A Little Too Much False Advertising


What’s Up With the False Advertising in movie trailers these days? It has been a given and an accepted practice that trailers might include some moments that don’t make it into the final film, but this now is something different. What we are seeing now is manipulation, and even worse, lies. Not just little ones either. This is complete deception, at the highest level. 

When Avengers Infinity War put the Hulk running with the other Avengers into its trailer, it was a fake out. And it was okay. Sure, most audience members would have loved to see that moment, but that’a all it was..a moment, not a plot point or anything substantial. And so to not have it in the movie really wasn’t a big deal (the computer generated scene was rendered just for the trailer, to be a fake out to audiences, since The Hulk didn’t appear in his jolly green form since the very first scene of the movie.) 

Yes, that was manipulation, but since it was just a moment, we were able to chalk it up to good fun… keeping the movie ahead of the audience and not the other way around. What we’re getting now is way different than that. We’re getting studios trying to convince the audience that one thing is true about their movie, when really it’s not even close to true. Three quick examples from the past year or so come from Morbius, Argyle, and Madame Web. It’s no coincidence that two of these three movies are in the Sony universe of Spider-Man-less villain films, made by the exact same studio.

Let’s start there. Sony seems to be in a rut. They own Spider Man and can do whatever they want with him, and yet they don’t want to make Spider Man movies. The reason is because that character is also in the MCU (as played by Tom Holland,) and Sony keeps raking in all of the money from anytime Marvel helps put out a new Tom Holland Spider Man movie. Plus, Sony is making bank with all the cash and success from the Spider-Verse animated films.

So Sony doesn’t want to jeopardize those two lucrative franchises. But at the same time, they want to get in the superhero game themselves (not just their shared movies with Marvel.) It’s very strange, because they are clearly already in the game,  but they want more. And since they feel like they can’t make Spider Man movies, since it might confuse audiences and detract from audiences going to see the Holland films, they are making Spider-Man-less villain movies. Actual movies that are just about the villains, have no mention of Spider Man, and treat the villains as heroes. That’s how we got the Venom movies (which were actually enjoyable,) but also Morbius, Madame Web, and the upcoming Kraven the Hunter.

So, now let’s back to the false advertising idea. In Morbius, the trailer featured Michael Keaton’s Vulture character (from one of the Marvel Tom Holland Spider-Man movies,) meeting Morbius and saying, “What’s up Doc?” That scene never appeared in the movie, but the Vulture did. Okay, no problem there. So they change the scene up. So what? Well, here’s the problem… the only time Vulture appeared was in post credits scenes. After the movie was over. That’s it. So the fun little post credits Easter egg moments that are supposed to be a surprise and a little something extra, are now being thrown into the trailer as a major selling point to try to get audiences to think they are an actual part of the movie. This is how they tried to get people to come and see their movie. Pretty low.

Madame Web is the next movie to try this. It should come as no surprise to learn it’s not just in the same Sony Spider-Man less Universe, but it is actually by the same writers as Morbius. Why they would give these writers another crack at it is beyond comprehension, but wouldn’t you know it, they are doing the exact same audience trickery again. In the Madame Web trailer, we never see the titular character suit up as a superhero at all. So how do they combat that? They have three other women in the movie all don Superhero outfits. We are talking about Spider Woman and Spider Girl and even a third Spider character. Now, seeing those three in costume looks pretty awesome. Audiences suddenly think we are getting all three of these characters as superheroes in the movie, even if it’s for just one scene.

Turns out none of it is true. In quick flashes that are happening inside the villain’s mind, we see the girls dressed in the outfits. Literal flashes. And that’s it. They don’t do anything in the outfits. We don’t see how they got them, or what their storylines as these superheroes are. Nothing. We literally see the same flashes of them that we see in the trailer. Talk about ridiculous.

And that level of deception, where they are showing us everything they have about this in the trailer, and leaving not a single thing new about it for the actual movie, calls something else to mind. Something from the past. About a decade ago. The same exact studio, Sony, was doing the same kind of deception. The movie was The Amazing Spider Man 2. It was Andrew Garfield’s last go at the character (not counting his appearance in No Way Home.) The trailer for that movie showed us a mysterious character walking through underground labs past windows that held Doctor Octopus’ arms, The Rhino’s mech suit, and  The Vutlture’s wings. All of those were Easter eggs for upcoming movies, and were as much as this movie had to offer on them. And they were all in the trailer. But it got worse.


In the trailer, there was a moment where Spider-Man was swinging a man-hole cover around in the air, and at the Rhino as the Rhino charged forward. And then the screen cut to black. The promise there, was that if we went to see the movie, we would see what happened after this. We would see what happened when the man-hole cover hit the Rhino. No such luck. That exact man-hole swinging moment was in the movie, including the cut to black, and get this… it’s the very last shot of the entire movie. They literally put the last shot of the movie, in the exact same way, into the trailer. And they cheated us with a cut to black to end the movie,  just like in the trailer. Total manipulation and lies.

So, what are these movies doing? In most cases (the Vulture in Morbius scene, the Madame Web girls scene, even the figure walking through the lab in Amazing Spider Man 2,) they are trying to get us excited about the next movie instead of focussing on the movie they actually have. If Amazing Spider Man 2 actually threw those villains into the movie, for example (Doctor Octopus, the Vulture,) instead of just teasing them, it might have been a much better and more well-liked film. I mean it’s pretty much what they finally figured with Spider-Man: No Way Home. But it should also be noted that there’s nothing wrong with teasing the next movie. That’s what Marvel has been doing for years… in the post credits scene. Not in the trailer. That’s the difference.  

There are other movies that lie to audiences in the advertising besides Spider Man films. Check out the poster for Argyle (at the top of this story.) Makes it look like Henry Cavil and Dua Lipa are the stars, doesn’t it? Would you believe Cavil is barely in the movie and Dua Lipa is in only the first two quick scenes? The actual stars are Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell. But you’d never be able to tell that from the poster. The reason for all this is that the movie wants to put its biggest names and biggest stars first, even if they are barely in the movie.

And that brings us to the road ahead. To the movies coming up. There’s one in particular that I’m setting my sights on. Kraven the Hunter. It’s the next of those Spider-Man-less villain movies, by the same studio that has been lying to audiences for over a decade now. And the trailer features a brief moment by a character who says they call him the Rhino. It’s by far the most intriguing moment in the trailer (in fact it’s the only intriguing moment in the trailer.) Well, here’s a prediction… that scene will be at the very end of movie. Quite possibly in the post credits. And we won’t see anything more than what we see in the trailer…an arm turning grey and scaly. We won’t actually see what the Rhino looks like, in terms of his head with the horn on it. They’ll be saving that for the next movie. If they had it, they would have put it in the trailer. That’s my guess. I’m sure hoping I’m wrong, but something tells me I’m right.