Okay, so this rules.
Then again, as Loki whispers in the first seconds of this trailer for The Avengers: “You were made to be ruled.”
There should be enough here to simultaneously satisfy fans who have been yearning for this movie ever since Samuel L. Jackson turned up at the end of 2008’s Iron Man to say, “You have become part of a bigger universe,” and made everybody angry that May 4, 2012 couldn’t come sooner. You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry.
Let’s break down what we see in the trailer (embedded after the jump), and what we don’t.
First of all, it’s nice to see the planet getting some serious menace. One sticking point with Thor was that the desert town he protects lacked scale. Not to say the world wouldn’t miss that 7-11 and its newspaper box, but you know what I mean. Here we see a densely populated city street get carpet bombed as people scramble for their lives. You have a bigger team, so you need a bigger menace.
Marvel is still holding back on just what creatures are helping Loki — Thor’s black-sheep, exiled brother — in his conquest of Earth. (They could be Skrull or Kree or some other extra-terrestrial force.) But with seven months to go, it’s okay to save a few surprises.
“There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, so that when we needed them they could fight the battles that we never could,” intones Jackson’s Nick Fury, the superspy-turned-coach for the world’s most dysfunctional band of good guys.
In addition to seeing sparks fly in battle, we see some of the inter-office hostility that will elevate The Avengers above just the usual save-the-day theatrics. “Big man in a suit of armor, take that away – what are you?” says Chris Evans’ Captain America to an unperturbed Robert Downey Jr. “Uh… genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” Iron Man answers. (Cut to Thor chuckling in the way we humans do at pictures of cuddly kittens wearing fruit as hats: Amuse me, inferior!)
Writer-director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) is wisely setting up not just conflicts within the team, but conflicts within the personalities themselves. Never mind that Captain America was once a scrawny little shrimp who knew that what truly counted was a person’s inner strength. (My, my… how quickly we forget after being encased in arctic ice for seven decades.)
The fighting between heroes isn’t going to be limited to verbal jabs. We also see Cap and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor having a brawl in the woods, with the big, blond god from Asgard swinging his hammer down on the crouched soldier’s upraised shield. What’s going on there? (My guess is the trailer is throwing some mixed up chronology at us, and that’s Thor’s return to Earth, where he lashes out at the guy in the colorful suit because… who wouldn’t?)
They don’t just fight each other, of course. We’re also treated to Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye blowing up some stuff with explosive arrows, and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow leaping up onto some henchman’s shoulders with her legs wrapped around his face, thrusting him down against the ground as he surely thinks to himself: All things considered, there are worse ways to go.
Downey’s Tony Stark speaks for the team, telling Loki (who’s not seen in this shot, but in other footage is standing in front of him during this scene): “If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it.”
We have a title!
In addition to the particular alien menace, Marvel is also holding back on The Hulk — but we get a little sample at the very end: The trailer features just a flash of the creature, and a look at Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner.
“Dr. Banner,” Stark says, shaking the scientist’s hand. “Your work is unparalleled. And I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.”
“Thanks,” Ruffalo replies.
On Twitter: @Breznican