I have not yet seen Endgame. If nothing screws up, I should be seeing it tomorrow. So far, I have managed to avoid all spoilers—I haven’t watched the most recent Far From Home trailer, because I know it contains spoilers. Indeed, I know that its very existence is arguably a spoiler, but anyway. I don’t know how it fits into the greater MCU timeline, and I don’t know how things get resolved. I’d like to keep it that way. And I’ve already had a friend tell me that it doesn’t matter, because the Russo Brothers have said that the statute of limitations on spoilers ended this week.
That is, all due respect to the Russos, garbage. I can without prompting think of easily a dozen or more reasons someone might not have seen the movie yet; it hasn’t even been out for two weeks, after all. I’m pretty sure this is the earliest into a movie’s run we’ll have seen it in years. Since our son was born, in fact. Simon’s not a bad kid, for the most part, but he and his sister do make it challenging to get out and do things. And that’s even with me as a stay-at-home parent; parents who both work jobs in the service industry tend to have problems coordinating schedules so they can both see a movie at the same time.
Is it reasonable to expect everyone to keep a movie’s secrets? I mean . . . yes? It strikes me as basic courtesy. In my own reviews, I don’t worry about how long a movie has been out, because the assumption that not everyone has seen it is a reasonable one no matter what movie it is. Yes, eventually, details become part of the common culture—it’s hard to get mad at people for spoiling The Empire Strikes Back, for example. But there’s a punchline in an episode of Trollhunters where a character exclaims in grief and astonishment, “You mean Juliet dies in this?”
Yeah, I know. Science suggests that we like stories better if we already know the ending. There are plenty of people who don’t mind spoilers at all. Our culture has changed a great deal on the subject—the official trading cards of The Empire Strikes Back gave away the ending, after all, this despite the fact that not everyone involved in the movie knew the secret. I’m aware of all these things. And I still want the choice—I can decide for myself to seek out spoilers or avoid them, for preference. That is literally what spoiler tags are for; it gives people the choice. It takes little effort to use them and little to click through if you want the spoilers, and that little effort can protect the people who don’t want to know.
I went into Infinity War unspoiled—and it had been something like a month since it came out, if I remember correctly. The woman next to me had also managed to avoid spoilers, which I know because basically neither of us breathed for the last five minutes or so. I’ll never have that experience seeing that particular movie again. All it took to give it to me once was a little courtesy from my friends who had seen it. Then after the fact, we could discuss it together. So much nicer all the way around, don’t you think?