Spoiler Warning! Article About Spoilers!
I walked into Spider-man 3 knowing the ending and having watched probably 20-25 minutes of the movie already. I knew the shakedown and nearly scene-by-scene storyboard of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Finally, I knew all about Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man, including what he says, because I had seen the embedded video on some random Asian Web site a week before the movie opened.
This does not make me “cool.”
It does, however, serve as a microcosm of modern day cinematic marketing. Movies cannot hide from the likes of Ain’t It Cool News and while some try their hardest to be secretive (cough, Cloverfield) the vast majority of big releases spill and leak all the way to the theaters.
But why? Why are these spoilers gushing out like never before? The answer(s) are not that mysterious but take a little prodding and poking to uncover.
The first and most obvious reason is the radiating importance of the Internet as a new-gathering source. My generation is dominating, DOMINATING, the news revolving around websites and streaming information. Our consolidation of knowledge on anything and everything electronic is nearly omniscient.
Face it America. We. Are. Everywhere.
Secondly, you take the factthe information superhighway is like our first language (move over English) combined with the unnatural and spontaneous rise of the geek as a cultural superpower, and you have the perfect storm in the infopocalyspe of media. We make connections, comments and speculations about what will happen in media and sometimes they come true. The good ones become rumours and the best ones become spoilers. With the increase popularity of the Internet becoming the primary means of communication, tidbits and images can be zoom from pc to mac, from blog to mainstream sites, and from producers to your personal laptop.
But what price to we pay as moviegoers? Hell, what price do we pay as dedicated fanboys? For example, I am a part of the counterculture of 15 years ago that has suddenly become the cash cow of the movie industry – geeks. I grew up with my comic books, from the first appearance of Wolverine to Spawn and from Earthworm Jim to Maniac Mansion; I loved my own little world because it eventually propelled me into books, politics and many other cerebral stuff. Suddenly, you tell me that Iron Man is coming out so of course I’m scouring the net to find out, what’s in the plot, bootleg clips off the set and images of the Mark I with flamethrower and rocket boosters. I’m riding the wave with other geeks, and not for the thrill of nostalgia. Nostalgia is for posers who once liked these comic book figures. I’m talking about the devoted fans who have just read Marvel Civil War and believe the storyline is a mark of the times (either politically or socially).
So on opening day, the amount of surprises I take in is still a lot, but not in its full effect. Besides, it’s not like I could have stopped myself from learning things about the film prior to its release (I don’t have that kind of willpower).
Eventually this question of spoilers’ and whether or not they should be as prominent as they are now comes to a head – Sure, we have the power to know plot details or what have you before hand, but should we use it. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.
The point in question surfaces again with something recently flooding the blogosphere about Terminator 4. WARNING: TERMINATOR 4 SPOILER AHEAD. IF YOU WANT TO SKIP, GO TO NEXT PARAGRAPH. Ain’t It Cool News recently posted a rumor that could potentially become a major spoiler for the film – Christian Bale dies at the end and his skin is graphed onto a body of a cyborgs. I mean, that’s a huge spoiler, man. I know the guys at Ain’t It Cool News posted it with the mindset that it was just a rumor, but at what point is it best to keep such a huge bit of information away from the public?
Welcome back to those who skipped the last paragraph; good for you. I was just talking about how Arnold Schwarzenegger blows up Manhattan. Pysche! Just kidding.
Spoilers are a growing part of the current movie spectrum. Whole blogs and companies focus on getting the exclusive image or the big connection. Fanboys and geeks alike love them and read them, but it’s always good to stop and think for a moment about things we love and how we are treating them. Do we really want to know how a movie ends before it starts?
Contact Ben at Bspanner@graffitiwv.com