I know I’ll probably garner a lot of hate from some people about this, but I honestly don’t think spoilers are a big deal. There’s a lot of inane things that millennials are learning have no place in our lives, but this is one of those annoying things we created in response to the overwhelming amount of things we have to keep up with that needs to go.
I get why it happened: we as a society have shifted our focuses towards methods of escapism. The trade-off to making geekery socially acceptable is now EVERYONE wants to live like we once did. However, our experiences of games, movies, tv shows, etcetera, is a major part of our interactions with other humans. Not only that, but marketing campaigns are making viewership and playership (I’m pretty sure I just made that word up) seem necessary for us to stay tuned in to other human beings. If we don’t stay up to date on the latest Marvel movies or tv shows, the latest Game of Thrones, the latest Star Wars sequel, play the newest games, we are sacrificing our ability to interact with other people if we wish to stay pure, if we wish to avoid spoilers.
It’s just… spoilers aren’t that big of a deal, for anything except video games (but lets be real, video game spoilers are the MOST prevalent so most of us have just learned to deal). If you know at the end of mother! that [spoiler] Jennifer Lawrence gets turned into that oh-so-special crystal [/spoiler] it doesn’t do much to color your impression of the film. I personally feel like the feeling of what-the-fuckery that the entire film runs on can be felt with knowledge of the ending. You REALLY feel for Jennifer Lawrence’s character because the emotive quality of the acting, cinematography, and overall direction wants you to feel her pain.
Many people will cite artistic intent of the filmmakers as the reason why we should have the benefit of going into a theatre or pulling up a movie without knowing the outcomes of the plot. Some filmmakers go to excessive lengths to ensure we have as pure of a viewing experience as possible. But that experience of naivete and innocence is an experience solely allotted to the first ones in the theatre in the digital age – and even somewhat before our time.
Alfred Hitchcock went out of his way to keep anything about Psycho on the down low. Janet Leigh was billed as the star, when [spoiler] she dies in the first 30 minutes of the film[/spoiler]. It would have been like going to see Kill Bill and Uma Thurman gets wiped out in the first act and we follow Bill’s story the rest of the time, or going in to see Tangled and watching Gothel murder Rapunzel & Flynn and then spending the rest of the movie following her (which would have been pretty close to the original story where she cuts off Rapunzel’s hair, kicks her out of the tower, and shoves the prince out the window and into a thicket of thorns after the lovers have sex, except that they survive). Hitchcock wouldn’t even put shots of the film in the original theatrical trailer, it’s just a frustrating six-and-a-half minute tour of the set!
Recently, a friend “spoiled” Star Wars: The Last Jedi for some of us who haven’t been to the movies in months for life-busy reasons or money-poor reasons. There was a lot of outcry towards him for this and I don’t quite understand as someone who hasn’t seen the movie yet. How many of us in this generation saw the original trilogy and went in knowing that [spoiler]Vader is Luke’s father?[/spoiler] Probably all of us, unless we were living in a hole. I even marked the spoiler for those of you who recently escaped the hole and haven’t heard anything about it, and choose to watch the original 3 before the prequels. But let’s take into account the fact that George Lucas wrote a fake line, saying “Obi-Wan killed your father”, and threatened Mark Hamill that they’d know if it was him who leaked the real line since he was the only one they told, just to keep the big reveal hush-hush. It is the artistic intent that the reveal be a huge revelation, and yet anyone who watches the prequel trilogy first won’t have that experience. Is the series ruined because we don’t have that experience anymore? I don’t think so.
There are very few movies in which knowing a spoiler ruins the emotional impact of the film, which means spoilers are meaningless. If you focus on the knowledge of one facet of a movie and not the journey of it, you’re the one who ruined the movie for you. No movie should be experienced just because you want to see the ending. It’s how we get to the ending.
Knowing that [Citizen Kane spoiler]Rosebud is a sled doesn’t ruin anything about Citizen Kane except that it makes it painfully clear that someone DID hear him say Rosebud after repeatedly insisting during the rest of the movie that NO ONE HEARD, which has nothing to do with the plot, since the plot lives through its own truth that NO ONE HEARD[/spoiler].
Spoilers only really do one of two things: alert you to plot holes or make you more perceptive to the beautiful nuances filmmakers use to foreshadow later events. No one gets points for figuring out something is gonna happen, as much as it pains me to admit (I am REALLY good at predicting plot twists). You feel smarter when movie makers want you to feel smarter. Knowing that [Frozen spoiler]Hans is the villain in Frozen only ruins frozen because you watch the first part of the film and there are 0 clues that he is a villain [/spoiler], I mean there is genuinely nothing – I have rewatched and searched and nothing. I don’t think this particularly ruins the film, considering how many of us have befriended or loved someone who pretends to be good and perfect, and been crestfallen when their true colors show. I personally think it would have been a stroke of genius to hide at least a couple of subtle hints about the true nature of that character, but I mean, that’s just something I want as a storyteller and as someone who has had my run-in with more than one lying, manipulative dick. I concede to the comments about the speed of the relationship as a red flag, but that’s the only one I could find on re-watching. At the end of it, we can’t really blame Anna for falling fast like every other Disney princess (except… Belle? I’ll do a whole thing on this later, I bet). I dug that they played with that trope, I just wanted them to give us clues that we could use in the real world to weed out people like him (cause there are), because he works against his own plans so many times in the movie. WHATEVER. I have definitely made the spoiler tag irrelevant by now.
Spoilers may actually mean something to some of you, but I feel like spoilers are like diamonds and all the other things we as millennials have already effectively destroyed – we will be a better society when they become meaningless.