I hate spoilers. Not having things spoiled for me, that I don’t mind, I hate the concept of spoilers. The idea that learning something essential about a storyline ‘spoils’ the experience doesn’t make sense to me. In a lot of cases, learning something extra about a story can actually enhance my enjoyment of it. For me, my mind constantly guesses what is going to happen. Not accurately mind you, but I’m constantly thinking of potential future events in a story. Knowing what happens switches the guessing part of my mind off and instead I can more easily pay attention to what is actually happening in front of me. My mind becomes quiet and ready for entertainment! I can look for foreshadowing, watch the actors (or characters) more closely, and just get more engrossed in the events on screen. I can lose myself in the world. I can put myself in the characters shoes and ask “what events lead to that ending which I now specifically know about?” Already knowing the ending can be empowering to a viewer.
Having watched The 6th Sense, Fight Club, Seven, and Game of Thrones after knowing the ‘big reveals’ in each I can say that the stories are still really well crafted. The big reveals are implied throughout the story so they feel like they’re part of it (for most of them anyway). It’s not the stereotypical ‘What a Twist!” kinds of ending which sometimes get tacked on to otherwise good stories (I realize the irony of saying an M. Night Shamallonollon movie does not have one). The 6th Sense has been referenced as one of the first spoiler warning movies, which may have played a part in starting this craze. Afterwards there was the story of someone buying that one Harry Potter book at midnight, speed reading it, then shouting “Dumbledore dies!” to the rest of the people in line. To me, the craze became specifically annoying when Game of Thrones took off. All of a sudden I couldn’t talk about the book anymore, I couldn’t mention anything about the episode I just watched in public, any time I said “Game of Thrones” I’d hear a number of voices shout from the store I was in saying “WAIT! I haven’t seen it yet!” It sucks. The Marvel movies have propagated the same hysteria. I worked at a comic book store and as such was fairly broke. I usually couldn’t go to the movie on release weekend, so I’d be at work and would listen to all the people telling me essentially the entire movies plot in one breath. Hailing it as the next masterpiece of Marvel cinema, or condemning it to the cesspool of ‘non-cannon’ garbage.
If I really like a movie I’ll watch it 3 or 4 times. If I really like an anime series or TV series, I’ll watch it through at least twice over. The first time viewing experience is usually the least enjoyable. I don’t have the full context of the show, or movie, yet so I miss a lot of the little things. After seeing how it all comes together I love going back and checking it out again to see how well the ending is hinted at. On the second and greater viewings I can look at the backgrounds, listen to the music, or pay attention to how the director framed each shot. I can appreciate the finer points of the medium, which only become available to me after I know what the plot is about.
“Its not the destination, its the journey.” – Some wise dude, I think