See Why Dwayne Johnson’s New Flop Is Getting Major Backlash

In more than just the critic pages (and box office returns)

See Why Dwayne Johnson’s New Flop Is Getting Major Backlash
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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson‘s latest action-adventure film, Skyscraper, is getting mixed reviews both from critics and the general public. The movie, which hit theaters last Friday, follows the story of Former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Ford (Johnson), who is framed for setting fire to a skyscraper in China. Now on the run, Ford must find those responsible, clear his name, and somehow rescue his family, who are trapped above the fire line inside the building.

The film has failed to pick up steam in the box office and has a 50 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While many critics admitted that the action flick was thrilling to watch, the consensus seemed to be that the plot was too familiar and formulaic to truly captivate audiences. Several critics claimed it was a more boring version of Die Hard, with Boston Globe critic Ty Burr writing, “As a streaming option on a slow night or a long flight, the movie has its uses. But you’ve seen almost all of this before, with more wit and a better villain.”

The most mixed reviews of the film, however, have come from people with disabilities. Johnson’s character has a prosthetic leg, and many felt that this provided much-needed visibility for people with disabilities in action films.

From the perspective of someone who has a prosthetic leg, I think the movie did a good job portraying what having a prosthetic is like,” contributor Jane Peterson wrote for The Mighty, adding however that “the movie did not nail all aspects.”

Movie critic Kristen Lopez also wrote that, “By not making a big deal of his disability, Will is a character who represents a marked improvement in representation. People with disabilities don’t want their disability to define them, and Will’s doesn’t define his character. It adds to it.”

However, many viewers believe that it would have been more progressive to hire someone with an actual disability to play the role.

On Monday, Paralympian actress Katy Sullivan penned an open-letter to Johnson in Deadline, in which she said that while he seemed “like a genuinely good dude,” she would rather he turn down roles like this in the future.

Sullivan cited a 2017 study that found that, in last year’s TV season, less than 2 percent of characters were written to have disabilities, and of that tiny margin, 95 percent of the roles were given to able-bodied actors.

“While I am thrilled that a film about [an awesome] veteran and father (who is a unilateral below-the-knee amputee) got greenlit in the first place, the problem is this perpetuates the fact that we’re not given the agency to tell our own stories,” she wrote, making an argument for the need to enable people with disabilities to play roles like the one given to Johnson in Skyscraper.

Johnson has yet to respond to Sullivan’s letter, but he has been tweeting a lot about his support for people with disabilities, as well as re-tweeting positive reviews written by critics with disabilities.

For more inspiring words from The Rock, check out Here’s How Dwayne Johnson Overcame His Crippling Depression.

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