Spider-Man has a new adversary… the web
Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men have met their match. The internet. Remember when movies used to come out and you used to just go and watch them? Then you weren’t born any time after 1988. Has the internet sucked all the love out of movie-going? Let’s find out what Ross McG thinks…
I remember going to see Batman in 1989. It may have been because my age hadn’t reached double figures, but I just hadn’t seen anything like it. I also hadn’t seen much of the film before going into the cinema. Yes, I’d probably seen a trailer or something and knew it was coming out, but it was still largely a fresh viewing, something of a feat considering the marketing campaign behind the film, even in sleepy old Northern Ireland.
When I think of the best cinema experiences I’ve ever had, they usually revolve around films that caught me unawares, films that I didn’t know too much about. The internet makes this increasingly difficult. No matter how good The Dark Knight Rises is, it will never be able to match my first Batman-going escapade two decades ago. This is largely, I have to say, my own fault. Like the rest of you, I’m as interested in film news as the next person. Film news has always been there, but I didn’t read Variety when I was little. I was too busy scuffing the knees in my tracksuit bottoms while pretending to be Batman.
In the past week, admittedly huge news has broken on the three most anticipated comic book adaptations. We’ve had a whole tonne of official pictures from X-Men: First Class, hastily put out there after a leaked Photoshopped pic appeared online. You can understand why studio Fox felt the need to put in some damage control (the initial pic of the cast’s heads together is pretty crappy), but the incident also illustrates that the mystery of this type of movie is being sucked away.
Pictures have also been coming out from the Spider-Man reboot – an official shot of Andrew Garfield in the suit and some other photos from the set. And then there is The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s just hope when it is released that The Dark Knight Surprises, because very little about this film could remain secret even if you have only the remotest interest in movies. Last week it was announced that Anne Hathaway will be Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy will be Bane. This is fair enough. You can’t avoid casting announcements. It is the endless posts on plot development that my eyes will have to avert themselves from. But when you like reading and writing about film, these things are hard to do.
The thing is, I’m really looking forward to all of these films. I don’t understand the hesitancy around X-Men: First Class – I can’t think of another movie in the works with as good a cast. I also think Spider-Man will be fun. Garfield is very talented and he will certainly be a Peter Parker audiences can root for. The script is by the guy who wrote the Zodiac movie, another plus. The Dark Knight Rises will struggle to live up to the hype for many, of course, and Christopher Nolan’s detractors are growing, but what I like most about his films is that they feel like proper ‘event movies’. Sometimes they can take themselves a little too seriously, but I tend to just let myself be hurled along with them.
While we can all agree that the internet is great, it just pains me sometimes that in the endless chase to get web page hits (something I too am guilty of, otherwise why would I write this, I want people to read it, don’t I?) some of the wonder is lost. I’m not the first to moan about this and I sure won’t be the last, but wouldn’t it be great to go into a film like The Dark Knight Rises without knowing who the villains are or what the plot might be? One of the reasons I enjoyed Inception so much is because I deliberately avoided watching the trailers for it. But that kind of discipline for me is a one-off. Will I be able to avert my gaze from the trailers for these three movies when they land online? Not a chance in hell. Do I realise that films – both blockbusters and small flicks alike – need the internet to drum up interest? Of course.
But if you go to any movie website these days, a lot of the content is taken up with what might happen in some of the biggest films coming our way. It’s bad enough having a reviewer spoil a movie for you just as it is released (I’m looking at you, Cosmo Landesman of The Sunday Times), but having intricate plot details put out there a year before the movie comes out is too much. By being so consumed with what’s going to happen – and unfortunately I include myself in this – we are ruining the actual experience of going to see the film.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? WILL THESE THREE SUPERHERO MOVIES LOSE SOME OF THEIR IMPACT ON RELEASE BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET COVERAGE?