1. The go-to example for critics complaining about big-budget summer blockbusters today—and how they've devolved from some past, theoretical peak—is Steven Spielberg's Jaws. One of that 1975 film's many genius innovations was to hold off, as long as possible, on ever letting us see the shark. The movie took its time, went through its paces, measured itself, set us up, and then, when the time was exactly right: Holy shit, here's a huge fucking killer shark.
Spielberg has claimed in interviews that he only agreed to do the movie if he didn't have to show the shark until the film's second hour, and it's the reason Jaws works. You get to know Brody, and Capt. Quint, and Hooper, and the city of Amity, and just when you're starting to care about them, here's the shark, and it is on. The takeaway is clear: You have to earn your terrifying scenes of destruction.