Critics are a bit of a controversial topic these days. Originally intended to be someone who offered a more insightful opinion on a new video game or movie, critics are now a dime a dozen. Because of this, we have grown very accustomed to having critics, and that leads to disagreements. Many times you’ve probably found yourself narrowing your brow at a critic’s score, and other times, you flat out hate it. I can think of no better example of this happening than the recent films Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Many critics trashed on these films, and while some viewers agreed with those scores, others did not. Then this huge split began and we all know how the story goes from there.
While controversy can go either way for critics, there are some times when a critic just flat out misses the mark. Either they drop the score for a silly reason, or they strangely hate or praise the product in question. Critics are human, and they do make mistakes. With so many of them operating these days, it is impossible to put down a unanimous opinion on a movie or game, as not all critics will agree among themselves. Instead I have found various reviews across multiple platforms that I feel were unfair or wrong. This is not by any means a “I hate critics” kind of article, considering I myself am also a critic!
Here are eight games and eight movies that prove critics don’t know what they’re talking about. We begin with the games.
8. Call Of Duty Ghosts- IGN
The Call of Duty series has sparked a lot of jokes and hatred over the years, with many gamers choosing to skip the franchise altogether because it’s just the “same game every year.” While I will agree that Call of Duty is a bit redundant, to criticize that franchise, you’d also have to criticize Madden, Need for Speed, and pretty much all of Nintendo. So I generally stay away from that criticism. However, when a bad Call of Duty game comes out, for some reason, it’s almost like reviewers are afraid to give it an appropriate score. Never have I seen this more in practice than with Call of Duty Ghosts. I’ve played a lot of CoD games in my time, and this is easily my least favorite of the bunch. An over-the-top campaign and a lackluster alien mode that is just Infinity Ward’s response to Treyarch’s zombie mode, there was nothing about Ghosts that made me want to come back for more. In an era where it seemed CoD tried two steps forward with each installment, Ghosts took a few steps back. That didn’t stop IGN from giving it a high rating of 8.8 though: better than games like SMITE and Pokemon Omega Ruby.
7. Pokemon Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire- IGN
Speaking of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, these were some of the best Pokemon remakes to come out of Game Freak. They are not THE best (that title goes to Heartgold and Soulsilver), but they are very well-made games. They encapsulate everything that made the Hoenn region so great and fired the nostalgia cylinders that made us traverse Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald all those years ago. With the addition of Mega Evolutions, going to the moon, and flying around on a Mega Latios or Latias, it seems that everything was done right to make these games great- they even built upon the triumphs in X and Y. However, the Hoenn region has an awful lot of water to go through, and IGN definitely took notice. The resulting review of the game was 7.8 because and I quote “Too much water” and “Too many HMs.” I don’t really have to go on to explain why that review is unfair, as I’m sure many of you sailed that ship yourselves. But it’s still one of those instances that left a lot of us scratching our heads in wonder.
6. Destiny- Polygon
We’ve all seen the tried and true tale about how a new game becomes so overhyped that when it releases, it’s either not as good, doesn’t meet expectations, or is just altogether not what was promised (cough No Man’s Sky cough). Something like this is what became of the game Destiny. There was a lot of hype surrounding this game. The developers, Bungie, had previously worked on the Halo franchise; perhaps you’ve heard of it. They decided to give Halo to 343 Industries so they could work on other projects, the first of which resulted in Destiny. This first-person, bounty hunter-esque shooter seemed to be unlike anything we’d played before, and people hyped the living daylights out of it. When it came out however, many reviewers were incredibly disappointed with the result. They harshly criticized the game for never realizing its potential, but that’s not necessarily the case. Destiny is actually a well-polished experience, that I believe knows exactly what it’s trying to be. It’s just not what many people expected (the problem with expectations is a whole different topic). Polygon was one of the first to say that the universe the game has to offer isn’t worth discovering. Destiny is better than just missed potential.
