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Critical Backlash

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"How could anyone hate this game? It's a hilariously silly parody of fighters in general. If you played it as a youngster you're more likely to enjoy it later on than people who never did. It's a nostalgic game and is actually really fun with two players. Overall, a game with both Boogerman AND Earthworm Jim is at least worth trying just to play as them."
M.U.G.E.N user MC2 on Clay Fighter 63 1/3.

The opposite of Hype Backlash, critical backlash is what you get when something is over-criticized and condemned to the extent that it couldn't possibly be as terrible as everyone makes it out to be. Like hype backlash, it's yet more proof that the critics aren't always necessarily correct, and Quality by Popular Vote isn't always a reliable indicator of something's merits (or lack thereof).

Critical backlash tends to occur when critical reaction towards the product is tainted by some outside factor; overhype, overexposure, and outside controversy may prompt the critics to focus on the noise surrounding the work rather than the merits of the work itself. Critics are often primed to dislike the product based on some preexisting prejudice and fail to look deeply enough for redeeming value, particularly if the work suffers from Public Medium Ignorance. Some critics may Follow the Leader and echo more popular and louder critics.


Of course, some things also just press a critic's buttons the wrong way; critics usually have different expectations and approaches than the wider audience, and just because something doesn't tick the right boxes on their checklist doesn't mean the wider audience might not find something of merit in it. Alternately, it may be that the vehemence of the criticism has conditioned the audience to expect the show's flaws, lessening the blow, and thus making what good qualities it has stand out more.

If the work develops a particularly devoted audience despite the critical drubbing, then it may experience hype and critical backlash from different quarters; the work may not be as bad as the critics say, but likewise not as good as its most ardent fans claim, falling instead somewhere in between. Cult Classics have often suffered from a critical backlash, only to be later rediscovered and Vindicated by History or (if they went from popular to hated first) subjected to a Popularity Polynomial.


Adaptations and works that generally fall into a critic's Acceptable Targets radar (such as animation and genre fiction) often receive this kind of reaction. This phenomenon is deeply related to the Streisand Effect and No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.

Please note that this page is not a personal blog to discuss your personal experiences of this; this page is all about the general properties which tend to receive this treatment. Also remember that this is YMMV; seeing something you hate here only means that other people may not hate it as much as you do, not that it doesn't have points worth of criticism, so try to resist the urge to make a Justifying Edit.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass has received so much exaggerated praise and exaggerated criticism due to its Broken Base status that long after the show originally aired different people regularly experience either Critical or Hype Backlash (depending on their expectations, degrees of suspension of disbelief, etc.) after they finally get to see it for themselves. It's not surprising to see newcomers arguing that the series doesn't deserve all the hate or all the hype.
  • The soundtrack from Bruce Faulconer's production team for the FUNimation English dub of Dragon Ball Z was reviled early on, but its fans became more vocal in their praise for it over the years since the show's airing. The dub overall has its own supporters as well.
  • The Inuyasha anime plays around with this: when the series first began airing on Adult Swim during the early 2000s, the show was considerably renowned, but the English dub from Viz Media and The Ocean Group was openly reviled by fans (sure, even back then it had its supporters, but they seemed to be in the minority). However, over time, the fanbase for Viz's English dub became a lot more vocal and, while it may not be seen as one of The Ocean Group's finest works, it is still considered to be a good effort. Unfortunately, while this was happening, the show itself was starting to get a lot more backlash due to various things, such as Hype Backlash and the show becoming more episodic. It has even gotten to the point where plenty of viewers think that the English voice acting is the only good thing about the show nowadays (especially in the case of Naraku and Koga).
  • MD Geist has been so often called 'the worst anime ever' that when a lot of people actually watched it when it aired on Sci-Fi Channel, for many of them it failed to be as bad as claimed and it's gained something of a fanbase largely for the designs of the mech, its intense action and soundtrack, and generally avoiding the sort of moe cuteness that put some people off of anime in the first place.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny has such a vocal hatedom that anyone watching the show after its initial run is liable to experience a Critical Backlash. The show has its issues, certainly, but since nothing could ever hope to be as bad as the hatedom claims it is, it's not uncommon to find people for whom all the bile is hard to understand.
  • A character example is Katejina Loos from Victory Gundam. By the time most people discover Victory and watch the show, they will have been told that Katejina is "The Queen of Evil" in the Gundam verse. They will have been told repeatedly that she is more evil than any Gundam villain ever. While Katejina is undoubtedly a horrible person, there is simply no way for her to be as revoltingly awful as the fandom makes her out to be, and many people watching Victory for the first time (years after it aired) find themselves actually noticing her good points, mainly in the first half of the series, if only because the fandom's bashing of her, makes her bad ones something you just sort of accept. It doesn't help that everything Katejina has ever appeared in since (the novelizations, manga, video games) has her significantly more sympathetic.
  • Naruto having such a massive fanbase as well as a large, and vocal, Hatedom (a portion often holding it up to Double Standard for things they may let slide in other series) means that in addition being possible to suffer from Hype Backlash, hearing about the series from its haters means having Critical Backlash can be just as likely.
  • The Wham Episode ending for Neon Genesis Evangelion in the form of the movie The End Of Evangelion becomes a lot less tragically depressing if you come in expecting the show to be, well, tragically depressing. For most people, the fact that it came out of nowhere and derailed the series, killing off several major characters and giving us the infamous Tang ending is what really caused a lot of emotional anguish to the audience. However, thanks to It Was His Sled and the numerous explosions on Internet forums and on this site's page description, it's almost impossible to go into the show not knowing it will experience eleventh hour sadness due to Creator Breakdown. Thusly, when everything starts falling apart after episode 20, and the show forcefully cranks out the Deconstructor Fleet and Tear Jerker up to eleven, the implausibility borders from mildly depressing to so impossibly sad it comes off as funny.
  • Interesting example with the Pokémon anime. The series is often criticized for its Strictly Formula nature, as well as refusing to age the characters with the passing years or letting them accomplish their goals. Yet, despite the decline in popularity it experienced in the Johto arc, it still maintains high ratings in both Japan and the U.S. and has a large and devoted fanbase.
  • Following the Seasonal Rot of the Fairy Dance arc, quite a few anime fans who previously praised Sword Art Online have switched to bashing it by series end. Not surprisingly, an increasing amount of folks are saying that the hate and backlash for the show is quickly reaching this territory. This is actually the opinion of Toonami themselves (whom probably witnessed first-hand many requests of SAO coming to the block get retracted when the show moved on to Fairy Dance during its Japanese run), as their rationale for picking it up in response to the backlash.
  • The original dub of Sailor Moon. You'd think it was something that was universally panned with the number of negative comments on this very site, much less the rest of the Internet. However, many fans have nostalgic affection for it and a sizeable portion of fans actually prefer it to the new English dub produced by Viz Media.

