It happened that another minute (or most of a minute) of new Avengers: End Game footage was released on the day that tickets were made available for pre-ordered. While I cannot resist and watched it the moment it was available, I was not left wanting more, but rather hoping that they would stop releasing anything at all. Writer, “actor,” director, and NERD-AUTHORITY, Kevin Smith had stated that, even before the first Avengers: End Game televised spot at the Super Bowl, Marvel Studios didn’t even need to release a trailer.
However, in a world post-first trailer, post-Super Bowl TV-spot, post-second trailer, and now post-surprise-Special Look … really, I wish they would just stop. While Kevin Feige has confirmed during an interview with MTV that the footage has only come from the first twenty minutes, I have to ask, are they hoping we get to the theater late? What is the purpose for the mixed narrative that they are trying to put out in these TV-spots and trailers, that we, the audience have not gotten out of viewing 20+ movies already?
This is when a piece of media, specifically a trailer, tries to ensure that something you think/hope will happen will never happen, only to happen when you see the movie.
This trailer starts with a heart-felt message from Tony Start to his love, Pepper Potts. It is emotional, unexpected (seeing as how viewers would also accept Tony, JUST Tony-ing his way back to Earth with no problem; ex: The Cave in Iraq, He made an element, Ultron, etc.). This reminds the viewers of the stakes and is meant to be reminiscent of how many people were already lost. If this was all I got, I would be sold. Honestly, I was already sold, but still they couple this sad imagery with a reminder of what the stakes are for the remaining Avengers. Generally reiterating that for the first time in Marvel Cinematic History, the heroes have truly lost and that has taken a toll on their character, perseverance, and will. They have to overcome the bad thing … if they can. Oh, and they end on a joke about the character whose movie just came out.
The Montage: This is where everyone is working to be their best self, and does so by vaguely hinting at what they could have improved upon over an extended period of time.
Breaking down each piece of content, we are presented with slightly different narratives. In the Super Bowl, we are presented with a few characteristics of the world post-Decimation and a glimpse into the bitterness of our once-optimistic heroes. The world is left deserted, as the only people we are shown are our main characters (and there are a lot of them): Steven Rogers looking angry and defeated; Tony Stark and Nebula looking resourceful; Rocket looking miserable; Natasha looking … also angry (but this time with a gun); Antman and War Machine looking ready for combat; Thor looking like a sad puppy; while Hawkeye has focused on his hair. All of this is coupled with a voice over that depicts the theme of never giving up. This TV-spot is serious, grown-up, and has no levity.
The Outline: This is where the media believes that the viewer needs to be spoon-fed the entirety of the plot and understand not only the motives of the protagonists, but the actions, thoughts, feelings, and maybe even their favorite breakfast cereal a la Bandersnatch.
When looking at the first official trailer, you really start to believe that Marvel Studios was delivering on its promise of using only the first 20-minutes or so, as most of it served as an episode recap, strewn with clips from past MCU movies overlaid with voiceover from beloved characters, establishing that there were happy times (in the first 20-ish movies) and now each one is… here, for better or for worse. Each character takes a turn indicating that they would do anything to correct the mistakes they had done; they would do “Whatever it takes.”
Had the trailer ended at those words, the drama and uncertainty set up in the first two pieces of media would still be there. But these trailers and TV-spots are essentially episodic, so the trailer showed that the characters in peril in the first two trailers were fine and that those plot-threads were/will be resolved. Had this trailer existed on its own, it would suffice; had the other two pieces of media existed on their own or in-tandem, it would have been fine; but no, weeks at a time, Marvel is letting the viewer in on very specific details, building a narrative before you have the chance to see it. Oh, and they end on a joke about the character who’s movie just came out.
The Special Look: This is where it seems like the movie studio is afraid that people aren’t interested in seeing their movie, so they quickly tell the viewer every question they raised in their previous media releases.
This Special look takes every piece of drama or concern that the viewer had about the uncertainty established in the trailers and TV-spot and indicates to the viewer a sense of calm and easiness. Will Tony get back to earth? Yes. Is Natasha’s hair grown out? Yes. Can Carol Danvers smile? DON’T ASK A WOMAN TO SMILE!!! Also, no, but Thor can, because … duh! Do Tony and Cap trust each other? They do! Every thread, from every movie, in “Phase Three,” is set straight, because you want to see this movie and not worry. If this was the only trailer, just like if the first trailer was the only trailer or if the second trailer was the only trailer or if the first TV-spot was the only piece of media, tension would have been established and viewers would enter the theater with some questions. However, with exception of the overarching question of will they win, each question posed in the previous preview has been answered. Ultron-mitely these trailers, as a whole, are ineffective.