This is a debate that’s never going to go away, but it’s always interesting to see different perspectives on it. I think I’m personally closest (both as a writer and a reader) to the perspective Richard Brody puts forward in the quote below. Yes, if something is really good, it doesn’t matter whether or not you know the ending (after all, those things stay good on rewatch), but as Richard said, there’s still something delicious about seeing it fresh the first time. That’s a big reason I don’t watch trailers for anything I know I’m planning to see. And there’s no statute of limitations on spoilers for me – someone’s as unlikely to have seen Casablanca as Captain America these days (if not more so), and why would I want to ruin that for them? That said, criticism intended for people who have seen the movie is so much more interesting and SHOULD be full of spoilers. Just slap a content warning on there and be done with it.
“If the way that the surprise is realized isn’t better than the surprise itself, the movie or the episode is hardly worthwhile. [...] On the other hand, there is something special about the first time, and, even the morning after a national episode-orgy, I assume that plenty of readers will be catching up with a show later in the week. [...] Allusiveness doesn’t just hold for surprises; it gets to the very nature of criticism, which isn’t a matter of analysis but of evocation, of getting to an experience and rendering its most intimate and subjective implications readily and publicly and objectively visible. [...] Since the twists and turns of a plot, the pushing and pulling of expectations, are inextricably part of that experience, I’m as likely to avoid apparent spoilers with movies that have been around for seventy years and that lots of readers may have seen — and not just with big endings, but with enticing details all the way through; if there’s any marvel to the mystery, it’s better to suggest it than to show it openly; sexier, too.” (Brody)
Anna Gets It Right: Disney’s Frozen, C.S. Lewis, and the Primacy of Caritas by Chris at Classical Ascendancy
Remember that story about conservatives who claimed Frozen would make your children gay? Yeah, that’s ridiculous. This post from a Christian is much closer to what Frozen is actually about, which is a self-sacrificial love that’s greater than romantic love. Spoilers for the entirety of Frozen. (See? Content warning. Done.)
The plot twist of the movie works wonderfully because it exploits a mistaken idea that is at the core of the human condition: the tragically misplaced idea that what the Romans and Medievalists called amor, or romantic love, is the highest form of love in the universe. The examples and evidence of this idea in popular culture span centuries and are everywhere: from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Othello, to Jack and Rose from Titanic, to the sexual liberation movements of the last 50 years, to the current astronomical divorce rates worldwide. All point to humanity’s willingness to sacrifice anything and everything on the altar of amor. [...] The failure of Hans to save Anna works splendidly to show the fragile nature of amor. It is inadequate to sustain or save Anna, even though all the characters, including Anna herself, assume it to be the most powerful force in the world. Amor is not the panacea, the end-all, cure-all that our culture holds it up to be.