What we learned from the new The Avengers trailer

The new trailer to The Avengers - aka Avengers Assemble - landed yesterday. And we've dissected it right here...

The Avengers

As you more than likely know, the latest trailer for The Avengers… um, sorry, that’s Avengers Assemble if you’re a UK reader… has hit the wires. And you can see it right here, too. So of course, it’s time for us to nitpick it to pieces and see what, if anything, it tells us about the film that we didn’t already know…

“War has started…”

And how. We know already that Loki is the ‘big bad’ of the film, but one thing this trailer makes clear – even more than before – is that he’s got some help.

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We don’t know what or who they are – it’s been speculated that they might be the alien shapeshifters known as Skrulls, or perhaps Loki teaming up with the Frost Giants or some other kind of Asgardian nasty – but we know that there are lots of them, that they “hopelessly outgun” Earth’s Mightest Heroes, that they can blow cars and streets up from the sky, and that they’ve got a big giant flying metal serpent thingy among their ranks. Jeepers.

The point is clear from the outset: each of the individual Avengers spent their own movies fighting threats that were on their own levels. But this one… this needs all of them.

Oh, and we don’t know what the big giant flying metal serpent thingy is. Sorry.

Some Assembly Required

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Amusingly, the dialogue gives us a quite pointed reference to the fact that Iron Man 2 ended on a note that implied that it might be James Rhodes, rather than Tony Stark, suiting up in the armour once the Avengers got together. Thankfully, somebody somewhere saw sense, and Robert Downey Jr thus takes his place at the wisecracking heart of the ensemble piece.

The main thing that this trailer seems to focus on, aside from showing us a little more of the attacking hordes, is how the various members of the team are brought together. Which is actually kind of a shame, since we can expect it to be the main thrust of the movie, so we don’t necessarily need it summarised this early by a trailer.

Nevertheless, the states in which we find our heroes before Fury brings them all together are pretty clear: Steve Rogers the man seeking a purpose, Bruce Banner exiled in the wilderness, Stark being… well, Stark.

Meanwhile, it’s emphasised – as if we didn’t know already – that Black Widow and Hawkeye have been in the SHIELD ranks for some time, waiting for the moment to step up and join the flashy heroes. Perhaps the only doubt left is over Thor – when we last saw him, he was trapped back in Asgard, so we genuinely don’t know yet how he gets back to Earth in order to be recruited. Hopefully that one at least will stay a mystery until opening night.

There’s only one way to find out… FIGHT!

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It’s been a golden rule of superhero comics for around half a century that when two heroes encounter one-another for the first time… they have a big old scrap, ostensibly under the pretext of “I thought you were a villain!” “I thought you were a villain!” confusion. But really so that fans can take delight in arguing over which one would really win.

It’s never something that moviegoers have had the joy of experiencing before, though, because… well, because there’s never been a superhero team-up movie before. Thankfully, The Avengers doesn’t look set to disappoint on this score. Frankly, the whole film could consist of Cap, Iron Man and Thor having a huge rumble in a forest and a lot of us would still be happy.

“Director Fury…”

It’s still not clear whether we’re ever going to get the Nick Fury film that Sam Jackson has apparently signed on for, but if we’re ever going to get a bit more of his background, we’ll probably need it.

A constant throughout all of his appearances in the Marvel Universe films has been that Fury is essentially The Gaffer. He may be cool as hell, but from the word go he’s been introduced to us as the director of SHIELD, and the man who has brought the Avengers Initiative into existence.

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Which is all well and good, but the concern – only heightened by the way he’s presented in this trailer – is that Fury may end up serving as little more than a plot macguffin – the guy who brings them all together, but otherwise doesn’t necessarily do very much. And both the character – and the living legend who plays him – deserve more than that.

It’s going to be a tight fit squeezing all the characters into the film and doing them all justice as it is – but let’s hope that Fury isn’t the one to suffer.

Hawk, aye?

Someone who already looks to be suffering, however, is Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. Count the number of lines of dialogue he gets in this trailer. Go on.

Or if you can’t be bothered, I’ll tell you: it’s none. No lines of dialogue at all.

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The more cynical comic book fan would point out that that’s probably more lines of dialogue than Clint Barton really warrants… but it doesn’t help us to figure out just why he’s in the film in the first place.

“Super-Thrills! Presented in the Fabulous Marvel Manner!”

Golly gosh, there’s a lot of CGI, isn’t there? One thing’s for sure – The Avengers is going to be a huge, explosive, feast for the eyes. There’s a lot of shiny clanging metal things, a lot of explosions, a lot of energy beam things, a lot of flying, a lot of extra high-tech detail as Iron Man’s suit puts itself together, and a really excellent bit where Hulk catches a falling Stark while clawing onto the side of a building.

All of which is fine – and is exactly the sort of thing The Avengers was always going to do – but it would be a shame if any of it comes at the expense of the careful ‘real world’ plotting, sharp wit and layered character work that all the previous films in the series have made their hallmark.

Loki is Awesome

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Well, he is. If the Avengers aren’t careful, we’re all going to wind up rooting for the guy…

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