There’s a big surprise.
As popular as he has become, JJ Abrams is not actually a good filmmaker or storyteller.
This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have any talents. In fact, there’s one artform that Abrams is particularly adept at utilizing to make people care about his films: clickbait.
Yes, JJ Abrams movies are clickbait, from start to finish.
It starts with the marketing. Take, for example, the trailer for the original “Cloverfield”, full as it is of blurry shots that don’t actually tell you anything about the movie. A mysterious monster has been terrorizing New York, and you won’t believe what happens next!
Or, if you prefer, there’s the Kahn debacle from “Star Trek Into Darkness”. Abrams deliberately lied, claiming that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing a different character in the movie to the one he actually play.
The air of mystery surrounding Cumberbatch’s character took on a life of its own, with people desperate to find out who he was playing.
Then, there’s the clickbait that takes place in the movies themselves.
Rey’s parents are a mystery! Wait until the next movie to find out who they were!
Where did the Cloverfield monster come from? What does it have to do with John Goodman holding Mary Elizabeth Winstead in an underground bunker? Nobody knows! You’ll have to watch “The God Particle” when it comes out!
This is why Abrams’ movie franchises end up feeling so disappointing after the bubble bursts.
Nobody likes “Star Trek: Into Darkness” because its big twist is so stupidly pointless.
“The Last Jedi” upset a lot of people because Rian Johnson didn’t actually have any answers for Abrams’ Mystery Box questions about Rey and Snoke.
In this context, it’s hard to imagine that renaming “The God Particle” as “The Cloverfield Paradox” and throwing it up on Netflix could ever give people the answers they were hoping for – at least not in a satisfying manner.
As a general rule, if JJ Abrams ever kicks off a movie franchise (or a TV series, or heck, even a catering business), it’s worth assuming that later instalments of the franchise will always end up disappointing fans.
This is why Abrams doesn’t tend to tackle directing his own sequels any more when he can avoid it. It’s better to let someone else take the blame for not being able to deliver on the ridiculous clickbait promises he makes in his storytelling.
So, now we’re only left with questions, yet again.
Will the fourth “Cloverfield” movie be any better? Or is this a franchise that really ought to die.
Tune into the next movie in the series to find out (it’s coming out in October), or speculate endlessly while Abrams counts all the money he made from getting someone else to make a lackluster “Cloverfield” sequel that fails to deliver on all his set-up from the first movie.