Nothing illustrates the unexpected divisiveness of Star Wars: The Last Jedi quite like the 39-percent gulf between the film's critics and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes (93 percent versus 54 percent), which only seems to be widening. While some have suggested that audience score has been manipulated -- one person even claimed single-handed responsibility, using bots -- the website insists all of the ratings her authentic.
“We have several teams of security, network, and social database experts who constantly monitor reviews and ratings to ensure that they are genuine,” Dana Benson, vice president of communications for Rotten Tomaotes' parent company Fandango, told Forbes. “They haven’t seen anything unusual with The Last Jedi, except that there has been an uptick in the number of written user reviews submitted. Aside from that, everything is normal and we don’t see any unusual activity. We looked at The Last Jedi compared to other blockbusters and it has been consistent with those past films.”
She noted that The Last Jedi has received a “comparable number of reviews to The Force Awakens," which boasts an audience score of 88 percent. “I can’t explain why there’s such a disparity,” Benson said. “How we take this is that people are super passionate about this movie. On the positive side, our site is popular, and it has become an important platform for debate and discussion.”
Writer/director Rian Johnson has addressed audience backlash against the film, which has earned nearly $495 million worldwide since its release on Friday, saying, “I’m aware through my own experience that, first of all, the fans are so passionate, they care so deeply — sometimes they care very violently at me on Twitter.
"But it’s because they care about these things, and it hurts when you’re expecting something specific and you don’t get it from something that you love. It always hurts, so I don’t take it personally if a fan reacts negatively and lashes out on me on Twitter. That’s fine," he continued. "It’s my job to be there for that. Like you said, every fan has a list of stuff they want a Star Wars movie to be and they don’t want a Star Wars movie to be. You’re going to find very few fans out there whose lists line up.”
In theaters now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Benicio Del Toro as ‘DJ’, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.