The Spoiler Conundrum


So far, we have seen a very strong summer for film. The majority of the blockbusters are making their money back and although some have been received with less than total enthusiasm by critics and audiences, including The Great Gatsby and Hangover III, many have held up as exciting, interesting and entertaining. With so many more to look forward to like: Kick-Ass 2, Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Pacific Rim, it’s going to be a great year for film.

This is all good, but, my question today is whether it’s socially acceptable to discuss important plot points of these films. Can critics, bloggers and people using social networking sites reveal any spoilers or will there be a huge backlash against them as they, in effect, ruin the film for those yet to see it.


It is a very serious and complicated issue to understand and is an absolute minefield for those with blogs or Twitter accounts. When is it ok to spill the beans about a plot twist, which is some cases is intrinsic to reviewing or discussing the movie? I ask these questions because the two biggest films of the summer so far, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness, both have huge plot points that are vital to the story. Once these are revealed they completely change the concept and direction of the movies and some would argue these have to be revealed to discuss the film frankly and fairly.

I will not reveal these plot points yet because the films are still at the cinema and I assume there are many yet to see them, despite their hefty box office takings, and this is our problem. I do not want to be accused of ruining a film for anybody, especially films I really enjoyed myself. I want people to discover things for themselves and be able to discuss their thoughts with an open mind devoid of too much external influence. Which is why I find trailers that reveal key plot points and jokes so offensive, such as Fast and Furious 6 which leaves nothing to the imagination.

For example, though, if I was going to be writing a review or feature about Star Trek, I would need to reveal this key plot point to explain the majority of the plot and thoroughly debate the movie. IMDB revealed spolierific pieces of information quite prominently on their page for a while before the film was actually released.

In my experience, the online public is very thoughtful of when to flash up the spoiler alert klaxon and will often over compensate by not revealing anything at all on various forums. There are some, however, who won’t wait and continue to blurt out the conclusion of a film the moment they get home from the cinema. Who’s to say they can’t though? Since the dawn of the internet the complication of the situation has certainly been exacerbated. Everything is at risk of being revealed, although, on the other hand, I certainly believe more people have become spoiler conscious and the fact audience members have a secret they know and other people don’t can be quite perversely intriguing.


If we take the biggest plot twist in recent, cinematic history: Bruce Willis being a ghost in The Sixth Sense the big spoiler was still flooding the media despite the lack of the social networking. Once people knew that Willis had been dead all along, it spread like wildfire through word of mouth. Every form of popular culture would reference M.Night Shyamalan’s surprise finale and before long it was public knowledge. My mother, to this day, remembers the movie being ruined for her on a talk show as comedien Jack Dee made jokes at the expense of this “secret” piece of exposition. No one is safe from certain spoilers.

Which types of films are critics allowed to reveal though? Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen adaptations always seem to have their key plot points explained. We all know Hamlet’s going to die. There is a consensus that a piece of literature that is adapted isn’t safe from spoilers because there is a feeling it should be public knowledge. This is certainly the case with many of these century old works but what about more recent films. Many critics revealed who died in the Harry Potter series because they thought everyone had read the books. But, there are always those who won’t have and will have been disappointed.

So, when can we reveal these points? A week? A month? A year? Some would think it depends on the film and the magnitude of the film. Some assume that once the film has left cinemas, people have had enough time to watch it and if not it’s the viewers fault and not theirs. I usually take every case on its merit but it is getting increasingly hard to judge and one day I know I’m not going to be able to avoid spoilers. I just hope I don’t ruin anything for you!


Summer 2013 at the Movies


Here in the U.K the cold weather is still very much upon us, so, what better way to remedy this than by looking towards the summer, and more specifically the best of what the season has to offer in film. Nothing’s more exciting than the period between May and September where the big money Blockbuster’s fight it out in an attempt to entertain us. 2012 was a frighteningly amazing year for film with the likes of The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises and, of course, The Avengers gracing our screen and making handsome profits at the box office. The jury is still out as to whether this year can emulate last year’s juggernauts. Here are some of the reasons why this could be the case:

Iron Man 3:

U.K Release Date: 26th April

U.S Release Date: 3rd May

This is probably the most highly anticipated Blockbuster this year after Jon Favreau’s entertaining last two instalments impressed pretty much everyone. Shane Black takes the helm this time, reuniting with his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’s star Robert Downey Jr. as the franchise takes the customary move to darkness, pitting a world weary Tony Stark, after the events of The Avengers, against Ben Kingsley’s terrorist leader The Mandarin. Kingsley looks in magnificent menacing form with a truly haunting set of vocal cords and with Black taking over writing duties too we can probably assume a tighter script than Iron Man 2. Apparently, Downey Jr.’s Marvel contract expires after this film, and although he will likely appear in The Avengers 2 we might have to accept this shall be his final solo appearance donning the metallic suit and I’m pretty sure it’ll deliver.

