Red Notice, Shang-Chi, and Rotten Tomatoes

Due to spoiler aversion, I rarely read reviews for movies anymore. However, I like to gauge a movie’s quality before committing to watch it, and my go-to website for quite some time for that purpose has been Rotten Tomatoes.

In general, I think Rotten Tomatoes works pretty well, particularly because it shares the percentage of critics who liked the movie right next to the percentage of viewers who liked the movie. I think that comparison is key–there are some dumb comedies that I’ll probably enjoy because other people do too (even when critics don’t), and there are certain types of films that critics love that really don’t resonate with general audiences.

This weekend I watched two thoroughly entertaining, big-budget popcorn films, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Red Notice. I found them both a ton of fun–great action, special effects, humor, and even some twists and turns.

So I found it striking that both critics and audiences loved Shang-Chi, but only audiences loved Red Notice:

I fully understand that people have different opinions about different types of movies–I guess it was just striking in this case since I watched both movies within a few days and found them both to be big, fun movies led by talented, entertaining actors. Do you have any thoughts about the massive difference in critical ratings between the two (especially given that audiences seemed quite entertained by both films)?

3 thoughts on “Red Notice, Shang-Chi, and Rotten Tomatoes”

  1. I watched Shang-Chi the day it released and Red Notice two days later, and I agree, they were approximately equivalent in level of quality. I think the critic response may have something to do with a general weariness with ‘heist’ style films that has creeped in over the past few years. Part of me wants to blame that episode of Rick and Morty for this, but it was probably on its way to begin with.
    I leaned into the hit, fully anticipating a quintuple or even sextuple cross. (I mean, that’s what these films do, right?) I too, am sadly finding the genre stale at this point, so I watch for the chemistry and dialogue. (Ocean’s Eleven is still one of my favorites, based almost exclusively on Pitt and Clooney working so well.)

    Reynolds and Gadot were fantastic and played off each other fantastically, but in this case, Johnson (who is no slouch in comedy) was just out of his depth. Also, there was almost zero humor in the film outside of the banter between the three of them. Every scenario was either scary, ugly or life-threatening and the casual disregard for all this came off less as perseverance in the face of adversity, and more like there was a separate film happening in the background filled with horrific dangers.

    Being completely honest, the car chase for five miles in an abandoned mine shaft in vehicles that had sat untouched for 60 years *may* have been -for me- one too many requests by the filmmakers to ‘just go with it’. It almost felt like I was being trolled, and they wanted to see how much I would be willing to overlook before I finally called ‘uncle!’.

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    • I thought the Red Notice car chase, and the entire film really, was a gigantic mashup of fairly cheeky and obvious Indiana Jones references.

      The car chase had elements from the car/truck chase in Raiders, the mine cart chase from Temple of Doom, and the tank chase sequence from Last Crusade. During the bit where they were tug-of-warring over the egg in the pouch I half expected RR to start muttering “You betrayed Shiva!”

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