Spoilers for Tenet ahead. Only a few days after the film's release, the Tenet Wikipedia page is updated with all the spoilers, allowing curious but theater-wary fans the opportunity to indulge in key plot details. Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan, is a mind-bending thriller that follows a CIA agent known as "The Protagonist" (John David Washington) who manipulates time to prevent World War III. The film is one of the first Hollywood blockbusters to open in theaters since COVID-19 lockdown orders went into effect, with theaters limiting capacity, using assigned seating, and upping sanitary protocol. Many film-goers may not be ready to risk watching a movie in person, and for those who want the inside scoop on the complicated film, there are plenty of spoilers online.
Warner Bros. delayed the release of Tenet, which was originally meant to debut on July 17, allowing plenty of time for speculation about the film's premise. In fact, even cast members seemed stumped by the elaborate plot— in May, Robert Pattinson admitted he couldn't give a Tenet synopsis during an interview with GQ. Pattinson, who plays Neil, The Protagonist's handler, hadn't watched the film, and shared that, "even if I had seen it, I genuinely don't know if I'd be able to" anyone the plot. He added: "What the f*ck do I say? I have no idea."
There's good news for both Pattinson and curious Nolan fans. Now, an extensive Tenet plot synopsis is available on Wikipedia, outlining both the complex logic of the time-warping film and who is behind Tenet, the secret organization at the heart of the story.
The core plot of the film follows The Protagonist's attempt to prevent World War III, and the idea that some "artifacts" can have their entropy inverted by a machine called a turnstile, pulling anything processed through it back through time. (Nolan has made explicit the movie is not "a time travel film," as per EW.) Ultimately, the "turnstile" inventors create an algorithm capable of inverting the entire world, which humans are hoping to use to avert the possibility of a World War III without knowing it would erase the history of humankind and potentially the world.
If these concepts make your brain hurt, you're likely not alone. In August, Nolan said that the Tenet script contains "images and things" that he'd "been thinking about for at least 20 years," as per Games Radar. He added that he'd "been working on the specifics of Tenet, in its current form, I'd say, for about six years." That's a lot of time to develop some high-level concepts, so if the plot still feels confusing upon the first read of the Wikipedia page, there's no need to worry.
Due to the different COVID-19 restrictions and response across the United States, many production companies aren't opting for a theatrical release. For example, Disney is offering rentals for the live-action Mulan for Disney+ subscribers, and another psychological release, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, premiered on Netflix on Sept. 4. Tenet is unique in its theater release amid COVID-19 restrictions, but thanks to a lengthy Wikipedia entry, public health conscious film fans have the opportunity to get the scoop on the high-concept film.