    Comic Books 
  • The entirety of Brian Michael Bendis' Marvel career, really. People either love or absolutely hate him and his work (to the extent that he got death threats over killing Hawkeye) but there's been a growing wave of positive reviews for his more recent work. Ultimate Spider-Man and All-New X-Men seem pretty popular and generally have very good monthly reviews from the critics. That and there's always been a huge amount of Critical Dissonance with his writing. For all the people on the internet screaming about how he's "ruining" comics, his work consistently sells very well.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Maximum Carnage and The Clone Saga are routinely used for target practice by seemingly everyone under the sun. While they are probably not examples of the best of Spidey's career, there are many people who genuinely feel that both stories don't warrant the sheer volume of backlash routinely given to them.
    • One reason for The Clone Saga being less hated is how it was streamlined in the '90s cartoon (as was the Alien Costume/Venom origin). Another reason is that, due to its sheer length, many people had originally not been able to read the story in its entirety, often missing out on some really good comics (such as the miniseries The Lost Years). Now that the complete series has been collected in its entirety, this is no longer an issue, and many of the good stories have been rediscovered.
    • Maximum Carnage didn't read very well originally when it was spread out over three months and four different titles. It read a lot better when it was finally collected in trade form.
  • Tom King's run of Batman is one of the most polarizing comic book runs of the 2010's, kicking off with high praise and excitement as an ambitious long-term character study, but eventually falling out of favor due to increasingly poor characterization and plot choices, and when combined with King's increasingly controversial reputation following the much-maligned Heroes in Crisis and backlash towards his infamously esoteric and deeply psychological style, fans largely turned on the series as an exhausting slog. However, years after its conclusion, and especially following James Tynion's continuation (which was mostly received as being So Okay, It's Average), the pendulum has started to swing back. It's become widely agreed that the run works much better for the trade, and some degree of the backlash towards its quality of writing has softened thanks to the benefit of hindsight (King apparently had to put up with some messy Executive Meddling, and some believe that Bruce Wayne's most unsympathetic actions were the result of other books, not necessarily King's). There's definitely still a lot of differing opinions on the run (it's really common to describe it as having both high highs and low lows, good luck agreeing on which stories are which), but you'll definitely find more praise than when it came out.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The first example was Alice in Wonderland. It was trashed by critics - many of whom vilified Disney for "Americanising a great work of British literature" - and bombed at the Box Office, Walt himself even disowning the final film. But it found popularity in the 1960s with stoners and steadily opinion softened towards it. By the 1990s, it was included in the Walt Disney Classics collection.
    • The Black Cauldron is a major Old Shame for the studio. It nearly bankrupted them and was trashed by critics for being Darker and Edgier. There's very little merchandise for it, and it took over ten years to get released on video. But it has a strong cult fanbase to this day. And the original author didn't think it was that bad, either.
    • There's also Home on the Range, which was heavily bashed by critics, and continues to be, even on This Very Wiki. But if you look on deviantART, YouTube, or IMDb, you'll notice that it has a decent fanbase who compare it to Disney's films from the '40s and '50s.
    • Unshaved Mouse had this reaction to Chicken Little - finding it to be a decent movie that was quite enjoyable. At the time of its release, it was one of the Black Sheep of the Disney studio.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the only Disney film to ever be nominated for a Razzie Award, and critics bashed it for being too dark and mature for children (or, conversely, for sugarcoating a great work of adult literature). As far as the Disney Animated Canon goes, it has a massive following and it has far more fans than its critical response would suggest.
    • Pocahontas got a lot of hate when it was released, and it's considered the turning point for when Disney started its slow decline. The Nostalgia Chick and the Unshaved Mouse don't think too highly of it, either. However, it does have plenty of fans for the characters, animation, and songs, and for those who think the Aesop is actually a good one. General consensus seems to agree that it's far from Disney's worst film, but by no means their best either.
  • The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild: There are some who can see past the film's flaws and budget constraints, and appreciate it for being a fun, silly romp with some surprisingly heartwarming moments. Even some who dislike it consider it a step up from Ice Age: Collision Course and breaking the curse of the movies doing progressively worse over the box office, if only slightly by having a critic score 3% more positive and an audience score 8% more positive on than the latter respectively on Rotten Tomatoes for whatever that's worth.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls as soon as the movie's very existence was hinted at, involving a plot where the ponies become teenage humans in high school, a portion of fans pounced and rocked the very internet with drama. Even now people who haven't even seen it yet continue to hate it. However, most people who have seen it, while agreeing the story is a bit weak, admit that it is entertaining and definitely worth watching.
  • The original The Transformers: The Movie was not exactly well-received by critics on its debut, squeezing out a bare 58% on Rotten Tomatoes even to this day. However, it's also got an overall 88% fan approval rating, suggesting that despite its flaws, including a lore that was unwelcoming to those not already fans of the series, it is still a widely beloved and rewatchable movie. It isn't the cultural touchstone of the Transformers fandom for no reason—even the modern Transformer movies have yet to eclipse it. Notably, its sibling G.I. Joe: The Movie didn't do or age nearly so well with audiences.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien³ was initially unloved when released in 1992, to the point that director David Fincher disowned it. The biggest factor for this was the sudden deaths of Newt and Hicks, who became beloved characters in the previous film; others also critiqued the dark, dreary, and depressing story and various problems with the story. However, in later years the film underwent a reevaluation thanks to the Assembly Cut of the movie on blu-ray, which restores many scenes of character development for most of the main cast as well as subtle development for the supporting prisoners, changes the Alien's host from a dog to an ox, puts greater emphasis on the themes of religion and redemption the film was going for, and reveals the fates of two important characters, Junior and Golic, who simply vanish in the theatrical cut. Thanks to this cut, the film is now seen by some Alien fans as an underrated entry in the franchise and a decent way to end the original trilogy and Ripley's story, and many feel that had it not been for the Executive Meddling which led constant recuts, and had something along the lines of the Assembly Cut ended up in theaters, the film's reputation wouldn't have been so sour. The version of the film's reevaluation was helped in light of the sub-par quality films that followed. While the film's reputation has improved significantly from what it once was, the newfound praise is by no means universal and David Fincher still refuses to have anything to do with it, though it has more to do with his horrible experience with the studio than the film itself.
  • Avatar, even in This Very Wiki. When Avatar got extremely popular, the Hype Backlash was so bad, many critics began to dissect it and complain about even the slightest of its flaws, to the point where even that backlash and all its criticisms were considered overblown.
  • Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever has the unenviable prestige of "the statistically worst movie ever", not just being a part of Rotten Tomatoes' 0% club, but having the most aggregate reviews of such, all unanimously negative. With that level of notoriety brings curiosity from audiences, but an increasingly common sentiment among user reviews is "it's not as bad as they say." While actual positive reviews are fleeting, the general consensus is that Ballistic is a generic, mediocre action-thriller that fails at what it sets to be in a pretty unremarkable way. It's nowhere near So Bad, It's Good territory but also not excessively, offensively bad, leaving it in relative limbo of just "forgettable" bad, for better and for worse. It's telling that despite its pedigree, it wasn't nominated for a single Golden Raspberry Award.
  • Batman & Robin. Despite it making a boatload of money at the box office, it was also nominated for a whopping eleven Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, though it only won for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone). It is a major target for hatred among Batfans and moviegoers alike. Its presence is all but guaranteed on a "Worst Super Hero Films Ever" list, and it has even made appearances on a few "Worst Films Ever" lists as well. It also didn't help that this film more or less killed the Batman movie franchise up until The Dark Knight Trilogy came out almost a decade later. While the film is still viewed unfavorably today, the consensus has changed from "the greatest insult to comic book fans" to "a hot mess that's worthy of a few chuckles" or, in more generous circles, "1990s Adam West". Then came other superhero films, such as Catwoman (2004) and Fantastic Four (2015), which are considered by most to be far worse than Batman & Robin. Then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave us a Batman who kills criminals and established a bleak, depressing world. People's view of Batman & Robin softened considerably.
    • Attitudes towards Batman v Superman itself also lightened up over the years due in large part to the Better on DVD Ultimate Edition (which included nearly 30 minutes of scenes cut out of the theatrical version that added much more depth and context to the story overall), more so after a trickle of news reports detailing the deeply Troubled Production of its follow-up film Justice League (2017), where a combination of Mood Whiplash (which was due to rewrites and reshoots as an Author's Saving Throw attempt to make the film more "hopeful and optimistic" than the last movie), a switch in directors (going from Zack Snyder to Joss Whedon), and Aborted Arcs, and the 2021 release of the director's cut of Justice League resulted in a rethinking of what Batman v Superman was going for (essentially a "darkest before the dawn" type situation; even Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio stated that BvS was supposed to be the darkest in the series before having the subsequent films become lighter in tone). While it's still contentious, it's nowhere near the level of how things were in 2016.
  • Clash of the Titans got savaged by a lot of fans and critics alike. Richard Corliss of TIME magazine noted that a lot of the bad reviews came from critics who had nostalgia for the original. Some feel that it's a decent popcorn action flick when it's not being compared to its original.
  • The Divergent films are usually on many critics' 'Worst of X Year' lists, and "still better than Divergent" is often used to describe other movies based off YA books. Some understandably don't find the movies to be that bad.
    • This especially appears to be the reaction to The Divergent Series: Allegiant, which was near-universally panned by critics but has a So Okay, It's Average rating of 6.0 on IMDB.
  • Drop Dead Fred was critically panned on release and remains quite polarizing, yet it's managed to cultivate a cult following decades later. Part of it is nostalgic fondness, as well as some prominent criticisms — most commonly its unbalanced tone and Rik Mayall's performance as the titular Imaginary Friend — being looked as rather appealing in hindsight (love or hate it, Mayall made a name in America through the role). Several modern critiques also like to argue that the jarring tone problems (swinging wildly between juvenile kiddie comedy and the questionably "adult" psychology of its protagonist) is itself the point, and that the film works more as an intentionally awkward Black Comedy with fantasy elements rather than a straight-faced one that earlier critics judged it to be.
  • Fantastic Four (2005) got mixed to negative reviews at the time of its release for showing less action than expected. That and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer are seen as superior Fantastic Four films since Fantastic Four (2015) came out.
  • Freddy Got Fingered was released to a widespread critical thrashing for its bizarre, nonsensical, at-times incredibly Squicky "comedy", quickly earning a reputation as being one of the worst movies ever made (nominated for 8 Razzies, winning 5). While that reputation has generally still stuck around, there's been an increasing movement of fans who make the case that its sheer bad taste actually shoots the moon and makes for an interesting anti-comedy, some even making the case for it being a Stealth Parody of late-90's, early 2000's lowbrow "dude-bro" comedies, much like most of Tom Green's oeuvre. Even Roger Ebert, who gave the film a scathing zero-star review — subjecting it to his infamous "bottom of the barrel" monologue — gave it a modicum of credit during his review of Stealing Harvard:
    "Bad movie, especially the scene where Green was whirling the newborn infant around his head by its umbilical cord. But the thing is, I remember "Freddy Got Fingered" more than a year later. I refer to it sometimes. It is a milestone. And for all its sins, it was at least an ambitious movie, a go-for-broke attempt to accomplish something. It failed, but it has not left me convinced that Tom Green doesn't have good work in him. Anyone with his nerve and total lack of taste is sooner or later going to make a movie worth seeing."
  • While few fans would try to argue that Ghostbusters II isn't a watered-down imitation of its beloved predecessor, several of them also have a hard time seeing it as the bottomlessly terrible and unfunny disaster it's often made out to be on the Internet.
  • Gigli is an interesting case. A lot of its initial reviewers said they thought it was bad, but not terrible. Somehow it sank in popular perception from 'bad movie' to 'worst movie ever' thanks to its many mildly to moderately negative reviews, combined with the fact that it starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (who were the 'it' couple at the time). Roger Ebert actually took time out of a different review to point out that it wasn't that bad.note 
  • The American 1998 Godzilla film often gets this; true, it does severely depart from its source material, but as a standalone monster film and as a 'realistic' take on the Godzilla franchise, it's not bad, and some of the diehard Japanese Godzilla fans admit to liking it (and especially its Animated Adaptation) better than some of the official Toho films (some of which have been known to be famously horrible).
