James Gunn

James Gunn asserts that if spoilers can ruin a movie, then the movie isn't that good

Contributed by
Jul 9, 2018

If you aren't going to the earliest screening possible of a highly anticipated genre film, and you want to avoid any and all potential spoilers, well, the prevailing wisdom tells you to not only stay off of social media, but to pretty much stay off of the internet. Smashing all of your household electronics with a crowbar wouldn't be out of line —  and yes, that includes your new talking Smart Fridge. 

The rise of the internet and social media has made movie spoilers very hard to avoid, with plenty of big films this past summer alone having rather huge ones that were hard to get past. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was no exception, with their Avengers: Infinity War being one of the more spoiler-prone films of the year. 

Does having a film spoiled for you before seeing it (knowing what/who is behind Darth Vader's mask, for example) ruin the movie? According to MCU director James Gunn (both of the Guardians of the Galaxy films) it shouldn't. Not only that, Gunn says that if a film can be ruined by spoilers, then it's likely not worth your time in the first place. 

As Gunn tweeted, "If a movie can be ruined by spoilers, it's not a good movie. I'm opposed to spoiling things for folks, but studies show knowing spoilers only very slightly affects the viewer's pleasure, if at all (and sometimes increases the pleasure of a well-crafted film). 

Gunn was likely tweeting about the dust-in-the-wind finale of Infinity War, and he goes on to tweet that he doesn't think that being spoiled doesn't impact the quality of that film one bit. He also mentions the famous twists in Fight Club, which he knew before seeing it and didn't detract from his enjoyment at all. 

While we can see his point in a lot of ways (if a movie has nothing but shock value to offer, then why bother) there is still something to be said for going in to a film knowing absolutely nothing about it. Already knowing the big surprises and going along for the ride are a big part of the fun of any second viewing, which can often be just as rewarding if not more so. We may have just proved his point, not sure.  

Does the same logic carry over to the "golden age" of television, where spoilers and shocks are a big part of genre shows like Game of Thrones or Westworld? What about the world of comic books, where we now live in an era when The New York Times spoils the Batman/Catwoman wedding issue and generally enrages the entire fanbase?

Gunn has not commented on those questions, but we'd love to hear from you. Do you agree with Gunn? If so, do you think the same logic carries over into other art forms? Discuss in the comments below, and remember— "Rosebud...dead or alive."