BY: Sonny Bunch
Of all the complaints that annoy film critics, one that’s right up near the top is “hey, why’d you spoil that for me?” when you’ve done nothing but explain basic plot points needed to understand the film’s story and discuss it more broadly.* Here’s the thing, folks: If you want to know “do critics like this …Read More
Of all the complaints that annoy film critics, one that’s right up near the top is “hey, why’d you spoil that for me?” when you’ve done nothing but explain basic plot points needed to understand the film’s story and discuss it more broadly.*
Here’s the thing, folks: If you want to know “do critics like this movie enough for me to spend my money on it” go look at the Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic scores before deciding whether or not you should see a flick. Because, believe it or not, a review should be more complicated (and, dare I say, more interesting) than the following:
Look, I’m not saying that I should have revealed that The Incredible Hulk decapitates Hawkeye during the final battle in the opening graf of my Captain America: Civil War review or anything. (Kidding!) (Or am I?) But the point of the critic—and even, really, the point of his more humble cousin, the reviewer—isn’t to let you know whether or not you should go see something. Rather, it’s to provoke a discussion, to prompt an argument, to make you think about what you’ve just seen. In my ideal world, people wouldn’t really read much criticism at all until after they’ve seen a film. How are we supposed to have a conversation if you’re worried about reading a plot point that the ad campaigns have relentlessly pounded into your skull for the last six months anyway?
And hey, you know, I get it about spoilers. I’m not a huge fan of people live-tweeting, say, Game of Thrones and revealing BIG IMPORTANT PLOT POINTS so they can squee with their virtual friends. That’s not cool. But there’s a difference between putting plot points in a review—which people seek out on their own with the knowledge that a film or TV show’s plot is about to be discussed—and hopping into strangers’ social media feeds with unwanted revelations. That being said, we kinda live in a world where people do this? So if you’re really going to be upset about plot points from TV shows being discussed in real time, maybe stay off Twitter and Facebook until you’re caught up? This isn’t a defense of jerks who ruin surprises from your favorite programming, mind you; it’s simply an understanding of the fact that jerks exist.
Anyway. If you’re going to read my reviews before you go see a movie, understand that plot points from the first act are going to be discussed, possibly in some detail. Understand that in order to discuss a film’s theme, I may have to touch on some things that happen after the first act. Understand that I’m probably going to describe characters in the film, even if they’re not in the first act, because they’ve been splashed all over TV and the Internet and the film’s very own trailers.
If you can’t handle that? Don’t read my reviews until after you’ve gone to the multiplex. And if you do? Don’t complain to me about it.
I don’t care.
*Another one, by the way, is accusing a critic of being on the payroll of a comic book company because you either enjoyed one of their films or trashed the competition.Read Less