'Dark Knight Rises' Critic Receives Death Threats

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by Matt Singer
July 16, 2012 3:07 PM
52 Comments
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"The Dark Knight Rises."

At this point it's no longer surprising when comic book fans crawl out of the woodwork to swarm a critic who pans a rabidly popular geek property. But that doesn't make it any less discouraging, especially when the level of vitriol reaches the heights (or depths) it has in this case, with readers actively rooting for -- or in some cases, outright calling for -- the critic's death.

That critic in this case is Marshall Fine who had the misfortune of publishing the first -- and, as of Monday afternoon at 3:00 PM, only -- negative review of "The Dark Knight Rises" to appear on Rotten Tomatoes. With nowhere else to vent their frustrations, commenters lit up Fine's review. In just over six hours, his piece generated a staggering 460 comments on Rotten Tomatoes and 30 more on his own site. The whole thing is a seething cauldron of nerd rage. And it ain't pretty.

Some commenters approached their death threats with a wink, quoting Bane's line to Batman that Fine's punishment "must be more severe" and that they didn't give him "permission to die" yet. Others were more direct in their hatred. One comment, since removed, kindly requested Fine "die in a fire." Another from "Jake B," showing remarkable restraint under the circumstances, just fantasized about beating Fine "with a thick rubber hose into a coma." Way to take the high road, Jake.

Several Rotten Tomatoes commenters vowed to destroy Fine's website, Hollywood and FIne, and they appear to have succeeded, at least temporarily; the site was unavailable for much of the afternoon, no doubt thanks to the massive influx of server-crushing traffic. As of 3:00 PM, the site was back up, and Fine's review ("The third Batman film in Nolan’s trilogy and also the weakest") was still standing.

In response to the threats, Rotten Tomatoes issued a tweet announcing that "comments that violate our TOS will get you banned from the site" (presumably telling someone to "die in a fire" falls under that category). Regardless, even with stricter enforcement of commenting guidelines, you can expect many more geeks to rise against Fine -- at least until another negative "Dark Knight Rises" review gets published.

Read more Rotten Tomatoes comments on Marshall Fine's review of 'The Dark Knight Rises.'"

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52 Comments

  • matthew tim | September 19, 2013 6:08 AMReply

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  • Micheal | September 28, 2012 4:40 PMReply

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  • peter | August 3, 2012 2:14 AMReply


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  • peter hadwin | August 3, 2012 2:13 AMReply

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    http://www.celebswear.com/products/The-Dark-Knight-Rises-2012-Batman-Costume-Jacket.html

  • chris | August 2, 2012 3:40 AMReply

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  • peter hadwin | August 2, 2012 3:39 AMReply


    The Dark Knight Rises is the Biggest Blockbuster Movie of 2012. In this Movie i like the character of bane of its Awesome. This Dark Knight Rises Bane Coat is the masterpiece of modern fashion designers with ground-breaking and innovative thoughts.

  • unknown | July 30, 2012 3:34 PMReply

    Destructive, so called and fake critics will always be destructive, so called and fake. Period.
    I support a certain director's quote.
    'Only rubbish people call my movies rubbish'.
    I am for sure that if this person were to direct the Dark Knight Rises, he will definitely support the Bat-Fans.
    Anyway, sure, everyone is free to keep their opinions. Freedom of speech.
    And this is my freedom of speech.
    Leave the real criticising of movies to the audiences. Whether they like it (or rather, love it) or dislike it, it is up to them to decide.
    But if critics are really needed, then go for constructive ones like those in the 87% positive instead of those fake, so called and destructive ones in the 13%.
    Bottomline: The world is better off without you fake, so called and destructive critics. I triple dare you to make your own movie and see whether you can do better.

  • pablo | July 31, 2012 8:21 AM

    oh dear god! he dare to say a movie was bad! oh dear lord. Mr Unknown you are so brave.

    that movie was awfull

  • Reality | July 18, 2012 3:40 PMReply

    You bed-wetting douchebags have nothing better to do than to issue death threats from your mom's basement. Get over it. It's a movie about a one percenter who runs around town in a freaking bat suit. Dumbest. Movie. EVER. And all of your stupid unshaven angst and darkness will not make it awesome, it just makes you more ridiculous.

    Pull on your Guy Fawkes masks, retreat into your hugsbox and whine how nerds, fanboys, and Nolan Fans are being oppressed.

