Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but movie critics get paid for theirs (well, mostly), so you’d expect some sort of decorum or, at least, some consistency in their reviews. As of the writing of this post, 193 critics have reviewed The Force Awakens on Rotten Tomatoes. Ten of them didn’t like it.
Are these ten critics just not Star Wars fans? Do they have legitimate gripes with the film? Are they seeing something in The Force Awakens that the other 183 critics aren’t? Or are they biased against the film to begin with? Haters gonna hate, after all. We’ve examined the critical review history of each of these critics and posted the findings of our investigation below, along with our opinion, but you decide!
Sam C. Mac, Slant Magazine
(The Force Awakens) exists less as a meaningful extension of its world than as a fan-service deployment device.
What Films Does Sam Like? It’s tough to say, because he only has three films reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes, including The Force Awakens. His lone positive review was for Chi-Raq, a positively-reviewed Spike Lee film starring Mace Windu … er, Samuel L. Jackson.
Our Verdict: Slant Magazine is a review site on the internet, so it’s interesting that Mac only has the three films under his belt. He doesn’t have enough history to know whether he’s just being a hater, but we also can’t be sure he isn’t just going against the grain for some publicity. After all, being one of only ten critics who don’t like the biggest film of the year carries its own sort of notoriety – the kind that ends you up on lists like this.
Carlos Boyero, El Pais
This mediatic circus has entertained me moderately, wishing the film would be a little shorter. What can I say? Not really my cup of tea.
What Films Does Carlos Like? Again, just like Mac above, Carlos has a very short review history. The only film he likes on the list? This year’s Bond movie, Spectre. He complained that TFA was too long, then also accused this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road of making him yawn.
Our Verdict: I’m not sure many people would take those three films mentioned above and pull Spectre out as the best of the bunch. Given that both TFA and Mad Max are two of the best-reviewed films of the year and he didn’t like either, we’re going to have to seriously question Carlos’ taste in movies, without necessarily labeling him a hater.
Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader
What [Abrams has] done is to remake Star Wars: A New Hope; tweaking it for the passage of time; improving on the acting, the effects, and the dialogue; and tossing in some bits from its sequels.
What Films Does Matthew Like? Of films that came out this year, he enjoyed The Good Dinosaur and Spectre, which seems to be popular among the anti-TFA crowd. But reading further, you find that he is one of a very few critics to have liked the critically-panned film, The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel. He also liked the even-worse Rock the Kasbah with Bill Murray. But there are also positively-reviewed films he has enjoyed this year, including Bridge of Spies, from long-time friend of Lucasfilm, Steven Spielberg.
Our Verdict: Most of the big-budget films (again, except Spectre) didn’t go down well with Matthew. It seems they just aren’t his cup of tea. While I am shocked he enjoys some truly awful movies, he has a long record of reviews and doesn’t seem to be criticizing TFA for any reason other than it’s just not for him.
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
A glib facsimile.
What Films Does Roger Like? Roger enjoys almost all of the same films other critics do, according to Rotten Tomatoes. He deviated this year by liking In The Heart of the Sea, a Ron Howard flick with mixed, but mostly negative, reviews.
Our Verdict: Roger doesn’t like just about any franchise film, giving negative reviews to anti-TFA darling, Spectre, but also The Hunger Games, Terminator: Genisys, Jurassic World, and new Rocky film, Creed. He did, amazingly, like Ant-Man, a Marvel joint. So, we’re going to say that Roger is voting with his heart here and not out of some sense of contrarianism. We don’t agree with people who seem to be against every sequel that comes out, which is where Roger stands a majority of the time, but he’s definitely no Star Wars hater trying to ruin your good time.
Rubin Safaya, Cinemalogue.com
Perhaps another director will pick up the elements that Abrams left scattered about, imbue them with some… any kind of subtext, to give us some real poetry.
What Films Does Rubin Like? Even more than Roger, Rubin agrees with the majority of Rotten Tomatoes critics. He enjoyed other big-budget flicks such as The Martian, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Iron Man 3, and Mad Max. The only other Abrams film on his list is Into Darkness, which he didn’t like.
Our Verdict: Rubin’s review list is scattered about, mostly hitting the big films of the last decade. The fact that he agrees with the majority of critics so often but doesn’t like TFA is a little bit suspect in our eyes …
Ryan Gilbey, New Statesman
Abrams is also too susceptible to the solemn self-mythologising that always threatened to spoil the fun of any Star Wars film. He hasn’t made a terrible picture — just a safe one, where the farthest reaches of fantasy feel merely routine.
What Films Does Ryan Like? This year, he liked Bridge of Spies from Spielberg, Inside Out, and Ant-Man. His likes and dislikes are hit-and-miss among big budget films.
Our Verdict: Ryan didn’t like The Martian, one of only a few critics who didn’t. While he mostly enjoyed films which were highly reviewed, the fact that he didn’t like TFA doesn’t say anything about him. Mostly, he seems to be his own man, content to make a contrarian opinion when it suits him, and going along with the crowd when it doesn’t. Not a hater.
Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail
Some may thrill with delighted recognition at the spectacle of yet another primal duel fought over a great void. Others, though, may know that the real test of myth-making lies in an ability not to repeat but to reinvent.
What Films Does Kate Like? Yep, you coulda guessed it. She liked Spectre and Bridge of Spies, but among big releases, not much else.
Our Verdict: Kate probably doesn’t watch a lot of the films that you do. She liked Goosebumps, too, I forgot to mention above. Other than that, most of us haven’t heard of a huge number of the films on her ‘like’ list. We aren’t sure if she’s a hater, but you can probably ignore her opinion.
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
[Abrams ] has made an adoring copy of Star Wars, seeking to correct its perceived flaws, without understanding that nothing about that movie’s context or meaning or enormous cultural impact can be duplicated.
What Films Does Andrew Like? Andrew liked Bridge of Spies (natch) and also Crimson Peak, which hasn’t shown up on a lot of critics’ lists. He also enjoyed Ant-Man, The Martian, and Inside Out.
Our Verdict: He also didn’t like Jurassic World or Hunger Games from this year. I’d say he’s a sequel hater, but he actually liked Magic Mike XXL and Ted 2. His critique of Jurassic World mentioned its own sense of self-importance and given the tie-in with his feelings on TFA, Andrew comes off as that guy who wants to take big films down. Andrew should rename himself Andrew O’Hater.
Scott Mendelson, Forbes
It is not a little disheartening to see this new ‘Star Wars’ installment not blazing its own path but rather chasing its tail and rehashing its former glories for our approval.
What Films Does Andrew Like? Andrew liked The Good Dinosaur, Hunger Games IV, Ant-Man and Bridge of Spies. But he actually didn’t like Spectre. He did, though, like Jurassic World.
Our Verdict: You’re going to criticize TFA for chasing its own tail and reliving former glories, but celebrate Jurassic World? C’mon, Scott, you’re better than that. Then again, maybe you aren’t. Super hater.
Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine
Somewhere along the way, Abrams begins delivering everything we expect, as opposed to those nebulous wonders we didn’t know we wanted.
What Films Does Stephanie Like? Stephanie likes Ted 2 and Jurassic World. Enough said.
Our Verdict: Stephanie joins Scott above as the biggest haters of this film. If you are going to criticize TFA for delivering the expected, you should at least be as consistent with Jurassic World. Stephanie’s drinking the haterade.