By Nihal Bambulkar Apr. 30, 2019
Over the last few days, a few lucky social media users who got to see Avengers: Endgame before everyone else have been celebrating by live-tweeting the plot at everyone else. This is a new low for internet trolls, especially considering how far the Russo brothers have gone to keep the details of the film under wraps.
Afew days have passed since the official release of Avengers: Endgame, the last film in the Marvel franchise. But the lack of tickets has ensured that there’s still an air of curiosity surrounding the journey of Earth’s mightiest superheroes. Unfortunately, this is also ripe ground for faceless trolls lurking in dark crannies of the internet to rise up and spoil the film for everyone else. I’m talking, of course, of the latest bane of the millennial’s existence – the notorious social media spoilsport.
Over the last few days, a few lucky social media users who got to see the movie on the first day have been celebrating their success by live-tweeting the plot at everyone else. I have a question for them. Do you have any idea what it is like to work on an $18 billion franchise for well over a decade, only to have its climax revealed by a waste-of-space-teenager who relies on his mother to cut the crusts of his sandwich? If your answer is “no”, then I suggest you muster up a smidgen of self respect and stop being a douchebag to everyone on the internet.
The Avengers: Endgame spoilers started early. A five-minute clip leaked on Reddit a day before the release, was the first sign of things to come. An essay on Verge acknowledged that this particular spoiler was making the lives of Avengers fans pretty miserable. “It includes a handful of pivotal-seeming scenes from Endgame, although it certainly won’t give you a full picture of the movie — and the quality is so abysmal that you won’t get the glossy Marvel cinematic experience either,” the author writes.
This a new low, even for internet trolls. Especially considering how far the Russo brothers have gone to keep the details of the film under wraps. Robert Downey Jr was apparently the only cast member to have read the entire script, while actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth only received the scripts for their respective characters. Tom Holland, meanwhile, was given his lines without any context because of the spoiler that accidentally escaped his lips while he was promoting Avengers: Infinity War.
But then, at some point, we have to ask – what is the right time to start talking about a trending film or an episode?
On the same day that the five-minute clip was leaked, the Russo brothers also released a letter urging fans of the MCU to not spoil the film for others with the hashtag, “#DontSpoilTheEndgame”. Marvel Studios, meanwhile, put out a number of videos on Instagram featuring the cast of the film, urging viewers to do the same. In one, a charming Paul Rudd tells viewers that he can’t show them a sneak peek of the film, but that they could watch him watch the sneak peek on his phone.
That we need these directions from the biggest names in the business is an indication of the basic civility that escapes us these days. One would assume that would be enough to deter online trolls. But spoiler culture has existed long before the internet and Avengers. Spoilers have been known to be shared from as early as the year 1952, when the famous play Mousetrap was in theatres. This Reuters article notes that ever since the first screening, actors deliver a speech at the end urging audiences to keep the identity of the murderer to themselves. Someone should have done the same for the 1997 thriller Gupt: The Hidden Truth. In the weeks following the release of the film the name of the infamous killer was spray painted across walls of Mumbai and Delhi, and shouted at movie-goers in ticket lines, effectively ruining a proper whodunnit.
Today, Game of Thrones, fans have to be the most careful. Every Monday, at 6.30 am, a new episode from the final season airs, and just an hour later, a deluge of spoilers floods social media feeds. Before someone even has a chance to hear the theme song, all of Instagram and Facebook is talking about whether Jon Snow is irrevocably dead this time, or if Jorah Momort finally escaped the friendzone.
To make things worse, one can’t simply escape spoilers by going off social media. Everyone from friends and family to colleagues lives, breathes and eats GoT these days, so all conversations have to be kept to a minimum.
But then, at some point, we have to ask – what is the right time to start talking about a trending film or an episode? Well, the results of a poll about revealing spoilers conducted by Vulture suggests that 22 per cent of people think that it’s okay to discuss key moments immediately, 20 per cent of people think it’s better to wait for 72 hours, 18 per cent think it’s better to wait for two weeks while a tiny six per cent believe that it’d be better if spoilers weren’t discussed at all.
I however believe that it’s perfectly fine to start discussing key plots immediately after watching, but only after the informed consent of the person I’m talking to. That way, people have the option to partake in the discussion, or walk away with fingers in their ears yelling, “lalalala”. It’s always better to be safe than a spoilsport.