When did you make up your mind that you were going to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron? For a lot of you out there, the decision was made the moment Joss Whedon’s first Avengers movie concluded. "Whatever they do next, I’m on board," you likely stated, because you are a good Marvel fan. Others might have needed a little convincing, but footage shown in the first teaser and subsequent trailers likely pulled you over to the Marvel side. "Oh yeah, Iron Man, Thor AND Captain America are in this! I’m sold."
Except, Marvel keeps selling. Every day leading up to the May 1 release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, a new clip lands online. And I’m here to tell the studio that they can stop now. We’re already going. Please don’t release any more footage, at the risk of spoiling the experience of seeing Age of Ultron, in its entirety, in a theater.
I’m speaking with a bit of a bias. I was lucky enough to have seen Joss Whedon’s sequel, so I’m able to tell you that the footage shown in this latest onslaught of full scenes is not as spoilery as it feels. But as the seventh clip hit the Web today, it became clear – and a little bit alarming – that too much of the movie is being made available before the actual movie hits.
We did the math. It isn’t drastic. If you watched the first five clips released by Marvel Studios and placed on their YouTube page, you have seen nearly 7 minutes of The Avengers: Age of Ultron (six minutes and 53 seconds, to be precise). For a movie that runs an impressive 142 minutes, it’s quite literally a drop in a bucket. But it’s not the AMOUNT of footage shown. It’s the scenes that Marvel is choosing. It probably feels like you have seen too much of the movie’s centerpiece battle between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). The studio has done an excellent job of protecting The Vision (Paul Bettany). Can that caution continue between now and opening day?
This happens every year. The first movie out of the gate heading in to the summer blockbuster season feels compelled to overshare. I recall this happening with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 last year… a movie I eagerly anticipated, and one I felt I’d seen too much of prior to release. Of course, you have the option not to watch. And we have the option not to cover. But some people like absorbing every piece of footage, and analyzing every frame. We’re trying our best to serve all parties.
The thing about the Avengers sequel, though, is that the audience has been pre-sold, thanks to incredible work Marvel has done building its Cinematic Universe up to this point. Do you need to see more of Age of Ultron by this point to decide whether you will buy a ticket or not? Or are advertisements only giving away valuable footage? In the grand scheme of the mighty Marvel marketing machine, who exactly are these clips for?