Complete with at least one high quality screen grab from every shot, let's take a good look at the new Avengers trailer and see if we can't work out what's going on, and what it has to do with we've heard about the film so far.
Because the story features a large number of high quality images it has been spread across several pages to help users on mobile devices and networks access the story easily. You'll find the page controls at the bottom of each section.
You may have to click through to make the picture bigger to see it, but there's a downed Quinjet here. It's to the right of frame, where the sun comes through the buildings, apparently crashed at the foot of the tall block.
Also, count how many of the cars are taxis, how many are police cars and how many appear to be privately owned. Is New York really this full of cabs?
If you look half way across frame, right at the bottom, you'll see one guy has his camera out and is facing whatever it is everybody else is running from, presumably taking pictures or recording. He just turns to run away as the shot is fading to black.
And here he is again, two thirds of the way to right of frame. No idea what he thinks he's getting on camera, though. There's nothing there.
Bits of burning building, raining down from above.
You know, it's probably worth mentioning, at least in passing, that this is yet another film to feature aerial assaults on New York skyscrapers, scenes of mass panic, huge structural damage, and buildings falling. We all know what is in the zeitgeist, and it doesn't need spelling out, but this will be the first time we see Captain America sent up against this situation.
Also note what Nick Fury starts saying at this moment:
War has started. And we are hopelessly outgunned.
This building appears to be exploding from the inside, which is not something we see in the other shots.
Our first image of Nick Fury, and we're looking up to him as he commands the frame. Note Steve Rogers focusing on Fury too.
You can see "energy beam" weapons being fired here, in the reflection. And they don't seem to be aimed particularly tactically, as though the intent might simply be to destroy. Naughty... mystery aliens.
So, the cops and military are on the scene. Not up to this particular task perhaps, but at least able to show, and serve as energy-beam fodder.
The signs for Madison and SUNY State College of Optometry are a good bit of verisimilitude for a sequence that was, apparently, shot in Cleveland.
Now, look at the chap on the left of frame. His name is Morbitzer. The poet BJ Morbitzer wrote the following lines:
I will not give up.I will not turn around.I am a soldier,Marching Heaven bound.Probably just a coincidence, but still.
No, not a shot from a remake of Inception.
From the Mac logo and distinctive big lump of masonry in the background it would appear that this is happening in the same bit of street as the second shot of the trailer, and presumably earlier in time because I certainly don't remember all of this orange patio furniture.
Of course, trying to assemble chronology from fragments like this is a fool's game. There's every chance the film won't play exactly by the rules, looking for a better sequence at the expense of strict continuity.
And I support that 100%.
Putting us side-by-side with the gunner. I'm sure we'll have a very good idea what he's shooting at right now when this shot plays out in context.
If the last shot tilted up to Fury wasn't extreme enough for you, here he absolutely towers over us.
Well, Samuel L. Jackson is a regular collaborator of Quentin Tarantino's, after all.
"Director Fury, I think it's time."
After all of this set-up, over five different movies? I should hope so too. Coulson gets to deliver what might be the "Let's go to work" of The Avengers.
Note Steve Rogers in his civvies, trying to take it all in.
SHIELD have plenty of cutting edge tech, but what's so attractive about a see-through screen, anyway? Surely it'd be more practical to have something opaque?
Just take a quick look at this location, because we'll be seeing it again later.
How ironic that he absolutely slaughters this Everlast punching bag.
This scene was the first footage from the film ever played in public, hidden at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.
He won't make eye contact...
...okay, now he will.
Several more punching bags on the floor here, waiting to be hung up and get their stuffing punched out.
And so begins the footage from a scene previewed at last year's NYCC. Looks like the guys on the left of frame are watching a weather report. I certainly would be if my TV was outside.
What happened to her Russian accent?
See Doctor Banner on the right, and on the left... you'll have to tell me who that illustrated figure is. Nice balance in their poses, though.
These purple shirt shots have been cut in to the India-based, orange shirt scene, but it's clearly a different time and place. Looks like a quiet corner inside the Helicarrier to me.
Perhaps these shots come shortly after the events on the leaked page from the stolen script...
...that's if it's even real.
This is what we want from The Hulk, isn't it? A bit of shirt tearing?
Amazingly Ruffalo-like hair.
Cheeky smile while essentially playing a power game. Sets an interesting, almost screwbally tone. Looks like this film is going to be full of fun, with zingy repartee and audience pleasing banter.
