Shortly after 2am on the 22nd of May, 2008, I walked out of a movie theater with some of my closest friends, having just attended one of the many midnight premieres of the summer following our high school graduation. We stood between our cars and excitedly talked about the movie we had just seen as the parking lot emptied of the other remaining cars and the marquee lights shut off. We all absolutely loved the movie we had just seen. Sure, there were some parts that weren't great, but the entire experience more than made up for those. So, what great movie was I so excited about?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

In, hands-down, the busiest summer for movies I have ever experienced, Crystal Skull was second only to The Dark Knight for me in terms of sheer anticipation and excitement. As more time (and another viewing) passed, however, the reality of how bad Crystal Skull actually was started to set in. At this time in my life as a younger movie fan, I would feel absolutely crushed when a film that I was excited for didn't live up to expectations. Sometimes, as was the case with Crystal Skull, I would convince myself that I liked a disappointing movie more than I actually did so that I didn't have to accept the reality of the situation.

How, then, should we deal with the experience of films that do not live up to their potential?

In most cases now, I find myself detached from the hopes and expectations I may have for a movie. Instead of opening myself to potential disappointment, I don't allow myself to feel the excitement I normally would. However, there are a couple notable examples where I admittedly cannot contain my excitement or retain measured and reasonable expectations--Star Wars and any film directed by Christopher Nolan.

There are reasons why these two examples do not receive the same default skepticism from me, but each is quite different from the other. In Nolan's case, this boils down to the fact that I am yet to be even remotely disappointed by any of his films. For Star Wars, however, I am not able to say the same thing. Before The Force Awakens, there hadn't been an enjoyable addition to the film franchise during my lifetime. Instead, my continued devotion is better explained by the psychology behind brand loyalty. Our world is far too interconnected and marketing driven now to critically consider films without including this aspect of the industry, especially when it comes to expectations versus reality. Star Wars was able to win me and countless others back by delivering a product in The Force Awakens that reminded them of why they loved the original trilogy.

The film industry specifically markets to us through these hopes. In order for Disney to regain fans that might have been wary about new Star Wars films after the prequels, they highly emphasized that The Force Awakens would be revisiting elements they missed from the original trilogy in their marketing efforts. This is why it can be incredibly easy to let myself become so jaded and cautious about my expectations and hopes for movies that I almost never feel any real excitement leading up to a film's release now. While Star Wars lived up to all of my hopes, there are plenty of films like Crystal Skull that have not lived up to their potential, and eventually, the fear of disappointment makes it difficult to get my hopes up.

Using this jaded skepticism in order to avoid disappointment is not the best way to approach movies, however. Instead, we should allow ourselves to be excited at the unknown of upcoming films and then both elated when they live up to their potential, and disappointed when they do not. Besides, sometimes movies just look too great not to get excited about them, so there's no use fighting it.