Well that’s a provocative headline, but the question must be asked, and has been asked, by our readers and other interested Spider-fans after this morning’s release of the latest Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer: Did the trailer give too much away? Is the Marvel formula getting tired? Was this thing slapped together to steal clicks and the spotlight from the well-received Justice League trailer? The feeling online is that the trailer was a misstep, an unexpected wrinkle in the normally sharp marketing of Marvel movies, so should we concerned about the future of Spider-Man, or are we, the fans, as per usual, making much ado about nothing?
First, let it be said that revealing too much is a problem with many trailers for many different movies. In fact, it’s not so unusual to hear colleagues of ours talk about *not* watching trailers to an extent because the trailers ruin too much. It’s the job of these people to stay on top of movie news and trailers, but they’re saying that the act of watching a three-minute preview ruins their ability to watch the movie itself objectively. Also, they’re fans too, and despite the reporting, the uncovering, and the rumour mongering, they still want to walk out of the theatre with some sense of surprise.
By any objective measure though, the new Homecoming trailer feels like it spills too much. It feels like the entire three-act structure was laid bare before your eyes in two minutes and 40 seconds. It seems like a huge miscalculation, and it was done, perhaps, in the name of packing as much Tony Stark into the film as possible. So much so that Homecoming feels more like a Tony Stark movie than it does a Spider-Man tale – Stark angers yet another guy (Vulture) who built (or acquired) a super suit. Just THIS time he’s outsourced revenge defense to child labor. The trailer is packed with Robert Downey Jr. because he’s popular, the studio knows it, and they want to let the audience know that this is where they’ll get their next Stark fix. So why load it with so much spoilery material? The answer, and you may not like it, is that Downey may not have that big a part in the film.
Homecoming looks like a good Spider-Man movie but there is an ever apparent air of sameness. It is that same MCU movie of hero gets powers, has doubts, over comes to conquer a rival with a similar yet opposite ‘theme’/power set. This is Disney, they are the creators of assembly line entertainment. It’s business. So that’s nothing new, nor do audiences seem to be getting tired with it. But the fatigue here defiantly stands out more so than other movies before it.
Now leaving aside any more talk about whether these movies are getting too formulaic, that’s a much bigger and possibly spoiler-filled discussion, let’s consider the idea that maybe someone didn’t like all this positive buzz being handed down to an upcoming DC Entertainment film.
Warner Bros. is not trying to ape the lighter tone of anyone else’s projects. Studios are a lot more insular that people assume. Studios ARE always trying to get one up over the others in a way, that is why we get two volcano movies, or two asteroid movies. But they don’t pay that much attention to what the other guys are doing which is also why we get two volcano movies, or two asteroid movies.
There are no races, no one is trying to catch up to someone else. They are just competing for the same massively ballooning box office numbers. Suicide Squad didn’t use a classic rock track because GotG had Sweet in the trailers. They did it because audiences respond to it. If you make that argument then clearly Guardians of the Galaxy was a rip-off of Wayne’s World.
Studios want to make money and grow and expand and market slurpee cups. Film makers want to make films and see whatever vision they have hit celluloid and make a mark. What we get in the end is always somewhere inbetween. For ever X-Men Origins: The Wolverine that lands we can always hold out and hope for a Logan
If there is any superhero envy, might it be the fine people at Sony who, in just the last two weeks announced not only an R-rated Venom movie, but a Black Cat/Silver Sable movie that will both stand independent of their agreement with Marvel to share Spider-Man? Sony, in a way, has been even more desperate to get into the extended universe game than Warner Bros. Remember The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which was supposed to be a gateway to Sinister Six, Venom, Black Cat, and at least three more Spider-Man movies? Sony has an incredible habit of putting the cart before the horse.
So if there’s a smell of desperation it must surely come from the Sony side, right? There’s only one problem with the assumption that Sony is anxiously trying to build hype for its reconstituted Spider-Man machine, and that is that the new trailer originally aired at CinemaCon as part of a pre-planned presentation. Plus, it hardly seems like Marvel’s style to let Sony run roughshod and force something to screen that they themselves wouldn’t endorse. It’s in Marvel’s interest to put Spider-Man’s best foot forward, a not-so-subtle way to show Sony what to do to properly manage a franchise.
But then there’s this other theory, what if they just released a bad trailer? It’s going around. Not every trailer for every movie we’re looking forward to seeing is going to be a work of art, and if the worst thing we say about Spider-Man: Homecoming is that the trailer gave too much away, won’t we still be satisfied by the finished result? Or maybe there’s another theory, maybe there are still some secrets to be had in Homecoming. Maybe the trailer didn’t give “everything” away, and there are still many surprises waiting for us when the film opens in July. And if all else fails, if you’re worried about seeing too much, you can always just not watch the trailer. It’s not like you’ve got to be convinced to see this thing, right?