Here's the description of the Natasha-Bruce scene that we ran at the time of its first preview screening:
The footage starts in? India. Surprising. This is where Doctor Banner has been, helping the sick. He?s gone two years without Hulking out.
A little girl comes running to him to get help. Somebody is sick. He follows her?
But it?s a trick. Black Widow is waiting. Bruce asks ?How did you find me?? She says ?We never lost you? and explains that Nick Fury has known exactly where he is, all along, but that they haven?t needed him until now.
But now they really need him. They?re trying to trace the gamma signature of the Tesseract, and he can help with this.
Will Bruce come quietly? Or is everything about to get smashed up? Well? it looks close, for a moment, but Banner chills and cedes to Ms. Romanoff?s request.
She gives the order to stand down? to a whole flock of SHIELD agents who were, until now, unseen. The heavily-armed Hulk contingency plan.
Any Tolkien scholars out there who can help make sense of the symbols on Mjolnir?
Is he not sure about picking it up? Is he worried what he might do with it? Look at the destroyed tree trunk in the background there... I think we'll be able to place this moment in better context later in the trailer.
What is Fury asking him to do?
Use the force, Thor.
Is this part of Thor's particular special mission? Is he commanding lightning to strike the Chrysler Building at the request of Nick Fury, as part of some kind of plan?
The trailer is certainly edited in a way that might suggest this.
Landing on top of the Helicarrier, I assume.
He's in purple shirt mode now. Can't be too long after this he has the Hulk fit seen above, can it?
I expect we'll see everybody meet Steve Rogers one by one, seeing as he's the "main character" and all.
"It's called the Avengers Initiative."
I guess everybody Nick Fury is speaking to would be sitting at the table we saw way early in the trailer, in the shot with Fury and the transparent computer screens.
Looks like Tony Stark can turn on his big "name in lights" as he's getting home, perhaps to use for help with landing, perhaps because Jarvis is getting everything ready for his return.
And Stark's penthouse looks out at the Chrysler building. Is this important in understanding the lightning strike seen earlier?
Looks convincingly mechanical in a way that suggests actual moving parts. Quite an impressive design, really.
And yet another way Stark has of getting out of his costume, and the most convenient one yet - he doesn't even have to stop walking.
We don't know who he is talking to here, but it's likely to be Nick Fury as Stark is clearly referring to his rejection from The Avengers in Iron Man 2.
It seems like a reverse angle at first glance, maybe, but this shot of Thor is somewhere else entirely. Somewhere mountainous. Perhaps somewhere not of this Earth...?
Iron Man and Thor going heck-for-lecker. They're in some kind of unidentified wooded area. Think back to the previous shots of Thor thinking carefully about his hammer while it lies on the ground.
At last: Maria Hill. And is she getting told that she needs a time out? What could she have done?
Crikey - Captain America is in this fight too.
And look at the floor. Is that all mess made just by these guys, smashing the trees into chip pings?
Thor's POV as he flies in towards the Quinjet...
..lands on it.
He's got the hair for it.
Um... not sure I like this shot, with the defocused look. The wipe that happens as a figure comes in from the right then leaves to the left in the next shot looks like an edit that may exist in the actual film. We'll see.
And we finally get a look at Hawkeye. He's not in the trailer much, and doesn't get a thing to say. I wouldn't hold my breath for a standalone Hawkeye movie if I were you.
She's in a dress. The camera is extremely canted. I've got no idea what is actually going on here, but there was a rumour that this was part of a fight scene with Black Widow starting out tied to a chair. Is this her grand entry scene that is apparently the best introduction for any of the characters? I'm betting Yes.
The first of three shots that create an interesting "false continuity." It starts with her swinging around...
...then making impact...
(With Hawkeye. You can identify him by his wrist brace. So we have a three way brawl between Stark, Thor and Cap, and a two way scrap with Romanoff and Hawkeye - the Avengers have got some way to go before they can gel into a solid group, it seems)
...then it's as though she'd kicked these guys and they take a spill through a window.
It's not supposed to be a literal flow of action, but a sense of continuous kinetics, building up inertia. This technique can be very effective in a trailer.
Captain America, comin' atcha. The film is, incidentally, being released in 3D as well as 2D.
Oh, and don't worry. He's wearing a parachute.
