Gather ’round the campfire, dear friends; it’s time to talk about the first narrative advertisement for Avengers: Infinity War. We live in an age where “hotly anticipated trailer” is a bizarrely common phrase, but it certainly applies here: Folks have been clamoring for this thing with a fervidity usually reserved for high-school seniors awaiting responses to their college applications. At long last, it has arrived, and it’s pretty goddamn metal. I mean, come on, anything that introduces a character literally named Proxima Midnight is gonna shake you down to your core. Let’s grab our Infinity Gauntlets and hop in to see what we learned.
We begin with a planet. It seems to have two light sources surrounding it — could that mean this is an alien world, or is the moon just really bright?* Also, Earth isn’t usually orange, but you never know what’s gonna happen in one of these movies.
Tony Stark is also orange and looking quite forlorn and we get some voice-over from the various Avengers gravely talking about the purpose of their team; so let’s presume that matters have, as they say across the pond, gone pear-shaped.
Mark Ruffalo is topless, which is nice, but at what cost?
Doctor Strange and his comrade Wong appear to be stunned by Ruffalo’s chest hair, as well as by the fact that he seems to have fallen through their Greenwich Village roof.
Wanda and Vision — who has built himself a human disguise, it seems — share a tender moment. As for the glowy forehead dressing: In case you forgot, Vision is a virtuous robot who has one of the Infinity Stones, which are going to be terribly important in this movie. Specifically, his is the Mind Stone, which can control, well, minds, and which was held by various bad guys until Tony Stark got his hands on it and it then came into the possession of Vizh, who hasn’t used it for bad things. He’s a good boy.
Thor, whom we saw quite recently in Thor: Ragnarok, gazes out the porthole windows of some kind of spaceship. But what spaceship is it? Stick around, kiddies.
Here’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, smiling incongruously and sporting a new bottle-blonde look. As a redhead, I now consider her a traitor and she is dead to me.
Noo Yawk! It’s a hell of a town. Or is it a town … in hell? It certainly seems like the latter is the case, given what we see next. I’m screencapping this to point out that Avengers Tower is still standing, but we don’t know what’s in there anymore, given that the team has moved their headquarters. Perhaps it’s turned into a WeWork space?
While a grim voice (we’ll find out whose it is in a moment) talks vaguely about the heroes losing, we return to the Village. Ruffalo has put a shirt on, which sucks. On the other hand, Tony showed up, so he and Strange can now trade goatee tips.
Peter Parker, the spectacular Spider-Man, rides an elevated train in NYC, which is a tradition for Spider-Men. The hairs on his arms stand up, which indicates either that his Spidey Sense is tingling or that it’s yet another super-dry New York autumn and that damn static electricity is acting up again. Hot tip: Any time you’re about to touch a metal surface this time of year, touch it with the back of your hand first so you can absorb a potential shock without going into too much pain. See? Trailer breakdowns aren’t such a waste of time.
Okay, yeah, it’s definitely Spidey Sense. That’s a spaceship commanded by … well, just hold tight, we’re gonna find out in a sec.
A figure in baggy pants walks over the bodies of what I believe are sorcerers like Doctor Strange. Could also just be rando folks who are into robes and sashes. Who doesn’t love a good sash?
Loki holds aloft another Infinity Stone: the Space Stone, which is usually contained in a blue cube called the Tesseract. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it to transport yourself around like it’s a cosmically powerful MetroCard. It’s popped up a lot in the MCU. Loki’s presumably wielding it to beat back our antagonist, who has been chattering away forever in this thing. He’s the Mad Titan, he’s shaded in insidious indigo, he’s got chin clefts for days, he is …
… mo-cap Josh Brolin in front of a green screen! Er, I mean, Thanos! Meet your baddie, folks. We’ve seen Thanos a tiny number of times in the MCU so far: He was revealed as Loki’s benefactor during the invasion of Earth in The Avengers, he directed Ronan the Accuser to track down the Power Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy, and he decided to take matters into his own purple hands during a credits scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron. His whole deal (at least in his comics incarnation; we don’t actually know a ton about his movie self) is that he’s an alien dictator who wants to control or kill the entire universe in an effort to win the heart of an anthropomorphic manifestation of the concept of death. He hopes to accomplish that goal by gathering all of the Infinity Stones and putting them in a giant metal glove called the Infinity Gauntlet, which will give him big, vague powers. He’s bald, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Whoa, whoa, Spidey comin’ straight out of the box with some killer new threads! Well, not completely new — we saw Tony offer this bleeding-edge tech to him at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but at that point, he turned it down. Then Tony sent the costume to him anyway, and it appears that he dropped his reluctance to don it, which is probably for the best, what with the whole alien-invasion thing.
