‘Shang-Chi’ Has Done Something Rather Miraculous On Rotten Tomatoes
Almost two weeks ago, I documented the impressive critical premiere of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which had debuted with a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even among many other highly reviewed Marvel movies over the years, that made it tied to land within the top 5.
But, there was a caveat. If you’ve been tracking Rotten Tomatoes scores as long as I have, you’ll note that generally speaking, they start out higher than they end up, and the more reviews come in, the more they drop. Sometimes this disparity is small, sometimes it’s large, but it’s usually inevitable, especially with comic book movies which are more likely to be reviewed by “enthusiast” press first.
Shang-Chi, however, has done something rather miraculous.
Two weeks and 150 new reviews later, its score remains at a 92%. It has not dropped a single point. While there’s still more time to go (probably another 100-150 reviews will come in), this is deeply impressive, and it has kept its status as being tied as a top 5 Marvel movie. And that’s on top of having a wild 98% audience score, something no other film in the MCU has reached (Iron Man is closest with a 95%). Here’s the list of everything in the 90% critic score range:
1. Black Panther – 96%
2. (Tie) Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man – 94%
4. Thor: Ragnarok – 93%
5. (Tie) Shang-Chi, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man Homecoming – 92%
8. The Avengers – 91%
9. (Tie) Spider-Man: Far from Home, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 90%
So yes, Shang-Chi is in the absolute upper echelon right now, and the fact that it has not lost any points with so many new reviews in is incredibly rare, if you follow this sort of thing. What I consider “standard,” even for a well-reviewed movie, is maybe a 5-7% drop. The Suicide Squad over at DC debuted with an eye-popping 98%, but that has since dropped to a still-great 91% as more reviews have come in.
Sometimes, the disparity is vast. Wonder Woman 1984 debuted at a solid 89% with 70 or so reviews in, but over time, dropped a full thirty points to a rotten 59%, as an example of how extreme this can be. To lose…no points? Especially in the superhero space? A rarity, and Shang-Chi really is that good, it seems.
Shang-Chi appears to be performing very well at the box office as well. Some may credit this in part to Disney deciding not to put the film on Disney Plus, unlike Black Widow, which led to a lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson. But the COVID Delta surge is still happening all over the US, which both A) makes these box office figures even more impressive and B) makes me want to say that if you do see the film, try to go to earlier, less crowded showings, and wear a mask, even if not mandated. Just to be safe!
It’s great to see Shang-Chi as both a critical and audience hit, and it’s clear he’s going to be a staple in this new phase of the MCU for a long while to come after this.
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