  • Heaven's Gate was annihilated in reviews and became one the most dramatic flops and Genre-Killers in Hollywood history, but some modern critics have suggested it wasn't as bad as it was made out to be. Part of the problem was that the film had received so much bad publicity during production due to delays, cost overruns, stories about Michael Cimino's hyper-perfectionist directing style, protests from animal rights groups, an ill-fated premiere which garnered negative reviews, including a very vicious one by The New York Times' Vincent Canby, and finally, Cimino getting the film pulled from distribution after said premiere and cutting ⅓ of the film in a desperate attempt to salvage the movie's reputation. With all those factors in mind, critics were already expecting it to suck by the time they reviewed it. Although critics have softened their views, and the rerelease of the uncut version in 2012 was actually very well-received, the shorter version is still panned as the cut muddled up the storyline.
  • Some critics seem to think Hello, Dolly! is a terrible movie musical. If you overlook the most glaring problems (Barbra Streisand's acting and sluggish pacing) it's So Okay, It's Average at worst, though definitely not up to the standard the same studio had set with The Sound of Music.
  • The film adaptation of The Host (2008) has been well and truly savaged by critics, leaving it with a meager 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Opinions vary as to whether this was deserved, depending on your fondness for Stephenie Meyer's novel.
  • House of Wax (2005) was trashed by critics, and nominated for several Razzie Awards. It's noted here that the large amount of panning stemmed from the widespread Hatedom for Paris Hilton - and that the bashing seemed to be the Catharsis Factor for most of them. Roger Ebert likewise noted that Paris Hilton merely played a typical slasher movie victim - and did it no better or worse than any number of actresses in other such films. To prove this point, Paris would later spark She Really Can Act moments with Repo! The Genetic Opera and a guest spot on Supernatural.
  • Hudson Hawk was raked over the coals by critics when it was released for being a mess of a self-indulgent Vanity Project, which it is. Part of the problem is that the theatrical trailer made the film look like a fairly straightforward action film. so moviegoers were caught off guard. However, it has always had a small following of fans who appreciate its over-the-top Large Ham performances and Refuge in Audacity plot.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While it's doubtful the film will ever be considered the best of the franchise, and it does have a groan-worthy scene or two, it's by no means as bad as people make out. Most of the backlash aimed at this movie seems to be the result of Nostalgia Filter, as well as complaints about the film's MacGuffin being Science Fiction rather than a mystic/religious artifact. Which isn't true anyway, but that's beside the point.
  • The multitude of stories about the legendarily Troubled Production of Ishtar lowered critics' and audience's expectations for the released film, and indeed the box officenote  and reviews reflect that. But people who've watched it in the years sincenote  say it's actually not bad.note 
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate got a reputation as "the worst movie of all time" after it was shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000, causing Dr. Forrester to apologize for showing it to Joel. It's probably easier to agree with it if you haven't already heard it. Any fan of MST3K will readily confirm that it's hardly the worst movie they had ever mocked.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie was fairly well thrashed by reviewers but made a decent amount of money from its fanbase. Today, it is generally regarded as a Guilty Pleasure, retaining all that is considered fun about Power Rangers while having a much bigger budget and completely original footage.
  • On lists of Worst Best Picture Winners, Ordinary People is often given a high rating. This is most likely due to it winning the Best Picture Oscar instead of Raging Bull. The film itself is a very subtle, quietly moving film that doesn't deserve the almighty kicking it gets.
  • Crash makes many "worst Best Picture winners" lists because it won the year Brokeback Mountain was nominated. Crash may have some clichés and contrived scenes, but it's not by any means a bad film.note 
  • Pixels: If you take away Adam Sandler's character (responsible for most, if not all, of the film's negative publicity) and focus on the video games and the way they're brought into the real world, then it becomes a fun, enjoyable romp with shades of Wreck-It Ralph.
  • Kevin Costner's The Postman was a major commercial failure and its premise sounds ridiculous the first time you hear it, but it's certainly no Battlefield Earth and the premise does makes sense after you think about it.
  • Despite how much critics love to hate Repo! The Genetic Opera, the movie still has a huge fan following similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Speed Racer. Critics hated it and it flopped, but many of those who watched it consider it to be a fun if silly movie.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Motion Picture, while a big box-office hit, got a distinctly mixed critical reaction for its slow pace and long effects sequences, which earned it the unflattering nickname "The Slow-Motion Picture" in many quarters. This soon developed into a backlash from fans who felt that the film had been unfairly dismissed by critics who were expecting another Star Wars, and had either overlooked or failed to appreciate that it was trying to be something more cerebral. This has only intensified in the decades since, as the following films, despite being more critically successful, generally tended to focus around the formula of stopping a villain who was out for galactic conquest.
    • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier will never be considered a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some fans who feel that its overwhelmingly negative reaction on its initial release (let alone its reputation as one of the worst films of all time, which in fairness did lessen considerably after about a decade) had more to do with its being seen as a vanity project for William Shatner (whose public image was at the time very contentious), and that it would otherwise have probably been seen as a flawed, but still watchable film.
    • Star Trek: Nemesis ended up proving a serious Box Office Bomb, while getting worse reviews than any Trek film except for The Final Frontier. As with The Motion Picture however, an increasing number of fans feel that critics failed to give it a fair shake, with many of the reviews just complaining that It's the Same, Now It Sucks! rather than treating the film on its own merits, overlooking its Nature Versus Nurture themes, and failing to give Tom Hardy credit for his strong performance as the Big Bad.
  • Star Wars:
    • A look at Return of the Jedi's stats on Metacritic illustrates the considerable gulf between critical reaction (52%, meaning mixed reviews) and the audience reaction (8.3/10, meaning near-universal acclaim). The film still carries a reputation as a disappointing end to a great trilogy which made the bad guys into idiots, but the average Star Wars fan typically considers it to be a great film that simply happens to follow two even greater ones. And Revenge of the Sith (see below), regardless of one's opinion on the quality of that film, is agreed by many to have made Return of the Jedi an even more emotionally-charged film than it was before the prequel trilogy came out since it's not just about Luke redeeming his evil father, it's about Vader watching his son going down a similar path he did without giving in to the Dark Side, and rejecting it once and for all.
    • The 1997 Special Editions of the original trilogy were hit big-time with They Changed It, Now It Sucks! on their release (as were the subsequent 2004 DVD and 2011 Blu-Ray releases, which made their own changes), which made the very concept of the George Lucas Altered Version an incredibly contentious topic even to this day. Nowadays, the alterations are far less controversial, as the passage of time has lead to an increasing consensus that most of the changes are just cosmetic and don't really have that much of an impact on the films as a whole, with Greedo shooting first being probably the only change still widely agreed to have been a bad call. People on both sides of the argument usually agree that, ideally, the original theatrical editions should still be available for people who want to watch them, but other than that, most of the major alterations — such as the Wampa's being kept mostly off-screen in the theatrical release of Empire versus it being clearly visible in the Special Edition onwards, or the new musical numbers in Jedi — tend to be considered matters of personal taste, and complaining about minor details such as CGI creatures being added to the background of scenes or the colors of characters' lightsabers will usually just be dismissed as fanboyish nitpicking.
    • The Prequel trilogy films tend to get varied reactions from audiences, with most die-hard Star Wars fans (especially those who saw the Original Trilogy first) calling them pure hot garbage with few redeeming qualities. This is an agreement amongst some fans that The Phantom Menace's reputation has been blown out of proportion by people more angry with how the film was a disappointment than any actual legitimate criticism. While Menace and Attack of the Clones polarized both critics and fans, Revenge of the Sith was released to rather great acclaim.
      • While the acting of the prequel trilogy is generally considered to be awful, many fans feel that some actors get too much flak for their performances. In particular, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, and Hayden Christensen are attacked by die-hard fans who are more forgiving towards beloved actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Liam Neeson, even though their performances were considered by critics to be just as terrible. Some will excuse Lloyd's acting on account of him having been a child. As for Portman and Christensen, their defenders say that they weren't bad actors per se (especially since both have done roles outside of Star Wars where they received critical praise) and that their bad performances came more from George Lucas's directing and writing (Lucas himself has admitted that dialogue isn't his strong suit and many of the iconic lines in the Original Trilogy were ad-libbed by the actors). And continuing on that last point, some others also believe that Christensen played the character of Anakin Skywalker perfectly, and that the dislike is because Anakin is vastly different than what many Original Trilogy fans expected of a young Darth Vader (which Lucas has cited at least once). When Christensen returned to the role in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, his performance was unanimously praised.
      • Jar-Jar Binks is often considered one of the worst fictional characters ever created (not just in Star Wars, but in all media) and those who hate The Phantom Menace will usually point to Jar Jar as one of the main reasons why. Yes, he can be annoying. Yes, he can distract from the plot at times, and yes, he could be seen as a racist characterization of Jamaicans, but he can also be useful at times (if it weren't for him, the Naboo government and the Gungan army wouldn't have joined forces and the Federation would have won) even pulling off a few Big Damn Heroes moments in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Making matters worse is that Jar-Jar's actor, Ahmed Best, admitting that he had contemplated suicide at one point due to the harassment he received by haters of the character. While still a pop culture punchline, Jar Jar has gained some defenders in recent years (mainly from younger fans) who find the character to be no where near as bad as he's made out to be. Tellingly, Mr. Plinkett's review spends over 90 minutes discussing The Phantom Menace's flaws and barely has to mention Jar-Jar at all, making the unspoken point that Jar-Jar is hardly an asset, but it's unfair to blame him for singlehandedly ruining the film when there are plenty of other things wrong with the writing, acting, story, and direction.
    • Reactions to The Last Jedi by Star Wars fans have been... mixed at best, splitting an already fickle fanbase into about a million pieces. The film's haters tend to claim that it's as bad as, or worse than, the prequel trilogy. The online backlash has been so bad there was an actual online petition in order to officially declare The Last Jedi non-canon and an attempted crowd-funded fan-remake of the film. Still, many feel that the film deserves nowhere near the amount of bile it receives in many internet circles, especially considering that it was a darling with critics in the first place. Part of this reaction may have to do with the fact that unlike the prequels (whose criticism was largely based of more obvious flaws like dialogue, special effects, and acting) The Last Jedi's criticism is mostly based off more abstract flaws like the discrepancies with tone and continuity from The Force Awakens and whether certain characters would behave in the way that they are shown in the movie (particularly Luke Skywalker).
    • Some very vocal parts of the fandom absolutely despise Rose Tico, leading to a frequent meme (sometimes used in jest, sometimes not) that she is the Jar-Jar Binks of the sequel trilogy. The actress who played Rose, Kelly Marie Tran, received so much online backlash from viewers (including racist and misogynistic comments) that she shut down her social media accounts. Due to this intense hatred of her, many who have seen the movie after reading these comments have stated that while she does have quite a few cheesy lines and her character feels like a somewhat pointless addition to the franchise, she doesn't deserve the absolute hatred she gets from these circles, and certainly comes nowhere close to Jar-Jar in terms of annoyance. In fact, the personal attacks against Tran made many fans realize that they'd treated prequel actors Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd the same way, which may have set the precedent for those later attacks.
  • Super Mario Bros.: it's the Ur-Example of Video-Game Movies Suck, but some people who have looked at it from a different angle (not expecting a direct adaptation, not taking The Nostalgia Critic's word on something as infallible for once) actually don't find it to be that bad — some even think it's actually a pretty fun, trippy little movie if treated as a self-contained story divorced from the source material... which, admittedly, isn't that hard to do.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen: The sequel garnered many more reviews that were more negative overall, both from professionals and audiences, than Transformers. Roger Ebert gave voice to a particularly strong condemnation, though it still grossed over $800 million, over $120 million more than its predecessor. That being said, Revenge of the Fallen is the turning point for the film series, after which fewer and fewer Americans saw them in theaters.
    • Dark of the Moon, while getting slightly better but still negative reviews, grossed over a billion dollars worldwide.
    • And then Age of Extinction got even worse reviews than Revenge of the Fallen, and still recorded a ten-figure worldwide gross, albeit slightly smaller than Dark of the Moon. Fans also seemed to be lighter on this movie, for giving much more focus on the Transformers themselves and for having interesting and likable Autobots as leads, especially with Optimus' character arc.
  • Many people feel this way about Waterworld. It arrived in theaters in 1995 with both the baggage of its gigantic budget and Troubled Production (the sets got hit by a hurricane and that still wasn't the biggest issue) and growing critical and audience weariness with Kevin Costner and its story is hackneyed, but its scope and scale are genuinely impressive.

