Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..Thanos (Josh Brolin)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
It didn't occur to me until late yesterday, but the core premise behind the announcement teaser for the new Avengers movie is quite literally, to quote my comedic catchphrase "Can This Franchise Be Saved?" But, yeah, after much anticipation and a delay or two, Marvel dropped the first teaser for the endgame, and they totally mean it this time! Moreover, like the last handful of Walt Disney first-look teasers, it is merely about creating awareness as opposed to interest.
Interest is arguably already established, so this teaser did exactly what it needed to do, and absolutely nothing else. It gave us a title and a release date, and then it got the hell out of dodge.
First, we now know that the movie will be titled Avengers: Endgame. Considering that phrase has been uttered at least twice (once by Doctor Strange as he disintegrated in the Infinity War climax and once by Tony Stark during a grim first-act Age of Ultron monologue), I am not sure the whole cloak-and-dagger routine was necessary. Having said that, like a lot of post-Force Awakens speculation, it was the entertainment press, more so than the studio itself, that turned this all into a guessing game.
Absent the need for websites to generate clicks via speculative “What’s the title going to be?” posts, this wouldn’t have been that much of a big deal. After all, it wasn’t Lucasfilm and related filmmakers who insisted that the identity of Rey’s parents or the origins/purpose of Snoke were some incredible crowd-pleasing reveal just waiting around the bend. It was the entertainment press that did that, which is part of why the “Yeah, this stuff doesn’t matter” plot turns in The Last Jedi proved disappointing to at least some of the fanbase.
No matter, we now know the title, which makes that October 2014 Phase Three sizzle reel, which was centered on Tony Stark’s grim warnings from a then-unreleased Age of Ultron, all the more intriguing. The “mystery” title was there all along, more than four years before we got confirmation. I would have gone with Untitled Avengers Sequel or Avengers: What Kind of Day It Has Been, but I’m not the one who comes up with this stuff.
Secondly, the next big tidbit is the release date. As speculated by… well, me, Marvel used the trailer to announce that, yes, they will be moving the movie’s domestic release date from May 4, 2019 to April 26, 2019. This is in line with Infinity War’s last-minute date change and was expected yet again. This time out, the other studios were ready, as there isn’t much during mid-to-late April (or early May). It’s arguably bad news for Shazam (which opens on April 5 and had the month locked down for kid-friendly tentpoles) but good news for Detective Pikachu (which is opening on May 10).
Both films are courtesy of Warner Bros., and the latter no longer has to be in that dreaded “second weekend of summer” slot). To the extent that Shazam can survive one less week before Avengers: Endgame, this is good news for WB’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The kaiju sequel (which is allegedly getting a second trailer on Monday) is set to open on May 31. Presuming Detective Pikachu scores, then the Dream Factory will have two of the three biggies of May alongside Walt Disney’s Aladdin over Memorial Day.
The biggest movie of the summer won’t technically be a summer release, and the rest of the early-summer competition (Men in Black International, John Wick: Chapter 3, Secret Life of Pets 2, etc.) can breathe a little easier. At least they didn’t wait until two months out like last time, which sent Rampage and I Feel Pretty scrambling for cover. Arbitrary as it may be, this means that Disney may “win” the months of January (they are distributing Universal’s Glass overseas), March (Captain Marvel), April (Avengers 4), May (Aladdin), June (Toy Story 4), July (Lion King), November (Frozen 2) and December (Star Wars 9).
Other than those two tidbits, the trailer didn’t give us much. Yes, the Infinity War “snap” still happened and a lot of superheroes are MIA or dead. Yes, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is now Ronin and just itching to scream “You have failed this universe!” at Cap or Iron Man (who is essentially floating home and looking about as down in the dumps as he did in Iron Man's first act). But otherwise, this is a straight-up announcement teaser, one which is just “underwhelming” enough for me to argue that, like that first Last Jedi teaser, the powers that be wouldn’t have bothered absent pressure to offer a trailer sooner rather than later. It’s fine, but it’s nothing that couldn’t have waited until March.
Having said that, presuming that a trailer was required at least to confirm the new release date, this got the job done without spoiling much of value. The only real reveal comes from (oddly enough) the post-title bumper which shows that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) escapes from the Quantum Realm sooner rather than later. Otherwise, it’s all about the title, the release date and the confirmation that things are going to get worse before they get better. And that’s all we need between now and April 26, although I expect we’ll get the usual Super Bowl spot and a second trailer before Captain Marvel in early March.