The Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon, 2015) trailers are three nicely paced little snapshots, each with a different feel. But overall, I felt something was lacking.
This is the first one:
Has echoes of Whedon’s work in the horror genre; a fairy tale ditty sung high and childlike, against a backdrop of slow-motion action and devastation. A bit of a blast from the past for a long-time Whedon watcher; echoes of the little girl from the BtVS episode Hush (1999), some end of the world visuals from Cabin in the Woods (2012), the taunting of the Big Bad who likes the sound of his own voice (see Buffy and Angel episodes passim). Which also reminds me, poignantly, of Terry Pratchett’s take on evil.
Feels very much like a superhero thriller – full of Nick Fury leadership, a lush score, and some ass kicking action. Nuff said
This is the most Whedon of the three! Excellent exposition; you get the main plot points expressed in a combination of key lines and visuals within one minute. The rest of the trailer showcases classic Whedon techniques for great entertainment, such as team dynamics explored through humour, and characterisation expressed through small personal bits of business from key actors. And of course, a ‘why we fight speech’ to bring it all together, heroically.
But what was missing?
Hawkeye and Falcon.
I feel like Clint’s being a bit ill-served so far by being part of this amazing team. Clint Barton should be a great character – he’s funny, accessible, has some great backstory to explore, and an interesting dynamic with Black Widow on screen so far. And, hell, you hired Jeremy Renner!! So why is he seemingly missing from these trailers? Give the man something to do. Thor, Iron Man and Hulk dominate the screen time. And this is, to an extent, expected of flamboyant larger-than-life characters. Nick Fury gets his inspirational moments. Cap looks pretty and patriotic. Black Widow gets her sardonic asides, although we could have done without the arse shot thanks Joss! What does Hawkeye get? To look sad and exhausted.
Part of me cynically thinks Natasha gets her share of screentime because Joss Whedon knows that having one woman on a team of five men, plus Fury, looks bad for a storyteller who champions feminism. And Nat’s scenes with the Hulk/Banner are hella suggestive. What’s Clint’s reaction to that?? I really want to see Hawkeye and Black Widow take their places alongside their superpowered colleagues, as the best that unaugmented humanity can achieve. I want their skills and resilience highlighted so that audience members who don’t identify so closely with tortured geniuses, man-pain having ultra-execs, and God-like immortals, feel that there is a really normal way to be a hero. Whedon is usually great at this. Remember Angel’s ‘if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do’ speech ( Epiphany, 2001)? Or Xander telling Dawn about how extraordinary she is, because she is willing to be ordinary and uncomplaining in a support role to the Slayers with super-powers (Potential, 2003)? I don’t want Black Widow to get a pass into the hero squad because she’s a girl. I don’t want her relationship with Banner to divide her amazing chemistry as colleague and friend with Hawkeye. I just want them both to kick ass, be part of the team, and shine as the great individual characters they are.
And if Steve Rogers, the most even-handed man to don stretchy tights since Robin Hood, can just run off and sideline his new best mate Sam? What’s that all about? Do we have a quota on black guys kicking arse on screen, and is Samuel L. fulfilling it all by his lonesome? I know Falcon’s not technically an Avenger. I know that people get bent out of shape about canon. But really, this seems like a simple continuity balls up from the last Cap movie. Why would he not show up, if the world is in such sodding danger – is he not a real hero? That needs explaining. If they leave that hanging, it’s white centrist nonsense – up with which we shall not put.
Basically, I am having all the feels, as we say on Tumblr.
So, I spent my weekend watching the Marvel trailers I’d missed recently. “Nice short distractions, nothing to get bogged down in, I’m supposed to be working on the thesis.” I’m a graduate student, distracting myself is a fine art I am mastering alongside pomposity, note-taking, and binge-eating jaffa cakes. But of course, I can’t just *watch* something.