It’s been a while now since audiences were wowed by The Avengers, and it’s safe to say that it remains Marvel’s biggest and boldest film to date. Not only did The Avengers gross over $1.5 billion worldwide, per BoxOfficeMojo.com, but it unquestionably left a bigger mark on the industry and its droves of fans than any other hero film in the modern era.
To begin with, consider how the average fan or moviegoer thinks of the term “Marvel” now as compared to a decade ago. Of course, Marvel refers to a massive comic book and entertainment empire that includes nearly innumerable characters and personalities, including many that go well beyond the Avengers. But to many cinema-goers and young comic fans, “Marvel” is just about synonymous with “The Avengers,” in all realms of entertainment.
One place in which this is surprisingly evident is in the online gaming industry, where character-based arcade games are becoming more common by the day. In order to draw in audiences, these games often model themselves after characters and films. While there are a few online games out there for the likes of Elektra, the X-Men, and others, there is a crystal clear bias toward Avenger characters from recent films. The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor all have standalone games and images placed in games modelled specifically after The Avengers film.
Other forms of gaming demonstrate the same bias, and through it the same representation of fan preference. Plug in “Marvel” in the iOS app store search and you’ll come up with a number of games featuring the Avenger heroes before you even get to the Marvel Comics app. Games featuring Iron Man, LEGO Avengers, the actual Avengers, and others all take a higher priority, overshadowing the dozens of other popular characters Marvel has been recognised for over the years.
On top of this cultural impact—effectively turning all of Marvel into the Avengers for a modern audience—the 2012 film also seems to have changed the game of modern superhero cinema. While there are a few exceptions, the wild success of The Avengers more or less halted the trend of standalone hero films for the time being. Since 2012, we’ve seen a few standalones —Iron Man 3 and Man Of Steel—but the highlights and news have surrounded collaborative projects.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past was hailed earlier this year as one of the best superhero films of the century thus far while The Guardians Of The Galaxy (a sort of goofy version of The Avengers) is viewed by many as a dark horse Oscars contender. Meanwhile, the buzz for the coming years is surrounding two more superhero collaborations: Zack Snyder’s coming Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (a prelude to a Justice League film) and Avengers: Age Of Ultron (the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers). And now, thanks to a leak, we have our first trailer for the latter.
Marvel had reportedly planned to unveil the long-awaited trailer for Age Of Ultron some time during a coming Marvel’s ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ episode on television. But when a fuzzy version of the trailer leaked online, the company pivoted and released the official trailer to the public. Fans are already going wild.
Predictably, the trailer shows the Avengers evidently being pushed to their limits, seemingly in despair as their greatest adversary yet seeks to gain control (presumably over Earth, mankind, or the entire universe). In a fashion reminiscent of the Iron Man 3 trailer (which had Ben Kingsley narrating ominously in the role of villain The Mandarin), Ultron’s deep and dark voice looms over the trailer and is probably the best thing about it (with James Spader doing the voicing).
Ultron offers a threatening monologue aimed at the Avengers, suggesting that their time has come to an end as we see images of big city battles, an overwhelmed-looking Tony Stark, Thor dropping his hammer, Bruce Banner crumbling to the ground in the woods, etc. Truth be told, it all feels a little bit familiar. That being said, it also looks larger than life (though we’re hoping the double Hulk-sized Iron Man suit shown in the trailer isn’t a big part of the new film), and it’s already got the buzz going for the film, which is set for release this coming May.
We can already safely say that The Avengers have been the dominant force of the 21st century superhero film explosion. And now the hype is about to rev up again for what looks like the most ambitious Avengers-based project to date.