5. Batman: Arkham Knight- Kill Screen
Batman: Arkham Knight has suffered a lot of controversy since its debut. It’s quite astonishing to me to be honest. Many people simply didn’t like the Batmobile so much that they ended up criticizing the game. I’ve put a sizable amount of hours into Batman: Arkham Knight (still trying to complete all the Riddler challenges), and I strongly feel that Arkham Knight doesn’t deserve the criticism that it gets. The story was well executed, the combat is as precise and fluent as ever, and driving the Batmobile through the streets of Gotham is a beauty to behold. I will admit that the Batmobile transforming into a tank is a bit unprecedented and the reveal of the Arkham Knight’s identity is cheap, but those complaints aren’t enough to make the game genuinely bad. The Batmobile is a love it or hate it type addition, but even disliking it isn’t enough to essentially lower the result of the entire game. Kill Screen took the cons and gave the game a 65 out of 100. Perhaps on a PC, this score would make more sense. On console? It seems a bit unfair if you ask me.
4. Spore- Common Sense Media
There was a lot of hype surrounding the game Spore. Having a game with the concept of evolution as you create your own creature to then explore the world seems like a dream too good to be true. Well, that’s what a lot of gamers felt as Spore was a title nearly seven years in the making before it was finally released on PC. The result is a bit of a mixed bag, and I’m not talking in just the gameplay. Spore was met with critical acclaim across the board. Nearly everywhere you go, you’ll see a great review for this game. For example, Common Sense Media gave Spore a 5/5: a perfect score. Now, on Metacritic, you’ll find that Spore also has a collective amount of praise, but on the user side, there’s a much different story. Many players have touted the game as repetitive, boring, and lacking any sort of difficulty curve. The five stages which you go through ended up as mundane a task as we all feared. The only saving grace with Spore is the freedom with which you are able to create your creatures. Unfortunately, the game itself isn’t that engaging.
3. Sonic Unleashed- Metacritic
Sonic Unleashed is another experience like Spore, except the results are reversed. When the game finally came out, critics were all too ready to hound on it and criticize it for being a “mindless button masher”. It seems that when critics spoke about this game, they forgot all of the times where the game really shined in the daylight sections. Sonic moves fast, and feels exactly like he should. The platforming is excellent and reflective of everything we would want in a Sonic game. I’m not the only one that feels this way, mind you. Sonic Unleashed’s critic score on Metacritic is a lukewarm 60, but the user score is a much higher 78. Many players stated that the game wasn’t as bad as many reviewers would suggest and that it actually paved the way for exceptional Sonic games like Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. The daytime sections ended up being some of the best Sonic platforming seen in years, and while the nighttime sections could have been better, it never ended up making the game truly bad. That’s not even mentioning how great the graphics and sound design were.
2. Kirby Triple Deluxe- IGN
I am a huge fan of the Kirby franchise; that being said, I’ll be the first person to tell you that the Kirby games are by no means perfect. There are some that even I refuse to go back to (Kirby’s Avalanche). I disagreed with the Kirby’s Return to Dreamland review from IGN, but that was more of a matter of personal preference. When they gave their Kirby Triple Deluxe review, however, I was a bit more upset. Kirby Triple Deluxe takes everything that made Return to Dreamland great and builds upon it, creating a much more cohesive and meaningful experience. While isn’t quite as much content, the content that is there is pretty darn fun. This didn’t stop IGN from dropping it down to a 6/10 to a game that deserves probably an 8. It’s not just me that feels this way either, as many other players have gone on record to say they don’t agree with the review for Kirby Triple Deluxe either. This is a game that I would recommend in a heartbeat, and I’m glad that IGN gave Kirby Planet Robot (a as good if not better Kirby game) a better score.
