|Fan art by drunKEN|
Am I alone in thinking that the teaser at the end of Marvel’s The Avengers was more for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which has been announced, more or less) rather than The Avengers 2? It was a weird thing to tease, though. General audiences, the overwhelming majority of the people who paid just over a billion dollars worldwide so far and don’t read comic books, will be wholly indifferent to the dramatic reveal that Thanos was behind the events of the movie. I’ve actually talked to a couple of people who thought the character revealed at the end was in fact The Red Skull, because he was the villain in Captain America: The First Avenger.
This would be the first major stumbling block in Marvel’s movies so far. Up until now, they’ve very intentionally avoided doing anything that would completely rely on the audience’s familiarity with the comic books to care about what was happening on screen. This was why it was considered necessary to do these setup movies beforehand to familiarize audiences with the characters before going ahead with an Avengers movie. It would seem that, unfortunately, this was the correct course of action. The reveal of Thanos was totally unimportant because, up until now, he hadn’t been mentioned at all in the movies nor was there anyone on screen at the moment of his reveal to question why his reveal would be significant. For comparison, look at the reveal of the Tesseract at the end of the Thor, where the whole point of introducing it was the have the character of Erik Selvig ask “what the heck is that,” in order to reassure the audience that they’re not supposed to know what was just shown to them but signify its importance to the overall narrative.