Note: This article does NOT contain spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!
The inevitable has happened. As fans will know all too well, Marvel tends to release its movies in a sort of staggered approach. In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, that means the film has already released in the international markets, even though the U.S. release date isn't till May 5th. No surprise, fans across the world know exactly what they want to talk about right now: #GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol2. And that, in turn, is making the internet a very dangerous place if you don't want to be spoiled. Now, James Gunn himself has weighed in.
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James Gunn's View
It's pretty clear that #JamesGunn isn't impressed with those who want to spoil the film. In a post on Facebook, he writes:
"For a couple of years now the Marvel team and I have been careful not to let out any secrets contained within Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We have held back drastically on our promotional materials, using almost all plot elements from the first twenty minutes of the film - which sometimes felt like hopping on one leg in a marathon - so that you, the fans, know as little about the surprises we have in store for you before going in. And now, here we are, a week before opening in the US and many other countries, and a handful of folks online who have already seen the movie are enjoying "spoiling" these plot elements for others by posting on message boards or Twitter or even writing entire online articles about these spoilers."
Now, first of all, James Gunn is absolutely right. I can tell you with confidence that all of #Marvel's marketing to date has not compromised the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 one bit. In fact, if you've watched every one of the TV slots to date? Odds are the film will completely blindside you.
But here's the catch. Ultimately, Marvel Studios made the choice to go with a staggered release. Back around the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, #KevinFeige explained why in a fan Q&A. It seems Marvel realized that European countries have a lot of bank holidays around the end of April (one of the usual release windows for Marvel movies). A slightly earlier European release means the movie performs better in the European box office.
In addition, Marvel found that strong international performance actually seemed to strengthen the U.S. release. Distributors would try to use this to help create even more of a 'buzz' about the film's U.S. release, advertising movies as "the UK box office hit" and so on.
Logically, international fans want to talk about the film they've just watched. Marvel get the benefits from the staggered release; the cost? Spoilers.
Do Spoilers Spoil?
Intriguingly, though, James Gunn suggests that we shouldn't be too angry about spoilers. As he observes:
"There are studies that show spoilers don't really spoil anything. In a good story, our brains feel just as much pleasure whether or not we know the plot point ahead of time - and a new sort of pleasure emerges when we're piecing together the story we know is leading to some already-known element.
So, if you've accidentally heard about a surprise in Vol. 2, worry not - you will still be able to heartily enjoy the film. Not only because spoilers don't matter, but because we've created a movie where the story, humor, visuals, music, and emotion don't rely on surprises even if they did, and that you'll have a blast whether or not you know a spoiler or two before going in."
Now, let's be clear; here, James Gunn has a very valid point. There are indeed studies that suggest spoilers don't damage the experience, they just change it; and yet, if he truly believed that change was positive, he wouldn't have put so much effort into ensuring the film's marketing didn't give much away. I agree with these decisions, because the truth is that the movie's surprise twists are tremendous. Here at Moviepilot, we're choosing to publish articles about the film - but not to promote them on social media until after U.S. release. They'll largely be there for if people actively seek out the discussion via search engines. After all - all those other countries who have already seen the film do have a right to discuss it too.
That said, if you have been spoiled, take solace from the fact that James Gunn is right. He has indeed created a movie where the story, humor, visuals, music, and emotion don't rely on surprises, and he's absolutely right that, if you've been spoiled on even a major plot point, you're still guaranteed to love this film. That's why Gunn suggest we stop talking about 'spoilers,' because they won't really spoil anything. Instead, he argues, we should refer to 'pre-known plot points.' It'll be interesting to see whether or not the term catches on...
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My recommendation? If you haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, avoid spoilers. If you have seen it, show respect for those who haven't. Allow other fans to have the same experience you had. Yes, I completely understand that you want to talk about this film; I do too. But more important than that, I want everyone to enjoy the same experience that I had. Then, after May 5th, we'll have a lot more to talk about.
Do you think 'pre-known plot points' spoil your enjoyment of a film
(Source: Facebook; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Studios)