The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Black Panther” is shaping up to be a phenomenon at the box office — but it’s already made a pretty astonishing impression on critics. As of the Wednesday, Feb. 14, the comic book flick has earned a 98 percent Certified Fresh score on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the highest ever for any superhero movie, period. That’s ahead of any other Marvel or DC movie and one point better than Disney’s “The Incredibles,” the current record holder for the best score for any superhero movie.
Rotten Tomatoes currently has 148 reviews tallied for “Black Panther,” with only three being marked as “rotten” by their authors. The previous high mark for a Marvel movie was the first “Iron Man” film at 94 percent, and the high for DC is “The Dark Knight,” also at 94.
The last couple years have seen a remarkable number of incredibly well-received superhero movies. In 2017 alone, four — “Logan,” “Wonder Woman,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Thor: Ragnarok” — pulled in scores above 90 percent, with Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” coming in just behind at 83 percent. The two MCU movies from 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Doctor Strange,” both hit the 90 percent mark as well.
It’s likely that the “Black Panther” score will move a bit before the end of this weekend, as more and more Rotten Tomatoes critics post their reviews. Typically a movie that earns a percentage this high prior to release will see that percentage fall somewhat after release — “Wonder Woman,” for example, was at 96 percent after its first wave of critics’ reviews, but when all was said and done, with more than 350 reviews posted, it ended up at 92. For comparison, when “Wonder Woman” was at 96 percent it only had 54 reviews tallied, with two rotten at that time — “Black Panther” only having three rotten after 148 were posted may indicate its score won’t fall as far. But it’s unlikely that it will be able to maintain that 98 and hold the mantle the best reviewed superhero movie by the standards of Rotten Tomatoes.
It should inspire confidence that the percentage actually did increase this week. On Monday it was at 97 percent with 105 reviews. Over the next two days an additional 43 were listed on Rotten Tomatoes, all of which were positive.
The average review rating for “Black Panther” should also inspire some confidence. As it stands, its average of 8.3 out of 10, which if it holds will give “Black Panther” the second highest average rating for a superhero movie, tied with “The Incredibles” and behind “The Dark Knight” at 8.6. The only others to hit an average of at least 8 out of ten were “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” both of which landed at exactly 8.
“Black Panther” hits theaters this Friday, and stars Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis.
This article has been updated to reflect the additional reviews tallied by Rotten Tomatoes since the article was first published on Feb. 12.
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