On May 2, 2018, Marvel Entertainment will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the original Iron Man. Two days later, the comic-book movie studio will release Avengers: Infinity War, the ultimate payoff to a decade of work that all started when, at the end of Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury asked Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark to join the "Avengers initiative." The post-credit scene would never be the same, and neither would popcorn entertainment, as the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War makes clear.
Avengers: Infinity War is the first of a two-parter dealing with the arrival of Thanos, the purple alien being who has lurked in the shadows of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films since Joss Whedon's 2012 film, The Avengers (and made an actual appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy). Thanos wants what all 10-foot-tall, bald, lavender autocrats want: a shiny gold gauntlet with slots for galactic power jewels. After many movies of not finding any of the legendary "Infinity Stones," the Infinity War finds Thanos wielding the spacetime-bending MacGuffins in a most destructive way. The superheroes are screwed. But every single frame of this trailer makes the case that Avengers: Infinity War is the Lord of the Rings of superhero movies.
Here are just a few of the moments that popped for us:
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The Hulk returns to Earth in Avengers: Infinity War
One of the first shots of the trailer features Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) waking up after crashing through Doctor Strange's roof as his alter ego, The Hulk. Where did he fall from? All signs point to Thor's ship, which we saw approached by a Thanos-worthy ship in the post-credits scene from Thor: Ragnarok.
The Vision and Scarlet Witch romance is happening in Avengers: Infinity War
In the comics, Wanda Maximo a.k.a. Scarlet Witch and Vision, the vibranium android-ish man, strike up a relationship, and since both characters' introduction in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the MCU has threaded the possibility. Captain America: Civil War made their affection more apparent, but Avengers: Infinity War will take a more romantic leap. I'm sure this will not end in tragedy. No way. Impossible.
How do you bounce back from internal warring between heroes? For Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow, it's a new do.
The MCU's second Battle of New York
After swinging big with this year's Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland's high-school-aged take on the character returns to the MCU to aid in the fight against Thanos, who I guess was a little miffed New York was still standing after The Avengers. If you recall, the post-credits scene of that movie introduced us to Thanos by way of "The Other," a faceless servant who, on his master's orders, hooked Loki up with the Chitauri army. The Avengers whooped them back into space, but now Thanos is back, ready to destroy the remaining bodega cats he loathes so dearly. (What other motivation could he have?)
Speaking of Tom Hiddleston's Loki, here is he wielding the Tesseract, an object that dates back to the first Captain America movie, appeared as a weapon of mass destruction in The Avengers, and as we learn in Thor's muddled vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron, contains the blue-hued "Space Stone" that Thanos needs for his gauntlet. Loki's looking a little distressed in this scene -- is he about to submit to Thanos after running into him on his way to Earth? Or could this be the end of a fan favorite character?
Spider-Man's new look in Avengers: Infinity War
The ending of Spider-Man: Homecomingsaw Peter Parker decline a sweet, Stark-made supersuit and an invitation to join The Avengers. He just wants to be a kid, dammit! But his resistance to true superherodom doesn't last long -- here he is in what's essentially the "Iron Spider" armor from the comics.
Our first good look at Thanos
It's Thanos! Played by Josh Brolin and a billion computer-graphic pixels, the Avengers: Infinity War big bad looks fully rendered to destroy and maniacally laugh. Maybe this gargantuan movie will actually work...
How Infinity War picks up on Ragnarok's post credit-scene
Most of the scenes in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer seem to pick up right where Thor: Ragnarok left off. Thor has one eye. He's in what seems to be a spaceship. And if Thanos is as miffed as he seems to be throughout the trailer, this might be a glimpse of Thor saving every last Asgardian life. We hope.
Thanos arrives to Earth with a fleet of alien warriors. Black Panther is up to the challenge of punching them in the face. What breed of alien are we talking about? This guy doesn't look like a Chitauri warrior, so we'll say he's a Badoon and leave it to the hardcore Marvel scholars to weigh in.
Will Vision die in Avengers: Infinity War?
In hopes he'd defeat the Avengers in 2012, Thanos gifted Loki the yellow "mind stone," which the evil-doer placed inside a scepter. Flashforward to today, and the mind stone is the all-knowing, sentient power source that runs Vision. Or did, until Thanos's minions seemingly ripped it from his skull. This won't end well for Vision.
Oh god, will Tony Stark die in Avengers: Infinity War?
All his crying in the trailer forecasts some less-than-desirable turns for the keystone members of the team. But the real question is: could the franchise go on without him? MCU overlord Kevin Feige recently told Vanity Fairthat "we’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before — intentionally." OK, that's a lot of movies. And if you think Robert Downey Jr. will be around for all of them, you're nuts. This movie may be our farewell to ol' Iron Man.
Captain America's Avengers: Infinity War moment
The end of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer ends with a series of LOTR-sized battles, with Captain America (now with beard!), Bucky "Winter Soldier" Barnes, Black Widow, Black Panther, and the Wakandan prince's military forces on one side and hordes of of slobbering aliens on the other. Iron Man's Hulkbuster armor also makes an appearance. The MCU has never seen this scale -- and it's actually refreshing. On one side of the Earth are Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Vision, Scarlet Witch and Hulk. On the other are these guys. Where will they collide?
The Guardians of the Galaxy in Avengers: Infinity War
Hey, these a-holes show up. A beaten down Thor says hello to the space cadets. How'd they get here? Earlier in the trailer we see Thanos already loaded up with the purple "Power Stone," an Infinity Stone Peter Quill wrestled away from Thanos crony Ronan the Accuser in the first Guardians and safely kept with Glenn Close's Nova Prime bigwig Irani Rael, who could protect it on Xandar. Maybe that didn't work.
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Wes Rendar will always watch a Marvel movie. Always.