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Spoiler Culture: Does It Ruin Movies or Help?

Anxiety about "knowing everything" is fostered by fans, the media, and the film industry itself. What is happening? What is the spoiler culture?

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Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: La cultura del spoiler: ¿arruina las películas o es favorable?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most important entertainment franchises. Their fans form a really large community, that talks about the movies on social media, the media, and even on the streets. They give their opinion about the adaptation of a story, the characters, and even the rumors.

Some of this could be seen in "Spider-Man: No Way Home", one of the highest-grossing movies in history. The third installment of the superhero played by Tom Holland was full of expectations, not so much because of the story itself, but also because of all the rumors, confirmations and theories surrounding this film.

Basically, the possibility of having, for the first time in history, different versions of the classic spider-man was anticipated. Therefore, months before the release of the film, various leaks claimed that these characters would appear in the film, with alleged images of the actors on the sets.

In turn, Marvel itself confirmed later, something that fans also speculated: the return of the villains from previous tapes. For this reason, for the release of the film, all the spectators already knew part of the returns, but they were waiting to see if the three spider heroes would appear.

If you saw the movie, you surely know the answer: they appeared. Although the tape was extremely satisfactory, the reality is that it is necessary to evaluate to what extent this happened in order to satisfy the expectations. If Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield did not appear, surely the tape would have been an embarrassment.

Although it is counterfactual, it is also interesting to think about what would have happened if the people had known anything about the film. Or, at least, only the minimum of the plot. In this case, the main hypothesis is that they would have lived the tape in another way. In other words, the returns of the characters already confirmed by the trailers would have been more exciting.

This culture of the "spoiler" seeks to generate the greatest number of expectations to consume a certain product. That is, the companies are in charge of anticipating certain characters or events in the film. Gone are the years when trailers only anticipated small events: now they seem like summaries of the film .

Also read: "Black Mirror": Dystopian Stories Return to Netflix

As so many things are anticipated and so many rumors, leaks, and theories arise, one already arrives in the room with certain ideas of what the film should be. Therefore, it is measured based on how well they comply with them. And some of this was seen in the sequel to "Dr. Strange." Although the film is the most innovative in the franchise, and is at a very high point technically, it did not please everyone. Mainly, it failed to satisfy those who expected a crazy number of cameos and surprises, which did not appear on screen. If this had happened, it would possibly have been said that the tape was meaningless fan service, with appearances that constantly seek to amaze the viewer.

The fact that practically all the spectators arrive with enough information about the movie theater is something that practically cannot be avoided. All the media, influencers, and even the production companies announce different “winks” for the new films. However, there is also another issue: theories.

These are usually made by fans and also generate different expectations. Prior to the Marvel phenomenon, it could be seen in two franchises: "Game of Thrones" and "Star Wars." As for the first, all the fans were arguing on Twitter about how the series would end. This, in turn, conditioned fans to see what the ending would be like.

The result? Well, apart from the poor narrative quality of the last seasons, there was also discontent for not being able to fulfill everything that was expected. And, if this happened, there probably would have been no surprise either. After all, viewers "spoiled" the plot with theories.

The same thing happened with "Star Wars". With the new trilogy, fans spread thousands of theories. Therefore, many fans were angry when those things did not come true or worse: when they became reality, as it happened when they leaked that Palpatine would return, but they also theorized about his family link with Rey.

So we have two problems. On the one hand, the producers, the media, and the fans feed off the consumption of theories. The anxiety to know what will happen generates interest and profits. However, in turn, it causes expectations that condition the way in which fans see a certain film.

In turn, it can also be a patch for producers to try to cancel narrative errors. If something is exciting, the quality of the story may not matter. At the end of the day, what is sought is fan service, with surprises that, paradoxically, they seek to announce.

It remains to be seen to what extent this situation pays off for business, the media, and the public over time. Although the box office results are favorable, it may be that, at a certain point, people get fed up with this modus operandi and seek to return to the time of uncertainty about what will happen in the next scene.