The trailers for 'Avengers: Infinity War' were perfect, and here's what other films could learn from them
They lied, but in a good way
Avengers: Infinity War, eh? Went and bloody watched that, didn’t I? Exactly what I did was go and see it the day it came out, at 4 o’clock and on my own, because you damn well know that some unwieldy ape with a gargantuan trap is gonna ruin that sucker for me in the office kitchen within a week.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe Spider-Man is actually Wonder Woman” they would say, spilling cornflakes onto the top like an absolute beast, “EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN THIS MOVIE DIES AT THE END.”
What I’m trying to say is: I dislike spoilers with the weight of one thousand bags of concrete. I am physically and mentally averse to having a film ruined for me, especially when it’s one that has been ten years in the making - like, I’m not ashamed to say that I was the most excited little sausage you’ve ever laid eyes on in the run-up to the release of this flick.
We’re talking 18 films worth of interest-drumming, here. Even if there was no promotional material at all, I’d still have been excited.
But there was, there were those trailers baby. Oh lordy, those trailers. First this one:
And then this one:
(Oh, and spoilers ahead)
Hubba hubba, what a set of trailers those two naughty beggars are. But if you allow the sweat to subside for a moment, do you notice anything about them? If you’ve seen the film, this can only apply to you, but there are a number of crowd-pleasing moments in those there trailers, that absolutely do not happen in the film.
The Hulk running into battle with Cap and co. that made me wheeze like a dying bulldog, yeah, that’s not in the film, mate. That unbelievably good bit - the best in any trailer ever, I hazard - where Cap grabs Thanos’ hand and plays mercy with him? In the film, sure, but look at how many infinity stones Thanos has on - two in the trailer, four in the film.
They’re having us on, is what’s happening here. Deliberately misdirecting us. And you know what? I’m completely on board with it. My dislike for spoilers often stretches to trailers - when a two-minute promo for a film reveals your big twist, what’s the point in seeing the film?
Your huge 180 switch halfway through, the one specifically designed to make audiences lose their collective shit, well, I already know it’s coming, broski, I saw it in the trailer - From Dusk Till Dawn is about vampires, you’ve ruined it.
So what the Russo brothers have done with the Infinity War trailer, I think I like. Sure, they lied directly to my face, they were entirely dishonest and are absolutely not to be trusted, but when I was watching the film afterwards, it meant there were still some surprises left.
That scene with Cap and Thanos needed to be in the trailer because it’s so goddamn great, but if you’d seen that big shiny fist with all the infinity stones in it - most of the first half of the movie would be rendered redundant - his quest for the stones is pointless as you know he already gets them all.
And Hulk? His entire arc in the movie was a surprise because I was expecting to see him running into battle at the end - granted, I was disappointed, but at least I was surprised.
Maybe a sneaky bit of naughtiness on behalf of the marketing team worked out for the better. Maybe, just maybe, an outright lie ended up being the right thing to do? Who’d have thought it?
There’s a history of misdirection in movie trailers, but often it isn’t so deliberate. For example, a scene may show up in a trailer that is fully intended to remain in the film, but for any of number of reasons, it’s removed from the final cut at the last minute. But with Infinity War, these scenes were specifically created with the aim of throwing the audience off the scent (Eau De Thanos, FYI). Look back at that first trailer again - the Hulk’s CGI job is not a good one, he doesn’t look like he belongs in that scene, maybe we should have sussed it.
Of course, if this trend continues, we may get to the stage where we’re scrutinising trailers trying to find the red herrings, but as it stands, I feel we could still be suitably duped by a little misdirection in our film promos. We have enough to deal with navigating the office kitchen and/or the dreaded internet, so a sneaky smokescreen on behalf of the film prior to its release at least gives us time to see it on the first day before it’s ruined.
Films like Infinity War live and die on their twists and endings, and having them ruined for you by an ignorant blow-horn is an affront of the highest order - having it done before the film is even out nixes all that hard work before it’s had a chance to shine. So yeah, lie to me, trip me up, push me off a cliff - I love the movies, and I love to enjoy them with as little prior knowledge as possible. Nice to have a surprise now and again, ain’t it?