Infinity War decoded
The first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War is setting the world on fire. Since it’s Marvel Studios, that means literally. Entertainment Weekly broke down the footage to explore just what we’re seeing in this throwdown between intergalactic tyrant Thanos and … EVERYONE.
“There was an idea …” The voice we hear is Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, but we’re looking at a distraught Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., minus the Iron Man armor.) It’s a fitting opening, because this is where it started — a post-credit tease in 2008’s original Iron Man, with Fury showing up to inform Stark he was “part of a bigger universe.” Now that whole universe is in peril.
Falling Into Place
Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) has made this entrance before, falling from the sky to open up a new doorway in the roof of some structure or other. In this case, he has plunged from the world of Thor: Ragnarok into the Sanctum Sanctorum.
The Sanctum Sanctorum
That’s the home office of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and librarian sorcerer-warrior Wong (Benedict Wong), who look upon their new visitor with alarm. And these guys have seen some strange s—.
Science vs. Magic
We hear Tony Stark’s voice continue the sentence Fury began. “… to bring together a group of remarkable people …” With Hulk and Iron Man meeting Strange and Wong, the technological realm of the Marvel Universe is aligning with its mystical side.
A New Vision
The next voice to speak is The Vision: “… to see if we could become something more…” But this is not the burgundy-skinned, semi-robotic synthezoid we saw born in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is a more human version, looking much more like actor Paul Bettany in real life, albeit with the glowing Mind Stone in his forehead radiating light as he embraces Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
Pensive Thunder God
“… so when they needed us we could fight the battles … “ says Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, gazing into a fiery nebula from the portals of what looks like the Guardians of the Galaxy’s starship.
Black Widow's Ledger
The end of the sentence is spoken by Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow “… that they never could.” As someone conscripted into the service of an assassin squad as a child, she has spent the rest of her life seeking redemption by helping others who can’t fight for themselves.
Hulk and Hulkbuster
The last time Banner came face-to-face with Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor, it was pummeling him into submission in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Aware that he was more of a threat than a protector, the Hulk fled our world. But now we see him in Wakanda, admiring one of the weapons meant to keep “Mean Joe Green” in check.
The rest of the trailer lays out the stakes being set by directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Marvel veterans of Civil War and The Winter Soldier). Here we see Tom Holland as Peter Parker in the instant his spider-sense begins to tingle.
Outside the window of his school bus, Parker sees the arrival of a strange craft, hovering over New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood.
The Village, Attacked
Doctor Strange fans know what’s just below this halo-shaped craft — the Sanctum Sanctorum.
First introduced in the post-credits scene of 2012’s Avengers, Thanos (now played by Josh Brolin) is traveling the galaxy in search of the Infinity Stones that will allow him to bend time, space, and reality itself. A big bad tool for a villain who wants to “order” the universe.
Eye of Agamotto
One of those gems is the green Time Stone, encased in the amulet Doctor Strange uses to warp chronology. Thanos is here to collect it. And for the story to continue, there’s a good chance he gets it.
The Iron Spider
This is the gold-laced suit that Tony Stark uses to tantalize Peter Parker at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Here we see it put to use as Parker leaves his school bus to climb atop this whirling starship threatening New York.
Thanos Throws Down
With great power comes great agony when a cosmic death-dealer slams your teenage spine into the cement and grinds you down like a cigarette butt.
Another stone Thanos needs is the Space Stone, a.k.a. the Tesseract, which has bounced from the possession of Captain America to Thor’s father, Odin, and was last seen being eyeballed by Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in Thor: Ragnarok. Here, we see he did steal it. And now he makes an offering of it to his old ally Thanos.
Just before Loki gives up the Tesseract, we see him walking amid the dead and dying of Asgard. At the end of Ragnarok, we saw Thor’s refugee ship overtaken by Thanos’ gargantuan Sanctuary II. These appear to be the casualties of that encounter.
It’s not much of a spoiler to reveal that Thanos does collect some of the gems he needs for his mystical Infinity Guantlet, which fuses the power of the six singularities. The only question is whether he can get them all.
Space Stone, Part II
Here, we see him placing the core of the Tesseract beside the purple Power Stone, which was the MacGuffin with the Orb from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. (So he has that one, too. That’s bad news for the Nova Corps, who were the last ones seen guarding it.)
