We’re five trailers in to the promotional material for Avengers: Endgame now, and although we will almost certainly get at least one more big trailer drop before the movie is released, I thought that now was the best time to get some analysis done. Of particular note is the Kevin Feige’s insistence that all promotional material being released is from the first 20 minutes of the film. Let’s move on to the first trailer:
We open on Tony leaving a message on his wrecked Iron Man helmet that very much seems like a goodbye. He and Nebula are out of food, water, and will soon be out of air, and the Benatar is apparently drifting in space. There’s the suggestion here that there’s no way for him to repair or create more of his nanobots that make up the suit, since this appears to be all that’s left. Maybe he doesn’t have enough power, or maybe it’s a matter of materials. But the point is, Iron Man is not saving the day here.
We then move to Thanos walking through the fields on his farm, having hung up his armour to use as a scarecrow. This is alongside the voiceover from Natasha outlining the situation as it stands, with trillions dead in the Snap. Avengers HQ is deserted other than the remaining Avengers themselves, since presumably the staff have gone to be with loved ones, or if we’re some time on, the infrastructure to maintain a support network simply no longer exists. Bruce watches the names of the missing flick past on screen, including Peter Parker, Scott Lang (who we the audience know is alive), and Shuri.
We have hobo Thor sat in what might be a SHIELD containment unit, quite dejected, and onto Nebula who also looks quite upset laying a hand on what we are obviously supposed to believe is a dead Tony Stark. We get our first look at Clint Barton as Ronin in Tokyo with Natasha looking on in horror, and I have to say this is a scene I’m super looking forward to seeing pan out in the film proper. That look of absolute loss in his eyes– you know without being told that his family is gone. Steve looks fondly at his compass and the picture of Peggy from the 1940s before snapping it shut. Before telling Natasha that he doesn’t know what he’ll do if they fail. And coming from Captain America himself, that line has some serious weight behind it. This is their last punt, and if it falls flat, there are no options left. At least, that’s the feeling I get.
Coming up on the end we have a slow reveal of the Endgame title card without the usual Avengers theme remix we’ve come to expect from these trailers, showing us right away how different this film is going to be from the rest. And after this, we have Scott stood outside asking to be buzzed in. Some people have pointed out between Steve’s question and the word “archive” in the video that this is probably some time in the past, meaning that when Scott does escape the Quantum Realm, it’s not going to be a simple exit. How many years might he have to live through to catch up with the rest of the team?
It almost isn’t worth mentioning, but this is also the first time we’re made aware that the film has been moved up from May to April.
This one starts out with a dusted Marvel logo and some black and white frames from previous films, before panning in to a dilapidated New York. And this in itself makes it hard to date the film, since it would make sense for New York to not look quite right in the days or months following half of its population vanishing. However what likely puts this further into the future is the fact that there would likely be riots or something comparable in at least the first few days following the Snap. That said, I’d also except a resurgence of criminal activity since law enforcement obviously wouldn’t have the manpower to stop it, but that’s neither here nor there.
Steve is attending what we believe to be a support group for survivors, which fits with him standing in for Sam from his previous veteran’s meetings in a sense, but also that he’s likely got some serious survivor’s guilt going on right now. We also cut to Tony and Nebula working hard on building… something. This is a far cry from the pair we see in the first trailer, and is our first indication that they’re in any way going to be able to get out of their predicament alive.
Then we get a series of establishing shots of characters looking into the middle-distance or suiting up, including Cap, Thor, Rhodey, Scott (which means they eventually find him or let him in following the first trailer), Clint, and an outlier scene of Natasha practising her shooting in time with the beat. I feel like if Cap is feeling guilty, Clint is feeling lost, Thor is feeling defeated, etc, Natasha is feeling a rage that’s fuelling her throughout the film, and especially in this scene in particular.
We then get Cap possibly splinting his arm with his shield, having a good deal of trouble tightening the strap. It’s fair to assume this is following a tussle with Thanos, although following the idea that all of these scenes are from early on in the film it starts to lay the groundwork for there being multiple confrontations with him during the film. But most importantly of all, of course, is that Steve has his shield back. And his old uniform too, but the shield is what we care about more.
We end with the briefest of shots of the assembled (haha) team walking across the windowed area of Avengers HQ. Rocket, Natasha, Steve, Scott, Rhodey, and Clint seem to be the people in this scene. Still no Avengers theme, and it hurts so bad.
FINALLY we get that sweet sweet Avengers theme playing in the background. The first chunk focuses on significant Tony moments throughout the franchise so far, with his voiceover likely being a continuation or a re-cut of his message to Pepper.
Steve gets a similar treatment with Peggy as the voiceover, but interspersing other scenes as well, like one of Clint teaching his daughter to shoot a bow. Now maybe I’m just a cruel bastard, but wouldn’t that be the perfect moment to snap away his entire family before his eyes? Wouldn’t it just. As if to confirm that’s what’s going to happen, we get an extension of the Ronin scene from the last trailer, with Natasha offering her hand to Clint, and him taking it.