  • JAY | July 17, 2012 11:59 AMReply

    ACK! I wrote that last response out in three paragraphs. I wasn't sure if the system would ignore the spaces and compress them back into one until I posted; I guess I have my answer. If you can get through that, kudos to you. I think it's time I started my own blog page. Cue the trolls...

  • Jay | July 17, 2012 11:57 AMReply

    There was a bit of playful snark in my comments yesterday. Obviously, not every Christopher Nolan fan believes in the same things or behaves in a reactive manner. Equally, not everyone who lusts after his Batman movies is necessarily a "Chris Nolan fan", as it were. Some simply like the character and Nolan's take on the mythos. Finally, it would be presumptive and totally wrong-headed to assert that negatives reviews of Chris Nolan movies, let alone merely his mega-budget Batman films, are the only reviews inundated with bilious cant on RT; or even that all those comments have a negative slant to begin with (some are, in fact, the remarks of others astonished at the outcry, either trying to call for sanity or joining in with detached amusement: like the archetypal playground fight and its many jeering and curious onlookers). Nonetheless, it truly comes to something when RT's editor-in-chief, Matt Atchity, declares an embargo, disabling the comments feature on all TDKR reviews, as has now happened: http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a393721/dark-knight-rises-review-comments-disabled-by-rotten-tomatoes.html

    Secondly, Jay to Ray: great link, Ray. Another voice of reason in the cacophonous fugue; and I greatly appreciate him quoting Armond White, too. White is TDK's Marshall Fine, and notorious to this day because of the extreme hatred he aroused. Ironic, actually: the very people who rubbished White as a "troll" and "contrarian" for his mauling of "The Dark Knight" shot this obscure (but brilliant) critic to fame. But you know, as much as I may chuckle at the inanity of it all, inanity can also be dangerous. This phenonenom has uncomfortable similarities with Nazism, or McCarthyism, or the Islamic world's reaction to Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses". In all cases, there exists, or existed, a strong desire for power or the need to feel connected to that power (the infantile component of all totalitarian value systems), and anyone who dares to question that utopian fever, is automatically and ruthlessly condemned as an enemy, fit for literal or social death. In effect, they're denounced as traitors to a social vision, so the pronouncement of death is the reflex response en masse. Given the plot of this new Batman movie, I find that amazingly ironic (*SPOILER* Gotham is ruled by martial law and a kangaroo court is set up that sentences people like the "good cop" Jim Gordon to death). Just as Scientology mudracks anyone who dares to question its authority, expose its inner workings, and sully its name (and earning potential), so do some blockbuster movie consumers now blast the credentials and rubbish the personal characterisits of anyone who says, "Hang on, guys. You may want to take a peak behind that green curtain..."

    Very disturbing. But again, this sort of behaviour ain't going away until we are able to divest ourselves of certain prejudices; or, at the least, learn that there's a bigger world outside the door, with some very serious problems for us to solve, and tribal loyalty to anything -- let alone a bunch of hugely profitable, highly commercial movies: explosion reels with confected truths -- is, ultimately, stupid and destructive in the extreme. What this all also shows, loud and clear, is that people have no tolerance for ambiguity, and no real intellectual curiosity. If they did, they would welcome a range of responses, given that art is a subjective field, and learn to put their own emotional and cognitive biases into one small part of a bigger picture. No-one really takes the time to read or consider anything. We're adrenal creatures first, everything else a distant second. Kinda sad that our biology continues to pull us down, but it's also incumbent on us to get smarter and defy our genes and their heritage. Sorry if this all reads as a little abstruse, but there are much deeper causes to all this, and those will have to be addressed in wider society before any of this has a hopping chance of disappearing or transforming for the better. Sure, you can restructure a website, disable comments, call for calm, or whatever, but that's not addressing the problem, merely shifting the bulge. You can take the boy out of the country...

  • Johnson | July 17, 2012 10:02 AMReply

    It's stupid to be that mad that a handful of critics don't like a movie you liked. So a critic didn't like the movie. Dark Knight was a great movie but it had it's share of flaws, I don't expect Dark Knight Rises to be any different. It's pretty pathetic if you can't handle when somebody disagrees with you on your taste in entertainment. Anyone who gets that mad about critics hating their movies must spend so much time watching them they feel an exaggerated sense of importance toward them.

  • Percival Constantine | July 17, 2012 9:12 AMReply

    I read Fine's review. And yes, he comes off as a pretentious snob in it. But I don't care how big a douchebag someone is, it never justifies death threats. I'm positive there isn't a comic fan alive who has never experienced bullying -- and this kind of crap is straight-up bullying.

