When’s the last time a movie trailer gave you the chills? I’m not talking about the ‘wow’ factor of visual effects or the shock value of violent death, plenty of trailers achieve this. I’m talking about real, tangible emotions. Search your memory; can you recall a trailer that left you with a sense of fear or dread, and yet also made you laugh out loud? I can’t think of a single one… until today.
The latest Avengers: Infinity War trailer dropped today, and it delivers the goods: action, emotion, humor, spectacle, and best of all: chills. Massive, reverberating tingles running up and down my spine.
This trailer is a clinic, and every Hollywood studio should study what Marvel is saying and doing here.
The point of any movie trailer is to establish tone and story, while also convincing audiences that this is a film worth seeing. There are dozens of production companies that do nothing but create these videos. Why? A trailer can make or break a movie (see: Suicide Squad). It’s that important.
Marvel understands this, and they used both Avengers: Infinity War trailers to get their point across: Thanos is bad news… and he’s finally arrived. According to the trailer’s narration, he has one goal: to wipe out half the universe. Clear and to the point.
Thanos is the ultimate big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and everyone is terrified of him. You can feel it. He was established in the post-credits scenes of The Avengers (2012), and hinted at and name-dropped ever since. Judging by his words and actions in this trailer, he totally earns it.
Marvel imparts so many solid moviemaking lessons in this trailer. The first half of is dedicated to expressing characters and their interactions: Gamora, Thanos, Starlord, Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc… In this first minute over a dozen major characters are expressed, and because we know them so well from Marvel’s 20-ish other movies, it pulls you in. These are characters we care deeply about, and now they’re all playing in the same sandbox for the first time… and it’s mesmerizing.
The second half of the trailer is pure action and iconography. More character reveals (many in classic poses), more buildup toward a massive battle, an epic faceoff between armies… and then it’s game on. And honestly, it doesn’t look good for the Avengers. Any of them. Chills.
And finally, we close on a joke. Spider-Man and Dr. Strange shaking hands in a quiet moment before everything goes boom. These are the team-ups and shared moments that fans are dying to see. Exit on Spider-Man swinging through a nightmare scenario. Truly great character and hero beats.
That’s how you make a movie trailer!
From beginning to end Marvel sells Avengers: Infinity War. They’ve merged the humor and silliness from Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man: Homecoming with the tension and deeper themes from Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther — something I was kind of worried about. Marvel is reminding everyone that they’re playing in the big leagues, they’re the all-stars of the superhero genre, and everyone else better up their game if they ever hope to compete.
Avengers: Infinty War hits theaters on April 27, 2018.