1. Star Wars Battlefront- N4BB
For those of you that looked at the title of the website N4BB and wondered what it is, you’re not alone. N4BB isn’t a particularly well-known site, but it’s a high quality one nonetheless. As a matter of fact, I used to write there, and was assigned a review that still bugs me to this day: Star Wars Battlefront. Arguably one of my best reviews of all time, I gave Star Wars Battlefront a lot of praise, except there was a huge fact in my review that I missed: the season pass. Yes, Battlefront is a very well polished game with a lot of call backs and references to the original trilogy, but that doesn’t justify a season pass that essentially forces you to buy the game twice. Because the particular copy I was working with already had the season pass installed, that was an aspect that I neglectfully overlooked. Battlefront is enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but it does have its host of problems; not necessarily in gameplay, but in content. That is where I as a critic, missed my mark.
8. Hook- Rotten Tomatoes
For those of you that know and love the Peter Pan story, I would easily recommend watching the movie Hook. Starring Robin Williams, it is about Peter Pan all grown up. He now has a family, but the villainous Captain Hook has kidnapped his children. Pan must then return to Neverland and revisit the legend he used to be. On paper it may sound like a direct-to-dvd Disney film, which is by no means a good thing, but the result of this movie is actually a quite entertaining one. The performances are great throughout and making it live action gives a new and interesting look on what Neverland could have looked like. It deals with the meaningful idea of growing up and looking back to your childhood. And who doesn’t love a good Robin Williams performance?
Despite everything that was working in this movie’s favor, that didn’t stop critics on Rotten Tomatoes from giving it a dismal 30%, criticizing it for a convoluted screenplay and relatively uninspired setting.
7. Signs- Metacritic
Signs is a bit of an unfortunate case. Many of the people that I have spoken with about this film didn’t like it because it didn’t “have enough aliens in a movie about aliens.” It was at that point where I could no longer talk to them, because they missed the whole point of the film! Signs is an intelligent film where everything is a double meaning. For you to really grasp what it’s trying to do, I strongly recommend watching it more than once. Unlike the common Shyamalan films of the age, Signs didn’t really have a plot twist, but what it did do was go against almost everything that went into Hollywood films at the time, and I mean that in a good way. It is a subtly brilliant movie, full of great work from a director who doesn’t get nearly enough credit these days. Unfortunately, many people didn’t quite connect with the film, and that led critics on Metacritic to give it a collective 59%. Regardless of your opinion on the film, I believe we can all agree that its work on suspense, backstory, and double meaning should earn something at least higher than 59%.
6. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull- Rotten Tomatoes
When Batman V Superman came out, many people argued to me that it was a bad film based on the score it got from Rotten Tomatoes. To those people I would simply go to Rotten Tomatoes and pull up their score for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I’m sure we can all agree that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the worst of the Indiana Jones movies and was altogether not much of a great film. Nonetheless, the critics on Rotten Tomatoes collectively let it sit on a 77%. I’m not even sure that they saw the same film that I did. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull isn’t an outright bad movie, it’s just an Indiana Jones movie that left out nearly everything that made the originals so great. It encapsulates every fear we have about booting up a franchise again, despite the fact that they were able to bring back Harrison Ford. Overuse of CGI, acting that doesn’t reflect the originals, and uninspired comedy brought this movie down with the Star Wars prequels, and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it doesn’t deserve a 77%.
5. The Wizard Of Oz- The New Republic
Many times in film history does a movie come out many years ago to be horribly beaten by the critics of that age. Fast forward to the present day where the movie in question has become a cult classic beloved by all who have seen it. This is the story of The Wizard of Oz. This is a movie masterpiece- a memento of everything that makes movies worth watching, and one of the reasons I still write about movies to this day. However, as you probably guessed, this movie wasn’t always so loved. As a matter of fact, many critics beat up this film in 1939, but none more so than The New Republic. The reviewer trashed this movie, saying that “Any kid tall enough to reach up to a ticket window will be found at the Tarzan film down the street.” The movie was also criticized for not knowing what do with any of the characters that were good on paper but not in execution. Today, the movie stands at a near 10/10 across the board. It holds a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes only because The New Republic’s view is part of the reviews that were collected.
