Let me ask you something. Say you're in your room, all cozied up in your bed, maybe eating a good looking snack, and you start watching a movie on your computer/tv. The best feeling right? Maybe the movie is really good, maybe you even find it funny. But are you really going to laugh at it? Like have a genuine and audible laugh, alone in your room? Maybe, but it’d have to be some funny movie. Are the endings ever going to be that jaw dropping? That chilling? Probably not. But, say you watch a movie with a couple of your friends one night. Everything feels a lot funnier, a lot sadder, and a lot more real. Now, take that experience with a couple of friends and add about 50-100 people to the mix. That was what it felt like to watch Spider-Man No Way Home.
Spider-Man No Way Home was released on December 17th, and it was actually amazing.. A well executed movie that retained originality while also tipping its hat to generations of Spider-Man fans. But the thing that tied the movie all together for me, as I sat there - sipping my diet orange fanta and trying to not pee my pants - was not the film itself, but the theater experience that came with it.
From the second the lights dimmed, the crowd produced an endless stream of reactions. They cheered at the first glimpse of Green Goblin and Doc Oc, whistled at Electro’s incredibly random glow up (no complaints though). Like having your very own laugh track, they laughed at every joke and gasped at every jaw dropping moment.
It sounds silly, but with this comes a thrilling sense of community. Everyone in the audience is in it together- eager to find out what will happen next.
This feeling does not only hold true for Spider-Man No Way Home, but movies as a whole. Take a horror movie, It, for instance. I am not someone who gets scared easily. But when I first saw that movie in the theater, the complete and creepy silence of the audience made me nearly run out of the place. I couldn’t look at sewers for a good six months. A year later I watched it again at home, and it didn’t feel even close to scary!
Whether you like the theater loud or quiet, the experience is undeniably impacted by being with other people. And there is something to be said about that experience.
The growth of technology coupled with COVID-19 has created an environment in which staying at home feels virtually irresistible, putting movie theaters in a dangerous position. As the threat of their decline continues, the threat to your viewer enjoyment does too. The reality is you're never going to get that same pleasure in the comfort of your home. So next time a movie is released both on a streaming service and in theaters, do yourself a favor and get the viewing you deserve.