If you’re purely a informal fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the arrival of the firstly trailer for Avengers: Infinity War might not seem like a huge bargain: After all, pretty much every Marvel movie now feels like an Avengers movie, with the team’s various superstars playing decisive supporting roles in such recent affects as Captain America: Civil War , Spider-Man: Homecoming , and Thor: Ragnarok . What originated as a winking, post-credits flirt in 2008 ’s Iron Man–“I’m now to talk to you about the Avenger initiative”–has become the series’ hours-long, seriously stranded mega-narrative, full of Infinity Stones and intra-squad squabbling, and occupied by dozens of reputations. At this moment, even the Watcher necessity Wikipedia to keep up.

But Infinity War is the MCU’s biggest tactic hitherto( and, strictly speaking, its only one ), the first part of a calculating/ realignment that will eventually to be translated into Marvel’s much-discussed “Phase 4, ” highlighting a different squad of superstars and rogues. With some of the series’ biggest idols nearing the end of their contracts, including Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, Infinity War will likely be one of the last chances you’ll get to see some of the original MCU stellars in action before retirement–assuming they don &# x27; t kill each other first.

For those who can’t recollect where happens went wrong, a immediate re-Cap of the pre-Infinity imbroglios: After overcoming Ultron, and weathering a organizing anti-superhero political reaction, the Avengers grew partitioned along ideological strands, with one feature teaming with Iron Man’s pro-cooperation stance, the other placing with Captain America’s keep-it-indie worldview. Along the route, Thanos has continued his quest to accumulate all six Infinity Stones, Marvel’s treasured dazzlers( but not its simply ones !) that will give him sovereignty of the universe.

That hostility , not surprisingly, comes to a brain in the Infinity War trailer. “ In term, you will know what it’s like to lose, ” says Josh Brolin &# x27; s Thanos. The two-and-a-half-minute taunt features no famine of fights, along with lots of morose searches from handsome superpeople. Stick around to the end for a glimpse of the Champion of the Galaxy–who are coming together with the Avengers for the first time–meeting a rightly confounded Thor. Also distinguished: Loki, Spider-Man in his fancy new fake, Black Panther, a blonde Black Widow, a bearded Captain America, and a whole lot of Wakanda. It’s like an Ed Hannigan advertisement to be submitted to life, with an additional rush of Hulkbuster.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo( who also directed crossover-lites Civil War and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ), Infinity War will be quickly followed in 2019 by Avengers 4 — a move that indicates that Marvel’s execs have some serious stones of their own.

Though the MCU has so far have been successful in forestalling the various kinds of franchise exhaustion that’s harassed such serial as Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean , the brazen-faced Avengers two-parter is like a particularly high-risk move: If 2017 has told us nothing about the metabolism of modern movie-going publics, it’s that even once-sturdy dealerships are to be able to become too much of a good thing. Will Avengers fans assemble for the next installment with the same ardor as they have in the past? Can Marvel resolve the endless galaxy-spanning storylines they’ve set up without coming lost in space? And when will Howard the Duck finally understand some cigar-chomping activity?

We’ll find out when Avengers: Infinity War please open May.

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