Marvel Trailers Need To Cool It Down

The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Making a good trailer requires many of the same skills needed to make a good movie, and it’s beyond any doubt Marvel Studios can conjure up all the right elements to make not only great films but also the type that earn record-breaking amounts of revenue. Undoubtedly, hype is a crucial part of the MCU formula, however, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness the studio may have wasted its hype bullets too early.


Marvel is all about creating a sense of anticipation, after Thanos first showed up in The Avengers it would take Earth’s mightiest heroes a full 6 years before they finally faced the purple giant, every film was an opportunity to see just how much closer he came to the Infinity Stones. Of course, hype it’s not just about multi-film narratives as even the excitement over finally seeing that one character fans have been waiting for, an unexpected crossover or new face joining the MCU often get people cheering in theaters, but somehow Doctor Strange 2 forgot about all of that prior to its premiere.

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The Problem With Doctor Strange 2

Last year Andrew Garfield was unrelentlessly asked by the media about his potential involvement in Spider-Man: No Way Home, yet the actor kept his poise to deny any plans for that to happen as it was vital for the film to retain its aura of mystery. While Spider-Man leaks were hard to deal with, Sony and Marvel played hardball with trailers only confirming that stars such as Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina would be returning, with lesser foes like the Lizard and Sandman being no more than tiny dots for hardcore YouTubers to find.

Rest assured, one of the best things No Way Home does is introduce the other two Spider-Man in the film, as the trailers and non-stop leaks failed to predict how smoothly Garfield and Maguire enter the MCU, it’s cool, elegant, and most importantly, it’s hype. Fast-forward to Doctor Strange 2and a few weeks ahead of the film’s premiere fans are seeing Mordo ask Stephen to please come in so the Illuminati could have a chat with him.

The Illuminati are not a trivial concept to be teased in Marvel’s world, just like the Multiverse, though the MCU is rarely 100% comic book-accurate they are an integral part of the Secret Invasion spirit Secret Wars storylines the studio appears to be building up to. They also feature an all-star lineup that includes Professor Charles Xavier and one Reed Richards, two of the characters fans have waited for the longest to finally make their way to the MCU.

Sam Raimi and Kevin Feige’s decision of what to do with the characters is debatable, giving the public something they love only to brutally kill them off just a few minutes later is a valid storytelling tool, nonetheless, the problem is that, with the exception of Mr. Fantastic (and no, Black Bolt does not count), all the other epic cameos were already out as part of Marvel Studios’ marketing strategy, which led to fan coming up with wilder fan theories. It’s perfectly valid to use Sir Patrick Stewart’s voice to build hype, it’s a whole different thing to put Captain Carter’s shield right upfront next to Mr. Fantastic’s dead body turned to spaghetti in a trailer.

Doctor Strange 2 Is Exactly What The Trailers Promise

The premise for the Doctor Strange sequel is simple, something is off in the Multiverse, Stephen’s dreams haunt him and show him images of him doing things he would not think of doing, something must be done. Although America Chavez was not prominently featured in early trailers, her appearance hinted at multiversal jumps, but most damningly Wanda Maximoff is teased and practically confirmed to be the villain the first time her face appears covered in blood in the previews.

Sure, hardcore fans who put every inch of footage under intense scrutiny know what they’re in for, and this may be less of a problem for the casual Marvel fan who only sees trailers when they’re shown in theaters or occasionally browsing the internet , but the problems is this film goes overboard. Kevin Feige himself conceded that Doctor Strange’s trailer gave away too much, and now that the film is out, in what amounts to a Scooby-Doo type of twist it’s obvious huge chunks of the movie were “leaked” by none other than Marvel Studios itself.

Practically the entire fight between Strange, Wong, and Gargantos was posted early; the yard scene with Stephen and Wanda features very little dialogue beyond what was already seen in trailers; the dimensions America and Stephen jump through are all there; the Illuminati’s screen time might as well add up to full-length trailer; and, the audience already knew what most Doctor Strange variants looked like. For a film that has continuously been branded as the MCU’s spin on the horror genre, a genuine Raimi movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sure lacks any kind of shock factor.

How is this problem solved? Well, casual viewers might be better served by simply skipping the trailers, problem solved; more passionate fans perhaps ought to tone down their expectations, unless Marvel acknowledges it did something wrong. Doctor Strange 2 is not a one-off case, it’s merely the most blatant example of trailers showing too much.

It’s been known for a while, that Doctor Strange underwent extensive reshoots very close to the release of the film, perhaps that’s what caused this to happen. Maybe the studio knew Doctor Strange’s biggest problem is tying its plot together so it decided to show off most. In any case, the movie is a dangerous omen for the MCU and at the same time cautionary tale that some films are just more fun without watching any trailers beforehand.

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