By Joe Strange
Last week we got a pair of TV spots for Avengers Age of Ultron; I was cashing up a till at work when someone came up and told me. I, of course, freaked out and we watched it twice, maybe three times. It doesn’t matter, I watched it a lot.
It wasn’t until after we’d gotten back to work when I was overcome with sense of dread. We were over a month away from the release of Age of Ultron, and I realised that in the next four weeks we’re going to be seeing a lot of promotional material for the film, and the TV Spots had already shown us even more stuff than we’d seen in the trailers previously.
Now last night this international TV Spot appeared, it’s only brief and it’s little more than what we’ve seen already, but it’s just another example of the increased frequency that we’re getting this material.
Up until now, I’ve praised the trailer editors for their work on the Age of Ultron teasers; they’ve not shown us too much. Instead of throwing out every little scene and all the big set pieces in a clear narrative like many trailers do, the promotional material thus far have been sparing in new footage, sticking to the same set pieces in each new trailer, with different voice-overs or the occasional added shot.
What this does, for me at least, is keeps me intrigued; trailers are always a double edged sword for people like me who read way, way, too far into the things that we’re interested in. We want to see more, but the more we see, the less we experience in the cinema.
What the work for Age of Ultron has done is keep everything exciting, while not giving away big plot points or ideas (at least, not anything that’s obvious). Which, for a film that I’m sure will have twists and turns a-plenty, is really important. More so with a fan-base so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, because fans will always look for references and easter eggs in superhero films.
My worry is that in the coming weeks we’ll be seeing a lot more promotional spots and the like, which, in an attempt to drum up excitement (like this film actually needs it), may show us a little more than we actually should see.
It’s a worry that I don’t think is without standing, so many films have been spoiled just from the trailers; Termintor 2 showed us the biggest twist in the series (in that Arnie’s character was actually a good guy), and the number of modern blockbusters that give away an awful lot in the promotional run is ridiculous: Taken, Transformers, The Hobbit, Hunger Games are all guilty of this.
And I’ve not forgotten Marvel films. Remember back in 2012 when The Avengers trailer showed Hulk catching Ironman, a scene that happens literally in the last 15 minutes? How many of you were waiting for that to happen?
But Marvel films have gotten better, Guardians of the Galaxy was a great example of a film that kept most of its third act under wraps, and The Winter Soldier kept its Hydra twist well under the radar. And it’s looking promising for Age of Ultron, for one main reason.
Some of you will have heard of Vision, those of you who haven’t, I won’t say much more than he’s a result of the creation of Ultron, and is a big character in the comics.
He’s also Age of Ultron’s best kept secret (that we know of). The announcement of Vision in an Ultron story line wasn’t a shock, but it was good news, and up until very recently images and art of the character have been scarce, bordering on non-existent, until the most recent trailer, that ended with him ‘powering up’.
I urge Marvel not to show us any more of Vision. He should be a mystery that casual viewers go to the cinema to solve, and he should be the robotic bait to bring fans in. Show us too much and you make the mystery you’ve veiled him in all for naught.
The most recent international TV spot mentioned above has kept to the previous formula, showing us a little more of the scenes we’ve already seen and keeping camera shy Vision exactly that; away from the screen, and this character banner manages to keep him away too.
So Marvel, if you’re reading this, which I know you are, obviously, please dial back on the trailers, the teasers and the spots. Your franchise is its own super-powered snowball, if you are going to throw more promotional stuff our way, keep it to the formula you’ve got, show us very little more than what we’ve seen, and for Odin’s sake, don’t show us any more Vision.
Thanks for reading guys, if you enjoyed this article then take a look around the site where we’ve got plenty of other discussions and articles which are far less rant-y than this one and by authors far better looking than me. We’ve also got a couple of comic series to feast your eyes on, so check those out too.
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Joe Strange, Editor/Sort-of-idiot