The Mind Stone
Another of the gems is this yellow one, extracted from Loki’s mind-control staff and used in the creation of The Vision. In the trailer, we see that character under assault, but that doesn’t mean the gem is taken in this shot. There are five known gems, so far, the other being the red Aether from Thor: The Dark World, which was last seen in the possession of Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector.
Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch is a character who exists on many different planes. Her natural powers were enhanced by experiments conducted with Loki’s staff, so she owes her abilities to the Mind Stone, much as The Vision owes his life to it. That’s one of the things that bonds them.
There are a lot of questions about what exactly Thor is holding together in this shot from the trailer. But …
A Light Dawns
… watch closely and it seems clear he’s not holding this thing together, but adjusting and aligning it. The horizontal light behind him is widening. Thor isn’t holding something together, he’s opening a door.
"Who the hell are you guys?"
Let’s skip momentarily to the end of the trailer for a theory about what Thor was doing in that gateway. The footage ends with the Thunder God coming face to face with a teenage tree warrior, a belicose talking raccoon, a mantis-woman, and the other misfits of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
"Get it off!"
That’s what Rocket Raccoon shouts in the secret footage from the movie that Marvel previewed this summer. It begins with a wounded Thor smacking into the front of the Guardians’ ship like a bug hitting a windshield. It’s just a guess, but in that gateway shot, Thor may be opening a portal that allows them to venture back to Earth.
One of the new characters introduced in this film, she is one of the “children of Thanos.” (Recall that he kidnaps powerful younglings and trains them as killers, which is how Gamora and Nebula became “sisters” in the Guardians lore.) Proxima is one of four members of the Black Order.
In the comics, Proxima’s spear is forged from the core of a distorted sun. Captain America has no problem snatching it out of the air, even if he’s a little battle weary. Chris Evans’ red-white-and-blue hero has let his fugitive beard grow in.
Black Panther Martials Forces
“Evacuate the city, engage all defenses, and get this man a shield,” says Chadwick Boseman’s Wakandan leader. Wait until you see what the character’s sister, Vibranium researcher Shuri (Letitia Wright) comes up with for Cap’s new weapon.
Hulkbuster, Skipping Through Wakanda
Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor is not just useful for taking out Bruce Banner in a bad mood…
As you can see from this Falcon-eye view of the battle of Wakanda, Hulkbuster is also good for smashing the invading horde of Thanos.
I Am Iron Man
Here we see the latest iteration of Tony Stark’s armor. After kicking off this universe a decade ago, Marvel is looking to close out this chapter of its storytelling, with dozens of more movies to come. But this could well be the end of RDJ as the wiseass hero.
Wing and a Prayer
Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson is not just a high-flying soldier, but a loyal friend. He has been Captain America’s wingman ever since The Winter Soldier and there is little that can come between these brothers in arms.
Man Out of Time
But Cap is in a bad place. The idealistic “Boy Scout” has always been willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, but now everything he once knew is gone. This may finally be his chance to lay down his life, once and for all. One thing that hasn’t changed: Steve Rogers wouldn’t hesitate to do just that to save his new friends.
Winter in Wakanda
Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier, has also had a rough life — well beyond his natural one. As Cap’s boyhood friend, Sebastian Stan’s character was also his found brother. Brainwashing by HYDRA turned him into an assassin, whose victims included Tony Stark’s mother and father. Here we see him standing alongside the forces of Wakanda.
Making a Point
Black Panther gives one of Thanos’ creatures a taste of Vibranium in this claw-smackdown.
Wakanda’s Vibranium mines and technology have made it the most advanced society on Earth, but awareness that other countries like to use violence to claim the resources of African nations has also made it secretive and reclusive. It has been attacked, but never invaded — until now.
As we’ll see in next year’s Black Panther standalone film (out Feb. 16), Wakanda has its own internal divisions, but the differences between tribes are put aside as they all unite in battle against Thanos.
Wakandan Leader, World Leader
There appears to be a mild spoiler here … Winston Duke as M’Baku, head of a rival mountain tribe. Whatever his differences with T’Challa, they are either settled or put on hold while Thanos threatens them all. Even enemies can become allies when a greater danger emerges.
Let’s close it out as we opened. The familiar heroes of Marvel, charging forth with Wakanda’s soldiers. War Machine appears to be back in action after Don Cheadle’s character suffered a spinal injury in Civil War. The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira will have not just a major role in Black Panther but also in this movie as Okoye, head of Wakanda’s all-female Dora Milaje secret service. Infinity War will be the story of separate teams joining forces. This is one of them. But there are many more yet to be revealed.