Trail With Inexplicable Prejudice

Star Trek Into Darkness' trailer gives away too much! Man of Steel's trailer reveals that Pa Kent is an immoral bastard! Let's face it, everyone: trailers are clearly ruining movies for everyone, right…? Or, perhaps, it's just that we've all become so eager to have opinions on things as early as possible that we've stopped taking trailers at face value.

The most surreal conversation I've had recently was with someone complaining about Benedict Cumberbatch's role in the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, and the fact that he wasn't allowed to create a new character but was, instead, restricted to recreating someone else's character and performance… despite the fact that the movie isn't released for another six months and the identity of Cumberbatch's character remains a mystery. At some point in the middle of the conversation, I realized that I was at a loss because I simply wasn't making the same leaps in logic between what we actually know about Cumberbatch's appearance in the Star Trek sequel and what was being presumed to be problematic in my friend's argument; I ran out of ways to say "But we don't even know that's actually true" in record time.

Reading today's Internet outrage about one line from the new Man of Steel trailer, and the suggestion that it clearly demonstrates that the movie doesn't "get" Pa Kent as a character, was equally exhausting and frustrating (Perhaps even moreso; I actually really like the "Maybe" in response to TeenClark's "Should I have let them die," in part because of the ambivalence in Kevin Costner's performance, and the complexity it hints at in the character's feelings that he'd rather a tragedy happen than imagine his son at risk… Even so, I suspect there's more to that scene than that short snippet): There's an incredible amount of upset over, what, five seconds of footage taken out of context from a scene?

I've railed against the rush to judgment before, I'm sure, as much as I fall prey to it myself over and over again; the Internet has amplified a culture of pre-judging things into hilarious proportions ("First!" being its own reward, after all), but it strikes me that trailers - and teasers - should be held to a different standard from most things because their entire existence is predicated on poking you until you have some kind of reaction, whether it's good or less so. Sure, trailers should be about getting people excited about movies and excited about them and curious about them and wanting to see them, but nowadays, they seem to be as much about people finding excuses to be angry at the movies for perceived slights as anything else.

It's one thing to be nervous about Man of Steel because Zack Snyder's previous movies have consistently disappointed you, or to be worried that Star Trek Into Darkness will be as overbalanced in terms of character development as the last Star Trek, but to find your previous excitement over a movie ruined not by the entirety of a trailer but one little instant… Doesn't that seem like you're trying a little hard to look for something to dislike? Isn't it just less stressful to think "Well, that wasn't great, but I'll wait for the finished thing to see if it really plays out that way or not"…? Isn't that just… well, easier than getting upset over something that might not even be real?

(In related news, I will soon suggest that the Internet considers tamping down its tendency for overreaction when it comes to shock developments in comic books, develops a "Wait and See" approach for announcements of new projects, and considers the concept of "Well, it's not aimed at me, and that's perfectly okay." Clearly, I'm getting old.)

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