At the end of last year, IMDb named Captain Marvel, which hits theaters on March 8, the most anticipated film of 2019. On Tuesday night, though, it looked like viewers were in for a letdown: In the hours before Marvel Studios and Disney lifted its social media embargo on reviews of the film, it received an overwhelmingly negative response on Rotten Tomatoes, which panned both Captain Marvel itself and Brie Larson's portrayal of the titular superhero, also known as the earthling Carol Danvers, who suddenly develops superpowers just in time for a galactic war between two alien races.
Sadly, the criticism didn't come as much of a surprise, seeing as Captain Marvel marks the first time that a woman has led a superhero film in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (it is also, in another MCU first, primarily written by women). Within a few hours, though, the reviews, many of which were racist and sexist in their critiques of the film, which one user described as "SJW [social justice warrior] nonsense," were actually debunked as fake, seeing as the film was only screened for the first time on Tuesday night. Even then, only select members of the press were allowed to attend the screenings, which took place in Los Angeles and New York. (The "Tomatometer" rating feature on the film's Rotten Tomatoes page is "currently not available.")
When the actual reviews came out a few hours later, they offered quite a different take. According to several reviewers, Captain Marvel is actually a TOTALLY AWESOME" "blast" and "pure joy" to watch, thanks in large part to Larson's performance. (The actress spent nine months training in judo, boxing, and tae kwon do for the role, and was also the first woman to land a lead role in the Avengers series.)
Those who described Captain Marvel as "very vocal racist and sexist aimed at white males" will be disappointed to learn that it's also apparently full of "piping hot feminist takedowns." (Though those tired of"Strong Wamen ... Hollywood BS" might be heartened to learn that Ben Mendelsohn and the film's character of a cat also deliver strong performances; one viewer even declared the latter to be "Marvel’s latest, greatest treasure.")
This is not, of course, the first instance of fans interfering with online ratings. The trolls came out in such full force around the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017 that Kelly Marie Tran—the first Asian-American woman to land a starring role in the series—eventually decided to quit social media. That trolling, apparently, isn't over, as it resurfaced in the critique of Captain Marvel: "Oh boy first off this will be worst than the last jedi im calling it now critcs will love it audience hate it," wrote one reviewer, who apparently didn't even pretend to have seen the film.