yes, but: Despite the high score, the show has been hit with a number of negative reviews on other platforms, including IMDb, where it currently sits as the lowest-rated Disney+ Marvel show.

  • In fact, Culture Crave reports that "Ms. Marvel" has at least 25% of all one-star reviews for Marvel Cinematic Universe shows. The next highest is "Moon Knight," which has 4.8% of the one-star reviews.
  • The only other Marvel shows rated lower on IMDb include "Inhumans," which only aired on ABC from September to November in 2017, and "Iron Fist," which premiered on Netflix in 2017.
  • Both "Inhumans" and "Iron Fist" were produced by Marvel Television, which was separate from Marvel Studios (and separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Marvel Television later became a part of Marvel Studios in 2019.

The big picture: Forbes describes these reviews as evidence of "review bombing," where audience members intentionally rate the show poorly to lower its score.

  • "Ms. Marvel" currently has a score of 6.2 out of 10 on IMDb based on more than 24,000 reviews. As of Monday, 37.9% of those are 10/10, whereas 28.5% of the votes are 1/10.
  • The high disparity is often a sign that review scores are being sent to influence a specific rating — not due to an actual critical reception of the show.

What they're saying: Thousands of social media users have attributed the low reviews to Ms. Marvel's identity.

  • "Sure, sometimes critics and fans just disagree," Forbes reports. "But that’s not what’s going on here. 'Ms. Marvel' is undisputably being review-bombed, namely because of the core identity of the character including her race and religion. It’s not surprising, but it still sucks."
  • Joe Vargas, the host of the Angry Joe Show on YouTube with more than 3 million subscribers, tweeted his video review of "Ms. Marvel" had the highest level of downvotes "in months" within three minutes of posting the video.
  • "Without [people] even having seen our review nor the actual show yet. Why do you think that is?" he asked.

Be smart: Rotten Tomatoes changed its audience review capabilities back in 2019 to stop "review bombing" from happening by only allowing users with confirmed tickets to review the score.

  • IMDb still allows anyone to offer a review of a show or movie without verification.

Disney+, IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes did not respond Axios' requests for comment.

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