Speculation – but no hard spoilers – for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Are the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers, TV spots and surrounding marketing blitz actually spoiling the movie? The movie should be one of the most anticipated of the summer. It marks Spider-Man’s official solo entrance into the MCU after a historic studio deal and character-perfect supporting introduction in Captain America: Civil War, promising to finally do justice to a character who’s cinematic output for the last decade has varied from misguided to misanthropic. Production-wise, it’s barely put a step wrong, with an interesting indie choice behind the camera and cast of superhero vets and the best teen actors, led by former ballet dancer and all round Peter Parker Tom Holland.
Yet with the release of every new poster, TV spot, or international trailer variant the hype somehow seems to reduce. Sony’s spoiling us, and not in the proverbial lavish sense.
Things started out looking pretty strong. The first pair of teasers, released back in November, elegantly introduced the dominance of Peter’s school life and positioned Iron Man as a key father figure without giving away much in terms of actual plot, all capped with an “only in the MCU” shot of Spidey and Shellhead flying through New York (although as we’ll see that was problematic by itself). But the fact that there were two trailers with a lot of different footage should have been an early clue of how obscenely blanket the marketing would become, with every day seemingly bringing new merchandise or artwork or, failing that, unsubstantiated rumor. Or Iron Man. There’s been so much of Robert Downey, Jr. some people have taken to calling the movie Iron Man 4 (and even the man himself has pointed out the ridiculousness of it). This eventually gets tired, especially when a campaign hits its peak well over a month before release (this is why Wonder Woman‘s oft-criticized marketing was sly genius), but also plainly means that they’re giving up way too much.
We first noticed something was up when the second trailer hit. On the face of it, that was a pretty solid piece of marketing that expanded the various elements established in the first teasers to give them a bit more narrative context. But as we dug deeper, it became worryingly apparent that this was actually a beat-for-beat breakdown of the superhero side of the plot, taking Peter from Civil War aftershock through early vigilantism, escalation, Vulture entanglement, losing his Stark suit and an epic final battle above the skies of New York in a homemade costume. That was almost three months ago, with so much more material since coming along to fill in the limited gaps (the Washington set piece, for example, clearly comes in the early second act).
Of course, there is a question of whether there really is that much to spoil in the first place. By all accounts Homecoming looks set to be a pretty standard 2017 superhero film – that’s not a knock, rather that it’s hitting the usual character beats with a few twists along the way. We’re just worried that said surprises are the likes of Captain America’s recurring cameo, things that will feel overdone when the movie arrives.
There is the sometimes strong logic behind film advertising that’s seemingly run amok. When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s third trailer revealed Doomsday and in doing so gave up pretty much the entire final act premise, it was actually damage control; that the Superman killer was in the film had been leaked repeatedly and, so as to not make it a box office-damaging spoiler (it’s better to be told something officially than have it ruined by rumor), WB simply showed their hand. However, it still led to Zack Snyder stating he “isn’t just the third act.” Yes, there was a little more – Superman’s death mainly – but hardly enough given we’re talking a 150-minute film.
It’s just unlikely there’s more to Homecoming than we’ve seen. Indeed, it has been claimed by RDJ that “Marvel keeps an element of surprise“, although that seems more like damage control. Based on everything shown, while there may be certain small surprises we haven’t seen, the sheer amount of footage means the broad scale is known. And, besides, to refute Downey Jr., this definitely isn’t the typical Marvel mystery machine.