Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is It Possible To Remain Blissfully Ignorant Before Seeing a Movie Blockbuster?

This is the fanboys dilemma when it comes to big comic book summer blockbusters - I want to know about this film so I can gauge my expectation level but I also want to be surprised by the movie when it comes out. So with Avengers, Dark Knight, and Amazing Spider-Man all looming this summer, 1LR asks the question - is it possible to remain completely ignorant about the contents of a big comic book blockbuster film before seeing it?

The answer is, "No!" It's a frustrating answer for me, but that's the answer unless you consume no media, talk to no one, and don't leave  your house. You see, I used to seek out every scrap of information regarding comic book movies I was keenly anticipating. But then came Spider-Man 3, a movie which I spent years gathering every iota of information and dissecting it ad nauseum. When the film was finally released, I was bored watching it not only because it was sub-par but also because I knew too much. It was almost as if I was rewatching the film even though I had never seen it.

Ever since then, I've tried to remain willfully ignorant of the details of comic book movies I'm really anticipating. It's harder than you'd think, though.

Let me explain - The information starts coming in when you see the first trailer. Take this Amazing Spider-Man trailer for example - you get a feel of the tone of the film, you understand the overall plot structure, you see brief glimpses of action sequences (such as the tower falling), you see costumes designs, you know who the villain is, and you know who's playing what roles (among other things). And that's just from one trailer!
Then, if you take a trip to the store you find all sorts of spoilers waiting for you there. In a recent trip to Target I accidentally saw the Amazing Spider-Man movie action figures. Well, I guess I now know what the Lizard looks like even though he wasn't fully revealed in the trailers!

And all of that is without seeking out information! If you wanted to you could know everything about the film ahead of time. Read advanced reviews of the film and interviews with the cast. Buy the junior novelization and read it since they sell them in advance of the film's release. Heck, even buy and listen to the soundtrack. Not to mention friends that want to understandably talk about the film in anticipation of its release. Just by speculating and using metacognition to attempt to correctly guess storylines is a way of gaining information about the film.

So although I attempt to remain ignorant, I know a surprising amount about The Avengers, Dark Knight, and Amazing Spider-Man films. This ultimately damages my experience of watching the film by diminishing the movie's ability to surprise me.

Maybe I should go see Snow White and the Huntsman. I'd be more surprised by that movie than the Amazing Spider-Man.

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