When fans don't like a film or television series based on concept alone, they review bomb it. These bombs, so to speak, are negative reviews that condemn the new piece of entertainment. They come across as if they had been pre-written or copied-and-pasted ages before with only a few words switched out to apply to the new movie or show. "This lead actress is wooden and the worst!" or "This thing is too political when it should be focused on this other thing I like!" These reviews almost never cite a specific example -- and, when they do, the examples are so unimportant they border on meaninglessness.
Such is the case with The CW's newest addition to its Arrowverse: Batwoman. As is the case with many female-led superhero series, Batwoman is being review-bombed by a faction of angry fans. It didn't take long -- only hours after its first episode -- for these individuals to decide the show is unwatchable. But what trends do we notice among these review bombers? And what does that indicate about the people who hate Batwoman so?
Most of the people who hate Batwoman -- a series focused on a queer woman -- are men. Who could have seen this coming? According to IMDb's statistics, reviews left by men for the series have an average score of 2.9 out of 10, compared to the 6.1 out of 10 left by women. On top of that, the vast majority of reviews for the series are 1 out of 10. This is fairly uncommon as most shows, when reviewed fairly, fall between the extremes. Yet, there are, as of this writing, 2,000 1 star reviews of Batwoman.
This falls in line with the comments left in response to Batwoman's trailer when it was first released and its like-dislike ratio, which also skewed negative. And, the hate surrounding Batwoman is a rehash of the prior bombardment of negativity directed at the female focused movie Captain Marvel, where a vast number of reviews, all with the lowest rating, were posted by a primarily male audience to drag down the film's average score.
All of this falls in line with the general trends surrounding female-led superhero films and TV shows: a portion of men appear either threatened or infuriated with these show's very existence. They seem to hate them because of the treatment of their titular characters and many may be leaving negative reviews without even having seen them.
Whenever this happens, one needs to ask "Why?" Why would these individuals feel so threatened by a superhero series that they decide en masse to bombard it with negative reviews? Do they fear that people might enjoy it? Do they hope the negative reviews might dissuade others from tuning in?
It is highly possible that these individuals overestimate the effectiveness of review bombing. They seem to think that if the audience review score is particularly low, people won't watch and the movie or show will fail. The reviewing bombing campaign against Batwoman follows others for the movies Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In every case, though, the review bombing changed nothing. The films in question still made a massive amount of money.
So why are these particular movies and shows targeted? In a word, diversity.
Batwoman is unique, not only in that it stars a female superhero, but that she is a queer female superhero. Most of the reviews criticize Ruby Rose's Batwoman -- or, rather, criticize the series for being overtly political. Considering the only vaguely political element of the series is the sexuality of the titular character, it can be presumed that most of the review bombing is due to Ruby Rose, a queer woman, playing a queer superhero. If the superhero's sexuality is the reason this series is being targeted, then that only proves one thing: the review bombers are threatened by anything vaguely unlike themselves appearing in such roles. If that is the case, that reflects far more on the review bombers' quality of character than the quality of Batwoman.
Written by Caroline Dries and developed by Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Batwoman stars Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis and Nicole Kang. The series airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.