On the Matter of Spoilers

Not a long one today.

As I prepare to see Disney®©™’s Marvel®™©’s #AvengersEndgame for the first time, I’m struck by the seemingly difficult task of staying “spoiler free.” I’ve discussed that matter with a number of friends, as I’m sure everyone else has.

To be clear, I’m somewhat “militant” about my desire to be “spoiler free.” I don’t even want to know what someone thinks of an event movie before I go to see it. It’s why I’ve even removed the Letterboxd app from my phone temporarily; I can’t prevent the feed from showing me star ratings from the occasional friend for these event movies.

I want my experience to be my own.

Giving up social media for Lent prepared me, fortunately, for missing all the talk there, too. My friends know how I want to be for these things.

And yet, I’ve still been challenged to stay spoiler free. Someone at work read something on line and started recounting it, to share with everyone what was spoiled for them. A friend blurted out a question about “do you remember [not spoiling it for you by naming the movie here]?” So now I know something from that has something to do with this. I don’t know what, but I will be waiting through the whole movie for the thing that reminds me of it.

It doesn’t even serve any purpose to share that information. Even if I don’t remember it, if the movie is done well…it doesn’t matter. I should be able to enjoy it even if I didn’t see [not spoiling it for you by naming the movie here]. All that’s happened is that I’ve noodled through something that I’m pretty sure I’m right about, and the movie has to work harder to  keep me distracted from “waiting” for that thing to be a thing.

Avengers Endgame is spoiled meat.
Spoiled meat is still meat. But I’m not looking forward to it as much.

But Why Do You Care, kesseljunkie?

I think a lot of it has to do with “peer pressure” affecting reviews. I know that everyone likes to think themselves immune to it, but one has only to look at the tidal wave of opinion on popular movies to wonder how much we are. The vociferous response to the admittedly-underwhelming Batman v Superman: Dawn of as Many Words as Marketing Can Fit in Here fed on itself, to the point where DC movie fans were able to wear a victim shield online.

I think the thunderous applause for Thor Ragnarok was also something where momentum carried the day; I’ve even spoken with friends who raved about it at first, only to see them “come down” on their second viewing. (For the record, I like Thor Ragnarok just fine. I just didn’t get the fervor behind a lot of the positive reactions. I also got dragged for not being effusively positive about it.)

And that’s fine! But it’s why I don’t even want to know if people liked/loved an event movie until I’ve seen it. Because if you find yourself standing athwart that tsunami of opinion, you can spend more time during the movie wondering why you don’t love/hate it, as you do watching the film.

To emphasize again, I think this is unique to event movies. Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t fill me with the urge to silence people. I didn’t mind being one of the souls who loved Bad Times at the El Royale. I have a Ph.D. in GFY thanks to years of getting hammered for loving the Star Wars prequels.

Event movies are crafted like culinary experiences. They’re best enjoyed with a clean palate and readiness for the experience.

I just wish everyone falls all over themselves to be the first ones to tell you what they think, or what they heard. Let everyone have a shot at the clean experience.