Well, it’s finally happened. We have a full trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War”, and it’s even bigger, badder, and more filled with Marvel cameos and appearances than anyone could imagine.
It’s also kinda dark.
There’s a deep sense of foreboding running through the entire trailer, more so even than movies like “Civil War” and “Age of Ultron”, which Marvel similarly tried to make look a bit more dark and brooding in their promotional footage.
This is certainly a far cry from the colorful wackiness and Led Zeppelin fun of the first “Thor: Ragnarok” trailer, or either of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies.
It seems that, with this film, Marvel wants to build up a sense of epic grandiosity. This movie will be the cultural event of the decade, providing a capstone on the MCU in its current form, and bringing together all sides of the Marvel universe for one big battle.
More so than anything we’ve seen before, this is “The Lord of the Rings” meets “Spider-Man 3”. Darker than what’s come before, while inherently still a bit silly, and based entirely around a huge war in which plenty of footsoldiers on both sides can be killed off to make things feel more important.
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that “Infinity War” looks so much darker than “Avengers” or “Age of Ultron”. After all, the director of the first two Marvel team-up movies, Joss Whedon, has left the studio to work with DC on “Justice League” and other projects instead. This movie, instead, as been made by the Russo Brothers, who also did “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War”.
This duo is not averse to comedy (as their work on “Community” proves), but they do seem to prefer a slightly grittier, more grounded portrayal of superheroes in their work with Marvel.
All of this is fine, it’s just a little jarring – the tone in this new trailer is so different to what we’re used to from “Avengers” movies, and it’s also very far removed from the upbeat action comedies we got this year from Marvel.
To go from “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2”, and “Thor: Ragnarok”, to something this dark and grumpy, feels like a strange transition.
This is likely an issue that will face the Marvel universe more and more in future, as different stories focusing on unrelated characters means that the movie studio’s output of films will increasingly look very different to one another.
The challenge comes when a lot of these different characters come together; when the relatively dour heroes like Captain America and Black Widow find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon.
Thus, the issue that’s facing “Infinity War” is more than just one of a tonal direction as a whole. This movie also needs to allow for patches of fun and levity, all mixed in with the dark, depressing, very heavy story of a mad alien invader murdering his way through beloved heroes.
It didn’t quite work when “Age of Ultron” killed off Quicksilver part-way through an otherwise very quippy final battle.
We’ll have to wait and see if the Russo Brothers manage to balance all these moving parts in a way that feels natural, despite the sudden gear-shift the MCU as a whole is taking now that it’s trying to be an outer space war epic.