The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.
Didya hear? There’s a new Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer! Oh, you did hear? That makes sense; it only dropped on Monday and has already become one of the most viewed trailers of all time. Also, it leaked on TikTok before then, causing a stir, a few memes, and more than a few takedown notices from Sony. The trailer is cool—it’s got Doctor Strange and a whole multiversal mess—but that’s not the point here. The point, dear reader, is that Spider-Man: No Way Home can wait.
That’s not to say the film’s December 17 release date should change—definitely not—just that when it comes to trailer releases, “first looks,” and all other manner of movie hype, the mad scramble to leak, view, and dissect every single thing that comes out prior to a movie’s release is fully out of hand. Regardless of how excited you are for Tom Holland’s next turn as Spider-Man—we all are!—looking at a video of a phone filming a trailer on another phone just really isn’t serving anyone.
Yes, this has been going on forever. For years fans (and Reddit boards) have found a way to turn any grainy on-set photo into news. Same goes for footage shown at fan conventions and industry events. Things leaking has become so common, the folks behind the Spider-Man franchise have turned it into a joke wherein Holland leaks things like the title for Spider-Man: Far From Home and the poster for Avengers: Infinity War. That’s fine. As any maxi-pad advertisement will tell you, leaks happen. But at this point, it’s totally played out.
I get it. People are hyped to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, and with moviegoing in a state of, shall we say, flux right now, there aren’t quite as many movies to talk about, and folks aren’t seeing new trailers every weekend at the multiplex. (Or, at least, they’re probably not.) Cinephiles are, shall we say, thirsty. But watching a leak of a leak is just kind of dumb—especially when a proper trailer is on its way. It’s hard to say if Sony/Marvel would’ve released the trailer this week if the leak hadn’t happened, but come on. It was going to arrive sometime. Just wait and watch it when it drops.
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Does this make me sound like a Hollywood shill? That’s not my intention. Studios are going to run promotional campaigns like they always do, and fans are going to try to outsmart them by seeking out secret info all the same. That’s the cat-and-mouse of fandom. For those who love the chase, it’s thrilling. But I’m arguing that indulging too much in half-baked content deprives you of actually seeing something good. Watching Doctor Strange show up and unleash the multiverse in that No Way Home trailer was dope as hell—I’m glad I didn’t watch it in a watermarked version on some other dude’s phone on TikTok.
But that’s just me. Maybe I’m weird! What I know is this: This week, Warner Bros. gave a presentation on the new Matrix movie—which we now know is called The Matrix: Resurrections—at CinemaCon. I’ve been waiting for this film for, I dunno, let’s call it 20 years. As soon as the presentation ended, scores of sites posted recaps of the footage shown. I devoured them, tried to imagine every scene in detail. (It’s part of the job.) When I was done, though, the experience wasn’t fulfilling. What I had was information about the movie, when what I wanted was the experience of it. Like Neo, I suddenly knew too much. I wish I didn’t.