See Cap stumbling out of frame to the left.
The current issue of Empire magazine has a feature that gives some background on this scene: Apparently we're in Stuttgart, and Loki causes a bit of a fracas. Captain America and Iron Man capture him and take him into captivity, leading to the scenes of Loki imprisoned on the Helicarrier that we've seen before.
And here is our first look at Mr. Hiddleston in this trailer, apparently taunting Stark.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Well, this isn't a continuity cut, but they're clearly trying to imply that the immovable object will win, just about.
Fury gets to argue with Loki too.
Even in modern day clothes Loki favours the green and gold.
What's this staff that he's holding? An important Maguffin, no doubt.
According to the same issue of Empire I was citing above, we're still in Stuttgart here. Loki gives a speech about how mankind was made to be ruled and commands the whole crowd of Opera house patrons to kneel. One man says that he will never kneel again - once more, no need to spell it out, I'm sure . Faced with this defiance, Loki makes to vaporise the man.
(If I had to guess, I'd go for the guy on the far left very near the front and looking particularly emotional, definitely not the guy in glasses doing the cartoon rat face quite near the front, about a third of the way from the left)
The defiant man is then saved by Captain America throwing in his shield and deflecting the beam. Apparently, Cap then comes back to Loki with:
Men who want to rule the world end up getting just 6 feet of it.It's after this that Iron Man turns up, as in the shots detailed above.
I think she's watching Banner as he starts to Hulk out. See above, including the script page.
He's actually firing that thing on set, I think.
Is The Hulk chasing Black Widow here? I don't think so. Though I don't know why he doesn't pick her up and really get moving - she's pretty slow by Hulk standards, not to mention fragile.
Interesting costumes. Cap's cowl flipped back like a hood, and Stark in a Black Sabbath T-shirt. The Sabbath had a hit with Iron Man, if you don't know.
I'll settle for the shirt but maybe an Ozzy Osbourne cameo would have been better.
"We're not a team, we're a time bomb."
I bet this is the catalyst for the Hulking out scene.
HULK NEED SHAVE.
His chinos are getting off lightly. in all of this alien-smashing. And, boy, are they stretchy.
We'll get a better look at this... thing later on. But - spoiler shot? Are we being shown a really crucial, climactic victory explosion here?
Is this Thor inside the container that was built for Loki, perhaps watching Loki escape? Or is he outside, looking in, again as Loki escapes?
This is the location where we saw the helicopter landing earlier. Seems like this is when it takes off again, just as some kind of explosion happens. I smell Loki.
Who are these fellas? I'm sticking with the Sons of Muspell theory, but I'm really not sure anymore. I think they're just nondescript alien hordesters, really.
He's looking right into the lens. That's two shots in this trailer where the characters look right into the lens - this and the kneeling crowd scene - with a third one to come. It's not normally anything like this common.
Looks like they're bonding somewhat now. I guess they have no choice.
Can anybody tell me what that flag fluttering in the background is?
Looks like a portal absolutely overflowing with that blue energy. Likely the unrefined version of what the ray gun weapons use, and very similar looking to what the Cosmic Cube projected in the earlier films.
Iron Man is in trouble. He's amazingly limp here, like a rag doll... made of iron. Seems like the suit shorted out in the impact at the very end of the previous shot.
See how The Hulk uses his feet to break first, and then plunges his arm in when he gets the chance.
Is Stark even conscious in that thing?
They were having a fight earlier in the trailer, now they're having "a moment."
When we last saw this shot, in the Superbowl TV spot, it started later, but Hulk is out of the bag now so we can start with a nice, big close-up of him roaring away.
This seems group shot seems like a great visual for the moment when the Avengers are all united, ideologically and emotionally, as well as physically. I wouldn't be surprised if that's how Whedon has built the film - that they just click together at the beginning of the end battle.
Even the logotype is battered and smashed. Great extension of the "ruins" images, and it really sells the upped stakes, I think.
"Guys" he says. They've bonded. Aaawww.
Acting in action.
What is this thing?
Well, we think it might be a more mechanical version of the Midgard Serpent. Here's its less robotic-looking incarnation from the comics.
A cairn comprised of shattered buildings you say? Wow. That's bang on. And it seems quite obvious that this comic was published before September 2001 from the Serpent's final comment.
Avengers Assemble will be released in the UK on April 26th. The Avengers will be released in the US on May 4th.