  • British author Colin Wilson first hit the big time in 1958 with a book of critical literary analysis called The Outsider. This was at first hailed as a critical success and the big-name critics couldn't get enough of this perceived driven young genius whose personal life was also newsworthy — it turned out he was living rough to save on rent and spending his days in the British Library researching and writing. However, with subsequent books the critics turned and savaged him, perhaps fearing they'd been over-fulsome the first time. While still having cult status, Wilson's 'formal' literary career never really survived this early critical Heel–Face Turn.
    • A lot of this had to do with his nonfiction writing: Wilson has written a number of histories of occultism and publicly stated his belief in some supernatural phenomena. He also wrote what is widely regarded as one of the most risible books about Jack the Ripper (at least until Patricia Cornwell got into the act).
  • This happened to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. The peak of its popularity with the film adaptations was soon followed by the rapid growth of its hatedom, whose criticisms ranged from heavier matters such as the bad writing, the regressive sexual and racial politics, and the acting in the movies to things like the screaming fangirls, the Pretty Boy male protagonists, and the idea that the series "ruined" vampires. By the late 2010s, however, a backlash to the backlash emerged from former fans who agree that there's plenty about it to criticize, but also feel that it's hardly "the worst thing ever" as it was once touted as, and view the extreme vitriol the series received as both somewhat exaggerated and fairly misogynistic in its own right, driven by both men upset that women were infringing on "their" geek spaces and women who didn't want to be seen associating with "girly" things. As of recent years, a smaller fandom for the series has grown in online circles, one where the general opinion can be summed up as "yeah, it's trash, but it's our trash." Lindsay Ellis and Sarah Z have made videos on how the pendulum has swung in this regard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory is frequently bashed online, ridiculed for relying on outdated nerd stereotypes for jokes, undergoing perceived Seasonal Rot after the guys all entered relationships, Flanderization of the cast, supposedly promoting "adorkable misogyny", or simply because It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. There are even edited versions of episode clips with the laughter from the studio audience muted in order to "prove" just how unfunny the show actually is. Yet, it is one of the most-watched shows on cable television even after it ended in 2019, Jim Parsons won four Emmys for his performance as Sheldon and critics usually gave it favorable reviews. It even did well enough to warrant a spin-off in Young Sheldon.
  • Due to its extreme longevity, Doctor Who has entire eras that suffer from being critically maligned. This also applies to fan opinion, however; it is quite common for stories and eras previously negatively viewed to receive positive reappraisal thanks to the passage of time. The Sixth and Seventh Doctor eras are rife with examples, as is the Second Doctor era, the latter due to mostly more stories from Patrick Troughton's time being recovered.
  • Season 8 of Game of Thrones, when it was first released, suffered an extremely negative backlash from many people. Since its airing, some fans upon rewatching it have come to defend the season, appreciating its dark plot twists and character development. They argue that, in an age of media that plays it safe and tries to maximize its appeal to be as broad as possible with endless sequels, reboots, and nostalgia bait, a show that built its final season around shocking and subversive twists that go against the fans’ wishes deserves at least some credit, even if the execution wasn’t perfect. There are also people who watched the whole show after it aired who, while they may not particularly like season 8, still enjoy the show overall and don’t believe the final season completely taints the experience as many claimed.
  • Star Trek: Voyager had a lot of complaints aimed at it during its initial airing and for a decade or so after its finale, the chief ones being that it was too similar to Star Trek: The Next Generation, that it relied too much on Status Quo Is God, and that the stories and characters just seemed too light-hearted for what some viewers should have been a grim scenario of a crew struggling to survive in hostile space decades away from home. Starting in The New '10s and beyond, however, people started questioning exactly why it was such a bad thing that the show had patterned itself so closely after a widely beloved and commercially successful predecessor, pointing out that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was already there to cater for people who wanted a Star Trek show with Darker and Edgier and more arc-based storytelling, and finding many of the other common criticisms to be greatly overblown and/or to only really apply to the early seasons of the show.
  • Most Smart Marks despise Total Divas and any wrestling columnist that has to mention it will usually take the time to bash it. Despite this, the show still attracts a significant Periphery Demographic outside the E! network's target audience, including plenty of male wrestling fans.
  • Many people have disparaged Two and a Half Men, Chuck Lorre's other major sitcom, as the Antichrist of sitcoms. The show itself mostly just has unlikable characters and trite jokes and plots. It also gets away with many more sex jokes than its time slot, and having a minor as a costar, would seem to allow. Besides all that, Charlie Sheen's real-life antics seem to color many people's perception of it even though he left the series in the eighth season. Yet, like The Big Bang Theory it always commanded a sizable audience.
  • Variety shows definitely count. They were derided by many critics and audiences for being schmaltzy and uninspired in their heyday, but there's a sizeable population who view them with nostalgia goggles and think that they didn't deserve the bashing they got and/or are certainly better than the crop of reality shows that we have today. The Star Wars Holiday Special might be an example.

