Cry Spoilers! And Let Slip the Dogs of War...
The first look many of us got at upcoming blockbusters was in the pages of Starlog magazine or when a trailer would show up during the latest screening at the local multiplex. And it was pretty damn exciting! A recent conversation with artist Steve Newton about the original 1989 Batman trailer re-emphasized the point for me. We waxed nostalgic about how effective the trailer was, how giddy with excitement we were just to see it over and over again, and how nothing about the movie was spoiled beforehand. Oh, we still had nerd rage fueled arguments about Tim Burton casting Beetlejuice to wear the Bat Cowl and whether Jack Nicholson would be the perfect Joker or not. We still got pre-release articles about the cool looking new Batmobile and other behind-the-scenes peeks. But, nothing to spoil the actual movie. Nobody ran around with the last ten pages of the script screaming, “Let me tell you how it ends” at the top of their journalistic lungs.
And when the theater lights went down and Danny Elfman’s perfect Batman theme filled the auditorium, I was happy to be entertained for the length of the movie. Not once did I find myself taken out of the movie because I had foreknowledge of a plot twist or character development. And it wasn’t just Batman. There were rumors of Spock’s death floating around before Star Trek II, but it wasn’t until we sat in the theaters that we had confirmation of his sacrifice to save his friends. And I’ll never forget when a classmate had the comic adaptation for Return of the Jedi before the movie came out. I refused to read it because I didn’t want to know if Darth Vader was really Luke’s father until I saw the movie.
Look…they are called spoilers for a reason. It ruins something for us as an audience. It takes something that could be very special and turns it into just another average experience. We are devaluing the magic of storytelling by pulling back the curtain too often. When skilled craftsmen and women create something wonderful, patience rewards us with a much more fulfilling and enjoyable outcome.
I have gone into each of Christopher Nolan’s films spoiler free…except for The Dark Knight Rises. Which one did I think was subpar? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.
I’m drawing a line in the sand. Starting today…No. More. Spoilers.