Until Thursday, the Ryan Coogler-directed film had a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, earning nothing but positive reviews.
The film's page is full of raving reviews like this one from the Toronto Sun's Liz Braun: "Black Panther is every bit as good as you were hoping. Actually—it's better. A terrific screenplay from Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole elevates this thing way beyond the usual boundaries of the Marvel Universe."
Unfortunately, that perfect score was ruined on Thursday by a critic named Ed Power from TheIrish Independent. In the write-up, Power says, "Black Panther spirals into a stodgy tale of internecine feuding."
Power adds, "The strain [of the film's expectations are] visible, especially in the performance of Chadwick Boseman as Prince T’Challa—the eponymous Black Panther. In the context of the place United States finds itself today, and where it has come from, Boseman knows he can’t wise-crack his way through the film in the fashion of, for example, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, and the responsibility to be at all times sincere weighs on him."
Shortly after Powers' review was published, he was joined by another buzzkill: Louise Keller from Urban Cinefile. Her review opens with the line: "The trouble with the highly anticipated Black Panther is that it doesn't know what it wants to be: super hero extravaganza, activist action flick, James Bond wannabe or Coming to America."
As of Thursday night, Power and Keller's reviews remain outliers, however. 81 of the film's 83 scores so far have been positive—giving Black Panther an excellent 98% overall rating.
These negative reviews come after early February reports that a Facebook page linked to the alt-right was plotting to drive down the film's Rotten Tomatoes score. The page was eventually shut down.
Black Panther will hit theaters on February 16, 2018.