In that Marvel-focused Vanity Fair cover story by Pajiba alumna Joanna Robinson that was published last week, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said there are 20 more Marvel Cinematic Universe films to come. TWENTY. MORE.
But 20 more films and two more decades are tiring to even think about when I’m not exactly sure what insane shit is going to happen in our country tomorrow, let alone years from now. So with six months to go until Infinity War, as we stare down the full-court press of future commercials, red carpets, and magazine covers guaranteed to build hype until May 4, I’m going full stream of consciousness while viewing this first Infinity War trailer.
What elements are most thought-provoking? Which are the goofiest? Let’s deep dive so I can focus on this most immediate thing instead of getting super existential about the next 20 years of things.
Is Tony Stark central to this story anymore? For years Robert Downey Jr. was the Avengers, and he’s made bajillions of dollars and redefined his entire career on this character. I’m not sure if RDJ can even separate himself from Stark anymore in his mind. But as these movies have turned narratively over to Chris Evans’s Captain America character—as evidenced, of course, in that Cap & Bucky beatdown of Iron Man in Civil War—I wonder how the lines of loyalty will be drawn in Infinity War. I’m not sure I can imagine the Avengers without Tony Stark, but while he’s a presence in this trailer, it feels like a predominantly passive one.
Paul Bettany is 46. Elizabeth Olsen is 28. I suppose 18 years isn’t the most egregious gender-biased age difference in cinema (I’m still trying to get over the 21 years between 35-year-old Abbie Cornish and 56-year-old Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which I watched over the weekend), but it’s not great, Bob. (Comparatively, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo are 17 years apart, which isn’t great, either, while RDJ and Gwyneth Paltrow have a somewhat reasonable 7-year gap.) Also, you know what Google suggested for me as I started typing “Paul Bettany”: “Is Paul Bettany an albino?” Really, users of the Internet? REALLY? You play one albino assassin in a garbage Dan Brown adaptation and suddenly no one understands that you’re just a pale white British dude.
What percentage of this movie will Mark Ruffalo spend shirtless? Asking for a friend.
This hair is not Scarlett Johansson’s hair. As Black Widow, she’s had a lot of different looks—all mostly shades of red, with varying lengths and alternatingly curly vs. straight styling—and I’m not sure this ashy blonde lob thing is the best. It mostly washes her out and it just looks somewhat, for lack of a better term, basic. But at least it moves nicely when she’s stabbing bad guys. I can respect that.
Does Doctor Stephen Strange not own any casual-wear? In every scene in this trailer, he’s rocking the cape and the sideburns and the general “I’m a sorcerer dude living in a mystical mansion in the middle of New York City” look. Does he sleep in this? If the gang goes out for shwarma after Infinity War, is he going to change into something else? How long does he spend sculpting that facial hair? Did he and Wong listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade? He’s not going to look kindly upon Loki’s return to Earth, right? I don’t know why Benedict Cumberbatch confuses me so much. It’s a personal problem.
Do we think Tom Holland and Zendaya are dating? They spent Thanksgiving together. It would be adorable. DISCUSS.
“Evacuate the city, engage all defenses, and get this man a shield.” Black Panther, Captain America, and Bucky Barnes all seem somewhat chummy in this trailer, right? Cap and Bucky have been hiding out in Wakanda, and it feels like a lot of the action of this film—or at least, the major battle sequence teased in this trailer—occur in that nation, whose self-imposed secrecy will certainly be compromised in Black Panther, given that Martin Freeman’s CIA agent Everett Ross is questioning T’Challa in the trailer for that movie.
But here, T’Challa is urging someone to let Cap back into their fold (Tony, maybe?). In battle, he is at the front of a Wakandan army, while Cap and Bucky lurk with other Avengers in the back.
And man, do the Wakandans look regal and disciplined and ferocious. We haven’t even seen this location or its citizens in a full proper movie yet, but the production design has already done so much. I’m so sold.
Thor: Ragnarok was lots of fun, and I’m curious what the new, more self-aware Thor will bring to the Avengers dynamic. He was kind of MIA for most of Age of Ultron as he figured out how his apocalyptic vision overlapped with the infinity stones, but he pokes fun at that absence in Ragnarok, and it looks like he’ll be paired up in Infinity War with the Guardians of the Galaxy, who have their own specifically sarcastic sense of humor. Nice to see that Groot is growing into adolescence, although I can’t imagine that will give him less attitude with Rocket. Whatever their dynamic, I’m sure Thor will get a kick out of it. And maybe we will, too—maybe not for an additional 20 years, but at least for a couple of hours.