The movie goes full Lewis Hine as Thor attempts to use his sexy strength to pull some levers on a giant contraption that consists of a bunch of concentric metal rings. He’s still down an eye thanks to a fight in Ragnarok, but he can still sexily wink with it if need be, so all is not lost.
You only see her blurrily for like half a nanosecond, but this appears to be the deliciously named Proxima Midnight. She’s one of Thanos’s elite henchpeople, known as the Black Order. She’s fond of spears and throwing them, but …
… apparently, someone’s even better at catching them. Who can it be? A hint emerges. “Engage all defenses,” says T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. (We met him in Captain America: Civil War and will be seeing a lot of him in his solo film next February.) “And get this man a shield.” Of whom do you speak, o king? Classic Archie Comics hero the Shield? Yeah, that’s probably it.
Oh wait, no, it’s another guy! I’d say it was Captain America, but that can’t be, because Cap didn’t have such a wondrous beard when we last saw him running as a fugitive at the end of Civil War. What’s that you say? He grew one out? Oh dear, now I have to revise my Sexiest Marvel Chris ranking.
Iron Man leaps onto a field near what I believe is a Wakandan city. He’s in his so-called Hulkbuster armor, which we saw in Age of Ultron emerging from a sci-fi thingamabob called Veronica, which was an Archie Comics joke. Perhaps this one came in an armored personnel carrier named Kevin?
Some nasty Thanosian (whoa, my Google Docs spellcheck says that’s actually a word!) dropships land in Wakanda, where they spew out …
… a Thanosian army of beasties. T’Challa, suited up in full Black Panther garb, ain’t afraid of no extraterrestrial.
Someone steals the Mind Stone from poor Vision. Based on the shape and color of the scepter doing the stealing, I’m guessing this is one of the other members of the Black Order, the downright mean Corvus Glaive. God, these names are good. Shout-out to comics scribe Jonathan Hickman, who came up with them and also penned one of the best comics volumes of 2016!
Back to Thanos, who’s talking about how fun it is to beat up all our protagonists, and who lifts up the Infinity Gauntlet to reveal that he got his mitts on the Space Stone (the one Loki had) and the Power Stone, which we last saw in the possession of the intergalactic cops known as the Nova Corps. By inference, we can say it doesn’t look good for the Novas. RIP Glenn Close?
Aw hellllllll yeah, it’s Bucky with a machine gun! We last saw Cap’s erstwhile sidekick and the once-brainwashed former HYDRA agent in cryogenic freeze while Wakandan scientists worked on fixing his remaining HYDRA mind-control issues. Thank goodness for the defrost setting.
Bucky and Cap stand with a Wakandan army against Thanos’s shock troops. I believe that’s noted T’Challa critic M’Baku in the back left, which would imply that he and the king resolve some of their differences by the end of Black Panther. Alien invasions have a way of doing that.
Falcon’s a part of the battle of Wakanda, too, and his elaborate war tactic appears to be “go all pew-pew-pew.”
Hey! It’s the titular Avengers! Or at least some of them. In addition to Bucky, Natasha, Cap, Hulk, and T’Challa, we get Wakandan ultrawarrior Okoye and — whoaaaaa! — War Machine. Or at least someone in the War Machine armor. Hopefully it’s James Rhodes back in the saddle, as we last saw him all messed up following some friendly fire in Civil War. Whew, that was a dense trailer! Ugh, I guess I have to sit through the credits to see if there’s another scene.
Lo, there is! Thor turns around in what I think is that spaceship from before, and asks for the identities of some folks standing near him. They turn out to be our old pals the Guardians of the Galaxy, who previously hadn’t shown up in any of the Avengers flicks. So that ship is the Milano, mayhap? Whatever; the gang’s all here, brand synergy has been achieved, and all is right in the world.
*This article has been updated to reflect that we don’t know what that planet at the beginning is.