    You want to criticize Fine's review, go right ahead. But to issue death threats against him is just low.

  • Rohan | July 17, 2012 1:04 AMReply

    I am a Nolan fan myself and no one has the right to threat anyone. Everyone is entitled
    to their opinion. Yes, as a fan it bothers me and I see why others fans are acting crazy against critics. Some of the stuff that critics say, and when I say critics, I am referring to guys like FINE from Rottentomatoes, because they call themselves critics. In reality, Roger Ebert is a critic. And this article is pointing only to two critics that I think some indiewire writers take serious stuff like this and decide to publish it.

  • Ray | July 16, 2012 10:19 PMReply

    Great blog post about this: http://filmcycle.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/the-dark-knight-rises-negative-review-draws-death-threats-from-fans-ridiculous-news-item-of-the-day-7162012/

  • No | July 17, 2012 9:20 AM

    So glad for this link, now I know which website to go to when I'm in the mood for asinine opinions and Armond White's ass-kissing.

  • paul | July 16, 2012 5:39 PMReply

    rotten tomatoes is the worst. they hold off on reviews, post reviews from critics that haven't even seen the movie, and manipulate scores on the ever-so important meter to make a movie "fresh" or "rotten." then their members half the time don't actually see the film, they just vote whether they like or not.

  • Irene | July 16, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    I don't mean to sound callous, but this is the nature of fandom that will automatically rear its head when it's coupled with internet anonymity.
    When people know that they can post whatever they want without consequence on a subject they're passionate, death threats, or just flaming in general will break out.

    Basically any corner of the web that evokes loyalties of any kind will have everything from casual, tossed off threats too "I KNOW WHERE U LIVE" rhetoric. Anyone who thinks this is a particular trait of "nolanites" must be new to the internet because this kind of "Imma kick your azzz" trolling of negative reviews happens for everything from music to books to Apple products. And if you happen to stumble on a negative review on a well-received Taratino or Scorsese film, you'll fine the same mindless threats. And don't even get me started on YouTube or Yahoo comments.

    What's ironic about this is that now, we have stories like this popping up to report all the nerd rage, which will only get this guy sympathy and make all the fans being over-the-top in the RT comments look like the immature, sensitive dolts. With all this being said, the review does present some rather weak arguments that comes off as contrarian; you don't have to have seen the movie already to wonder about the form of his argument overall.

  • JoJo | July 16, 2012 5:30 PMReply

    Not all Nolan fans are like this. I wish people would stop tarring us all with the same brush.

  • RSDhillon | July 17, 2012 9:04 AM

    Not all comic book fans are like this, either.
    But we're branded so.

  • nolansucks | July 16, 2012 4:39 PMReply

    LOLOLOL is anyone surprised by these nolan fanbots? Guess they need to get out of their basement sometimes to realize we have a little thing called the 1st amendment.

  • goodbar_ca | July 16, 2012 4:39 PMReply

    seriously its internet comment boards!! why is everyone so upset and feeling sorry for this dude.

    It would be a different thing if they showed up at his house or work. silly...

  • Ryan | July 16, 2012 4:35 PMReply

    Nolanites are known for being the douchey of frothy mouthed fan boys.
    They treat Nolan and his movies as if they are god sent.
    I've received plenty of hatemail/death threats from them.
    For simply sharing opinions....no matter how small the critique.
    I'm a long time fan of batman.
    But I myself have always kind of "meh" about his take on batman.
    But his fans.....dear god his fans.
    As strange as it might sound.....they made me HATE these movies.
    Absolutely cannot stand them.
    They have created..by far.....the most retarded group of fans to ever exist.
    It's sad to think that people will so easily become devoted to something.
    even if it's just a director.
    Wouldn't be surprised if they were all ordered by Nolan at the end of TDKR to drink the special kool aid under their seats.

    Nolantown 2012

    I can't wait for this stupid shit to be done with.

  • nerdkiller | July 16, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    You may want to consider growing a vagina and setting up at Kickstarter in order to get more hits.

  • Tobias | July 16, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    i haven't read the review, but seeing the comments on RT go beserk just reminds me how bad and cruel people on the internet can be. 99% of the commenters probably have not seen the movie and they're bashing the reviewer for a negative review. maybe he asked for the bashing with his biased review, but on the other hand, he's probably right about his opinion on a major part of batman / nolan fans.

    on the other side: i still love the comments on indiewire. they're always clean and thoughtful and people think before writing. it's one of the only comment sections on any website i really ENJOY to read. so dear indiewire readers and commenters: please keep it up!

