A decade of movies has brought us to the end of a long road in the form of Avengers: Infinity War, an epic undertaking we finally got our first, glorious look at today. The trailer paints a grim future for our heroes as Thanos makes his long-awaited move, but it's also jam-packed with hints at the war to come.
The trailer opens with a nostalgic, yet ominous recollection of how the Avengers Initiative first began. "There was an idea," Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) intones, as we fade in from an alien world - it's definitely not Earth, given the binary star system - to a distraught Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). Given the background, it's reasonable to assume that Tony is on this alien world, and it's this planet we see the Avengers fighting on later in the trailer.
"To bring together a group of remarkable people..." Tony continues, as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his fellow mystic Wong (Benedict Wong) find an interloper in the Sanctum Sanctorum: Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), who's come in via the roof.
"To see if we could become something more" comes with the first real surprise of the trailer, in the form of android Avenger the Vision (Paul Bettany). Except, we don't just see the synthezoid superhero we're accustomed to here: We see Vision in human form, embracing the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). In the comics, Vision has used a human form as a disguise, with the alias Victor Shade, to better blend in with humanity, but presumably the reason here is an attempt to hide the Mind Stone implanted in his head from detection by Thanos.
"So when they needed us, we could fight the battles..." is given to Thor (Chris Hemsworth), staring out of the portholes of a spaceship. This doesn't appear to the ship we last left the Odinson on at the end of Ragnarok with his fellow Asgardian refugees. The decor implies it's the Guardians' ship, which we see him on at the end of the trailer.
The statement ends with a "... that they never could" from the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). This shot is huge for a number of reasons. Not only do we get to see Natasha's platinum blonde hairdo, first debuted in Infinity War's gorgeous Comic-Con poster earlier this year, but this appears to be the first time Bruce and Natasha have encountered each other since he ran off in a quinjet during the climax of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The background looks Wakandan, and Bruce is standing next to the severed arm of Iron Man's Hulkbuster armour.
Back in Bleeker Street, where Bruce, Strange and Wong are all joined by Tony Stark. The damage in the stairs means this is after Bruce's arrival, but given we know he heads to Wakanda at some point, it's likely this is before that. All four are pretty perturbed by the sounds of chaos outside the Sanctum Santorum's doorstep...
As is Peter Parker, AKA the spectacular Spider-Man (Tom Holland). He didn't get to show it off in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but Pete's spider-sense is on full display here, as Peter turns around to see a giant ring-structure in the skies above New York City. Now it's Thanos' (Josh Brolin) turn to talk: "In time, you will know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail, all the same." All right, Mad Titan, no need to rub it in.
The ring structure is presumably some kind of portal for Thanos and his cronies to appear in and out of, but its technology is very reminiscent of the silver sheen and neon red lights of Ultron, even if it probably isn't related.
But the giant space-ring floating above New York isn't the most interesting shot here - it's our heroes looking up at it, because we clearly see Tony has an arc reactor in his chest again, something first spotted in set pictures a while ago. Removing the reactor and the shrapnel around his heart it was protecting was a big part of Iron Man 3, and he continued to not have a reactor in his Homecoming appearance. So what's caused Tony to re-install it?
Loki (Tom Hiddelston) walks over the corpses of what appear to be Asgardians to offer the Tesseract to someone off-screen. This is presumably a continuation of Thor: Rangarok's post-credits scene, and it looks like things don't go too well for the ship holding what remains of Asgard. This is cut with a shot of Thanos arriving through a portal, making it appear as though Loki's offering it directly to him, but it clearly isn't the same location - the blue sky in the background makes it hard to tell where exactly, but it definitely isn't the Asgardian ship. It's probably that alien planet we see so much of in this trailer.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man dons his shiny new tech-suit from the end of Homecoming to swing up to the giant ring-ship above New York. We knew a Strange/Spidey team-up was on the cards, but this is likely when and where, considering we saw Strange and Wong fighting below the structure earlier.
Back in space for a bit as Thor struggles at the heart of a different giant ring machine (they're big on rings in this trailer). It's almost impossible to tell what's going on here. Is this in the Asgardian refugee ship, and something's gone horribly wrong? Or is it something else?
