Warning: spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War are in play. So if you're not current on the great big Gauntlet chase, come back after you've indulged in the latest MCU adventure.
Trailers are everything to a movie. They set the expectation for what we're about to see, hype up certain moments we're supposed to look forward to seeing, and, above all, they're supposed to make us purchase a ticket to see the latest and greatest at the movies. So naturally, Avengers: Infinity War had a bunch of those killer moments in its trailer, and chiefly among them is the moment that closed the first big trailer for the film. A moment where several of our heroes, including Captain America, Black Panther, Black Widow, and The Hulk all charge towards the camera; as you'll clearly see below.
Now the only problem with this moment is that, unfortunately, it's nowhere to be seen in Avengers: Infinity War. And while trailers tend to use scenes and moments cut from the final product they're promoting, this is a particularly interesting misdirection.
Ultimately, in the story of Avengers: Infinity War, we only get The Hulk at the beginning of the film, as he fights Thanos onboard the ship he departed upon at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. So with the fear of the Mad Titan instilled in him, The Hulk is actually too scared to show up for the rest of the movie, thus leaving Bruce Banner struggling to coax him out. Despite his best efforts, the big green rage monster doesn't return fully in the film, leaving Bruce Banner to have to use the Hulkbuster armor during the battle of Wakanda.
Even with that stipulation in play, this entire moment isn't in Avengers: Infinity War at all. So including it in the trailer is already misleading enough, as it's hyping the audience for a scene that never shows up in the over two and a half hour running time. To add onto the lies, we're teased that there's a moment where The Hulk will return to save the day, which is a big part of Bruce Banner's arc in this new Avengers film. While the arc that actually takes place is pretty exciting, for people who are die-hard fans of The Hulk, this is going to be more than a little disappointing.
Changing a moment slightly to advertise a movie is a standard business practice. Go back to that trailer, and listen to Thanos's dialogue; you'll see that the line about fun while balancing the universe isn't in the final film. That's an omission that doesn't break the movie, or mislead the audience into thinking that a certain moment or character that's isn't present in the film will show up. But including an entire character, whose whole plot arc is about their super-powered alter ego having stage fright, is extremely dishonest.
To fully illustrate this point, imagine the following scenario. You're looking forward to the new Die Hard movie, and the trailer has a lot of exciting explosions, one-liners, and the return of Lucy McClane, running into a burning building, gun in hand, alongside her dad. That trailer has you jazzed to see Mary Elizabeth Winstead theoretically kick some ass, doesn't it? Enough that when you show up to the theater, and see that she dies in said fire without ever getting a gun in her hand, you're going to be pretty upset. You paid the movie ticket for the latest Die Hard movie, thinking Lucy was going to get her day in the sun, only to totally see her bite the big one in the first 10 minutes.
As you'll see in the pre-release and post-release coverage we've given to Avengers: Infinity War, it's not like we hate the movie for pulling a fast one with The Hulk. But if we don't draw attention to this sort of behavior, and call out everyone that pulls off this sort of omission, then we leave a dangerous precedent in place for future film-makers to take advantage of. And in a world where someone actually sued a movie company because a movie trailer mislead them with actual footage from the film, that's a precedent that could be costly to major film studios who aren't careful with their promotional muscles.
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now, with a lot of the moments shown in the trailers still included in the film. But there's plenty of time between now and Ant-Man and The Wasp's release on July 6th, so don't forget to watch tomorrow's trailer and take notes of moments you think might disappear by time it's in theaters.