Like most people, I usually avoid spoilers like the plague. What's the point in watching a football game if I know who's going to win? A book loses its dramatic tension if I know the main character lives.
But lately I've begun to change my mind on spoilers. I may start seeking them out.
This past summer, everyone seemed to be raving about the movie Inception. But, they warned, it was mind-bogglingly complicated. It was a movie one needed to pay attention to, not just a popcorn flick.
In my typical anti-spoiler fashion, I didn't read any reviews. I skimmed headlines, saw people were enjoying it, but ignored the content of these conversations. I didn't want any surprises.
I regretted that. Because I'm way too serious about these things, I spent the entire movie trying to catch every detail, absorb every fact fully. Those of you who have seen the movie know there's a fair amount of complicated facts and backstory. And for the most part, the details aren't really important. At the end, I had understood every twist. But I was exhausted. Unlike many, I didn't think it was a great movie. But perhaps that's partly because I spent the entire movie fearful I'd miss something.
I was reminded of this when I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows I. I've read the book, I wasn't nervous about spoilers. But I was worried about negative critics spoiling it for me. Before I went, Phil had told me of one negative review, my parents shared another, written by someone who had never read the books nor seen the other films. I was annoyed by the bad press and elitist, adult critics complaining about a phenomenon they'd never even bothered to engage with. So I didn't read any reviews.
I wish I had.
I wish I had known that it would feel like only the first half of a movie, that there would be hardly any character development, or plot arcs. I would've gone anyway. I would have sat back and enjoyed seeing Ron, Harry, and Hermione again, enjoyed the action, the spectacle. Instead, I spent most of the movie thinking, "Wait, why did Ron just do that?" and "That made a lot more sense in the book," and "That was it?"
Of course, reading reviews and spoilers could easily backfire. What if I would've really enjoyed a movie, but reviews made me overly critical? And there's not much reason, in my mind, to watch a football game if I know how it ends, especially if my team loses. The problem is, only hindsight is 20/20.
But in the future, I may be more open to reading reviews and even spoilers ahead of time. After all, it's not usually the dramatic tension that I most enjoy about a movie.
Do you ever seek out spoilers? Do you ever wish you had?