Do Spoilers Really Hurt Films?

  WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR IRON MAN 3 AND STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS During the pre-release interviews for Star...

Chris Agar

Contributor

Iron Man 3

 

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR IRON MAN 3 AND STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

During the pre-release interviews for Star Trek Into Darkness, director JJ Abrams and other members of his crew made a point to emphasize that they believe in the art of saving secrets for a movie. Writer Damon Lindelof punctuated this with the amazing quote, “That’s why they’re called ‘spoilers,’ they’re not called ‘awesomes'” when asked about certain aspects of the anticipated sequel.

Abrams and other filmmakers of his generation including Christopher Nolan famously (or infamously depending on your point of view) keep things close to the vest during production of their movies. They go to great lengths to ensure the surprises remain surprises until an audience sees the finished film in a theater. I have a lot of respect for directors like this, especially now that we are in the information age and it has become increasingly difficult to keep things under wraps, with unofficial set photos and videos being leaked on a regular basis.

Recent blockbusters including Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Abrams’s Star Trek Into Darkness and Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 have become a few noteworthy examples of mainstream films shrouded in secrecy. While it’s great that major plot points aren’t being revealed in the months leading up to the release, a few secrets (namely Talia al Ghul and Khan) have been some of the worst kept secrets in recent memory. It’s justifiable to wonder then if the mysteries are really worth it and if secrets help or hurt the experience.