I’m breaking up with movie trailers.
From the popular webcomic at xkcd.com.
“Spoilers” may follow for those who have not seen the films (or more specifically, the trailers) of the Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Cabin in the Woods, and Source Code.
There have been two movies in recent history that I’ve avoided trailers for at all costs: Source Code, and Cabin in the Woods. I really do mean “at all costs”. My parents and girlfriend can attest to the fact that when a commercial for one of these movies would come on TV, I would either (a) run out of the room or (b) close my eyes, plug my ears, and hum just to be sure to not hear anything. Now, I’ll be fair and say you would know that something strange or different is going on in these movies after the first scene, but experiencing the movie as a whole for the first time in both cases was incredibly enriching on a level that most people don’t get to enjoy. The marketing machines within movie studios just want to take the big blockbuster moments or the quirky ideas behind these movies and plaster them all over billboards to make people who are otherwise uninterested realize there’s something going on in these films that they’ll want to see. After the jump I’ll discuss more.
Seriously, spoilers may follow for things you might not want to know. Specifically for the Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Come back and read after you see those unless you don’t care about being spoiled.
Fair enough. Successful trailers mean the filmmakers and movies that I love will make more money… I suppose that’s a “noble” cause of some sort. However, I can’t help but feel that those are special moments that get ruined. These movie trailers are not for me… I already know that I’m going to see these movies. For example, let’s take a look at the Avengers. What if I hadn’t watched every trailer that came out? What would’ve blown my mind if I hadn’t seen it before seeing the movie? I’ve got a list (of only some of the moments) for you:
- Thor atop the Chrysler Building calling down lightning to destroy the aliens
- Iron Man’s climb up the energy beam destroying countless aliens
- Thor landing on the Quinjet mid-flight
- Tony walking the Iron Man armor off as he enters Stark tower
And perhaps the two biggest offenders that certainly would’ve set off the goosebumps in theaters:
- The circle shot of the Avengers assembled on the street in New York
- The Hulk catching Iron Man as he falls from the sky
That last point literally crossed my mind as Tony takes the nuke to the space-hole. I thought to myself “Oh man, maybe Tony’s gonna die… Oh wait, he can’t because the Hulk hasn’t caught him yet. Clearly this is where that will happen.” The stakes would’ve been even higher if I hadn’t seen these trailers, and although I got momentary satisfaction while watching them due to the fact that I had months (or even a year) to wait to see the film, I can’t help but think how amazing the movie experience would’ve been if I hadn’t seen these things.
Let’s take a look at what’s been spoiled for The Dark Knight Rises:
- Gordon gets seriously injured at some point and is put in the hospital
- Bruce needs a cane for some reason
- Selina Kyle steal’s Mrs. Wayne’s pearls
- Bane lets all of the inmates out of Blackgate
- Bane knows Bruce is Batman
- Bane infiltrates the Gotham Stock Exchange
- Bane destroys almost all of the bridges to/from Gotham
- Batman and Catwoman work together
- Bane gets his hands on Wayne Enterprises Applied Science tech
And once again, the most egregious spoilers from the trailers:
- The absolutely chilling image of Bane dropping the broken cowl
- Bane destroys an entire football stadium while it’s being utilized
- The police v. inmates war in the third act of the film
- That “the Bat” even exists in the first place
So I’ll bring up a few points. Firstly, in order to glean a lot of specifics about the details above, it would require a lot of viewing of the trailers… which I am completely guilty of doing and I fully acknowledge that fact. Secondly, it’s not as though knowing these things completely ruined my experience in the theater. But they still lessened the experience by a noticeable amount. I spent a bit of both the Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises thinking “Yeah, I’ve already seen this part. What comes next?” which is sad, viewing these trailers clearly pulled me out of the experience in some fashion. Finally, some of these details are further informed by the fact that I now watch film news sites more than ever before, so I heard about the first sighting of “The Bat” and saw photos of Bane atop a sand-camo tumbler ripping photos of Harvey Dent. But I’ve done that for a lot of films I’ve seen lately and none of them have been as detrimentally affected by my film-gossip knowledge as they have my viewing of the trailers.
Now, what am I going to do about it? It’s going to take a lot of control for me to not watch trailers. I know there’s one out there for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” that I haven’t viewed yet. I really want to, but now I won’t. I’ve recently found I have more will power than I’ve ever expected, so maybe this will work out. I may give myself the leniency of watching teaser trailers only. The teasers for both The Dark Knight Rises and the Avengers didn’t spoil much. Although, looking at the Man of Steel teaser, that final shot of Superman flying could’ve been something well worth saving for the theater. Finally, I may seriously consider taking my seat well before the movie just to get a good spot and then subsequently leaving for 10 minutes just to not see trailers.
My experiences with both Cabin in the Woods and Source Code felt so fresh. It feels quite fantastic going into a film knowing virtually NOTHING about it. I can only imagine how the previously discussed films would’ve felt if I had known almost nothing.
I realize that I am someone who cares a great deal about spoilers, and that there’s a good chance that I’m in the minority on this issue. A vocal minority, but a minority. So if you read this and think I’m being ridiculous, well, go about your day I suppose. But if at any point you’ve been viewing a film and got bored during the trailer… if at any point you’ve viewed a trailer and not felt a reason to see the movie (I’m looking at you, Brothers), then take this article with a grain of salt and think about whether or not your moviegoing/watching experience would be enhanced by the fact that you’re no longer being pandered or desperately begged into seeing a film.
You’re fun, you’re flashy, and you feel so right when I see you. But you leave me with little to be excited about when I finally get to see the film in all of its glory. Movie trailers… I’m breaking up with you.