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36. Spider-Man: Homecoming – This Just In (#–)

Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney host This Just In, a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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Non-Review Review: Spider-Man – Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is two movies, both effectively set up by the title.

In its most literal sense, it is a teenage coming of age movie set against the backdrop of a superhero action film. More than any other entry in recent superhero canon, Homecoming is very explicitly a “young adult” movie. It is Peter Parker channeled through John Hughes, the tropes and conventions of the genre as glimpsed through the prism of a teen movie. As such, the “homecoming” of the title is a seismic event in the school calendar.

He ain’t playin’.

In a more metaphorical sense, Homecoming is the story of integrating Peter Parker into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that began with Iron Man. It is a story that celebrates the joint custody agreed between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, the deal that allows Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War while allowing for the appearances of several major characters from The Avengers in this feature film.

One of these movies is stronger than the other. About half of Homecoming is a really great Spider-Man-as-John-Hughes teen film, while the other half is a so-so Avengers sequel.

Climbing to new heights?

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Trial and Trailer: The Perils of Publicity in the Internet Era

It is a cliché to suggest that trailers are spoiling movies.

Clint Eastwood was complaining about the trend more than a decade and a half ago, lamenting, “Half the time you go and watch a film, you see eight or 10 different trailers and you’ve seen the whole plot line. There’s really no reason to go see the film.” While film fans might look back nostalgically on classic trailers like Alien or Point Blank, the truth is that movie trailers have always been a bit of a haphazard artform. The trailer for Carrie is as spoilery as any modern trailer.

At the same time, there is a definite trend in contemporary trailers – especially for big blockbuster releases – to ensure that the audience knows exactly what they are going to get. This is most obvious in trailers like Alien: Covenant or Spider-Man: Homecoming, which go beyond spoiling the entire plot thread to spoiling big moments from the film; memorable cameos or distinctive sequences. When dealing with spectacle driven films like Kong: Skull Island, there is a conscious effort to load the trailer with spectacle, revealing monsters and set pieces.

To be fair, this is arguably more of a problem with big budget summer releases. These trailers typically belong to blockbusters that have to absolutely saturate the market in order to build hype, releasing trailers more than a half a year before release or even offering trailers for trailers. It is inevitable that this desire to effectively carpet-bomb the media landscape with footage will reveal far too much about the film in question, particularly for those who task themselves with keeping track of this information. The sparse understated trailers for smaller films like Get Out are a blessing.

It is interesting to wonder what drives these creative decisions, why studios are saturating the market with trailers that seem to lay out every beat ahead of time and which effectively promise every twist that will be delivered over the course of the narrative. There is a lot to be said for the joy of seeing a film blind, without knowing exactly what is coming and how it will be delivered. It seems reasonable to argue that the job of a trailer is to tease, to offer the viewer a hint of what is in store, instead of mapping out how they might spend two hours of their lives.

However, while these views are quite common on the internet and among film fans, it is interesting to wonder whether they reflect the opinions and taste of the mass audience. Is this increasing tendency towards spoiler-heavy trailers that plot out the entire arc of a film are driven by the tastes of audiences? Is this how the majority of viewers want their entertainment delivered, even if they would never frame it in those terms?

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