Trailer Tuesday: The Avengers
The big trailer news of last week was the debut of the first trailer for The Avengers - which is hands down the most ambitious superhero film of 2012 (I'd say of all time but well, I think that honour belongs to Watchmen).
Anyway, for those of you who don't know, or haven't been clued up by the post-credits sequences of the past 5 Marvel comic adaptations (see Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger) all those very different costumed heroes are coming together in one movie to save the world... just as they did in the comics. You can think of The Avengers as Marvel's all-star equivalent of DC Comics's Justice League.
What's most impressive about The Avengers movie is that the filmmakers have assembled all the stars from the single hero movies set in the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe - with the exception of Edward Norton who was dumped by Marvel after playing Bruce Banner / The Hulk in that character's last cinematic outing. So, in The Avengers we have genius billionaire playboy Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.); earnest super soldier Captain America (Chris Evans); God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and placid scientist turned raging Hulk, Bruce Banner (played now by Mark Ruffalo). These heroes are joined by gifted but distinctly non-superpowered SHIELD agents Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and eye-patch wearing, operational head Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
The villainy in The Avengers centres on Thor's adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has designs on world domination through the use of the mysterious, ridiculously powerful artifact known as the Tesseract, or Cosmic Cube.
I can't say I was absolutely blown away by the trailer for The Avengers but I can't say I have any real gripes either. The film looks exactly like I was expecting - if a bit heavy on the Michael Bay-style explosions and urban destruction. The Avengers seems to be playing it safe as a vanilla, crowd-pleasing superhero adaptation, under the workman-ish, if not obviously flavoursome, direction of geek-god (and comic book scribe) Joss Whedon. So, as expected for something playing to audience wants, Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark, gets the coolest moments and the wittiest lines. And it looks like the film will make quite a bit of Stark's personality clashes with Steve "Captain America" Rogers, who is attempting to navigate the 21st Century with the values of a proud, principled nationalist, and former dweeb, of the 1940s.
There is always the risk with such a large ensemble cast that some characters will be neglected at the expense of screen time for others. I'm really hoping Thor - whose solo movie I thoroughly enjoyed - isn't just a smirking back-up man to the 2-man show of Cap and Iron Man here. Unfortunately this is what I suspect Black Widow and Hawkeye will be: mostly mute, black-clad and bland fighter types.
Still, I'm sure The Avengers will be slick, brisk, if not particularly deep or demanding, fun.
The Avengers releases on 4 May 2012 in North America. The film's South African release date has yet to be announced but I expect it to be around the same time, if not the same day. For the record, the film has not been shot in 3D, although at some stage it may undergo a conversion like prior Marvel movies Thor and Captain America.