The best way to watch a movie is spoiled | Opinion

(Sydney Carroll/Daily Titan)

From big Hollywood blockbusters to small independent films, moviegoers often feel the same: don’t spoil the ending!

While this mantra has always been part of movie culture, it’s especially prevalent today, where stumbling across a plot twist is as simple as a quick scroll or a notification.

However, people have turned this good-humoured tip into spoiler anxiety, distracting viewers from focusing on what’s really important: good acting, good writing, and good directing.

Knowing the ending of a movie before watching it doesn’t necessarily spoil the fun of a movie. In fact, the need to come to a screening with fresh eyes can be disappointing. Sometimes the anticipation of a big plot can actually diminish the enjoyment of a movie.

Some people may argue that certain movies, like “Se7en” or “The Usual Suspects,” shouldn’t be spoiled because their plot twists are essential to the story. However, twists are singular points in a story. A spoiler for the end of a movie without buildup doesn’t make sense.

The plot twists only work because the logical foreshadowing throughout the story leads to a satisfying conclusion. Also, stories that rely on a twist normally have a strong narrative. Spoiling a movie actually makes people more likely to rewatch it, because people will be more likely to go back and try to find the elements that led to the twist.

Spoilers can actually enhance the enjoyment of a story, according to Nicholas Christenfeld, professor of psychology at UC San Diego.

He conducted an experiment where test subjects read short stories in different genres. One group read the stories and rated how much they liked them, while the second group had the story spoiled before reading them.

Fascinatingly, the group that spoiled the story for them gave the story higher marks, suggesting that spoilers can enhance the viewing experience.

Christenfeld said knowing the ending of a film by watching it can help people better understand a filmmaker’s techniques.

This results in a deeper understanding of the film, and this smooth processing of information is proven to be enjoyable. Essentially, a level of familiarity with a work helps someone appreciate it more.

This anti-spoiler mindset is especially noticeable among Marvel fans, who avoid spoilers like the plague. Vox reviewer Emily St. James discussed this spoiler obsession on NPR, calling it “spoiler paranoia”.

Spoiler paranoia causes unnecessary anxiety as a movie buff. People will vigilantly try to avoid spoilers, which accidentally renders a devastating blow. Seeing spoilers will make someone feel like they’re enjoying the movie properly now, which would lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fans who, accidentally or otherwise, dare to discuss spoilers among fans who haven’t seen the movie yet are sometimes met with unreasonable levels of anger and disgust.

Additionally, fans have created a culture of hype around these movies. While this could create incredible traction for Marvel, fans have built unrealistic expectations for these movies, focusing almost more on the hype than the movies themselves.

This reliance on hype to lift a film to high ratings only encourages production companies to make subpar films. While waiting for every new twist, viewers can’t fully immerse themselves in the story.

As St. James described it, spoiler paranoia even affected the period of filmmaking. In the case of “Avengers: Endgame,” the actors had to recite their lines, cutting out any unrelated scenes. And while that quiet attitude may prevent plot leaks, it weakened the early part of the film by filling up valuable runtime with single-actor shots.

It can also negatively affect actors, as in the case of actor Sebastian Stan who plays Bucky Barnes in the Marvel franchise. According to a Comic Book Resources article, he found “Avengers: Endgame” difficult to shoot because it lacked the proper context for its scenes. Many actors were even given fake scenes to avoid any plot leaks.

To beat spoiler paranoia, people have to accept that spoilers can be found anywhere online or in person. Instead of worrying about them, learn to accept them instead.

It’s impossible to completely exclude opinions of popular movies, so trying to avoid spoilers is pointless.

People should also try not to let spoilers affect their movie experience. Challenge the thought of a singular movie moment that eclipses all other aspects of a movie – ultimately missing the big picture.

About Cecil Cobb

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