  • caro | July 16, 2012 4:25 PMReply

    i thought the review was dishonest and the guy only wanted to bash Nolan.I can understand someone dislikes a movie but the guy is very disdainful

  • JAY | July 16, 2012 4:25 PMReply

    The blowback has climbed to 612 now -- 612 and clearly still climbing (about fifteen minutes ago, it was 500-and-something). My favourite is this beautifully-succinct corker from a user named "Marjeez", which was posted at 08:21 AM today (07-16-2012): "R.I.P. Marshall Fine". Funny, yet chilling. In reference to a comment posted here by Pete, and just now quoted and concurred by Isobel, I'm at a loss as to what a "1st grader's hate note to a nagging bully" looks or feels like. That's a rather odd analogy, and if it has any efficacy, it seems to be in indicating that the loud, brutish mob of Chris Nolan fans are the nagging bully, and the critic is merely the victim: a beleaguered cineaste who isn't obliged to bend at the knee to a sacred pop entertainment or deferentially acknowledge every last idea or belief that's promulgated by a contentious majority. Blaming the victim for being attacked is JUST the attitude and tactic a bully gleefully -- even blindly -- indulges in in order to justify their own actions, and as a prelude to more attacks, whether it be against old or new targets. Try being a Star Wars prequel fan. Oh, NOW you see the problem, don't you? Nolanites are extraordinarily thin-skinned. If their fanaticism can't even weather a handful of negative reviews (which, at this point, is all there is), what does that say about their emotional frames and beliefs in general? Perhaps there is even something in Nolan's work that encourages this behaviour? I really hope not. In any case, these sorts of things, more generally, are never going to go away, not until we human beings cure ourselves of the itch to kill people and ideas, or insinuate death wishes, against anything that causes us even a modicum of confusion, pain, or upset. In the meantime, though, people could learn to respect freedom of speech, think through their actions, and choose their words more carefully, on all sides of the fence.

  • Aroreiel | July 16, 2012 4:18 PMReply

    So idiotic people rise to the bait of a attacking review, by posting death threats to it? These aren't the real fans, they're morons. This type of behaviour paints the real fans in a bad light.

  • Kyle | July 16, 2012 4:09 PMReply

    I hate to say this, but the quote on the reviewer's site that said "Your punishment must be more severe."? Yeah, that was me. I know it was because I was the first one to post it on the actual review. Oh dear...

  • Isobel | July 16, 2012 4:06 PMReply

    "There was nothing "honest" about that guy's review. He came out --from the very first paragraph-- attacking fans of Nolan as well as Nolan himself. It was a rage-filled review from the start and looked like it was written very specifically to stir up anger among readers. On top of that, the review was written like a 1st grader's hate note to a nagging bully. Extremely unprofessional." True.

  • FLara | July 17, 2012 4:15 AM

    @Isobel,
    I know you think he was attacking the fans, but the huge amount of hate and vitriol by many of the fans, gave weight to his argument that the target audience is composed primarily of immature teens.

  • Matt | July 16, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    If you read his review this would make sense...his facts about the characters in the movie were wrong, he personally attacked the fans of this movie and Nolan himself within the first paragraph, he hated the Dark Knight and didn't like Heath Ledgers performance...you are entitled to your opinion but when it his based on wrong facts, gate and contempt expect to receive some of your own buddy!! His site is still down as of 4:04 pm how ironic!!

  • NERDKILLERKILLER | July 17, 2012 4:12 AM

    ^fag

  • sloor | July 17, 2012 12:34 AM

    I want to murder Nerdkiller

  • Stacia | July 16, 2012 11:20 PM

    He's not receiving contempt, he's receiving threats of physical violence. Is it really okay in your world to counter a misinformed movie review with multiple death threats? It doesn't seem like inappropriate behavior or an overreaction or anything?

    The amount of people excusing this antisocial behavior is staggering.

  • nerdkiller | July 16, 2012 4:31 PM

    ^fag

  • Talia | July 16, 2012 4:00 PMReply

    Wow this is pathetic behaviour from these fans. No movie is loved 100% by everyone, Christopher Nolan is not some sort of film making God who we all have to bow down to in reverence. It's just a movie. These losers need to grow up.

  • RG | July 16, 2012 3:57 PMReply

    Yeah, Rotten Tomatoes is pretty much a haven for jerks who hate someone who says bad things against a movie.

