Rotten Tomatoes is a deeply misunderstood measurement of a given film's artistic merit. But for those who understand what a score means, it can provide a great snapshot of the general consensus about a film. A 100% score on the Tomatometer indicates that a film received all positive reviews and is recommended by every single critic aggregated. This is as close to achieving universal critical acclaim as you can get. As with most things in today's society, achieving such a consensus is no easy thing. So it is especially impressive that Paddington 2 has bested its predecessor and currently sits at a 100% score on the Tomatometer based on 152 reviews.
This means that all 152 reviews for Paddington 2 aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes were positive. There was not one negative review. To put this into perspective, there are a lot of films with 100% scores, but many of these films are classics or independent movies with single or double-digit reviews. These are often revered films that have stood the test of time or indy films that were, in some ways, reviewed by critics pre-disposed to liking them. Films with over one hundred reviews are usually more recent, commercial fare that had wide releases and screened for enough critics to garner that many reviews. As of right now there are only three other films to have that magical 100% score with over a hundred reviews. They are Things to Come, Man on Wire and Toy Story 2.
There are so many things going against achieving a 100% Tomatometer score that it is especially noteworthy when a movie attains this distinction. We live in an age of trolls and contrarians. The fact that not one of those 152 critics polled by Rotten Tomatoes gave a negative review is incredible. The subjectivity of cinema, as with any art, makes universal consensus nigh impossible, so this score speaks extremely highly of Paddington 2. What is also worth noting is that this is not some of the moment independent film or a prestigious, "Oscar bait" movie. This is a made for all ages, commercial, family film. Many family films are geared towards children and leave little of substance or value for the adults in the theater. So while kids gobble them up, reviews often reflect poorly on them. For a family film like Paddington 2 to receive this score indicates that it actually is fun for the whole family.
Now, is every critic in the world counted in this score? No, but like any polling, it is meant to give a general sense of opinion. The 100% also does not mean that all reviews were 10 out of 10 or five stars. For that sort of aggregation, you can look to Metacritic where Paddington 2 sits at a healthy 88. Our own review was glowingly positive.
Even casual moviegoers now use Rotten Tomatoes to help them choose what to see, It is cited in movie marketing, and Blu-ray packages sport Certified Fresh stickers to entice viewers with the promise of quality. Rotten Tomatoes is a useful tool, but like any tool, it can prove problematic when used improperly. So while there is no such thing as a sure thing, it's probably a safe bet that Paddington 2 is a good film and worth your time and money.