This has been a pretty big summer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel has launched two movies in the same year that will finish above $300 million domestically, a first for the studio (which still has Thor: Ragnarok on its way this winter). Still, there’s something even bigger brewing next summer, and today at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, we got our first significant look at it. Avengers: Infinity War will bring back the classic Avengers team, relatively recent additions like Ant-Man and Spider-Man, as well as new recruits including Doctor Strange and the faces in Guardians of the Galaxy, all of whom will be tested by the mad titan Thanos and his powerful space minions.
Back in 2011, Marvel dropped the very first footage of the initial Avengers film at D23, so it’s fitting that they brought a mammoth teaser-trailer for Infinity War here today. But what did we see from the film that general audiences and next week’s Comic-Con crowds haven’t yet been privy to? Read on.
As you might remember, when we last saw our Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, things weren’t so hunky dory: A rift between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) split our superheroes in two factions, and that’s not even taking into account the fact that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) were somewhere else in the universe, doing their own thing. We’ll learn more about Thor and the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok, but the Infinity War trailer opened with the Asgardian being flung against the windshield of the Milano, the ship commanded by Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) from Guardians of the Galaxy. “Get it off!” shouts Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), as though a particularly ugly bug had been smushed there.
Mantis (Pom Klementieff) brings Thor back to life, and he promptly greets our Guardians with an unfriendly, “Who the hell are you?” (To be fair, Star-Lord had just told his fellow Guardians, “This might be dangerous, so let’s put on our mean faces.”) It then seems like Thor joins forces with the Guardians to guide them to Earth, where we see the following things go down, in quick succession.
Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) seems to cut a flaming car in half. It looks like her beau, Vision (Paul Bettany), might be trapped nearby, and to judge from their faces, something sad and bad is going down.
“Death follows him like a shadow,” we hear, as Josh Brolin’s ultimate villain Thanos is teased.
Suddenly, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appears, cutting through flaming wreckage to grab the Tesseract, which holds one of the Infinity Stones. Is this what Scarlet Witch and Vision were trying to prevent?
Next, there’s a glimpse of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker on his school bus. The hair on his arms stands up. How’s that for some trouble-activated spider-sense?
“He’s come to us,” someone says, as some alien ships crash-land on a wrecked Earth. A worried Mantis stands with Iron Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, the Hulk, and the other heroes as the aircrafts approach.
“This does put a smile on my face,” intones Thanos, as Gamora (Zoe Saldana) takes in the wreckage of the room kept by the Collector (Benicio del Toro). More Infinity Stones pillaged.
And that’s when Thanos walks through a portal onto Earth — big and hulking and boasting a shit-eating grin. Star-Lord and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) leap into action, harnessing magic and airborne stepping stones. Even Spider-Man swings into the scene, wearing a cool new suit … perhaps the one teased at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming?
Briefly, we see Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who’s blonde now, and Captain America, who’s bearded now. Listen, I know the fate of the universe is at stake, but don’t we all feel a little refreshed after spending valuable time on an undercover makeover? Talk to Wonder Woman about that, she knows what’s up.
In the final moments, things get truly heightened. Thanos grabs Thor’s head in his meaty paw and regards it like a grape he’s about to squish. Maybe he saw that scary black-and-white episode of Twin Peaks and wants to practice storming radio stations and breaking open heads?
“You can run from it,” growls Thanos, “but your destiny still arrives.” And then he holds up one hand and seemingly destroys a planet far away in the sky — or, if this scene is taking place on earth, our freaking moon — and heaves the remains of it at our Avengers in a single shot.
It’s a whole hell of a lot. You’ll see the footage whenever Marvel decides to put it online, though the entire Infinity War — or half of it, since this is the first installment of an Avengers two-parter that concludes the following year — will be in theaters May 4, 2018.