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Just under two weeks after its release in the U.S., Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is getting ready to round the $1 billion mark worldwide. However, one market that hasn't contributed to the tally is Japan. It seems that folks in the Land of the Rising Sun will need to wait until July 4 to see the film. Compounding that egregious lateness, a series of new Japanese promo posters give away plot points, specifically those involving the arrow-slinging Avenger, Hawkeye.
WARNING: Discussion of SPOILER elements ahead!
The look of the posters, which showed up on ComicBookMovie, contain an aesthetic that is…well, appropriately Japanese, showcasing specific scenes in the film with a uniform picture of the assembled Avengers team at the bottom. However, putting aside the soap opera look of the posters, one of them focuses on a key scene for Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye. The character is depicted dramatically holding a family that’s clearly his in a perplexed, protective hug in a scene actually crossing into spoiler territory. That’s because the very idea that Hawkeye has a family in the first place was meant to be a narrative curveball.
In the film, the team suffers a disastrous first battle with Ultron and the newly-recruited twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, which wreaked havoc in an African city, inciting a battle between a whammied Hulk and Iron Man. The heroes retreat back to the States to lick their wounds at a farmhouse in the Midwest, which turns out to be the home of Laura Barton (Linda Cardellini). It just so happens that Laura is the up-till-now-unknown wife of Hawkeye. It seems that Nick Fury helped secretly stash away Clint’s family, as Laura and their young son and daughter have lived a quiet life, well away from the perils of Clint’s deadly occupation. The scene was meant to be a surprising look at the backstory of the Avenger, who, in 2012’s The Avengers, got the short end of the stick as far as exposure was concerned.
It could be argued that giving away something director Joss Whedon meant to be a surprise might be an especially callous thing to do to the Japanese moviegoing public, who will have to wait two whole months to see the film. However, the revelation of Hawkeye’s family was hardly the most critical, game-changing swerve in the film. In fact, it could be argued that focusing on a man protecting his family is actually a valid marketing strategy. It’s a human element that is relatable across a broad spectrum of audiences, which could ultimately prove helpful. Besides, any Japanese fans who would be offended by having this particular angle spoiled probably already read the spoilers on the Internet, or even took the initiative to see the film by unseemly, non-legal methods.