How I Read Reviews in the Age of Spoilers

I was surprised (but in a nice way) when a couple of people thanked me for offering a spoiler alert in my recent mini-review of Hereafter.  I always take it for granted that if any plot points are mentioned in any review, the writer would be considerate enough to warn his or her readers about it just in case they want to be surprised and let the story unfold on its own on the big screen as they are watching.

But we live in a time when spoilers are seemingly everywhere and difficult to avoid.  Some people apparently enjoy knowing every detail of a movie before they watch it -- I am not one of those people.

So I do my best to stand clear of too many spoilerish details.  It is no easy task, especially when trailers themselves seem to have no qualms about telling more than they need to.  And critics seem to feel that part of their job description requires them to rehash the plot.

If there is a movie I want to see, I try to avoid reading a review until after I have seen the film.  Then the review serves as a tool for me to gauge my own opinions of the flick.  I feel as if that gives me a good measurement for my taste in films and my determination of a particular critic's value.

If it is a movie I initially have no intention of watching, I read the review early to see what others think of it -- and sometimes the critic's opinion might sway me to go see it after all. 

But I think critics should be a little more creative and only delve into spoiler territory when absolutely necessary -- and then they should have the courtesy to provide a warning for those who might choose to read the review later.