11 Oct 2011




Stewart R: With 2011 now cleared of the roller-coaster that was the Summer of the Superhero, all eyes now turn to 2012’s delights and while the trilogy-ending The Dark Knight Rises and franchise rebooting The Amazing Spider-Man certainly shine brightly in the distance, there’s one property that no doubt has the fanboys and avid moviegoers drooling in anticipation; Ghost Rid.... haha, sorry couldn’t resist! It is of course, The Avengers.

Well the good folks at Marvel and Paramount have decided to tickle our visual and cerebral appetites today by throwing a 2-minute trailer our way.

Finding myself growing increasingly annoyed by the sheer amount of spoilers, behind the scenes footage and elongated trailers that go hand in hand with the internet-riding media bandwagon of the 21st Century, I’ve elected to restrict myself to trailer indulgences alone until the film hits the shores of the UK and US on May 4th of next year and across the globe, in and around that time. Before today I had only seen the rather neat post-credits teaser that was included with Captain America: The First Avenger’s cinematic release, and that had certainly raised my optimism that we could get the blockbusting spectacle that such a premise as an Avengers movie deserves.

So what’s my initial reaction to this latest advertisement? I have to say that I’m a little torn! It’s not quite as bombastic and air punch-inducing as I’d hoped but at the same time I’m actually impressed by the level of restraint that the creators and companies involved are showing at this stage in the game - for once there’s still an air of mystery to a large blockbuster project! The first 30 seconds actually had me a little concerned as they come across as pieced together cutting-room floor scraps taken from Michael Bay’s Transformers editing suite and the accompanying audio track certainly echoes the morphing, digital siren blare seen in the Dark of the Moon trailers.

After that stuttering start though, things pick up as we get an array of establishing shots - I’ll go ahead and assume that they’re of various S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers facilities at this time - and those all important glimpses of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury looking suitably concerned. It’s then that we’re led into the proper thrust of the trailer as it introduces us to the various Avengers members in brief shots with a piece of Fury dialogue over the top explaining the idea behind the forming of a team of ‘remarkable people’. We know the majority of the players from their appearances in the various preceding Marvel movies but there’s still an exciting edge to the prospect of them all being on screen at the same time and even here we’re only teased with one or two shots in the entire two minute segment where three or more Avengers together.

Interspersed between all of the action shots that follow - which mostly involve one hero or another demonstrating their particular skills or flexing the occasional muscle in slooooo-motion - are a couple of nice interactions which give us a taster of the humorous banter that we can expect from the diverse cast of characters, which of course includes Robert Downey Jr’s witty and suave, Tony Stark amongst its number. It was always likely that we were going to get some clashes of personality, and showing Steve Rogers’ down the line, straight talking soldier squaring up to Stark’s wise-cracking egotist at this point is a definite highlight.

The sequence builds quickly to a crescendo that peaks with a rather subtle, minimalistic scene where Iron Man blasts into the sky and then heads towards (what I presume to be) New York at high speed. It’s a something of a strange point to head into the following title screen with what I would almost consider a throwaway effects shot from the previous Iron Man films and it’s certainly servicable yet unspectacular by those standards. Thankfully, the brilliant, comedy book-ended Hulk glimpse that follows is worth the view time alone and is once again a tantalising offering.

It’s clear at this early stage that this is a trailer that has maximised what the creators currently have in the bag, after completing shooting and heading to the editing and effects suites. They're relying on our excitement over the coming together of these famous characters to see us through, rather than bombarding our eyes with wave after wave of special effects and it's a gamble that I believe will pay off in the long run. I suspect that there is still a fair amount to be done in post production and we’ll inevitably receive a larger, more revealing trailer in the near future, possibly in and around the Christmas period when cinema attendance tends to see another lift in numbers. With nearly 7 months between now and release I think giving us too much at this early stage would have been a mistake.

I for one like the less-is-more approach used here, especially the fact that there still remains an air of mystery surrounding the threat that brings these powerful individuals together - sure Loki’s present but the glimpses of carnage that we see suggests he may not be alone - and the absence of a bona-fide ‘money shot’ means that we can still, thankfully, only imagine what the likes of a Hulk rampage, or a scene involving the helicarrier will look like.

While definitely not a trailer of ‘blow my socks off’ standards it’s still pretty damn polished, importantly gives that 'Avengers Assemble!' feel and has definitely raised my excitement levels for next May! 8/10

No comments: