This is a spoiler-free zone
If I opened my column this week by telling you the ending of the newest Marvel movie (Avengers: Infinity War), would you get angry? Perhaps so, if you wanted to watch the movie spoiler-free. But perhaps not if you’ve already seen the movie or you never had any intention to see it at all.
Marvel promoted their latest Avengers movie with a heavy emphasis on not spoiling anything. The directors, producers, and actors all urged movie-goers to keep the details to themselves, so they won’t inadvertently ruin someone else’s experience. The tagline on social media even was “Thanos demands your silence.” (Thanos being the menacing villain the franchise has been building up to for the last 10 years.)
After the movie came out, I started seeing random pictures labeled “Infinity War spoilers without context” pop-up on Facebook and Twitter. It was like a sneaky way for people to talk about the movie without actually talking about the movie.
So I’ve been thinking more lately about how spoilers affect the movie-going (or TV-watching or book-reading, etc) experience. For me, I hate having the plot spoiled ahead of time. Sometimes I don’t even watch the 15-second episode promos at the end of TV shows just because even that short amount of time can ruin things.
Spoilers mean a lack of surprise, and the surprise is my favorite part of watching anything. They’re also distracting. If I had gone into the movie theater to see Infinity War knowing what would happen at the end, I would have spent the whole movie thinking things like “when will it happen?” and “is this the part I’ve been waiting for?”
That’s not a very enjoyable movie experience!
But not everyone is as spoiler-phobic as I am. Some of my friends say they like knowing what will happen ahead of time. One told me she liked having the confirmation of what’s going to happen, so she can relax and just watch. Another reason, she said, is so she can avoid movies and books with bad endings.
I can understand that at least. Who wants to invest time in a story that has an unsatisfactory resolution in the end? There are so many better stories out in the world to focus on instead. You can’t get that wasted time back!
But whether or not you like spoilers, I think we can all agree it is courteous to at least keep your lips sealed. Nobody likes the guy who blabs that [insert character here] died a tragic death because of [insert crucial plot point here]. That’s just rude!
Another thought to add to the equation: how long should we stay quiet about spoilers?
Uncyclopedia, a parody website of Wikipedia, liked to unrepentantly spoil plot points for unsuspecting readers. Years ago, they used to have a “spoiler warning” at the top of articles about movies and TV. The “warning” usually contained a short paragraph of some famous spoilers like Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker’s father, “Rosebud” was the name of the sled, and of course, “soylent green is people!!”
Even if you haven’t seen those movies, they’ve been around long enough that people shouldn’t be too surprised. For people reading the spoiler “warning,” the damage wouldn’t be too bad for the spoiler-phobes.
However you feel about spoilers though, you don’t have to worry about me telling you what happened during the Infinity War movie.
Besides, actor Mark Ruffalo (who plays Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk) already spoiled the ending of the movie in an interview last year. Whoops!
Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 252-332-7206.