With Avengers: Infinity War officially releasing tonight in the U.S., I’ve been doing my best to navigate social media without running into any spoilers. A recent Forbes article (which I will not link to) apparently listed every spoiler in the film despite the fact the movie is not even out yet! My sentiments on this align with film critic John Campea, who posted a response on his YouTube channel, stating that Forbes basically armed trolls to spoil the movie for fans.
Like many, I hate spoilers. It’s especially enraging when people spoil movies that we’re most anticipated for. On the surface it may sound trivial, almost like, “What’s the big deal about spoilers, it’s just a movie, right?” The reality is, film is experienced differently from person to person. Some people watch movies and TV shows for pure entertainment; others are looking for an escape – a break from their busy schedules; and some watch them to appreciate the art of cinema (none of these reasons are mutually exclusive, of course). When we spend so much time invested in an upcoming movie, it can be quite upsetting when everything gets spoiled and we are not able to have the experience the filmmaker(s) wanted us to have upon the first viewing.
Whether we hear spoilers in a YouTube video, from a co-worker, or even read it in a title of an article (one of my biggest pet peeves!), the outrage is understandable. I know there are plenty of articles written about avoiding spoilers in the internet age, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to add another voice to the discussion. Below are some ideas and suggestions for both movie fans and critics on how we can steer clear of and prevent spoilers for movies we are most anticipated for.
1. Understand your definition of a spoiler
Initially, my first suggestion was to tell people to stay off the internet (point number 2 below), but in recent years, there are debates about what constitutes a spoiler. The definition of the term has become much more subjective. For example, if we look at a movie like Blade Runner 2049, some might argue that disclosing the plot of the movie is a spoiler in of itself (if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about). However, I also know people who didn’t have issues with knowing the plot beforehand.
Most non-spoiler movie reviews will discuss plot points, but this may be viewed as spoilers by some. Speaking for myself, if it’s a movie I’ve been waiting for years to see (like Avengers: Infinity War), I don’t want to hear too much about the plot.
So figure out what you’re OK with knowing. If you’d rather not know anything about the movie, it’s probably safer to not read movie reviews before seeing it.
2. Stay off the internet!
The Russo brothers suggested this for Avengers: Infinity War, and it makes perfect sense. Don’t log on to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, etc. Given how we’ve seen article titles contain spoilers for movies in the past, you might as well just stay off the internet completely until you’re able to see the movie!
If you can do this, great! But, if you’re like me and have a habit of constantly checking Facebook, staying off social media may not be the most practical solution.
3. Read and watch spoiler-free reviews only from critics you trust
If you can’t resist the reviews, I suggest reading/watching reviews only by critics you trust. Sites like Collider and Screen Junkies are pretty reliable when it comes to not spoiling movies. What’s helpful is that they will post two reviews: a non-spoiler review and a spoiler review. They’re even considerate enough to remind you in the video just in case you misread (or didn’t read) the title of the video!
If you’re a movie critic, you may not consider plot points a spoiler, but as mentioned above, there’s a debate about this. When I’m watching a review for a movie that I haven’t seen yet, I’m just looking for the basics from critics: (1) Did you like the movie? (2) How did the movie make you feel? (3) Do you recommend going to see it?
Once I read about those general thoughts and feelings, I will stop reading and return to the review later (because I suspect a summary of the plot will be provided in the review).
Something I appreciate about movie reviews by Andre at Black Nerd Comedy is how he posts up non-spoiler reviews, but also states that he will mention some plot/character points. His recent review for Avengers: Infinity War begins with his initial impressions of the movie and he mentions clearly that he will talk about some aspects of the plot. This way, for those of us who don’t want to hear about plot points, we can simply close the video after listening to his general thoughts and feelings.
4. If you must read Twitter, only read social media reactions from the same critics you trust
I strongly advise against using Twitter in the days leading up to the release of the movie. The spoilers are Twitter are rampant and much harder to filter out than sites like Facebook.
But if you’re going to read reactions to the film, ONLY read tweets from the critics you trust. After Avengers: Infinity War premiered, for instance, I only read tweets from critics from Collider. Their tweets only contained general reactions to the film, nothing specific.
5. DON’T. READ. THE. COMMENTS.
Even if you’re reading or watching a spoiler-free movie review, DO NOT read the comments. Don’t even scroll down. I saw a ton of trolls spoiling The Last Jedi in YouTube comments. Just read/watch the review and close the window! You can read the comments later!
So those are some of my suggestions for avoiding spoilers (for now). Of course, movie critics and movie websites also have a responsibility to preserve the secrets of a film as well. But since this is never a guarantee, the best we can do is make adjustments to the way we navigate social media – at least until we’re able to see the movie!