We sort of get the same thing for Thor too, but even less of the time is focused on him, bouncing around Sam and T’Challa’s dusting as well as moments from his past. We also get a bit of a hopeful note from Cap to Natasha about not moving on despite telling everybody else that they should, and Scott standing in the street probably having just escaped from the Quantum Realm to find the place deserted and full of missing posters.
I’ve seen some suggestions that Natasha’s hair changing colour throughout the trailer can be used to map the passage of time for the scenes that she appears in, but honestly if there were a thing that was going to be… shall we say “unreliably edited” a-la Hulk and Thor’s eye from Infinity War, it’s something as simple as the colour of Nat’s hair. They turned Fury and Coulon young guys, they can do anything.
Back to character moments, we have Rocket hanging off of War Machine’s arm, which at first I thought was an Ultron rather than our dear Rhodey. And we also have Steve maybe telling Clint that they’ll get revenge for his family, but honestly it could be to anybody at this point. This also blends in to a series of action shots that we’ve seen already, though some are extended, plus Nebula on what might be Titan, Hawkeye shining a light down a corridor that I don’t recognise, and Ant-Man being small somewhere with a pencil. Honestly, who knows where?
Alongside a series of “Whatever it takes” (a stark contrast to “we don’t trade lives”), we see a much expanded version of the shot from the end of the last trailer, with the team in possible Quantum Realm suits, and including Steve, Nebula, Scott, Clint, Rhodey, Nat and Tony. After the title card and the full remix of the theme for Endgame, we get Thor trying to intimidate Captain Marvel by calling Stormbreaker right next to her head, and failing. They appear pretty friendly right off the bat. Honestly they’re kind of similar personality-wise, so I’m looking forward to seeing their chemistry on screen. Obviously this scene would be pretty spoilerific to anybody who hadn’t already watched Captain Marvel and seen the post-credits scene, but I think it’s been fairly well established that we were getting Carol Danvers in this movie, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.
This one is a dud. It’s a recut of scenes we’ve already had to a voiceover of the collected “Whatever it takes” lines from the last trailer. It’s pretty weak and I don’t have anything new to add.
Holy shit, this is the real hype trailer. I was already pretty sure that these trailers had fallen out of Feige’s promised first-twenty-minutes policy for promo material, but this one took the biscuit. Maybe I’m underestimating the team at Marvel/Disney, but I don’t see how all of this is going to get squished into twenty minutes at the start of the film. We start with the team prepping for round two with Thanos and questioning whether they would stand a chance.
This could just as easily be called the “Loss” trailer, because this taps a little bit into how the Snap has affected the team, and besides the core Avengers lot, but better than all that is Rocket and Nebula silently holding hands. They might be part of a team for now, but they’re as alone now as they have ever been before. Rocket’s had Groot for as long as he can remember, and even if it was as someone to focus her hate on Nebula had Gamora. And now they only have each other.
I’m guessing that the everybody standing up scene is following some sort of speech from Thor or Carol, as they’re the only ones from the core cast missing from the shot.
Easily the most powerful moment in the trailer is Tony asking if Steve trusts him. He does, guys. He does.
That said, this trailer is very much setting up what I expect to be an Act One beatdown, where everybody gets back together pretty quickly, only to be absolutely bodied by Thanos again, and them needing to regroup and consider other avenues of attack.
The ground-level shot of Cap, Tony, and Thor walking towards the Thanos just chilling on the ground with his beast of a weapon beside him is brilliant. The biggest shocker of the entire trailer is of course, that there is no post-trailer scene. Way to subvert expectations!
But most of all, I just want to reiterate that I don’t believe we’re within the first 20 minutes anymore. It just doesn’t add up. That, or the Russos have seriously streamlined their storytelling process. We’ll see soon enough though, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing another trailer drop real soon.
Updated 16/04/2019: We’ve had a few more mini trailers out from the official Marvel Youtube channel. The coverage of these is going to be brief:
We have a voiceover from Cap giving a pep talk to the team before they go off to do whatever they’re going to do, Rocket and Scott commenting that he’s good at speeching, and a group fist bump. They’re starting to get some real mileage out of these trailers, since everything else is old footage.
Old footage, plus Rocket asking the assembled Avengers on the Benatar who’s never been to space before. Rhodey, Steve, Natasha, and presumably Clint raise their hands while Carol and Thor look over smugly. Rocket then lets them know that he’d very much like for them not to throw up on his ship. Clint seems to find this funny, which is a nice touch, because it means he’s not going to be totally grimdark in the movie.
This is a big one, it’s all footage from all of the previous films (it could almost be called an MCU trailer), plus footage from Endgame that we’ve seen before. But it’s up alongside a Steve/Tony speech about needing to keep their promise to avenge the Earth if they couldn’t protect it. This is probably the definitive trailer in my mind. It sets us up nicely, and I imagine that with the premieres happening, we won’t see much in the way of more content in the run up to proper worldwide release.
That said, some jackoffs are piling on the spoilers on social media, so take care everyone.