Marvel fans are apoplectic that a journalist who attended a preview screening of the upcoming Eternals had spoiled the movie. It’s unclear what, exactly, was spoiled.
As journalists tweeted their impressions from the Eternals preview screening yesterday, one tweet in particular sparked outrage for supposedly being a spoiler. I don't know if this information is a spoiler or not, but I will be talking about it in about a paragraph. If you would like to watch Eternals without knowing anything about the film at all, you should probably stop reading now.
This is the thing that people were so upset to learn: Harry Styles appears in the movie in some capacity, and has been cast as the character Eros, Thanos's horny brother. Matt Donnelly, a reporter for Variety, had the misfortune to tweet this after watching Eternals, and Twitter users erupted in fury.
I do not think this is a spoiler. For me, it doesn't tell me any information so sacrosanct that the movie would be less enjoyable for me to watch. I may know that Harry Styles is Eros, but I have no idea what that means in the context of the story, what role he plays in the conflict, or really any plot information at all. I don't know if Harry Styles appears in one of the two post-credits sequences, or if he is in the film proper.
Given how famous Harry Styles is—he is the biggest solo act to emerge from one of the biggest musical acts of the past decade—it seems unlikely that this information would stay secret for long. If it wasn't Matt Donnelly, it would have been someone else, because Harry Styles is a very famous man and him joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is legitimate entertainment news. I'm actually impressed that no one spilled the beans until the preview screening, given that there had been rumors about Styles being in the movie for months.
Nonetheless, this little piece of non-information led to people harassing Donnelly and decrying journalists in general. One viral tweet went so far as to say that journalists who attend press screenings should be required to sign legally binding NDAs that would lead to a million dollar fine if they spoil the film.
I understand that people might prefer seeing a movie without knowing anything about it beforehand, but this response mistakes a preference for a human right. It also devalues the entire rest of the story by saying that the element of surprise is all that matters. If you're saying that knowing that Harry Styles is in the movie spoils it for you, then you're also saying that the movie's plot, acting, and cinematography are ultimately just a cheap veneer.
Over 40 years after its release, people are still wrapped up in the saga of the Skywalker family, even though it is now impossible to watch Star Wars without knowing that Darth Vader is Luke's dad. If you watch the prequels first, you simply cannot avoid this information. Yet these stories are still gripping to millions of people. The tragedy of Anakin Skywalker absolutely has me in a vice grip, despite knowing all the twists and turns.
I have no idea if Eternals will have such a lasting impact, and my instincts tell me that it probably won't. If not, it won't be because a reporter from Variety wrote a tweet about Harry Styles being in the movie. The only thing that ruined was—possibly—Disney's planned marketing rollout for that announcement. It's hard for me to feel like that deserves this level of scorn. If anything, it should be applauded.