By: Kevin Jordan
I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
The battle against movie piracy has officially gone too far. Typically at advanced screenings, we are asked by security folks to silence or turn off our phones and not get them out during the movie. You know, like literally every movie does at every theater in the world. Anyone who still looks at their phone during a movie is either an asshole or an on-call doctor. The spiel usually includes some words about movie piracy and every time I hear it I wonder who is the pathetic loser watching a pirated, grainy, hand-held version of Fate of the Furious? For advanced screenings for movies expected to be very popular, they tend to collect everyone’s phones prior to entering the theater. For Spider-Man: Far From Home, not only did they collect all phones, but they also collected smart watches and Fitbits. Seriously, this happened and the security professional inside me burst into flames.
I get cell phones because they have cameras. You can make the flimsiest case about smart watches because they have microphones and there is definitely a Dark Web movie site for blind people who want to listen to pirated movies (there isn’t). But Fitbits? No. Fitbits do not have cameras or microphones, must be within Bluetooth range of their accompanying phone (you collected our phones, remember?), and only pose a security threat if they are plugged into a computer and used to save data off to. So, unless someone in the theater were to climb through the window into the projector booth and copy the movie onto their Fitbit, Fitbits are not a piracy threat.
So why such militancy? If this really were about saving any of the 15,000 jobs that went into creating a movie, phones would be banned from theaters at all times. If this really was about ensuring maximum box office sales, phones would be banned from theaters at all times. If this really were about protecting future streaming/DVD sales, phones would be banned from theaters at all times. See the pattern here? Not to mention that anyone who is willing to sit through that kind of boot-legged version of a film was never going to pay to see the film anyway (or any film). No, the militancy is about spoilers – a far dumber, but potentially more lethal, problem than piracy.
The spiel from security guy also includes a plea not to spoil the movie. Do you know how ridiculous it is to tell people not to spoil movies when previews/trailers exist? And, not just one trailer per movie, but three, or four, or ten? As I have said many times in the past, I actively avoid trailers specifically because they spoil movies. Watch enough trailers for a movie and you have almost seen the entire movie. Plus, they tend to use the best jokes, parts from every action scene, and at least one clip from the climax in every trailer. And remember, the studios themselves are greenlighting these spoilers.
It is also absurd to ask film critics not to spoil movies. This is another topic I have written about ad nauseam, but it bears repeating that giving opinions about a movie should require details to support said opinion, not to mention the opinion itself is going to create a bias or expectation for the reader. Movie reviews are spoilers by definition. Case in point, my Ruthless cohort (Goat) reviewed Godzilla: King of the Monsters, at one point saying “It was worse than stage 4 ass-cancer” (he has a way with words). With that in my head, I took my son to see it and, while it is definitely a loud stupid movie, my expectations had been artificially lowered so deep that I ended up enjoying it (well, for the most part). And the real truth is unless I really don’t want you to waste money on a movie, I am not going to give away the twist or big reveal or conclusion or best jokes of a film.
I get it though. People get insane about spoilers. Comment sections on movie reviews are constantly filled with people angry about spoilers despite those same reviews always giving spoiler alerts. Death threats were made when spoilers leaked out about Avengers: Endgame. My own reviews always contain spoiler alerts in all caps and bold font and I still rarely give away any significant spoilers. So far, I have not received any death threats (even when I throw in political opinions), but I probably should have by now considering some of the films I have not held back on. So, in the interest of not losing my death-threat virginity (as a writer, at least), here is my spoiler-free review of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Far From Home is a Marvel movie. Spider-Man is in this film. It picks up the greater MCU story after Endgame, with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) dealing with the events of Endgame. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhall) is in this film. If you do not know who Mysterio is, definitely do not Google his wiki page. Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) is in this film. There is action. Lots of action. Peter’s school class goes on a trip to Europe and Peter wants to hook up with MJ (Zendaya). There are elemental monsters attacking cities and Spider-Man teams up with Mysterio to fight them. There are jokes. Lots of jokes. How am I doing so far? Have you noticed I am just recapping the trailer yet?
Okay, how about one thing that is about the mildest SPOILER (ALERT) I can think of, but needs to be mentioned? This film has one of the most blatant MacGuffins in the history of film. For those of you who don’t know what a MacGuffin is it’s a thing with seeming importance that the good guy, bad guy, or everybody is trying to get, but doesn’t actually matter. I won’t tell you what Far From Home’s MacGuffin is or what it does, but I will tell you that if blank needs to get the MacGuffin to blank, but appears to already blankety-blank without the MacGuffin, blank-a-blank blank. BLANK!
The other thing I will tell you is that my son and I both really liked it. It is a typical Marvel movie, so of course we did. My son especially liked how funny it was and I liked many of the little details. And, yes, like every Marvel movie except Endgame, stay until after the credits. You didn’t really think Endgame was the actual end, did you? I would tell you more, but then, well, you know.
(P.S. For my friends at the screening agency that make all these advanced screenings possible, I know you are just doing your jobs and that the studios are solely to blame for this silly exercise in security theater. You guys are the best.)
Rating: Do not ask for any money back. Or do (but, really, don’t).