We've known for a while that Thanos wouldn't be alone in Infinity War, but bring with him his team of arch-henchmen from the comics, the Black Order. They're barely in this trailer, but we do get a blink-and-you'll-miss it glimpse of the female member of the Order, Proxima Midnight, hurling the spear we saw her with at D23 at a shadowed figure that is very obviously Captain America (Chris Evans). Over this, we hear T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) rallying the defence of Wakanda, before demanding that someone "get that man a shield".
Back to the Proxima fight, we finally get to see that man, Captain America, step out of the shadows, and his beard is still as glorious as the day we first saw it. The reaction shot of Scarlet Witch seems to imply she's also in this fight, and the location definitely matches. This probably isn't Wakanda, though, despite Black Panther's dialogue. It appears to be wherever Team Cap (or is it Team Nomad, now?) is keeping Vision secreted away.
After the tease we saw earlier, the Hulkbuster lands in all its glory in Wakanda. Intriguingly, recent information about tie-in LEGO sets for Infinity War that hit the web indicated that Bruce Banner is inside the giant suit here. That would make sense, given we saw him tinkering with the arm earlier. But why Hulkbuster instead of, well... Hulk?
In quick succession, we get Black Widow lunging with a spear at an unseen foe (maybe Proxima), Doctor Strange battling in New York, and huge alien spires crashing into Wakanda, all as Captain America and the Black Panther go into battle with an army of four-armed aliens. We don't get an explanation as to why Wakanda is under attack, but it's long been assumed that the isolationist utopia is home to the final Infinity Stone we've yet to see in the films, the orange-hued Soul stone.
Spider-Man, meanwhile, gets slammed by Thanos. The red-orange lighting seems to indicate once again that this is the alien world from the opening of the trailer, which means SPIDER-MAN IN SPAAAACE is a thing that will happen at some point in this movie.
"Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe," Thanos purrs. You know what really doesn't look fun? Vision, back in his synthezoid form, getting the Mind Stone pried out of his head by an unknown assailant. The weapon looks vaguely like Loki's old staff from Avengers, but is more likely the glaive of, well, Corvus Glaive (Terry Notary), the main warrior of Thanos' Black Order. We saw the weapon back at D23.
"But this... this does put a smile on my face," Thanos continues, as he attaches a second Infinity Stone to his gauntlet and proceeds to smack the heck out of Iron Man. The stones, purple and blue, are the Power and Space Stones respectively. We saw Loki offering the Tesseract/Space Stone willingly earlier, but the Power Stone was being safely stored on Xandar by the Nova Corps the last time we saw it, at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The three suns of Xandar as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.
So presumably the Corps will continue its long comic book tradition of having its arse handed to itself in the movie universe, too. But it raises another interesting question: What if this ravaged alien world we're seeing Thanos fight the Avengers on is actually Xandar? I mean, Thanos has to get that stone somehow. And Guardians of the Galaxy showed us that Xandar is in a trinary Star system, so it's a possibility.
Back on Earth, the army of Wakanda prepares to hold off an invasion. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is dethawed and ready to help out, but if you look to the left in T'Challa's line up, you can also briefly see M'Baku (Winston Duke), who'll be in Black Panther this February.
Falcon (Anthony Mackie) swoops over the battlefield as we see the Hulkbuster tanking waves of aliens below. This battle looks simply ginormous.
Squad goals? Squad goals. Interesting to note here is the arrival of War Machine (Don Cheadle) in Wakanda, and the fact that Bruce is all Hulked out. If those rumours about Bruce being in the Hulkbuster are true, maybe he starts out in it, the suit gets damaged/destroyed, and that's when he rages out?
The final shot of the trailer - after one last triumphant blare of the Avengers theme - is one we'd previously read about as being shown at the D23 Expo earlier this year, which sees Thor's body violently bump into a passing space ship. A battered and bruised Thor (now free to show the eyepatch he earned during the climax of Thor: Ragnarok) wakes up inside, finding himself surrounded by some strange new allies...
The Guardians of the Goddamn Galaxy. Everyone, say hi to the God of Thunder.
Our first look at Avengers: Infinity War is jam-packed with a spectacle that's a decade in the making, but it's surprisingly light on giving us any pertinent information beyond what we already know: Thanos is coming, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe's heroes are not prepared to stop him. While we know there'll be teams of heroes across the word - and in the stars - spread across the movie, it's going to take all of them coming together to pose a real threat to the Mad Titan. We'll see more of that, presumably, before Avengers: Infinity War hits theatres in April 2018.