Just based on pure ambition alone, it’s hard not to be excited for Avengers: Infinity War. Featuring what seems to be every major character to ever appear in an MCU movie, Infinity War represents the most ambitious film Marvel has ever undertaken. And while making a movie featuring literally dozens of characters that audiences have come to love seems tailor-made to disappoint when it comes to character usage (not everyone is going to get a fair share here, right?), it seems the smartest way to utilize the massive ensemble is by turning to another genre that juggles big casts of characters: the tried and true war movie.
After all, the film is titled “Infinity War,” and from the debut trailer released earlier today, isn’t fucking around with that classification either. There are shots in the Infinity War trailer that felt more like a huge scale Lord of the Rings flick to me then a standard superhero story, with the big money shot (a bunch of heroes rushing into battle with a legion of troops behind them, as shown up top/all over your Twitter feed) made to emphasize that point. Don’t get me wrong: the Avengers movies have always been large in scale, from the alien battles that climax the original to the massive amount of robots that were torn apart in Avengers: Age of Ultron. But, before, it was just our heroes against an army. Now, it’s our heroes AND an army, fighting another army.
That army of course belongs to Thanos, who made his biggest mark yet for this franchise in this trailer. So far, he looks like a solid villain, if nothing super special. I’m very excited to see Josh Brolin playing a bad guy, sure, but the character himself as seen in the trailer is…still just kind of standing around? He has a few cool moments in this trailer (knocking out Iron Man in one punch was a nice way to establish his power), but the CGI-motion capture used to create him still looks a tad bit iffy in my opinion. Maybe it’s residual effect from Steppenwolf in Justice League, but I can’t help but be wary of these massive alien villains created entirely through computers. By comparison, Ultron was also an entirely CGI creation, but I immediately found him to be a threatening and interesting presence in the first Age of Ultron trailer. Thanos doesn’t quite get there in this first trailer, especially with his big “you’re going to lose” speech that performs over all the footage feeling rather unremarkable and, at this point, pretty boilerplate. In fact, I’ve seen the trailer four times now, and I’m still not quite sure what he says in the second half. It begins to blend in the background with its utter banality, and that’s not a great way to show off your lead character. Considering how much has built up around him, I can only hope his character will be better defined in the film itself.
But returning to that Age of Ultron point, I think the trailer between that and this one are a worthy point of comparison. Both play up the darkness angle quite a bit, with no sarcastic quips or witty rejoinders to speak of. This is a teaser trailer all about building up the threat, and the scale of the battle to come. But, I have to say, I still find the initial Age of Ultron teaser did a more effective job of laying on the gravity of the situation — maybe it’s just James Spader’s icy monologue throughout that trailer (“There are no strings on me” is the exact opposite of the Thanos speech, in that I still remember it long after watching the trailer), or even the atmospheric cover music in the background (it’s a trope now, but sometimes it works!), but the Age of Ultron teaser is still tops for me when it comes to trailers for this franchise. If you want to compare for yourself, though, rewatch it below:
Still, this Avengers: Infinity War trailer is no slouch either. Like I said, I’m already pretty impressed with the scale of the film here, and I have more than enough faith in The Russo Brothers to believe that what they will deliver here will be the climax of this franchise we all hope it is. And as predictable as the apperance by the Guardians of the Galaxy is in the final quota of the trailer…yeah, it still was pretty damn cool. And I can’t wait to see it with an audience unaware of their involvement in the film.
My anticipation remains high for Avengers: Infinity War, and though the trailer itself wasn’t quite special enough to get me more excited, even just seeing this project is real and, thus far, looks to be very impressive, is enough at this point.
Avengers: Infinity War will kick off next summer’s movie season when it releases on May 4. I’m hopeful that subsequent trailers (if recent history is any indication, likely releasing in March) will really knock my socks off. For what it’s worth, being the Marvel fanboy I am, it won’t take much to do that.
Also published on Medium.