The first trailer for Avengers: Endgame appears, at first glance, to be very straightforward in its message: Everyone is dead, all hope is lost, but the remaining Avengers are going to fight on regardless. But there’s a lot more going on than is immediately apparent, as should only be expected of a movie this anticipated and long in coming. Here are five things that caught the attention.
”Don’t feel bad about this. Part of the journey is the end.”
It’s no surprise that the trailer starts with a meta-message from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) — the hero that started it all with 2008’s Iron Man — to fans about the rumored fact that Endgame will be the final big-screen appearance for most of the original Avengers (although the in-development Black Widow movie might suggest otherwise).
Of course, it’s also possible that this is as much of a feint as the idea that Tony Stark is going to drift off to death in space as opposed to being rescued by Captain Marvel or any of the other Marvel Cosmic characters that could remain out there. Is it too much to hope for a surprise appearance by Sylvester Stallone’s Guardians of the Galaxy character? Probably. And yet…
”When I drift off, I will dream about you. It’s always you.”
This line is one of the two most direct moments of fan service in the trailer, and taken together, they’re a fascinating glimpse into the audience this trailer is targeted at. Tony’s admission of Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his one, true love accompanies Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) looking at a photo of Peggy Carter, foregrounding the romances of the franchise in a way never done before in Marvel promotion, especially during a first trailer.
It feels like the acknowledgment of the fan culture that has built around the Marvel movies over the past decade that is often paid lip service to, yet never actually delivered on. Could Endgame be the start of an actual dialogue between Marvel canon and its fanbase — and, if so, does this mean some of the queer ships will be acknowledged, if not actually properly addressed?
”We lost. All of us. We lost friends, we lost family. We lost part of ourselves.”
Two immediate thoughts on the return of Clint Barton. Firstly, yes, Jeremy Renner doesn’t necessarily pull off the wounded pain we’re presumably supposed to see in his eyes when he finally returns to the storyline after, I guess, retiring after Captain America: Civil War.
But the idea that he returns in the Ronin costume after losing his entire family is one that works, given the emphasis on how much he loves his (admittedly out-of-nowhere) family we saw in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Sure, the idea of fridging a wife and kids as motivator for a male superhero’s pain is both stereotypical and problematic, but if anyone is going to adopt the identity of ”a wandering samurai who had no lord or master”, making it a man who’s lost his family actually makes sense. (Plus, they’ll all come back when the snap gets reversed, so there’s that.)
”This is the fight of our lives.”
If, as is rumored, Avengers: Endgame will feature a time travel element that includes revisiting previous elements of other Marvel Studios movies, this line gains quite a fun little double meaning. Was this as much of a clue about the actual plot of Endgame as we’re going to receive before the movie makes it into theaters, hidden in plain sight? Very possibly.
”Can you buzz me in?”
It’s a smart trick that the Endgame trailer manages to misdirect viewers into thinking that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was dead via a floating screen being viewed by an upset Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) early in the trailer before the post-credit reveal, but, boy, was his appearance welcome — the tonal shift he brings merely by not being as maudlin as everyone else in the trailer is not only dramatic, it’s necessary to prevent the whole thing being a downer.
His energy — at once clueless and, more than likely, the result of knowing something no-one else does — is a much-needed boost into the trailer and a sign that there’s far more about Endgame than Marvel is willing to reveal at this point. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of the Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) post-credit sequence in the first Iron Man, which is more than fitting, considering.
Now, how long until the second trailer…?