“No matter who wins or loses, trouble always comes around.” So says the battle-tested Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) near the beginning of the freshly hatched Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, which debuted Monday and which featured all kinds of trouble for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
There’s plenty to unpack in this 1-minute, 40-second clip. We’ve been giving the teaser the Zapruder treatment since it debuted a few hours ago and came up with this explainer based on what we know from official channels, what we’ve read in the comics, and our best hunches.
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron has come down with a case of the Dark Knights.
The joyful, original Avengers film brimmed with bromantical humor — the antithesis of the relentlessly downbeat DC movie world where Batman broods and Superman commits savage acts.
But in the new trailer, as in the teaser, the usual Marvel exuberance has been stripped away to signal how Age of Ultron is upping the stakes.
Cue the twisted, dirgeful version of Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” from the first trailer, along with scenes of mass destruction and dejected heroes.
With future films based on the casualty-filled Civil War and Infinity Gauntlet comic plots, we may be witnessing a sea change of tone in Marvel movies.
2. Tony Stark has never watched Frankenstein, 2001, or The Terminator.
“This vulnerable world needs something more powerful than any of us.” The first line of narration comes from Robert Downey Jr.’s weary crimefighter. Stung by the events of Iron Man 3 and the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark presumably takes it upon himself to create an army of drones to replace the Avengers.
“Everyone creates the thing they dread…" A stunned Bruce Banner identifies the second narrator. “Ultron,” he gasps.
"In the flesh,” quips the humanity-hating robot, who unleashes drone fighters on the gathered heroes.
As Thor tells Stark later in the trailer, “You meddled with something you don’t understand.”
3. Where in the world is Wakanda?
A new character, a young black woman, makes a brief appearance disrobing in a cave. She is not identified but could be Shuri, aka the sister of the Blank Panther — a hero (to be played by Chadwick Boseman) who is a sometime Avenger and is set to play a key role in the upcoming Captain America sequel, Civil War.
Meanwhile, Andy Serkis appears again, wielding a gun and looking sketchy.
We don’t know his precise role, but the popular theory online is that he will play Ulysses Klaw, a scoundrel who illicitly traffics in the powerful metal vibranium — an element that Ultron covets in the comics and that only exists in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, where Black Panther and his family just happen to be royalty. Don’t be surprised to see a Panther cameo in Ultron.
4. Scarlet Witch is immune to Tony Stark’s charms.
There’s not too much screen time here devoted to “The Twins,” aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But the trailer gives a nod to their comic origin story, where they begin as adversaries of the Avengers before eventually joining the team. Hence the sorceress seemingly blasting Stark with her mystic energy.
5. A Vision in grey?
We still haven’t had a confirmed sighting of the fan-favorite hero Vision (Paul Bettany). In the comics, the android is created by Ultron to serve in his destruction of humanity, but once sentient, repudiates his master and becomes a powerful Avenger. There’s a brief shot of Iron Man pursuing a soaring robot that could be a drone — or perhaps the Vision before his trademark red-green-yellow paint job. Still, chances are Marvel is saving Vision’s big reveal for another time.
6. Ultron brings the pain.
To make sure we understand how formidable a foe the brainy android is, Marvel gives us a sense of the size of his drone fleet. And then we witness him and his minions administering smackdowns on both Thor and Captain America.
As Ultron intones toward the end of the clip, “I’m going to tear you apart… from the inside.”
7. Iron Man upgrades.
Stark has been busy since destroying his armory in Iron Man 3. In the trailer we see both his Mark 43 suit, the next-gen system from the armor he wore in IM3, as well as the heavy-duty Hulkbuster armor. In the comics, Stark creates the suit to control the Hulk when the green giant isn’t so jolly. The new trailer expands on the epic throwdown glimpsed in the teaser, with both heroes getting their licks in… to the detriment of the city.
Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1.