How to navigate the world of spoilers

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

With the theatrical release of the new “Avengers: Endgame” movie, we are all walking around on eggshells. Some of us are trying to avoid inadvertently learning major plot elements. On the other hand, those of us lucky enough to have scored opening day tickets are trying to avoid accidentally revealing those major plot elements to the rest of society. Never fear — the Lariat is here to lay down a set of ground rules for navigating the dangerous world of spoilers.

Online Hazards

Nowadays, the most perilous place after the premiere of a big movie you haven’t seen yet is social media. And while it can seem unnecessary for someone to tweet the entire plot, in this case, it’s ultimately up to you to avoid spoilers. The person doing the spoiling is well within their rights to pose questions or theories to the part of the internet that has seen the movie without worrying about spoiling it for you. Take a break from social media until you have time to watch the movie yourself. Sometimes that can even mean news media, although movie critics almost always include a “spoiler alert” at the beginning of a piece. Some of them will even go so far as to suggest repeatedly that those with virginal eyes turn away now before exposing themselves to the intricate plot summary and analysis about to unfold.

In-person perils

The rules and regulations surrounding spoilers in the real world differ slightly. We maintain that it is your responsibility to tell your friends you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want spoilers. However, it is then their job to respect your wishes and try to avoid mentioning the film in your presence. That being said, if all your friends have seen the movie already, make plans to see it as soon as possible so you can all discuss it without fear of spoilers.

Nevertheless, there are instances where we don’t have that kind of control over the things people around us say. For example, people talking about the movie in line behind you at HEB, with no escape, might spoil major plot developments in the time it takes for you to buy your avocados and scram. In these situations, it is absolutely common courtesy to refrain from discussing major plot elements of a new film in public spaces. You never know whose day you might be ruining because you couldn’t wait a few minutes to discuss the movie in the car.

This is especially true in the movie theater itself. When we get out of a movie, our first instinct is to turn to the person watching it with us and divulge all the crazy twists and turns, mentioning your favorite characters and lines. However, do not let this conversation go past the theater. In the lobby and bathrooms, hordes of people are waiting to enjoy that exact movie. They don’t want you to ruin it for them as they are about to enter the theater.

Waiting the good wait

All that said, the final question remains: When can we stop tiptoeing around and worrying about spoilers? For people who haven’t seen the movie yet, you should try to see the film within the first three weekends of its release. This time frame ensures that people have an adequate amount of time to get around to seeing the movie while also giving others a short enough period to manage avoiding spoiling the film for their friends or neighbors.

At the end of the day, we can never fully escape the dangers of spoilers. We might spoil a movie for someone, and another person might spoil a movie for us. However, films are more than just one plot development or surprising twist. They are the product of hundreds of artists, actors and filmmakers. A movie can never truly be spoiled or ruined just by knowing a few details before entering the theater. Films are an immersive experience, and this is especially true for the Avengers movies which thrust us into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nothing can truly spoil the magic of watching a movie for the first time.