The Role of Expectation in Review

A central issue that seems to plague even the most respected media critics (including the likes of the late Roger Ebert) is the potentially unfair expectations placed on the materials they review. For instance, if a film critic went into every movie expecting it to be Citizen Kane, it puts an immediate handicap on all films that do not intend to be critically acclaimed dramas like straight forward action movies, horror, etc. In turn, this can cause critics to give lower scores to pieces of media that are good but simply don’t fit their mold of success. On the other hand, one could also argue that judging a piece of media on what it intends to be lowers cultural standards and gives an unfair advantage to lesser works. This article would weigh both sides of this argument and attempt to find reasonable conclusions.

  • Wouldn't it be interesting if critics were divided into sub-groups, matched with their favored genre? Someone who enjoys witty dialogue and the mild intricacies that take place if film will likely be unimpressed by a blockbuster, 3-D, CGI based film. Therefore, the film is almost doomed for a mediocre review before the actual showing. Your use of the word "handicap" is precisely correct!! – danielle577 7 years ago

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