Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'The Avengers'?

Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'The Avengers'?

May 04, 2012

I never watch a trailer until after I’ve seen the movie, and I also attempt to avoid as much news as possible. Then I compare what I knew, to what you knew. Let’s find out if what we see in the trailer is what we get, and if there is any advantage to going in fresh. (There will be spoilers.)


What I Knew Before: I did my required homework. I have seen Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. I hadn't seen one second of a trailer. How you ask? Well, I was able to catch the movie a week and a half before it opened. More importantly, I'm good at what I do. I barely watch any live TV, and even when I do, I typically pause it to give me a good five-minute buffer so I can fast forward during any movie previews. Plus, I only had to get up and walk out of a theater once, because most advanced screenings don't have previews. I knew Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was the bad guy, and I wasn't thrilled with that. Then again, I don't think any of the villains in this series have been particularly interesting. I was hoping for a fun ride.

What I Knew After: Fun ride accomplished. Loki actually steps up to the plate and has a few worthwhile moments to where I would now say he was the most "enjoyable" villain in this super hero universe (so far). Not only do we get plenty of battles with him, the super heroes don't always get along. Geeks will have more fodder for conversations about, "My super hero can beat up your super hero." As far as the plot, it oddly doesn't feel like it matters. That's not really a criticism. A cube has energy. Loki and some other guy(s) want it. There's another universe involved, and the Avengers must figure out if they can work together to save the day.

Everyone gives a quality performance, and I found I'm liking Captain America (Chris Evans) more now than in this own film. Two guys steal the show for me: Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). While there are some key moments I hope they don't include in the trailer, I'm starting to wonder if skipping the trailer for this one was worth it at all. I mean, how can they ruin the film by showing part of the fun? Let's find out.


What You Knew: A city is under attack. Don't worry, you're not seeing a trailer for another Transformers flick. Nick Furry (Samuel L. Jackson) gives us a voiceover. Nick says, "War has started, and we are hopelessly outgunned." There's a lot more destruction and then Agent Coulson lets Nick know it's time for a whole bunch of awesome to begin!

We go one by one being re-introduced to the team. Steve Rodgers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) all meet. Then we bring in the guy who started it all. No, not Stan Lee, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Tony proves he doesn't play well with others when Iron Man and Thor have a tiff. Nice, the trailer doesn't show how that fight ends. Big Kudos. Next is an action montage along with some cool posing. What the? The trailer shows Thor's hammer hitting Captain America's shield? I take back my kudos. Bruce explains they aren't a team, they're a time bomb, then proves it by showing Hulk smash. Another montage and then we get a little taste of extended action with Iron Man flying around and Hulk eventually catching him. Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) share a moment realizing they aren't nearly as capable as the other heroes followed by a great circle shot of all seven. The hook at the end, Tony Stark playfully bringing a huge monster toward the gang.

Trailer Truth: One of the reasons I don't watch trailers (especially of films I know I will see whether I am reviewing them or not) is because the big screen is magical. The perfect way to illustrate this point is to talk about the circle shot that almost ends the trailer. If you see that at home, it's an iconic moment that is years in the making. It's likely you won't forgot that scene from your 40" TV screen before you see The Avengers. I didn't know that exact shot was coming. It meant something to me when I gazed up at it in the big theater. I wasn't recalling it from earlier and thinking it looks a little better on the big screen. I was in that moment. Going in fresh gives you a better moment (for a film you already know you are going to see).

If you disagree, it's because you haven't tried it yet. I'm actually not even being critical of the trailer for showing it. The moment I wish that wasn't there was Thor's hammer on Captain's shield. Teasing infighting between the group is one thing, but showing something like that would be like showing what happens when Hulk tries to pick of Thor's hammer. The only other gripe I have is that they use footage that is a final rescue of sorts between two characters. I won't shine a spotlight on it, but if you've got a good memory, you'll know what I'm talking about. For the most part, this is a fantastic showcase of the film. Plus, they leave out enough moments like other infighting, and how they are going to destroy that thing chasing Iron Man. Have fun finding out. I can't wait to see it (the movie, not the trailer) again.

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