Dear Hollywood: Stop With The Trailer Spoilers

Last week, Warner Bros. released a new Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, setting up the conflict between Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) and Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck), with a sprinkling of a long-haired Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) mixed in for good measure.
It gave viewers an understanding of the friction between the two and showed the two timeless superheroes mixing it up a little, which, even if the movie is only as good as the mediocre Man of Steel is still okay because it’s Superman getting in a scrap with Batman.

Had the trailer ended at the two-minute mark, everything would have been good – they would have set the stage for Zack Snyder’s new film and kept a few of their cards close to their vest, but in the final minute, they give away all the twists and turns of the upcoming flick.

You see that Luthor has preserved the body of General Zod (Michael Shannon), whom Superman killed at the close of Man of Steel and turns him into Doomsday, the character best known to comic book fans as the monster that killed Superman. And just when you think it couldn’t get more spoilerific, Doomsday preps to torch Batman and “The Dark Knight” is saved by who?

Wonder Woman.

Now everyone that has tracked the development of this film already knew that Gal Gadot was going to debut as Princess Dianna of Themyscira, but there was no reason to include her big reveal in the damn trailer.

As much as there are still a few announced characters that will be in-movie reveals (unless they show up in the next trailer), the studio has basically given away all three acts of this film. Given that it’s a superhero flick and part of a continuing series, you know in advance how things are going to end up (read: the good guys are going to win), so a couple of these reveals and the introduction of the big bad are the only surprises you can still use to draw in audiences.

But most of that is gone now. Good job.

It’s not just Warner Bros. or superhero movies that are doing this either. The same thing happened with Terminator Genisys and Southpaw earlier in the year, where the key elements of the plot were shared in the marketing materials for the movies. The fact that John Connor becomes a terminator (sorry… spoilers) and that Rachel McAdams dies and Jake Gyllenhaal goes off the rails as a result were the only real twists from each flick that could have held an audience captive and drawn them into theatres.

And they gave them away.

Southpaw still did fine ($90M on a $25M budget) and Batman v. Superman will make bank, but why not save some of this stuff for once the movie actually hits theatres?

Can you imagine if M. Night Shyamalan made a trailer for The Sixth Sense with Haley Joel Osment dropping the “I see dead people” in there? What if the original Planet of the Apes trailer closed with the Statue of Liberty reveal?

Stop it. Save some of the good stuff for the movie itself.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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