The funny thing is, their headline was almost word for word the one we were writing before we saw their article.
Sony sent out a press release for Amazing Spider-Man 2, and sites like MTV Geek scrambled to release sexy headlines proclaiming that "NEW PLOT DETAILS ABOUT ASM SEQUEL REVEALED OMFG SQUEE!" Unfortunately for them, AICN, whose motto is "fluff articles are as useless as website design and technology innovations that occurred after 1997", has a much more accurate view of the story, as this headline shows: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Synopsis Offers Up No Details Whatsoever About The Sequel's Plot!!
Brilliant, and spot on.
After seeing the MTV Geek article, we were working on an article with almost that exact same headline, and while looking for more sites suckling at the corporate teat to laugh at in our article, we found the AICN one. And AICN is absolutely right in agreeing with us before we thought of it. The plot synopsis here is as uninformative as possible, most likely on purpose, and reveals absolutely nothing that isn't obvious common sense about the plot for the sequel.
So why are sites like MTV Geek pretending that something new has been revealed?
Well, the shameless grab for unique hits is part of it for sure. But the biggest issue is that most of the online comics media isn't really interested in doing what one would consider "journalism." What they do is to basically act as the marketing and public relations department for major comics publishers and movie studios. They are given press releases, exclusive access to talent, and advance access to comics, and, coincidentally (we have no proof otherwise), they run stories promoting whatever message the publishers and studios want consumers to believe. Most of these sites, as pointed out in our article about Newsarama's Superior Spider-Man, are also paid what we assume must be, in technical terms, a "shitload" of money to run huge full page ads for the very products they are reporting on.
Is this ethical? We're not really in any position to make judgments about ethics, and we don't know how these sites run their business. We have no idea if the "big" sites verbally fellate their corporate masters consciously or if they just happen to have the exact same opinion and position about all major comics and movies that the companies producing them do. It could happen, we guess. There's no way for us to know. However, the end result is the same either way:
Fluff journalism. Shameless promotion. Hucksterism. A new kind of advertising, one that is paid for not entirely with dollars, but with a symbiotic and incestuous relationship between an industry and the media that covers it.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 press release reveals absolutely nothing about the plot of Amazing Spider-Man 2. AICN is absolutely right about that. If a big comics site tells you it does, they are lying. If you want honest reporting on the comics and geek movies industries, read The Outhouse. Read The Beat. Read AICN (if you can live with the fact that their website software hasn't been updated in 15 years). Read Bleeding Cool. All of these sites have very different approaches to their blogging, but all of them also have integrity.
Elsewhere, well... you can decide for yourself.
Here's the Spider-Man plot summary, by the way:
In THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.