  • The Beatles' final (sort of) album, Let It Be, was derided as a mess of half-done songs and sloppy editing, and arrived in stores after they'd broken up. However, it contains "Let It Be", "Get Back", "The Long and Winding Road", and "Across the Universe", some of the group's most famous and beloved songs.
  • Bob Dylan's 1978 album Street-Legal was slaughtered by critics (in Rolling Stone's review Greil Marcus started out by calling it "a joke" and got even more vicious as he went) for its Springsteen-ish arrangements and sometimes inscrutable lyrics. It's even been speculated that the album's poor reception might have helped drive Dylan to convert to Christianity. But after a remixed version was released in the '90s many fans have embraced it as one of their favorite albums.
  • The Hatedom of Justin Bieber has gotten to the point where even people who dislike his music think all the hate is overblown.
  • The album My Beauty by former Dexy's Midnight Runners lead Kevin Rowland came in for some of this. In this case, many critics chose to focus their ire on the fact that Rowland chose to wear drag and makeup on the album cover. This led the album being one of the worst-selling in the label's history, with only about 500 copies shifted; however, on its rerelease, after the controversy had died down, later reviewers found it to be a relatively solid album of cover tracks.
  • The 1970s musical genre of disco didn't inspire the former name of Condemned by History for no reason, but it's nowhere near as bad as many of its more virulent critics would make out. Part of the problem is that much of the disco was commercialised and nothing like the original genre. For instance, pop disco songs often featured far too many strings.
  • Megadeth's Youthanasia and Cryptic Writings experienced this to the point where they are now considered great albums. Risk is on the verge of it, the album being the butt of jokes even though Dave Mustaine corrected a lot of the Executive Meddling when he remixed and remastered it in 2004. In a reversal of the situation, the once well-received 'return to form album' The World Needs a Hero is now considered lackluster.
  • Adam Buckley of A Dose of Buckley makes reference to this effect on his 'Musical Autopsy' and 10 Worst Songs of the Year videos when he's deluged with comments asking why X, Y, or Z song isn't on his list by replying that musically and lyrically a particular song isn't actually that bad, that there is a difference between a bad song and an overplayed song ("If you had to hear the same Mozart song six times a day, seven days a week, for three months, you’d be pretty fucking sick of it too"), or he simply can't think of anything funny to say about it.
  • Teen pop acts and boy bands such as Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and *NSYNC tended to be dismissed during their heyday by music critics as manufactured and inauthentic, as well as for having largely female fan bases.note  In the years since the teen pop boom of the late 1990s/early 2000s, writers have reclaimed these artists and acknowledged their artistry and showmanship, as well as their influence on pop acts of today.
  • The critical backlash that boy band New Kids on the Block received was especially notable, even noted on Wikipedia. A combination of massive overexposure (at one point, they even had their own Saturday morning cartoon, just like boy bands The Jackson 5 and The Osmonds before them), criticism for using pre-recorded backing vocals live (which was likely only an issue due to the then-recent Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal), as well as a shift towards the rising trends of grunge and gansta rap left this blue-eyed urban contemporary act to start receiving massive hatedom. By the early 1990s, their popularity began to fizzle. Eventually, they too would make a comeback as a nostalgic act, and combined with the Backstreet Boys to create the Super Group NKOTBSB, which went on a profitable tour in the early 2010s.
  • Frank Sinatra was the original teen idol in the 1940s. Most of his songs of that period were hated by men across the globe because girls went crazy over him. Yet as Time Marches On and Sinatra became more associated with a mature adult singing about more world-wise topics these songs from early in his career have been judged on their own merits and are actually quite good. In fact, his voice never sounded better.
  • Nickelback gets plenty of hate, often voted as the worst band ever to the point where many non-fans don't feel that it's deserved and rather consider their music as bland but not awful.
  • Everclear was derided by critics quite a bit in their heyday, but they still produced at least three hit singles ("Santa Monica," "Father of Mine," and "Wonderful").
  • Metallica's Load and Reload albums. Upon release, the albums were heavily criticised for their alternative rock leanings and the band's questionable fashion choices. Over time, however, they've become more accepted by the metal community. The reasoning for this is twofold: First, while the Load twins alienated many of the band's longtime fans, they also gained the band many new ones. Most significantly, they brought Metallica's music (and metal in general) to a much younger audience. Since a good portion of the people that got onboard the Metallica bandwagon with the Loads eventually went on to discover less mainstream metal bands, it's only natural that the albums would be more accepted by the metal community now than they were during the mid-'90s. Secondly, in a weird way, the enormous backlash (not just with metal fans but also with the mainstream) with 2003's St. Anger got led many to go back and listen to the Load albums, realising that 'For bluesy hard rock (i.e. mostly non-metal) albums, these really aren't so bad.'
  • Eminem:
    • Eminem accused people who hated his album Revival of just dunking on him for the sake of it on "Chlorasceptic (Remix)", as people in the hip-hop community were calling it the worst album ever based on reading the track list before it even came out, and much of the rest of the hate being from Trump-supporting elements of his fanbase turning on it for its political message. Now the dust has settled... it's still considered a bad album that suffers from trying to please every part of Eminem's huge fanbase, but it's nowhere near as bad as it's been made out to be. Later critics commented that its politics are more coherent and thoughtful than initially assumed (and not really contradicting his shock-comedy persona much either, which was always satirical), with some who hated the album admitting they respected the artist for taking a hit in the pocket to stand up for his values by telling Trump supporters he didn't want them in his fandom - more than a lot of 'woke' pop stars bothered to do in 2017. (Em claimed, perhaps hyperbolically, that his fanbase went down to "about a third".)
    • Encore is generally considered the other candidate for Eminem's worst album, with fans speculating after it came out that it was a fake album designed to confuse the leakers. While the rehabilitation of the album is still controversial, it has been Vindicated by History to some extent: Teens listening to Encore to find out how bad it was led to Encore becoming a major influence on swag rap, mumble rap (he slurs and sing-raps a lot of the album) and shitpost rap, and caused a brief fad for flows imitating the Painful Rhymes and intentional flubs that dot the album.

