As I gleefully hit play on the recent Avengers: Age of Ultron TV spot, my Twitter feed was flooded with people saying not to watch it because it spoils everything. It doesn’t, and the trailer kicks serious ass. But this wasn’t the first time this has happened recently. It’s a big concern to everyone who actively engages with the larger discussions on movie related topics. What if the Empire Strikes Back trailer ruined the “I am your father” moment? Or how about when Castaway screwed the pooch by revealing that Tom Hanks escapes the island (RIP, Wilson)? So, are movie trailers showing too much? Obviously yes, but also no.
I know that’s basically the same idea I had with the “Death in Superhero Movies” discussion, but both topics are so broad that we need to discuss as many views as possible.
Movie trailers are intended to sell audiences on a movie. As someone who essentially lives and breathes movies (I spent all Saturday watching Fast & Furious movies), I get giddy at every new trailer for an anticipated movie. I’m already excited for a film like Age of Ultron, but I want to see my hopes for the movie validated via theatrical trailers or TV spots. Following the hype train can be just as fun of an experience as waiting in line for the midnight premiere.
Plenty of people have told me to avoid trailers so I can still be surprised. I’m personally not someone who expects every movie to be wildly original. Remember, originality doesn’t guarantee a movie will be worth watching. Remember CHAPPiE? I touched on this before, but the worth of a movie comes from execution. There are a million moving pieces in what makes a movie good, but the undebatable merits of a movie all depend on the execution. Cinderella is a story everyone and their mother is aware of. Kenneth Branagh created one of the best movies of 2015 just by improving on the delivery of the traditional fairy tale. We knew the happy ending was coming. It’s about earning it.
Others have noted how the first Avengers trailer spoiled the cheer worthy moment of Hulk catching Iron Man from his fall. That’s a huge moment for the characters that just happens to be surrounded by monumental emotional weight and heroic catharsis (seriously, how great is that last act?). Does knowing a moment like Hulk catching Iron Man ruin the story? So what if we know the entire final action sequence is just a big battle? Avengers as a whole has a ridiculously simple plot. Heroes must assemble to stop a villain. It’s the meat of the story and characters within the plot that makes it a blockbuster extravaganza. From Whedon’s infectiously funny script, to the characters putting aside their differences to work as a team, The Avengers still totally rocks.
People will actively avoid trailers at all costs and other people will try to absorb every juicy detail, spoiler related or not. Neither approach is wrong. For everyone avoiding trailers, stop acting high and mighty. You’re not better than anybody who watches a trailer. But more importantly, to people who watch trailers and look for spoilers online: don’t be a dick. Respect the other person’s decision to watch/avoid trailers. Plot synopsis isn’t a spoiler, which makes trailers generally okay for discussion. But if someone really doesn’t want to know anything, leave them be. Just use common sense and don’t be an ass. This way we can all sit back and watch all the Avengers die.