Marvel into darkness

The trailer for Avengers II is one of many signs that the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe may be taking a turn for the gloomy. Is that a wise decision?

So we got to see the teaser trailer for the Avengers: Age of Ultron earlier that we were expecting – Hail Hydra! – and my overwhelming reaction is ‘COOL!’ The quality of the trailer itself is worth appreciating; in particular how it uses its Pinocchio motif to build a sinister tone. More importantly, the omens for the film are positive. It seems like there will be plenty happening, the visuals look impressive, James Spader’s version of Ultron appears pleasingly menacing and it has Andy Serkis in it!

However, it does look rather bleak. There are lots of hints of tragedy and it contains none of the wisecracking the teaser for the first film focused on. Now this could just be the trailer but there are other reasons to think Marvel may be about to start emphasising tragedy over comedy:

Based on the past year one might reasonably wonder if this isn’t a mistake. Sure Marvel did well with the Winter Soldier but their real commercial success was Guardians of the Galaxy. This was the closest they’ve come to making an outright comedy and audiences seemed to like it.

I’m excited to see what Marvel does with the darker parts of its range. However, going dark still feels like a gamble and I have to wonder if they will lose part of their audience along the way. More than that I hope that it doesn’t prevent them from also making some light hearted fair. Mainstream audiences deserve films like Guardians which are silly in a clever way.

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