  • Popeye Saves the Earth is one of the most frequently bashed pinball machines of all time, and any discussion of terrible pinball by someone who's played a lot of pinball machines will inevitably list Popeye Saves the Earth among them. However, should a discussion about this game go on for long enough, there will always be people coming out to defend it, or at least say it isn't that bad. Indeed, despite its jarring mix of themes (Popeye and conservationalism), it was still drawn professionally, and despite half of the playfield being obscured by a giant plastic model of a cruise ship's bow, it was crafted competently enough to preserve the ball's momentum traveling up and down ramps and lanes. There have been pinball machines with horribly Off-Model artwork (such as World Poker Tour), and there have been machines with worse problems with design (such as Orbitor 1). All in all, Popeye Saves the Earth fell victim to being a weaker game released after a long line of critically acclaimed and popular pinball machines and had confusing, ambiguous, and seemingly inconsistent rules.

  • The Unjustly Maligned Podcast is about this subject, with a guest every episode discussing and defending a work that they think isn't as bad as its reputation, including many examples from this page.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • John Cena, or more specifically, his wrestling ability. While Cena's move set is certainly limited and his matches can be formulaic, he's nowhere near as bad as a lot of his detractors will have you believe (at least in comparison with most other WWE main eventers with similar schedules). On the flip side, when he has a good opponent to work with, his psychology and understanding of story can lead to classics such as his Money in the Bank match against CM Punk; the same match that managed a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer, the premier writer of the The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the first one Meltzer had given the WWE in over fifteen years. For comparison, Shawn Michaels has only had two of his matches rated as five stars from Meltzer, and he's often regarded as the best in-ring performer of all time. The Undertaker, a similarly highly-regarded wrestler, has only ever managed one, and that was the first Hell in a Cell match against Michaels back in 1997, the last time WWE ever managed the five-star rating. Punk's second draw with Samoa Joe in their trilogy back in Ring of Honor was the first match in the United States to gain the rating in years. The fact that Cena managed to gain such acclaim for one of his matches indicates that he does have some amount of talent, no matter how much the other guy is carrying the match.
  • This extended to John Cena's girlfriend Nikki Bella. She attracted an insane Hatedom around the time she won the Divas' Championship, and this only increased when it became clear she would surpass A.J. Lee for the longest title reign. Most of the criticisms stem from Narm-filled segments during her feud with her sister (which she herself viewed as an Old Shame). A section of fans still believe she's just as bad as when she first started to get pushed. Others however felt the criticisms were overblown and that Nikki visibly improved her mic skills and wrestling. Bleacher Report praised her match against her sister Brie, rating it higher than the other Divas' match featuring smark favourites Paige and AJ Lee the same night. Likewise Lethal WOW named her the Most Improved Diva of 2015 and hatred of her has calmed down a lot in 2016 following a sidelining injury taking her out of action and other women being pushed in her place. Outside her Hatedom, general opinion seems to be that she's not amazing but she's not as terrible as her detractors would make her out to be.
  • Goldberg has a reputation among hardcore fans for being limited and a dangerous worker because he accidentally delivered a legit mule kick to Bret Hart, giving Hart a concussion which led to Hart retiring due to Post-Concussion Syndrome. While Goldberg wasn't very technically sound and he was a bit sloppy, he at least tried to bust out new moves in his matches and while they weren't textbook perfect, they look effective enough. Let's be honest, the Spear and Jackhammer were all he needed, because fans loved him for it.
  • Hulk Hogan was, and still is, criticized for his lack of actual wrestling ability and for being formulaic much like John Cena. Hogan was trained by legendary Japanese technician Hiro Matsuda, but American promoters thought that the American wrestling fans wouldn't buy a guy the size of Hogan wrestling that way and pushed him to wrestle like a generic big guy heel, with his offense consisting mostly of strikes, dirty moves and a few power moves. His ability became even more "limited" when he became the top face of the WWF in the mid-1980s since his matches always consisted of Hogan getting the crap kicked out of him, only for Hogan to get a Heroic Second Wind, perform the Five Moves of Doom and win. Hogan brought back some of his technical style when he became Hollywood Hogan in 1996, even putting on a decent technical match against Bret Hart in 1998 (though age and injuries had slowed him down considerably). Watching Hogan's Japanese matches compared to his American ones would almost make you think it was two different people. To put this in perspective, he once busted out an enzugiri in one of his Japanese matches against The Great Muta.
  • Ever since he became a singles wrestler, Roman Reigns has become Public Enemy number one because of his limited moveset, cringe-worthy promos, and his positioning as John Cena 2.0. Reigns' moveset is limited, but he does have a few moves that he can do quite well, he has been in several Match-of-the-Year candidates since then, and nearly every opponent he has faced has praised him for his work ethic out-of-character. His promos are mediocre at best but that's mainly due to the creative team's bad writing and Reigns can deliver decent promos when he's allowed more free will (Many agree that'd they'd at least tolerate him if he stopped talking altogether and be a silent badass), and there are many wrestlers on the roster who are far worse at cutting promos than Reigns. Ultimately, the way he's booked his not his fault, he's simply doing what WWE tells him. Even many people who are not fans of Reigns as a wrestler or character agree that while he's not good enough to be the top star, he still busts his ass at what he does and the hatred of him has gotten far out-of-control. (Un)Fortunately, opinions on Reigns softened considerably upon the revelation that he had been battling Leukemia for over a decade and that he had to step away from the ring in order to get it back into remission.
  • Detractors (and some fans) of WCW often hate on its former lead commentator Tony Schiavone, who was voted "Worst Television Announcer" in 1999 and 2000 by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (which Sacred Cow Gorilla Monsoon "won" six years in a row) and is often credited as being the one to put WCW on its deathbed by spoiling Mick Foley's WWF Championship win on RAW the same night as the Fingerpoke Of Doom, sarcastically saying "That's gonna put some butts in the seats!" It also doesn't help that Schiavone's late former colleague Bobby Heenan spoke very negatively about Tony in his book. Regarding his commentary itself, he would occasionally mix up the names of moves, pay little attention to matches that didn't involve the nWo, and shill WCW to death by declaring everything to be "The greatest 'X' in the history of our sport!" Truth is, Tony's commentary was much better prior to the nWo era and many of the points people criticize him for are a case of misblamed (i.e. Eric Bischoff ordered Tony to bury Foley and the non-main event talents, towards the end of WCW everything was so out of control that not even Jim Ross or Gorilla Monsoon could have saved it, the issues between Heenan and Schiavone were misunderstandings brought on by higher-ups, etc.). While few will call him the best commentator out there, those who don't dislike Schiavone believe he was good enough on his own merits and did the best job he could as the voice of WCW in the '90s. Opinions of him seemed to improve starting in the second half of The New '10s, after his "What Happened When" podcast re-ignited his passion for the business and led to him returning to wrestling commentary, first for MLW, then for All Elite Wrestling.
  • If you ask a lot of AEW fans who the worst wrestler to set foot in an AEW ring was, a lot of them would answer Mel. Mel was brought in as part of the unpopular Nightmare Collective faction with Brandi Rhodes (often accused of using political stroke to give herself a bigger role than she deserved), Awesome Kong (who by this point was severely broken down and a shell of what she used to be in the ring) and Dr. Luther (who was presented as a big deal even though he was a manager and few fans knew who he was). Mel then had a stinker of a match with Hikaru Shida, and because of Shida's reputation as the best worker in the women's division, Mel took 100% of the blame for the bad match. The thing is that although Mel wasn't exactly setting the ring on fire, her matches were generally inoffensive at worst, and her only other "bad" match, against Red Velvet, just had one botch in it, which was Velvet's fault. Also, although Shida is still considered a stellar worker, there are a few women she just doesn't gel with and she's had a couple other bad matches over the years. Before AEW, Mel worked in SHIMMER as Melanie Cruise, and her work there was generally well received.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Monopoly is mostly reviled in board gaming circles, but when it's criticized, there'll usually be someone arguing that the game is fine if played as intended, with the players trading and without the notorious House Rules that drag out games. (Of course, there are also people countering that while the game is less bad in this case, it's still bad.)