Star Trek: Into Darkness:

U.K Release Date: 10th May

U.S Release Date: 17th May

In 2009, J.J Abrams delivered a spectacular new take on the Star Trek franchise that satisfied both die-hard fans and newcomers who couldn’t pick a Romulan from a police line up. The likable cast, kinetic action scenes and terrific script, that showed a great reverence to original creator Gene Rodenberry, was always going to have a sequel. Due to its explicit franchise potential it was more a matter of when rather than if. So, four years later we have Into Darkness. Benedict Cumberbatch is antagonist to the crew of the Enterprise, playing a former member of Starfleet, who has some scores to settle. I’m sure we can expect more intense action and, with Orci and Kurtzman returning as screenwriters, a light hearted humour that is missing from many other franchises. Many will be scrutinising this film intensely after Abrams was drafted in to direct the new Star Wars movies. Some say he can’t do both, but he disagrees. Could there be a war between the Wars and Trek fans over Abrams or will he continue to deliver great films with both franchises. Only time will tell…

Monsters University:

U.K Release Date: 12th July

U.S Release Date: 21st June

Pixar’s offering this year is a prequel to their 2002 favourite Monsters Inc, setting the action ten years before the original. Featuring Sully and Mike during their formative years at university it follows their rivalry and subsequent friendship as they clash while studying for their scaring degree. Although the trailer stinks of predictability, you can never write off Pixar. Despite some complaints of too many sequels and 3D re-releases as opposed to original ideas there will surely be lots of fun and laughs to be had. John Goodman and Billy Crystal are two of the strongest voice actors throughout the Pixar canon and to have just them reunite will be a joy. You also cannot fault the tireless work and playful attitude of the company, who composed an entire website of the University in which the monsters attend. With Finding Nemo 3D and Monsters is the same year the critics who complain about the lack of originality will still probably find that this second instalment will be the best animated film of the year.

The Great Gatsby:

U.K Release Date: 17th May

U.S Release Date: 10th May

Baz Luhrmann returns to cinemas this year for his take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. No doubt, judging from the trailer and Luhrmann’s autuerish qualities, we can expect a colourful, contemporary look at the glitz and glamour of 1920’s New York in 3D, with the director taking his first foray into the third dimension. Akin to his favourites Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet alongside the aesthetically staggering images will be a modern soundtrack to give Gatsby an edge that is apparent in all of Luhrmann’s movies. With a cast so A-List names that just roll of the tongue including Di Caprio, Maguire, Mulligan, Edgerton and Fisher, and based on one of the well known and well read pieces of literature from the 20th century it will defiantly visually and emotionally astound.

Man of Steel:

U.K & U.S release date: 14th June

If you need to reboot a superhero franchise, who do you call? Yes, Christopher Nolan obviously. The Dark Knight has rose and he hopes to make Superman fly. He has, however, left directing duties to 300 and Watchmen director Zach Snyder, one of the most stylistically exciting directors of his generation. The script is being penned by Batman co-writer David S. Goyer and the Man of Steel himself chosen as Henry Cavill. Everything seems to be falling into place and with a strong supporting cast including Amy Adams, Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner it could be this summer’s biggest earner. However, people are wary, having being stung by Bryan Singer’s less than sensational Superman Returns seven years ago. Man of Steel is moving itself far away from its overlong and overboring predecessor going back to Clark Kent’s upbringing, who is struggling to find his place in a cynical world. It promises to make the Superman a mainstay of cinema once again, and with Snyder also producing and co-writing 300: Rise of an Empire, will surely make him the go to director.

World War Z:

U.K & U.S Release Date: 21st June

Once again, we are being bombarded by sequels this summer and so it is refreshing to see a new idea. Well, kind of new. Zombies are hardly revolutionary and since 2004 bought us both Dawn and Shaun of the Dead we have been inundated with every possible kind of zombie film possible, whether it’s big blockbuster zombie movies or small independently made zombie movies no neck has been left unbitten. This new offering, based on Max Brook’s horror novel of the same name, stars Brad Pitt attempting to put an end to the zombie pandemic destroying the world. The trailer shows the global scale of an undead apocalypse and hopefully will add something new to the series.


These are likely to be the big hitters along with the usual summer fare the likes of The Hangover 3, Smurfs 2, The Fast and the Furious 6, Despicable Me 2 and Wolverine which will no doubt do well at the box-office. There are also those films that perhaps boast a little less predictability. Kick Ass 2 now with added Jim Carrey, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim which boasts Idris Elba “Cancelling the Apocalypse!” and Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley reuniting again after District 9 for Elysium, a sci-fi epic. There will probably be those films that have slipped under the radar that will give us a nice surprise. I’m sure we’re all looking forward summer 2013, and if the weather doesn’t improve, at least we can take shelter at the cinema with the huge variety of films on offer.