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SFX blogger Alasdair Stuart gives his reaction to The Avengers trailer

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So, the countdown to The Avengers movie has stepped into high gear with the first trailer being released and very impressive it is too. I’m a sucker for a good trailer and this is a great one, packed with enough implication and information to keep me guessing for ages. Or until the next trailer. So, aside from Samuel L Jackson with a rocket launcher, the first appearance of the latest version of the Hulk and that very odd Captain America/Thor fight, here’s some of the things that jumped out at me:

The World Is A Mess, and I Just Need To Rule It

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Oh, Loki. Loki, Loki, Loki. Given the amount of time the Yggdrasil concept got in both Thor and Captain America , I wonder if there’s a built in snobbery. The further up the world tree you are, the more you look down on the people and world below you. Loki’s invading not just because there’s something he wants, but because Earth is further down the tree.

Phil Coulson, Special Agent of Awesome

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My favourite element of the Marvel movies by a country mile is Agent Phil Coulson, the deadpan, polite liaison introduced in Iron Man. By all accounts, Phil is front and centre in this movie and we certainly see him early, greeting Nick Fury’s helicopter and unlocking what I can only assume is one of many SHIELD-run Gigantic Vaults Of Doom.

Loki in the Sky

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There’s a lot of very worried looking people, soldiers and superheroes alike, looking up in this trailer. There have been persistent rumours of Loki bringing a Skrull invasion fleet to Earth, something which the abandoned Avengers computer game footage released a little while ago seemed to corroborate. Whilst we don’t see anything here, it certainly looks like something very nasty is in the skies over New York.

This is the Hammer

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Nothing plot vital but was Mjolnir always that huge? It looks colossal.

Silent Soldiers

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Whilst the rockstar heroes are gabbing away in this trailer, it’s interesting to note that Black Widow and Hawkeye are both very present and very quiet. This may well be one of the holdovers from the Ultimates series, where they were both extremely competent soldiers first and heroes second. It’s an interesting idea, and one I hope Whedon plays with: that you have the big personalities up front while these two getting the job done in the background with brutal efficiency.

Widow’s Sting, Captain’s Run

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It’s a tiny little point but Black Widow’s fighting style is consistent here with what we’ve already seen in Iron Man 2 . I know it’s a tiny, tiny point but the fact she uses a very similar move, something which seems to be a modified hurricanrana throw, suggests that a lot of thought’s been put into giving these people convincing, consistent move sets and skills, so they don’t feel different characters to ones we met in previous films. This is born out by the shots of Cap flowing across the battlefield later in the trailer with the same grace we saw him move through World War II.

The Tony Stark Snark Power Hour

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Good Lord, Joss Whedon dialogue and Robert Downey Jr’s delivery is just a thing of perfect snarky beauty. It’s also a nice moment that introduces us to the idea of the Avengers’ front line being a rolling ego explosion. Tony genuinely doesn’t play well with others because he’s never needed to, whilst Steve’s tone here implies one of two very interesting possibilities. The first is that this is Captain Steve Rogers, Howling Commando back in the fore and verbally beating down a soldier who’s stepped out of line. The second is that Steve resents this man who, as far as he’s concerned, is a tenth the man his father was and is representative of the time period he’s trapped in. He’s angry and bitter because he doesn’t want to be here and if this is the case, then his arc through the film will be Cap learning to connect with his new home. Time will tell but there’s the potential for an interesting character beat or too here.

Also, the fact that Thor laughs when Tony delivers the put down is glorious. If Thor’s arc in the film is at least partially, “I like these humans! They’re funny!” I will be very happy.

The Tony Stark Snark Power Hour Part 2

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If there’s one person you don’t want to irritate, it’s the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. The, “If we can’t defend the Earth you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it” moment is the perfect flipside to the earlier moment with Cap. Tony Stark is just as much of a soldier as Steve Rogers, he just hides it better, beneath waves of charm and intellect and quiet, focussed intellect. This is Tony pushed to the edge, further than we’ve seen him go before and it’s an interesting parallel to the weapon forging he’s forced to do in Fear Itself .

This is a big, hard-edged looking movie, something which feels, at least for now, big enough to incorporate all its massive characters. There’s still a long way to go, and I wonder if some of the reaction shots in this trailer – like the one for Green Lantern – are missing some effects, but what we’ve seen here suggests that The Avengers, always a nearly impossible task to do well, looks to be something very special. Roll on May 2012.

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