Avengers: Age of Ultron will be in cinemas very soon - and that's all kinds of exciting for anyone who is a fan of superhero fun.
And a new blockbuster movie means plenty of fancy marketing, including TV spots, posters, online ads, multimedia websites and all that jazz. But for sheer market impact, nothing beats a trailer. These major promos are events in themselves, getting their own teaser videos and marketing campaigns and being suited to every format from your browers to your TV, smartphone and a massive IMAX screen. The trailer campaign for Age of Ultron kicked off in October 2014, with Marvel deciding to release the promo early when a low quality version was leaked online. Teases has been shown at Comic-con before, but this was the first time we got to see the gang back together since 2012's The Avengers and offered plenty of solid glimpses of new villain Ultron.
Really this is all about James Spader's incredible vocal work, which seems to have gotten a little more cybernetic since this first airing. It also saw the introduction of the haunting version of 'I've Got No Strings' from Disney's 1940 animationPinocchio. It's a brilliant audio theme - tied perfectly to Ultron's escape into the world and wryly subverting a song that's supposed to be light and fun. It also probably helps when everything you need is owned by Disney. This trailer is notably light on scenes with a lot of CG, instead casting glances at Ultron which help to make him a character to be feared. Quicksilver's effect also seems to have changed over time.
A week or so later, Marvel dropped an extended version of the first tease which included eveything which had already been released alongside an extra 1 minute scene which shows the team hanging out and trying to life Thor's hammer. In some ways, this remains the best promo so far as it shows a full scene without the choppy editing of a trailer and also reminds us that - no matter how dire events become - there are also laughs to be found in the Avengers. There's good story work here (took at Chris Hemsworth's face when that hammer wobbles) and a sense that, at least at the start of the film, the crew are getting used to working together. Is this after the events of The Winter Soldier? Because I'd be stressed.
Good stuff, great to see Whedon writing again - will he ever just make more films!?
We had to wait until the new year for more Ultron stuff, as the second main trailer arrived on the 12th of January. It's a shorter one and more high impact, selling the carnage which Ultron brings to the world of The Avengers but its also fairly unique in not focussing on any of the main story beats. The secondary villains aren't really mentioned, nor is anything to do with the plan to bring the superhero squad low. Because its fast and efficient and no-spoilery (plus has morePinocchio music) I think it might be my favourite marketing moment so far because it actually does all I want from a trailer - gets me excited for the final product without making me feel like I've seen everything already. Also - Hulk vs Hulkbuster, amirite?!
And so to the supposedly final trailer which was unlocked via frantic retweeting just yesterday. Naturally, the net has been going nuts about it and most for good reason - there are more finished-looking shots than ever before and reams of new footage in general, plus the introduction of a major player who hasn't had a look in so far - that's Paul Bettany's Vision. Still, Marvel has resisted revealing too much in this trailer, but there are things we can surmise - such as the fact that the Avengers are all but alone in the fight (presumably thanks to the dissolution of SHIELD) and also Ultron is really, really tall.
Writer/director Whedon has been promising lots more Hulk in this film and he does seem to be around in shots more, something which was no doubt a nightmare for the FX artists. One standout moment is when the whole team leaps into the fray in slow motion - it looks like it was grabbed straight from a comic book and few directors could pull it off. But in Whedon we trust. The settings are also interesting - the big moments certainly don't seem to be confined to New York this time, with more of an Eastern European look to many of the locations, suggesting more of a global threat.
NoPinocchio music this time but there's still plenty to like, especially the sense that Tony Stark is directly responsible for putting everyone in danger, something his arrogance has been responsible for before. There's a real sense of fatalism about the film as well, could a member of the team actually perish? As a Whedon production, anything is possible - though characters like Captain America have other movies set to come, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone like Hawkeye take a tumble. As much as I love Whedon's work, there are definitely moments here that are strongly reminiscent of 2012's The Avengers. There's the shot of the fragile humans behind glass at 0.20which looks very much like this moment with Ashley Johnson in the first team up flick.
And we've seen this lady before in earlier trailers, running for cover during some combat, suggesting shes another one of these background faces which we're supposed to care about.Then there's the final fight, which seems them all working together to fight off a horde of enemies spilling onto some kind of Deus Ex Boomchina. Now with a big team like this, I'd much rather they were all working on the same goal rather than the frantic cross-cutting which messes up most modern finales but it does all seem a bit familar.
That said, the trailers to date for Age of Ultron have been exceptionally well made and, for the most part, spoiler free. I have no idea what Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are up to and Vision remains a total mystery. Beyond that, it looks like we've also got a romance to content with (let's hope its not crappy) and the return of Sam Jackson. Agent Carter's Hayley Atwell is also in the cast list, as are Tom Hiddleston,Idris Elba and Stellan Skarsgard. Oh and Andy Serkis is up to something as well - his Ulysees Klaw can create any object through the power of sound, and the device he uses for it is the very clawlike thing whipping out right here in the final trailer.
What I'm really saying is that there's a whole lot still to discover in a film with a running time of 150 minutes, and that's a very good thing indeed.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is in cinemas from the 22nd of April 2015.
Or you can watch it and eight other Marvel movies in one (long) go at Vue cinemas - read more on that here.