    I used to be the type to get super excited about an upcoming movie, back in the pre-Internet days. So I had no way to respond when I read a bad review of the movie in the newspaper, but it never even occurred to me to WANT to do so. It's just one guy's opinion. I just can't understand the psychotic hatred.

    The people who make threats should be punished, and I don't mean by being banned from a web site. Real criminal prosecution.

  • nerdkiller | July 16, 2012 4:32 PM

    you're a fucking idiot.

  • Les Grossman | July 16, 2012 3:51 PMReply

    r these comments shud b really considered as "the death threats"?! U gotta b kiddin.come on,they dont mean it.dont make an "issue" out of it to xploit TDKR hype.

  • Pixie | July 16, 2012 3:49 PMReply

    If this is how Nolan's fanboys react for a negative review, I wonder how they will react when The Academy is going to snub their precious little film. Oscars - please, give me a break!

  • Will Ferrell | July 16, 2012 3:45 PMReply

    i'll murder Fane's family and his dog

  • Jed | July 16, 2012 3:38 PMReply

    First, isn't this all a little too obvious by now. Commenters say horrible things at every opportunity. I feel no one should be shocked by this. However, maybe it is time that we stop allowing "anonymous" trolls to spread such darkness. Make commenters log in through Facebook or Twitter - something that puts their face next to their awful words. I know it is not done with a snap of a finger - but deciding to not give credence or thought to anything they say is vital.

    Second, isn't this all exactly how things have to play out for TDKR? Expectations are insane - so obviously some insane reaction must be seen. It all kind of bores me. Yet, here I am making a comment.

    Sigh.

  • Ashley | July 16, 2012 3:29 PMReply

    Yet more proof that it doesn't matter how dark, gritty or semi-realistic Nolan's Batverse pertains to be. Every franchise will inevitably have its ridiculously extreme followers who ruin it for the rest. I honestly feel sorry for that reviewer. He had the guts to do an honest write-up and now bears the weight of reactions from people who haven't even seen the movie yet. Unbelievable (and yet, sadly, believable.)

  • Ashley | July 16, 2012 4:14 PM

    Pete, do you really think they paid attention to what the review actually said? These fans verbally attacked the reviewer because he knocked down the rating of TDKR on RT website. If they were actually commenting in response to the points he was making rather than on their own prejudices and their desperation for it to be 100% fresh, maybe it would be borderline acceptable, but the majority of reactions are immature. I'm excited for the movie, but not to the point where I'd threaten someone if they had a different opinion.

  • Pete | July 16, 2012 3:43 PM

    There was nothing "honest" about that guy's review. He came out --from the very first paragraph-- attacking fans of Nolan as well as Nolan himself. It was a rage-filled review from the start and looked like it was written very specifically to stir up anger among readers. On top of that, the review was written like a 1st grader's hate note to a nagging bully. Extremely unprofessional.

  • Brian Lafferty | July 16, 2012 3:26 PMReply

    Here's an idea. Maybe Rotten Tomatoes should require real-name Facebook logins in order for people to comment. I'm sure people would think twice before leaving hateful comments and death threats if their real name was visible for their families, friends, and bosses to see.

  • Zack | July 16, 2012 3:19 PMReply

    They haven't even seen the damn thing yet! That's what bothers me.

  • Jeremy Sollie | July 16, 2012 3:15 PMReply

    Also troubling are the Rotten Tomatoes comments on Amy Nicholson's POSITIVE review from Henry H. Here are some excerpts.

    'The fact that you gave Jack and Jill a 2/5 instead of a 0/5 is why people rightfully pay women less money for doing the same job as men. Go back to the kitchen."

    And when someone asked why he was complaining about a positive review...

    "I'm complaining because a legitimate website, boxoffice.com, has a ridiculously inadequate film critic... probably only there to "be a female voice" instead of be a "voice that knows what they're talking about."

  • nerdkiller | July 16, 2012 4:34 PM

    PIXIE is a stupid cunt.

  • Pixie | July 16, 2012 3:46 PM

    Maybe (female) critics should deliberately give negative reviews, then. I mean, if you give positive reviews, you are criticized (for apparently not knowing what you are talking about), and if you give negative reviews, you are criticized (for giving a negative review). Might as well give negative reviews all the time.

  • ABC | July 16, 2012 3:15 PMReply

    Having seen a review screening, I'd agree with Fine. Sad, but not surprised, to see this response to one person's review.

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