by T. Mack
This week saw the release of a new Suicide Squad trailer. I am so stinkin’ excited about this movie! I absolutely adore Harley Quinn and I’m hoping against hope that this will be the DC film to start a trend of really good DC movies. Probably not. But I choose to be optimistic. All that being said, I’m opting out of taking a look at this latest trailer and will probably continue doing so until the movie’s release in August. I know what you’re thinking. What reason could I possibly have to do that when I’m totally stoked about the film? Well, I’ll give you five reasons.
Reason #1: I’m already excited!
I became excited about this film from the time it was announced. Why? Because I love, love, LOVE Harley Quinn. And despite the DC’s previous movie missteps, I chose to be optimistic for this movie, before it was cast, after it was cast and even after the first photos were released. Then the first teaser trailer for this film was shown at San Diego Comic Con and subsequently made available online last summer. We got our first glimpses of the characters in action and the story. Since the trailer was a teaser, it showed us very little. Only enough, in fact, to get us intrigued and convinced to see the film. So now I’m really excited. And while you’d think that would make me want to watch more trailers, recent events have changed the way I think about movie trailers. Keep reading to find out what I mean.
Reason #2: The Batman Vs Superman trailer debacle
The same way that an SDCC-released teaser trailer got me pumped for Suicide Squad, the Batman Vs Superman teaser got everyone excited for that film, despite our reservations about Batfleck. We started to believe the movie might actually be pretty great. Then, last month, the full trailer was released and everything the teaser did for us was succinctly and effectively undone. Suddenly, we knew exactly how horrible Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is going to be. The movie isn’t out for another two months and we already miss Michael Rossenbaum (Smallville‘s Lex). We were spoiled with cool moments that would have been a great surprise during the film (Well, hello there Wonder Woman) and an entire character we didn’t yet know would be in the movie (Wow, it would have been cool to have to you suddenly pop up as a surprise, D——-). By the time the trailer ended, I felt like I’d seen the condensed version of the entire film, complete with the best joke it has to offer. I’m no longer convinced I actually need to go see the movie when it comes out, which is disappointing because for a while there, I was actually excited about it.
Reason #3: I’ve cut off a couple of other films already
I’m head over heels excited about Deadpool, which will be in theaters next month. So I watched the last trailer that came out. While it didn’t make a ruinous mess of things the way Batman Vs Superman did, it came pretty close to that line. When I was done watching that trailer, I absolutely didn’t want to know a single ounce more of information about the story before I go see it. And I definitely didn’t want to hear another joke. So I vowed no more Deadpool trailers. Soon after that came the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer. Since I didn’t watch the first film and had no plans to see the second, I felt it was a safe one to watch (I actually really like watching movie trailers). Amazingly, the trailer did a good job of convincing me that the movie might not totally, completely and utterly suck. It looks like they may have listened to fan feedback from the previous film and implemented some changes to make the franchise truer to the turtles that all the fan boys and girls loved during childhood (looking at you, Jen P). By the end of the trailer, they’d made me believe that going to see that movie might not be the worst experience in the world. I am actually considering watching it. And it feels good to have some confidence in a movie that I had previously dismissed. So again, I’ve vowed no more trailers for that movie lest they undo all the good that was done by the previous trailer.
Reason #4: Star Wars: The Force Awakens did it right
The most recent Star Wars film was one of the most hyped movies in all of history. Everywhere you turned, Star Wars marketing saturated everything: from Google to the cereal isle to television commercials to clothes to tie-ins with companies and products that you would never imagine could be linked to movies. But the one thing that you didn’t see was spoilers. While the film’s presence was felt throughout our entire culture in the weeks and months leading up to its release, nothing ever gave away the heart of the story or the incredible surprises sprinkled throughout. Yes, we knew Han was returning, but that was a given. We knew that anyway. What we didn’t know was the plot, the relationship of the main characters to each other or where exactly the characters were headed. All that information was kept out of the marketing and out of the trailers. Because of this, the experience of viewing the film was that much better. We didn’t have any idea who these people were, how they were going to meet or what they would do once they did. We knew little to nothing and getting to discover (some of) those answers during the movie was wonderful. In the days of spoiler-filled movie trailers (I’m looking at you Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys), that’s something that doesn’t happen enough any more.
Reason #5: We have to take ownership of this problem
Over-sharing in movie trailers is a serous problem these days. And while the easy thing to do is to get angry at studios when they spoil their own films, we have to realize that this is a problem we’ve created. Studios make movies for us to see. Then they have to sell us on the movies so we’ll go see them. They have to figure out how to tell us enough to get us interested but not so much that we get angry. And in this information age, when geeks are digging for plot details before scripts are written and hunting for set photos before shooting has begun, it’s hard for studios to know how much information is too much. The line between too much and too little is infinitesimally thin, almost invisible and nearly impossible to find. Some people want to know next to nothing. Others want to read the entire script prior to watching the movie. Some people know more about the characters and the source material than the filmmakers do and others have never heard of them before. In a climate like this, studios are stuck in a possible no-win situation. No matter how much or how little they tell, someone will be unhappy with it. They tend to err on the side of too much hoping that will entice people and bring in more audience members. It seems like a better bet than giving too little and having people stay away because they don’t know what it’s about. The truth is that they have to gamble no matter what. So it’s up to us, the movie-goers, to find our own line and keep from crossing it. We need to realize the position the studios are in and the risk we run when we watch film trailers. Yes, it is frustrating. Yes, they are doing stupid things like putting the final scenes and surprise twists in their trailers. But we are perpetuating the problem by demanding so many details prior to film release dates. At this point, we must be part of the solution or realize we are part of the problem. I choose the first. And while I’m not giving up movie trailers entirely, I have decided to be aware of my line and pump the brakes when movie trailers look ready to cross it.
What movie trailers have you seen that have spoiled their own film? How much info do you like to get from trailers, a little or a whole lot? Let me know in the comments.