Warning to all who venture into the comments - despite this post explicitly indicating a desire for people to stop spoiling the film, internet dickbags just gotta be dickbags, I guess. Spoilers are in the comments, so if you want to go in fresh, stay out of there.
There's been a curious trend lately. People in the know seem to be incapable of keeping their damn mouths shut when it comes to spoilers for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Normally, you'd think I'd be targeting inconsiderate moviegoers who pull a "Homer Simpson exiting Empire Strikes Back" and can't help blowing a major plot point for those mere hours behind them in viewing something. Those people exist. I don't watch Mad Men or Game of Thrones, but every Sunday my Twitter feed explodes with people angry at other tweeters from ruining plot points for them.
But this isn't a rant at the general public. This one is targeted largely at the last people who should need this lecture - critics.
A not-insignificant number of critics and web journalists are basically acting like J.J. Abrams is that hot girl who dumped them and as such, they are taking every chance they can to foam at the mouth about how much he sucks. Specifically, it feels like they resent his "mystery box" method of keeping too many spoilers from prying eyes. One such individual with a tie to the Trek franchise went on a Twitter binge lashing out at J.J. for keeping too many secrets - and he wasn't alone. I don't follow most of the others on twitter, but retweets kept pulling some of those conversations into my feed, and it was bizarrely fascinating to watch.
The detractors lashed out at INTO DARKNESS because J.J.'s mystery box resulted in concealing some large elements of Trek mythology that said critics felt should have been used in the marketing campaign. Problem - in going off on angry rants about what should and should not have been put out to the audience prior to release, these individuals naturally exposed those elements. So the joy of being surprised by the plot twists was taken away by a whining critic's need to pre-emptively bitch about a marketing campaign.
It's a little like having someone rip open your Christmas presents for you on December 23 to demonstrate that the box size and wrapping paper were offering an inaccurate picture of what awaited you under the tree.
A couple thoughts here:
* WTF difference does the marketing campaign make with regard to the quality of the film? Ten years from now, none of the conversation about the film will be about how it was marketed and all of it will be about the artistry of the project itself.
* The movie was still two weeks away from being released domestically when the bitching started up. How the hell are we to know if the marketing was a success or a failure? Who are we to make that call before release? If it lays an egg opening weekend, then yes, by all means do an autopsy and tell Abrams he should have known better.
*It bears repeating - the movie was JUST released today! Why do I even have to explain why openly tweeting plot points is fucking inconsiderate, no matter what your reasons are? (Discussing in reviews is fair, so long as there are adequate spoiler warnings.)
* In several cases, the critics attacking J.J. are also among the people most vocally antagonistic to Abrams' first film. Yes, big shock - the people who've spent four years bitching about how Abrams' Trek is a betrayal of everything Star Trek stands for ended up loathing every minute of the sequel.
I don't understand why it's a bad thing that some people are going to see Star Trek Into Darkness without knowing every plot twist in advance. I also cannot get sheer glee some of these haters are getting from deliberately robbing those viewers of their spoiler virginity. If your problem with a movie is that the trailer was too cryptic for you to know everything up to the third act, you really need to (in the words of the great William Shatner) "Get a life, will you, people?"
So what's this really about? Why do so many web critics seem to have their knives out for this film?
I truly believe a lot of this is about web hits. A lot of these guys work for sites that subsist on the traffic from movie spoilers. The more J.J. withholds, the fewer stories these guys can write, and thus the less link bait they can post. A lot of filmmakers play ball. Usually when you see "EXCLUSIVE," you can safely translate that as "I was fed this by a studio publicist." So costume photos, set stills, and sneak-peak clips become the currency that allows both the websites and the marketing departments to win.
But Abrams doesn't play ball. And so it seems he must be punished for that.
Seriously, if you're going to write a negative review of Into Darkness and your focus is more on the secrets the film kept until release rather than the merits of the film as a work of entertainment itself, then you've lived far too long inside the 310-323-818 fishbowl my friends. Take your petty resentments of the leaks Abrams plugged, the denials and the "no comments" and shove it. Most people don't care about this inside baseball shit. Hell, I wouldn't even care about it if it wasn't threatening to ruin my Trek experience.
If the film really sucks, then it shouldn't be a problem to write a thoughtful essay decrying it on its own merits. My problem is that I feel like many critics are taking perverse pleasure in undermining the experience for others, making the audience collateral damage in a firefight with the film's director.