Marvel’s hotly-anticipated Infinity War trailer is finally here, racking up 31 million views on YouTube on Marvel’s channel alone in the fifteen hours since its initial release (with this statistic already sure to be laughably outdated by the time you’re reading this).
That being said, the most mainstream trailer of the year within the most mainstream genre and cinematic universe in cinema offers a special kind of opportunity to answer a hypothetical question: what does the audiovisual editing for such a trailer sound a look like? Does it look like what one might expect, given the various analyses on this blog or a passing familiarity with the modern tropes of trailer editing?
On cue, at 0:05 we get the nigh-requisite single, reverb-laden piano note against a shot of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) looking stricken with grief. The piano continues in a minor key; brooding drone synth enters at 0:22 for a brief moment, only for the piano to pick up again and continue. It enters again in full force around 0:30 as the now-class Marvel title card, with its flipping pages, hits.
At 0:38 brass enters, trumpeting a heroic fanfare against the Marvel Studios card. At 0:45 we are clearly into the second third of this classically 2:24-length trailer, with staccato strings cranking out minor thirds in a steady pulse. At 0:58 the epic drums and brass come in. An occasionally thump from a synthesizer in the bass sticks out as somewhat novel in what is otherwise standard epic music fare. From 1:28-1:30 we are given a (very brief) respite from the action, only for it to pick up again in sync with Iron Man’s landing.
As we audioview the montage unfolding over the various superheroes we’ve come to know over the past ten years of the Marvel cinematic universe, we hear a monologue by this fim’s big baddie, Thanos (Josh Brolin), mirroring to some extent the monologue by various Avengers in the first third.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of this trailer’s music is that there no cover to be found here: instead Alan Silvestri, who penned the original Avengers theme, is back to score this film, and this theme is front and centre in this trailer. It first appears with a sombre twist, alluding in some way to the broken-up state of the team following Civil War; by the end, however, things have come full circle, with the classic theme given full billing.
In some sense, then, this trailer plays it very safe with respect to musical choices: it’s the Avengers theme for an Avengers movie. On the other hand, it goes very much against the popular move that is trailerizing a well-known tune for nostalgic leverage. Perhaps Marvel knew that the Avengers theme does, at this point, carry a certain amount of leverage all its own, and that it serves as a musical counterbalance of sorts to the massively cross-over visual narrative.
- Curtis Perry