What are Spoilers and How to Avoid Them

By Sean Gardner

If you are plugged into what I like to call the “Movieverse” or the online world of film pundantry, and maybe even if you are not, you have probably heard the phrase “spoiler alert,” or “spoiler.” So, what exactly is a spoiler? How much is too much when it comes to knowledge of a film before you see it? 

The way I see it, a spoiler is a level of detail that, if known prior to seeing a film, would change your perception of a certain character or the movie as a whole. For example, knowing the twist of The Sixth Sense before seeing it for the first time, completely changes how you watch that movie. Knowing that Luke has a green light saber instead of blue in Return of the Jedi, is not that big of a deal. 

A more relevant example is that of the most recent Batman v Superman trailer. I wrote extensively about it in a previous post, but essentially what I said was the fact that they showed Doomsday at the end of the trailer, spoils the movie and the entire plot. Another example is The Force Awakens. Having not yet seen it, it is a dangerous business trying to navigate through my social media to avoid spoilers. I want to go into the new Star Wars film fresh, with no expectations of the plot. 

So, as viewers, how do we avoid spoilers? One way is to avoid everything associated with the film. Avoid trailers, avoid TV spots, avoid the soundtrack, avoid toys, avoid reviews, and everything related to the film. However this cold turkey approach may be difficult in today’s entertainment saturated market. So a more realistic approach would be to stick strictly to the promotional material put out by the studios. 

As film far as film discussion goes, just don’t spoil it. Don’t tell someone you know hasn’t seen a movie how it ends. Just keep it to yourself. I’m not saying you can’t say anything at all. I’m just saying keep the discussion vague and focused on your opinion and not the plot. 

So next time you go see a movie on its opening weekend, don’t post the ending or the big reveal or the crazy twist on Instagram or Facebook for innocent scrollers to see. Just keep it to yourself. 

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