Each side now has to play to their strengths. DC have gone dark and gritty. Marvel may have tried to emulate this at some point, but if they did then it didn’t work. Iron Man and, more recently, the related Avengers films have been their most successful of late and have relied heavily on character banter and balancing tongue-in-cheek with action rather than pathos. This has mostly worked, save a few exceptions (I’m looking at you, Iron Man 3. That ticket cost me about fifteen pounds.)
It’s no surprise, then, that the trailer for The Winter Soldier opens with just that. It’s officially part of the Captain America series and the follow-up to the successful first instalment, The First Avenger. The remaining members of the eponymous team are all present, however, with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow taking the main supporting role and the nice chaps from SHIELD making up much of the storyline. Marvel’s franchises are being gradually woven together, presumably in an effort to bring their on-the-page universe to life in a way that will make the fans giddy with joy – unlike the caped crusaders of DC who each inhabit their own fictional cities, most of these guys spend most of their time in New York and have been sharing the page in crossover issues since long before the movie wave began.
That’s about it, really, because the point here – besides the visual aesthetic – is tone. There’s talk of saving lives, a blurred field of battle and moral debates over pre-emptive strikes, pessimistic realism and the culture of fear created by terrorism and the corresponding overreaction of US military types. It’s all very relevant to our times, but it’s also a comic book film that makes use of a ton of classic characters and probably a good few slices of printed storyline. It’s aimed at all age demographics alike and at non-comic-readers. It’s all rather clever, really.
In this teaser we have a taste of each ingredient, from the shots of heavy machinery and flying gadgets, action and explosions, stunts and banter to stony-faced contemporary politics. Provided that each of these complement each other well enough – I’m looking at you, Skyfall, that ticket cost the same – it looks as though it’s going to be both very entertaining and a pretty good film.