You know you want to go into a movie blind. You really do. But at the same time, it’s almost impossible to succeed in said endeavor. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself and you’ll see. Sure, you can avoid spending too much time on movie websites, and you can always change the channel. You can forsake downloading the trailer to the latest blockbuster. Hell, you can even tuck your head in between your knees during previews or just bolt out of the theater. And even if you do all of that, you could still end up getting spoiled when you least expect it. Temptation can be a powerful force, too; for all of your efforts to dodge spoilery details, you still could find yourself drawn to the latest clip of sneak-peak footage for that big-name popcorn flick (which inevitably contains many choice moments said film). This is, of course, natural– studios want to include the coolest possible bits in the trailers for the products to help sell them and get people motivated to buy tickets. At the same time it’s hard to watch modern trailers and not feel like you’ve been bushwhacked into forfeiting the joy of watching those moments fresh, for yourself, in the theater.
So the other day, I got to thinking about whether or not the act of being spoiled really mattered that much in the long run. By “the other day” I mean, “around the time I caught Avatar“. A few days after I posted my review, I began asking myself if I might have enjoyed the bravura action sequences more had I not been privy to the details ahead of time. I wondered if consuming footage of the film ahead of time, in the form of trailers and sneak-peak clips, actually deprived me of the joy that friends of mine felt when they saw it. In the case of Avatar, I’m fairly certain that no amount of purity would have really altered my reaction to the film that much, but I started questioning my reactions to other big-ticket movies, too. Was I too spoiled before seeing Inglorious Basterds and, say, Moon? Not at all, I watched a lone teaser for the former and read only a bare synopsis (“Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut alone on the moon!”) of the former, and I loved them both immensely. I saw more than my share of promo images and trailers for Terminator Salvation, though, and we all know how well that one went over with me.
Eventually, I decided that enough was enough. No more second-guessing myself! I’m going to try and settle this once and for all– more or less. You see, two very highly-anticipated comic book films, Iron Man 2 and Kick-Ass, are being released withing around one month of each other, and as information about both has been released, I’ve taken the following tact: For Iron Man 2, I am avoiding, like the plague, trailers, preview footage and images, and anything that could give away plot details beyond the basics (Mickey Rourke joins the cast as the villain,Whiplash, who uses the same technology as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, James Rhodes suddenly looks an awful lot like Don Cheadle, etc.), while with Kick-Ass, I’m absorbing everything and everything promotional for the film. From posters to info-laden synopses to red-band trailers loaded with eye-catching images and moments, I’m consuming it all. One movie will be experienced blind; one I may know more about going in than the cast, crew, and director intended.
What am I ultimately hoping to learn or trying to prove? In short, that a less-spoiled movie yields a more satisfying and rewarding experience. That knowing less lets you enjoy a film more. The problem is that what I’m trying to prove is somewhat nebulous, so I am performing this faux-experiment fully acknowledging that after all is said and done, I could learn nothing more than bupkis. Maybe Kick-Ass will end up being more up my alley than Iron Man 2 (or vice versa), and no amount of secrecy or forthrightness will change that.
But maybe– just maybe– all of that pre-knowledge that I’ve gathered about Kick-Ass will completely deflate the thrill of watching it when it opens in April. And maybe keeping myself in the dark about Iron Man 2 will make it a superior theater-going experience.
Kick-Ass opens on April 16th. Iron Man 2 opens May 7th. Hope you’ll all be here in three months to read of my success– or to see me eat some serious crow.