    Video Games 
  • Aaru's Awakening is considered by GameFAQs to be the worst game ever made. The sheer fact that it has an actual and consistent art style and storyline would however place it above many even worse games. On Metacritic you can see the hatred in full-swing. While critics were polarized by it, it's considered divisive, with most of them citing that it has a good art-style, but that there are issues with the controls and gameplay, yet Metacritic users still decided that it was worth spamming floods of negative reviews to.
  • Alpha Protocol: Savaged by various reviewers who panned it for being unpolished and glitchy, scaring off the vast majority of first adopters, it has become a cult classic whose fans admit that it has flaws but enjoy the vast replayability it offers.
  • The Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial are frequently called "the worst games ever" by critics. Granted, Pac-Man suffered from being a Porting Disaster and E.T. has some issues of its own, but they're not as bad as critics might think, compared to other games released on that system at the time these two games were released. In particular, the urban myth that E.T. was the worst game ever even drove Digitalpress insane. To the point that they showcased 10 even worse Atari 2600 games that, according to the people that viewed it, made E.T. look like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins gets a lot of flak from the fanbase for, among other things, being too similar to Batman: Arkham City (some even calling it a rip-off), despite WBM having Rocksteady's full approval. Some also consider it to be non-canon for its supposed horribleness. Yet, it got only slightly lower scores than the original two games, and some players feel like it has the best story in the series as well as the most badass boss fights.
  • Bomberman Act:Zero was intended as a Darker and Edgier Continuity Reboot for the "next generation," but its Halo-reject characters, uninspired dingy levels and pointlessly hard single-player mode (99 sluggish, repetitive levels to play on one life with no continues or saves) won no awards. To further irritate fans of the series, few of the power-ups from previous installments were retained, and offline multiplayer, one of the series' biggest selling points, was not available. The game's only possible redeeming feature, its online multiplayer mode, was written off by most people for a long time; with copies of the game collecting dust in bargain bins, it was doubtful that people would actually be eager to actually play it. Then ProtonJon's livestream featured it on a dare, and a lively series of 8-player matches ensued.
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest's departure from the level-based structure of parts I and III is still complained about today, along with its rather obtuse puzzles and several flat-out misleading clues. Those who grew up with the title or tried it in spite of contemporary internet critics' snarking tend to be more charitable in their assessment, appreciating the game for its attempt at an open-world action/adventure style (which became the series bellwether once Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ironed out the kinks) and pointing out that plenty of other well-regarded games from the era had their fair share of Guide Dang It! moments.
  • Chrono Cross has generally always received a good response from critics, but when it was released it was loudly savaged by fans who were upset that it wasn't Chrono Trigger 2. It had brand new characters, a brand new world, brand new combat and magic systems (save for Trigger's trademark Combination Attack techs), and the only real references to its predecessor were oblique, unnecessary fanservice, entirely missable, or the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere final boss. Nothing that made Chrono Trigger a beloved classic was readily apparent in Cross' design, production, or play. In time, the fan stance softened and Cross is now regarded as one of the best RPGs of the PlayStation 1 era and an excellent game in its own right. Modern consensus tends to be that the "Chrono" name was more of a burden than a boon, and that Cross didn't need the pressure of living up to Trigger when it was never really making any strong attempt to connect itself to begin with (the developers have always been adamant that it was meant to be a loose sequel. Cross was its own game with small ties to its predecessor, and was never intended to be a continuation of Trigger's story, or require people to have played Trigger to understand the plot, or to feature a rehash of Trigger's best elements).
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War is actually a really good FPS and received average critical scores of about 8/10. To hear the fans talk about it though, it's the worst heresy ever spawned from the pits of FPS hell- or at least little better than Daikatana and it is even considered Fanon Discontinuity by some. This is more because it simply can't live up to the original, largely because it's accused — with some justification — of being 'dumbed down' for the Xbox (but if Invisible War was dumbed down, you can't blame it on the Xbox — the original Deus Ex did just as well on PS2).
  • DmC: Devil May Cry has been panned as the worst thing to ever happen to the franchise. Despite the numerous contentious changes, it's still a solid game with nice gameplay and it has probably the best environmental design in the series.
  • Many reviewers chose to follow the crowd in bashing Dragon Age II, calling it a dumbed-down action game, when in fact it still features the tactical combat just like Dragon Age: Origins, only faster. The game did have its problems (recycled dungeons, unpredictable enemy spawns), simplified action commands, and removed isometric view for the PC version, but the writing and dialogue were very good. It probably doesn't help that BioWare was caught planting user reviews from its employees, was quoted out of context in wanting Call of Duty's audience, and that there was a ridiculous amount of pre-order DLC available. Despite a flood of harsh negative user reviews, many fans will agree that it's still a solid overall game.
  • Duke Nukem Forever: Rescued from Development Hell after a decade and a half, it was the most popular playable title at PAX 2010 — yet it was almost universally hated by critics once it was released. Some reviewers even ventured into Fan Hater territory, slinging insults at anyone who actually enjoys DNF. Despite all that, the game still sold well enough to be profitable — a fact that actually annoyed its critics. Check out the Metacritic scores for the PC version, and note the difference in distribution of ratings between critics and users.
  • Dune 2000, a remake of the Trope Codifier for the RTS genre Dune II. Upon release, the game received lukewarm reviews, with the main criticism being that it was essentially just Dune II in Command And Conquer's clothing, at a time when the RTS genre was rapidly evolving through games like Starcraft and Total Annihilation. The game sold poorly and was quickly forgotten. Over the years, however, it has developed a cult following for being a well-made but refreshingly simple RTS and solid update to Dune II, with a fairly strong modding scene to its name. There are even fan-made patches available to play the game at modern resolutions on newer versions of Windows.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has this happen with seemingly each new installment. Fans of the series tend to judge each new game against whichever game they were introduced to the series with, sort of their own personal version of First Installment Wins. Given Bethesda's tendency to build each installment from the ground up with wholesale changes from its predecessor, this leads to serious Broken Base issues and claims of Contested Sequels.
  • See also Fallout 3. Like The Elder Scrolls, the previous game, Fallout 2, receives its 'fair' share, as well. Apparently consoles ruined RPGs forever, as has been said of this game, Oblivion, and Morrowind.
  • When the PC version of Final Fantasy VII was released on Steam in 2013, many who played it (including those who played for the first time ever) didn't think it was as bad as the hatedom says that it is.
  • Despite Final Fantasy VIII being an easy target for criticism for its obtuse gameplay systems and even more obtuse plot, there's still a large fandom for the game, liking the more complicated character drama, the subtle nuances of the plot, and the card game.
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is becoming an example of this trope as well as its fanbase is starting to become a bit more vocal over the years. More people are willing to be okay with how simplistic the game is and find it to be a fun little title nevertheless (though its fairly renowned soundtrack probably helped).
  • The Halo series tends to get this a lot of this, especially from fans of Half-Life, System Shock and Call of Duty. Especially on The Escapist, thanks to Zero Punctuation (who has openly said he didn't really enjoy Halo, but said it was average), in which the series is frequently complained about ripping off stuff it actually created or popularized or was already done by Bungie's previous shooter Marathon, is criticized for its fanbase (despite the fact that they themselves are not so different), has extremely subjective opinions thrown at it, and stuff that's flat out contradicted by the games.
  • Herzog Zwei had the unfortunate distinction of being among the first of its kind — a Real-Time Strategy game — coming from a developer renowned for classic overhead shooters, namely the Thunder Force franchise. Reviewers, therefore, treated Herzog as a classic shooter and were perplexed as a result, and their horrific scores followed that train of thought. Now that the RTS genre is firmly cemented in the gaming public's consciousness, fans are much kinder to the game.
  • This YouTube video actually shows the reviewer honestly saying he didn't find Zelda's Adventure and Hotel Mario to be as bad as everyone says they are — he even goes so far as to say that he liked them, despite having his fair share of complaints towards the games. In fact, the CD-i in general had this used by the reviewer, who said that it actually wasn't that bad, usually saying it was So Okay, It's Average. There is a top 10 worst CD-i games list made by Johan Oberg, which is also the only list of its kind. Though he hated all three of the Zelda CD-i games on the console, he also said that they weren't the worst games ever made. The games weren't even the worst games on that console, as reflected by the fact that he put it at #3. Later on, he also made a top 10 best CD-i games, in which Hotel Mario was at #10.
  • Despite all the criticism, many feel that Mario Party 9 and 10 were good games in their own right, especially with all the innovation.
  • Kirby: Squeak Squad is generally considered one of Kirby's worst outings. However, upon a closer inspection, even fans who don't like it tend to admit that it's a relatively average game and its only crimes are an Idiot Plot and a lackluster final boss.
  • In a minor example, the first real planet you visit in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Peragus, was frequently criticized for dragging on too long (taking somewhere around two or three hours to finish) and being incredibly boring, with little dialogue with other characters save listening to Apocalyptic Logs and a lot of slogging through hordes of the same three types of droids (mining droids that shoot you or bash you, red mining droids that shoot you or bash you but a little harder and with a little more health, and maintenance droids that heal the other two) before you eventually get to leave a couple hours later. So many were absolutely vehement in their hatred for that portion of the game that several players getting into the game later expected the worst thing ever, witnessed it, and came to the conclusion it's not all that bad. Some even appreciate it for, despite its reputation, still being quicker and more to-the-point than the opening planet of the first Knights of the Old Republic, as well as its attempt to make a Survival Horror-style level where you have no idea what's going on and nearly everyone you meet is already dead in a Star Wars game.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Other M. Mainly due to the story, uneven character writing, and restricted use of the Wiimote, the game was met with severe criticism from most fans. However, gameplay-wise, some feel that it's a genuinely decent and enjoyable game, despite its linearity and non-innovative gameplay (especially compared to previous Metroid games).
    • Whilst it is agreed that Metroid Prime: Federation Force could have been released at a better time, a lot of fans consider the game’s initial overwhelming negative reception to be unfair and outright ridiculous. Though just mentioning the game still garners knee-jerk hate and ridicule even years after its release from the fanbase, general consensus is that the game is actually So Okay, It's Average, with a lot of interesting concepts (such as giving a Day in the Limelight to the Federation), and that most of the anger directed towards the game was excessive at best.
  • Mighty No. 9, a crowd-funded spiritual successor to Mega Man, one helmed by none other than Keiji Inafune and co-produced by Inti Creates of Mega Man Zero and Azure Striker Gunvolt fame, was widely seen as a failure of nuclear proportions at the time of release. On top of negative critical and general audience response, the fact that it was backed by so many audience members on Kickstarter, had a well-documented myriad of behind-the-scenes problems, multiple delays, poor decisions and mismanagement on Inafune's part, and featured a disastrous marketing campaign by Deep Silver, combined into a huge reputation as one of the worst games of the decade, tarnishing Inafune's good name and his career. However, if you go into the game today, you'll probably find that it's mostly an underdeveloped, but fairly middling Mega Man-inspired clone, and it's become more common in the years following release that its failure had been blown out of proportion by its surrounding controversies more than its actual content, some players not finding the game as bad as many are making it out to be. Inti Creates would later reintroduce Mighty No. 9 to their much-better-received spin-off/crossover series Mighty Gunvolt, which also restored some favor in the project as not being a total loss.
  • Any Mortal Kombat game between MK3 and Deadly Alliance falls into this, most notably MK4. Ironically, the game was panned for the exact reason Street Fighter IV was acclaimed (albeit the latter handled the transition to 3D much better than the former).
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star is the lowest critically-rated game in the Paper Mario series and also gained a large hatedom for its gameplay, lacking original characters or memorable characterizations as seen in the previous titles, instead going into a "New Super Mario Bros.-esque" formula, which many fans were already sick of by that point. Despite this, it still has a following (albeit a small one, or just very silent) for being a decent and quirky game by its own standards and not when compared to the past titles, although nowhere near the level of Super Paper Mario which has been Vindicated by History since its release.
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash as well. It has a vocal hatedom because it uses the same gameplay mechanics as Sticker Star, but many people who originally hated it on reveal were won over when it turned out to have fixed at least some of Sticker Star's flaws (namely the Guide Dang It! gameplay, lack of meaning to battles and the generic locations). There are also some who think its flaws are getting overblown and the Nostalgia Filter for the first two games is minimizing their flaws (though that's not to say the reverse for either side doesn't happen). However, because it still retains some of the problems of its predecessor (such as lack of character variety, very little story, Bowser still as the Big Bad, quality of the battle system, no partners...), the quality of this game is still rather contested, as opposed to the former which is already hit with Sequelitis.
  • This is common with many Pokémon. Garbodor is one of the most prominent examples of this. In its debut, it was the symbol of what people hated about Pokémon Black and White, as many players believed it was ugly and lazy of Game Freak to make a trash-based mon. However, the sheer vitriol led to Garbodor gaining many passionate defenders such as Bogleech, and it ended up gaining a cult fandom as a result. Amusingly, Pokémon media tends to portray Garbodor quite sympathetically, as if they were aware of how controversial it would be.
  • Senran Kagura. Any article that mentions this game will be flooded with comments about how said game is "ruining" gaming as we know it. Kotaku tried turning it into Dragon's Crown 2.0 by bashing the game during its localization announcement. And what do the people that actually played it say? It's a pretty damn good brawler with a surprisingly engaging story.
  • Every Sonic the Hedgehog game made since 1995. Sonic Unleashed gets hit especially hard by IGN's and GameSpot's reviews, which made it all the more ridiculous when Sonic Unleashed got worse reviews from those sites than the much-maligned Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • The western Super Mario Bros. 2 is often derided for being a Dolled-Up Installment of Doki Doki Panic, odd mechanics and not being as much memorable than its predecessor and successor. This installment was also released in Japan under the title Super Mario USA and made it on Famitsu's Top 100 Famicom games at #45 all the while Doki Doki Panic was absent (What's more, Shigeru Miyamoto himself surprised many by revealing it to be among his favorites). It doesn't help that Doki Doki Panic itself was meant as a commercial for Fuji Television.
  • Unreal Tournament III was an Obvious Beta at launch. However, its gameplay isn't as bad as the fans of previous installments make it seem, and, with the advent of the Black Edition, it was improved in every sense possible.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the most divisive game in the series, due in no small part to the Genre Shift and difficulty. While there are a few issues, namely limited lives, instant deaths, and reset experience, the game still controls incredibly well for an early-to-mid NES game and predated many Metroidvania games with RPG elements (in the US at least). Still, the game gets hate for "not being Zelda enough" decades after the fact.

