Marvel has recently dropped the trailer for their next film standalone superhero film, Ant-Man, to be released after The Avengers: Age of Ultron this summer. In case you haven't seen it yet, here's a link. I'll wait...
The teaser was released during the premiere of Agent Carter, Marvel's latest attempt to conquer the small screen as well as the silver. Reactions to the trailer have been mixed across the board. There are some who are excited and optimistic. And then there are others who are concerned, to them the trailer was generic and uninteresting. Personally, I thought the trailer was underwhelming, but I still have faith that the film will ultimately be enjoyable.
There appear to be a vocal group of people though who have already given up hope on this movie. But here's the thing, you shouldn't be worried. At least not yet. Oh, I'm so glad you asked why!
For starters, the trailer was released January 6th. But the production didn't wrap until December 5th, 2014. Principal photography had barely been completed, and since it's a comic book movie, well you know that there's a lot of post-production work to be done. The early trailers for The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy had shots that weren't completed in them. For example.
The nature of film marketing has evolved in the past decade, reacting to new delivery methods and attention spans (think Twitter and Vine) Remember a time before teaser trailers for teaser trailers? Before these 15-second time wasters?
The short teaser trailer movement is nothing more than an announcement that in a week there will be a full length teaser trailer. Yawn.
Let's break it down briefly. It used to be the kind of marketing involved three things.
- TV Spots - Commercials 15-30 seconds on TV that spiked most in the few weeks leading up to and following a film's release.
- Teaser Trailers - These 90-120 second teasers that establish mood and give the viewer a taste of what to expect. They are usually released 6-9 months before a film.
- Theatrical Trailers - 120-150 second trailers that show the overall plot and story. Usually released within 6 months of a film's release designed to get people excited but also show what to expect. Theatrical trailers show the most story and footage of the three.
Now we have teasers for teasers. But the marketing begins before that even. Marvel hosts massive press events where they lay out their slate of filmmaking for the next several years. And most of these directors are on Twitter or Facebook and drop tantalizing photos, usually of the slateboard with the film's title on it, as seen with SPECTRE.
This may not cost anything, but you'd better believe it's calculated marketing. The point I'm trying to make is that the film marketing timeline has begins the day production begins. That timeline is now two years and films are under intense scrutiny the entire time. So bringing it back to Ant-Man, it was time for fans to get a taste of what's to come.
In the case of Ant-Man, it already had been under increasing pressure. Ant-Man's script had been in development since 2006 as it was one of the first properties to be considered for development among the Marvel comics that hadn't been sold. It was originally going to be directed by Edgar Wright, and was going to finish out Marvel's Phase 2 of films. However, when Wright's vision of the film didn't mesh with Marvel's overall MCU plans, they parted ways. After this there was a brief period when director names were attached but nothing stuck until finally landing on Peyton Reed. During the chaos, Paul Rudd was even credited as re-writing the script.
2014 was a banner year for Marvel. Captain America: The Winter Soldier gave them some much needed maturity, and Guardians of the Galaxy went from riskiest film ever to overnight sensation. And with the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer release, the public was salivating for news of what would come next. But aside from production problems, very little had been released.
So the trailer was dropped and as I previously stated the reactions were mixed. Some were confused as to where the humor was (for me the humor in the trailer fell flat.) Others were wondering why it didn't highlight the much lauded heist element. Either way, it didn't generate quite the buzz Marvel undoubtedly hoped for.
So why shouldn't you worry? Because this is just a teaser trailer, in fact it's more of an announcement trailer. Remember Ant-Man, like the Guardians, is not a household name-yet.
Second, the effects and the film are not done. Imagine if you made a cake but tried to serve it before you put it in the oven. There's still a lot of work to do even if the foundations have been laid.
Thirdly, this could just plain be an underwhelming trailer. Marvel has done a great job of keeping their finger on the pulse of their fans. The film had lots of production woes, and I personally lament the loss of Wright, but I also was very skeptical of the Russo brothers directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and that movie is now my favorite Marvel film. (If you weren't aware, the Russo Brothers credits before Cap were episodes of Community and Arrested Development, shows I love but don't scream action movie-boy was I wrong.)
Yet there's still a lot going for it. For starter it has a great cast. Paul Rudd I think will seamlessly fit into the role, and he's backed by some real talent. Additionally, the film I think will have an aesthethic that is different, while still being familiar. Part of this is the filming techniques they are employing, including the use of macro cameras. If they pull it off, this should be an incredibly visually arresting film.
So if you're a Marvel fan who was disappointed by the initial Ant-Man offering, don't worry just yet. If Francis Ford Coppola can survive suicidal tendencies to make Apocalypse Now, then this film can survive a few script rewrites and personnel changes. Wait until the next trailer, which hopefully highlights more story and fun. And when it releases, then you'll know. For now, Marvel has earned a bit of faith, wouldn't you say?