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Why people are freaking out over Wonder Woman’s stellar Rotten Tomatoes score

The movie sits at 93 percent, higher than DC and most of Marvel’s superhero movies.

Wonder Woman Warner Bros.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Wonder Woman is currently Warner Bros.’ best-reviewed superhero movie since 2008’s The Dark Knight. And if its early critical reception holds as more reviews are published and the movie hits theaters this week, the film has the chance of surpassing The Dark Knight altogether.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Wonder Woman has a 93 percent rating as of Friday morning — a hugely positive number that easily surpasses Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s 28 percent, Suicide Squad’s 25 percent, and Man of Steel’s 55 percent. It also ranks just below Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which sits at 94 percent, and beats every film in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe except for the first Iron Man movie.

Of the 124 reviews of Wonder Woman that have been aggregated by the site so far, 117 are positive and seven are negative. In contrast, all of the other recent movies in DC’s extended cinematic universe have many more negative reviews than positive ones.

To be clear, a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating doesn’t mean that critics scored the movie at 97 on a scale of 1 to 100, or that Wonder Woman is a perfect movie — rather, it signifies that an overwhelming majority of critics have given the movie a positive review. The average critical rating for the movie is around a 7.6 out of 10 according to Rotten Tomatoes, and a 76 according to Metacritic, both of which take into account any actual score, like a star rating or a letter grade, that a critic gave the movie

These numbers matter to both fans and Hollywood insiders because there’s unbelievable pressure on Wonder Woman to be good, given that it is the first solo female superhero movie in DC’s current extended universe. It’s an unfortunate reality that in the past, poorly received female superhero movies like Catwoman and Elektra have been cited as a reason not to create superhero movies that star women characters. Some people are justifiably worried that a bad Wonder Woman movie and box office could be used as an excuse to ax future female superhero films.

Meanwhile, many people believe that Wonder Woman being good could help convince studio executives to take more chances, target wider audiences beyond the men at whom superhero movies are usually aimed, and put more effort into diversifying the movies they create. Further, good reviews can only help at the box office (the film set a record in making $100.5 domestically in its opening weekend), and a large box office take will encourage Warner Bros. to at the very least make a Wonder Woman sequel.

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