    Web Comics 
  • The webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del is widely derided, yet maintains such a significant base of regular readers that the author is able to live off the comic. In the world of webcomics, especially ones going as long as it has? This is very rare.

    Web Original 
  • Discussed in a SF Debris review of Star Trek: Insurrection, where Chuck Sonnenburg argues that the movie is one of the most hated films in Star Trek history because it didn't have Critical Backlash on its side. Though it definitely wasn't the most popular or critically acclaimed Star Trek movie, it also wasn't panned badly enough to make anyone eager to defend it. Thus, it probably has the least amount of people that openly admit to liking it, even though several movies in the series have gotten much worse critical receptions (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis come to mind).
  •'s Scout Tafoya does the video essay series titled The Unloved where he discuss the artistry of underappriciated films maligned by critics and audiences alike.
  • A minor case: when Nathan Rabin reviewed North, he found the movie worthless but not as abysmal as reviewers did in 1994:
    Expectations undoubtedly played a major role in my perception of the film as well. Ebert went into North expecting another winner from a talented filmmaker on a hot streak. I went in expecting one of the worst films ever made. I can't say I was pleasantly surprised, but I wasn't horrified either.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Breadwinners has received very negative reception from YouTube critics such as The Mysterious Mr. Enter as well as older Nickelodeon fans, many calling it the worst show to have ever existed. That said, professional critics gave it decent to average reviews, and it does have a small fan following who believe it's not that bad.
  • Angela Anaconda was memetically trashed for a multitude of reasons. The show's animation is rather bizarre, The Mysterious Mr. Enter found an episode quite apalling, it was seen as somehow screwing KaBlam! from getting rereleased when it didn't, the show's entire stories were mundane, Angela Anaconda could come off as Unintentionally Unsympathetic, and most notably its inclusion in Digimon the Movie - which had nothing to do with the creators at all. (To the point in which a greentext blamed its inclusion in the Digimon movie for destroying an already failing marriage.) However, as more people watched the show and an interview with the show's creator, some found it to not be that bad at all. Billiam in particular mentioned the show was quite over-hated when he did a video on it being a Weird Canadian Thing and was surprised at how much more he wanted to see.
  • Transformers:
    • Beast Machines originally had quite a bit of backlash after all the praise and love Beast Wars got. With the advent of fansubs of Japanese produced G1 material and the later dubbing of The Unicron Trilogy made many people realized their weaknesses made Beast Machines strengths stand out more (animation, story, characterizations, etc.).
    • Any given Transformers series after Beast Wars is starting to receive this treatment as even Transformers: Robots In Disguise and the Unicron Trilogy were starting to have a bit more vocal fanbases over the years. While Transformers: Animated is still fairly popular with the fanbase, by the time it came out the fanbase was starting to be a bit more forgiving to past Transformers shows. (One potential reason why is the popular notion of "The Original series was the only good Transformers show!" is becoming more and more widely frowned upon in the Transformers fanbase even by those who still like the original series.)
      • Even Beast Wars itself was a victim of this when it debuted. Angry fans rejected the tiny cast of brand new characters, the handful of Legacy Character candidates such as Optimus and Megatron who were considered In Name Only knockoffs of iconic G1 characters, and especially the shift from vehicle and technology-based alternate modes to animal ones (with early Transformers discussion groups coining the meme "Trukk not Munky" to mock the backlash). Early plots were also often disliked for their simplicity or "lesson of the day" type formats. It took until the end of the first season and into the second before reactions softened and fans began to embrace the series' positives, to the point of it becoming perhaps the most praised incarnation of the franchise in terms of its characterization and story.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien certainly aren't flawless, but they are far from being as crappy and hated as the original series' fans usually describe them; they were both on air for quite a long time, and still have quite a fandom of their own, judging from the huge Broken Base Ben 10: Omniverse caused.
  • Some Looney Tunes fans argue that the Daffy/Speedy series isn't as bad as it's made out to be. Many even argue that several of these cartoons are, by their own merits, actually pretty decent.
    • Same with Loonatics Unleashed, despite critics and some fans not particularly liking the premise, the show does have a considerable enough fanbase.
  • The Mike Scully-era episodes of The Simpsons are starting to get this. While almost nobody thinks they're as good as "Golden Age" Simpsons, a good portion of them are still pretty funny and watchable in their own right. Some fans even believe they contain some of the best Funny Moments in the entire series.
  • For how much hate the Pilot Movie of Star Wars: The Clone Wars got, many people have come to see it more along the lines of "Not too bad" instead of "It rivals The Star Wars Holiday Special for badness". Part of the reason is that many people now watch the pilot film less as a standalone canon work and more as the pilot of the installment. The series went on to be critically acclaimed and the initially hated Ahsoka has become a beloved character.
  • Teen Titans Go!: The show has a massive hatedom who often decry it for its parodies and flanderizations of the characters from the original show, as well as being more mean-spirited than the original series and on the air almost constantly at the expense of other programming. Go into the comments section of any YouTube video and chances are there will be some kind of snarky comment deriding the show, even if the video has nothing to do with Teen Titans Go! or animation in general. Despite this, some critics have given it decent reviews, and it even has a large regular fanbase. Even several casual viewers have watched it, and while hardly considering it a masterpiece, don't consider it to be the worst thing ever made. Much of the derision seems to be because of its genre (comedy), but its frequent use of Black Comedy has its fans.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The episode "Chameleon" is infamous for tearing the fandom apart with its contentdetails , leading to the rise of the "salt fic" genre and to people treating Lila Rossi (and in some extreme cases, the main characters' best friends) as an irredeemable sociopath who's even worse than the show's Big Bad. For non-fans and fans who aren't as emotionally invested, however, this is merely seen as an average and largely inoffensive Idiot Plot episode that's already been done to death in other shows, and not really worth the fuss it caused.
  • The later episodes of Family Guy are loathed by both critics and many fans for the Flanderization of the cast and the sharp increase in mean-spirited (especially with the way Meg is treated), offensive, and gross-out humor. However, there are some fans that will defend the newer seasons, claiming there are still more than a few Funny Moments, and there's another camp that will at least call them So Okay, It's Average.


Video Example(s):


Deadpool defends Nickelback.

In a trailer for Once Upon a Deadpool, Fred Savage attempts to deliver a Take That to Nickelback, only for a fed up Deadpool to come to their defense.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / CriticalBacklash

Media sources: