Peter Pan And Wendy Banner image showing the ship, Tinker Bell, and some of the Lost Boys.

Even With a Quiet Streaming Release, ‘Peter Pan & Wendy’ Gets Review Bombed

Seems like more people need to grow up.

At the start of March, Disney released its trailer for a live-action take on J. M. Barrie’s 1903 novel Peter Pan. Directed by David Lowery (The Green Knight). Peter Pan & Wendy is another family-friendly adaptation, but with a more serious tone than the story usually gets. The trailer garnered a mixed response. Moviegoers expressed interest in its diverse casting but also held reservations about another less colorful live-action movie. Of course, you can only really call the response “mixed” if you discount a loud minority of people expressing their predictable outrage about the cast.

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Scores of people online seethed over a Black Iranian Tinker Bell, South Asian Peter, and an ensemble of Lost Boys that featured a diversity of abilities, races, and genders. (No word on how they feel about women in the X-Men.) In what truly seems to be a copy-paste reaction to the upcoming The Little Mermaid remake, many of these same people decided to take this family movie and review bomb it the weekend it came out on Disney+.

Peter Pan & Wendy is not phenomenal. However, it is a great film that dove into under-explored elements of the transition to adulthood. Additionally, it’s one of the few live-action remakes that, once finished, didn’t leave me wondering why this movie was made. (Other than for Disney to make money from a story in the public domain most associated with their brand.) I can confidently say the performances, stunts, and more give this film the potential to be a new generation’s equivalent of the 1991 classic Hook—something that compliments the 1953 film but wants to talk about growing up in a more mature way using the same characters.

Review bombers tank score

“Everything from this dumbster fire of a movie was pathethic and BAD I would give it a 5.6/10.”

— From a Rotten Tomatoes Review that actually gave a 1/10 star review.

As a reminder “review bombing” is not the same as stating genuinely negative opinions of a movie. Rather, it’s a deliberate, usually coordinated campaign to tank a film’s online ratings over bad-faith, usually bigoted, grievances.

So in regard to Peter Pan and Wendy, not everyone who didn’t like the movie is review bombing, but trademark traces of a review bombing campaign are everywhere. Words like “woke,” “forced diversity,” and “Marxist” litter reviews on sites like IMBD, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic. This includes the Spanish and Portuguese reviews—which comprise a significant portion of the reviews on many sites. Sites with demographic breakdowns also show signs that this was a coordinated effort.

90% of IMDB users leaving reviews for Peter Pan & Wendy have an age and/or gender stated on their account. Of those, men aged 30-44 make up exactly half of the reviews. While most groups broken down by age/gender show a bell curve averaging out to a middle-of-the-road film (floating between 5/10 or 6/10 rating), these men aged 30+ overwhelmingly rated this film at the lowest possible score. Remember, this is a family movie adapted from a children’s book. These older men are showing themselves to be overly invested in watching and aggressively, publicly hating a film where most named actors are under age 15. (Though, this is optimistically assuming all the reviewers even watched the movie.)

Jude Law as Hook in 'Peter Pan & Wendy' in 2023.

These horrible reactions have prompted many of the more honest reviewers to feel the need to write down how they differ from the people writing obscene comments and tagging the film as one-star. If one looked at the score alone, Peter Pan & Wendy would look like one of the worst movies ever released. The kind of movies that could get a cult following because they’re so bad they’re beloved—films like Samurai Cop, The Room, etc. Hell, even the nearly universally disliked 2015 film (Pan) could fall into this if you zero in on the good costumes.

If nothing else can convince you that this was deliberately review bombed, on average Pan‘s score is double Peter Pan & Wendy‘s. Y’all are straight-up lying.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.