4. Meet The Robinsons- Metacritic
The early 2000s were a pretty bad time for movies in general, but no company had it worse than Disney. Making movies like Mulan 2, Chicken Little, and Home on the Range, many people had believed that Disney simply ran out of steam after all these years. Unfortunately, this stigma carried over when Meet the Robinsons came out. Many people skipped this release altogether because they weren’t confident that it would be good. While not perfect by any means, Meet the Robinsons is one of Disney’s more heartfelt tales that mixes in a good effort of time travel to boot. It’s one of the better Disney solo films that I’ve seen and holds a soft spot in my heart. Despite its clever tones and respectable setting, Meet the Robinsons was given only a 61% by collective reviews on Metacritic, due to plot holes and an over-saturation of pop culture jokes. I will admit that as far as time travel films go, Meet the Robinsons doesn’t do it the best when compared to giants like Back to the Future. The film is still a thoughtful and smart experience, and shouldn’t be kicked down to a 61%.
3. The Mummy- Metacritic
In the days of yore, there was a time when an actor Brendan Fraser was a familiar name. He did quite a bit of notable films in his day, but none more so beloved than The Mummy. In a Indiana Jones mixed with Egyptian mythology hybrid, The Mummy was a remake of a critically-acclaimed 1959 film. This go around, there was a focus put on character dynamics, action, and a feeling of adventure. While I’ll be the first to tell you The Mummy isn’t perfect, it is very far from bad indeed. A sizable cast makes the character interactions dynamic and fun to watch (especially Fraser himself), while the mummy himself is terrifying and a worthy opponent. Because of its success, it garnered enough support to create two sequels, the second which was not as good, and a third which came out too little too late. Nonetheless, The Mummy is still an excellent monster/action flick, but the collective reviews on Metacritic didn’t think so. The movie sits at a pitiful 48%, deeming it predictable, repetitive, and going through the motions. Many critics panned The Mummy, but that doesn’t stop it from still being an entertaining and enjoyable movie.
2. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace- View Askew
As we all know and love to hate today, the Star Wars prequels are probably the worst disappointments of the galaxy. The worst of three is most likely The Phantom Menace, the first of the trilogy. However, it wasn’t always this way. When it was first announced that The Phantom Menace was going to be made, there was a substantial amount of excitement, much akin to the hype surrounding The Force Awakens. Many people flocked to the theaters to revisit the universe that set theaters ablaze decades ago. When the movie was first reviewed at the time, many critics couldn’t give it enough praise believe it or not! They loved almost everything about it, from the characters to the backdrops. There wasn’t even the universal hate of Jar Jar Binks. The famous reviewer Kevin Smith over at View Askew even went on record saying that he would rank it right after Empire Strikes Back! After all the dust settled and people began to see the film for what it was though, we all got a horrible wake up call as not only was it a bad movie, but we had two more sequels of it to sit through as well.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey- The New Yorker
2001: A Space Odyssey is right up there with The Wizard of Oz. Nowadays, we regard it as a movie masterpiece, full of thoughtful and provoking elements that will always make it a must watch for those that love film as a whole. This is a movie that garners many spoofs and references in other movies today. However, because of its unique nature, many people at the name burned it bad because they didn’t understand it. During the time, there were a lot of critics that hated it, but a famous reviewer (at the time) on the New Yorker labeled it a “monumentally unimaginative movie,” and that was the first of many scathing comments it received. Many people missed the point though, as 2001 was originally intended to ask more questions than it answered, leaving audiences with a little bit of food for thought to chew on for the rest of their day. Little did the director know that people wouldn’t take too kindly about not having very many answers. Thankfully, careful analysis has given 2001: A Space Odyssey the proper praise that it deserves today, almost fifty years later.