I finally, at long last, saw Avengers: Infinity War this weekend. But, didn’t it come out last weekend? Yes, it did. Why did you wait so long? What about spoilers? Well Mary Suevians, I managed to go a whole week—working where I work and socializing in my usual geeky circles both online and off—without seeing a single spoiler. I’ve done the impossible, friends. Here’s how.
1 – Tell your friends you haven’t seen it, and give them a timeline as to when you’re planning to.
Yes, it would be great if there were a universally agreed-upon time period during which spoilers should be withheld, but there isn’t. Also, people get excited after seeing movies they love and want to talk about them. Their first inclination is to want to get online and share their observations with their friends. It’s understandable. You’d feel the same way if you saw the latest Marvel blockbuster opening day. So, understanding that, make sure the people in your networks are aware of your viewing status.
Once I saw people start to post that they’d seen Infinity War, I posted on my socials that I didn’t have a chance to see it, but that I was planning on seeing it the following weekend. I noticed a significant decrease in posts, either because people hid me from truly spoilery things, or people were being super-cryptic and the references went over my head. Either way, score! Of course, it helps to be friends with conscientious people who aren’t total assholes.
2 – Be clear about what a spoiler is TO YOU.
Just as there’s no universally agreed-upon time period for a spoiler embargo, there’s also no universally agreed-upon definition for what constitutes a spoiler. For some, it means plot twists and conclusions. For others, it’s literally any mention of anything that happens in a film (even if it’s something that happens in a trailer). For some, it’s verbal plot points. For others, images are enough to spoil. Still others don’t even want to hear fan speculation that has nothing to do with the actual plot of the film, because what if you’re right?
My friends know that I’m fine knowing things that have been confirmed by filmmakers in the press, or seen in the trailer. Deaths? Not okay. Character appearances? Depends on whether their appearance is supposed to be a surprise in relation to the plot. Generally, I like to receive a story the way the storytellers want to give it to me. So, if it’s not information they’ve officially put out, I consider it a spoiler. But that’s just me. Make sure your nerdy friends know your spoiler boundaries.
3 – Don’t go looking for information about the film!
This seems really obvious, but it always surprises me when people are simultaneously concerned about spoilers, but also reading articles having to do with the film for months in advance. If you’re someone who’s sensitive to spoilers, don’t read news on that film.
I can tell you from experience, even working here at TMS, that it’s actually really easy to not read news about a movie. I’ve never been someone who’s inclined to read much press leading up to a film. I’m much more interested in the articles/reviews/think-pieces that come out after the fact, and then I only read those once I’ve seen the film. Obviously, for the purposes of my job here, there’s press I have to read and cover, but on my own time IRL? I don’t tend to read those things.
Obviously, reading press about upcoming films is fun for a lot of people, and if it is for you, do it up! (And do it here!) I’m just saying that if it’s particularly important to you to not be spoiled on a particular film, it’s a lot easier than you think to not read the press. Here at TMS, I was the last person to see Infinity War, and I basically spent weeks forgoing Infinity War coverage entirely—I wouldn’t even edit IW articles from my colleagues for a week—to remain spoiler-free.
Something that goes hand-in-hand with this….
4 – Master the “skim-scroll”
Maybe it’s because I work as an editor for a pop culture website, so I need to get the gist of things I read on the Internet really fast, but I’ve gotten really good at skimming and scrolling quickly. With regard to Infinity War, the second I saw the words “Infinity” or “War” capitalized, I would scroll past the entire article. I’m sure I probably came face-to-face with headlines that contained at least mild spoilers, but I don’t remember any of them, because when it came to looking through entertainment news, I ignored everything having to do with the movie I wanted to see most.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Advance press is designed to get people excited about seeing a film, but for something like a Marvel movie, most of us are already excited. There’s nothing that they’re releasing as advance press that won’t be just as valuable to you after you’ve seen the film if Infinity War was already something you were inclined to see. You don’t have to pick up what the Marvel machine is putting down right away. They already know they’ll have your money.
5 – Avoid Tumblr like the plague
I’m the first to admit that I’m not Tumblr’s biggest fan, and I avoid Tumblr like the plague in general because I genuinely believe it to be the plague. Or else, a plague. Be that as it may, I know that for many of you (including my wife), Tumblr is an awesome resource, both for pop culture fandom and political engagement, so I get that you’re not giving it up entirely.
But if you’re not going to see a film the second it’s released, avoid Tumblr until you do. I don’t know how people do it, or where they find the time, but folks on Tumblr manage to somehow create high-quality, spoilery gifs the second footage is available. If it’s opening day of a film, and you’re not going to see it, be sure that those who are seeing it are likely going to Tumblr first to post images and reactions and reblog them liberally, moreso than on other social media.
So, Tumblr maybe shouldn’t be your social media platform of choice before you have the chance to see the film you’re worried about spoiling.
What about you? What tips do you have for avoiding spoilers? How long have you gone before seeing a movie while remaining spoiler-free? And what are your spoiler boundaries? Tell us below!
( image: Marvel Entertainment)
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