"Something is very wrong here."
Those words are uttered by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he and his new friends the Guardians of the Galaxy venture into a devastated region of space in the first footage screened anywhere from Avengers: Infinity War.
That screening took place at the very end of Disney's live-action presentation during the company's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, a mind-blowing grand finale that saw a large portion of the cast assembled onstage by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
But first the trailer/sizzle reel itself: It opens with the Guardians on board the Milano as they sail into a mysterious area of space. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) advises, "Don’t forget, this might be dangerous, so let’s put on our mean faces." No sooner does he say that than a body slams into the window -- and it's the God of Thunder himself. They bring him on board and revive him, only for him to ask, "Who the hell are you guys?"
Cut to the scene we mentioned earlier, then it's on to Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) cleaving a truck in half with an energy blast; Loki (Tom Hiddleston) standing amidst some kind of ruins holding the Tesseract; the hairs on Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) arms standing up as his Spidey sense is activated for the first time -- on a school bus; and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) telling the Guardians, "He's coming to us."
Then we hear Thanos' (Josh Brolin) voice for the first time as he intones, "Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe, but this does put a smile on my face." And after that it becomes one stunning image after another of explosions, battles, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in tears, a massive and mean-looking Thanos landing out of some sort of portal, Iron Man and Star-Lord both battling Thanos, a bearded and haggard-looking Cap (Chris Evans), Spider-Man in his new metallic-looking suit and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) at the head of the Wakandan army.
In two truly impressive shots that will put to rest any notion than Thanos will fall victim to the "weak Marvel villain" curse, we see the purple one pick up Thor by his head with skull-crushing force, and then we see him pull a freakin' moon from the sky and split it into projectiles that he hurls at Iron Man and the others.
This looks like seriously epic filmmaking, and if this is genuinely going to be the payoff for the first 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe storytelling, the few minutes screened today are a good indicator of what's ahead.
Before the footage was unspooled, Feige was joined by (deep breath) co-director Joe Russo (his brother and partner Anthony is "minding the store" back on the Atlanta set), along with stars Hemsworth, Brolin, Downey, Holland, Olsen, Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Paul Bettany (Vision), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Dave Bautista (Drax).
No one had any time to do anything more than wave, but it didn't matter: It was incredible to see that many Marvel stars together in one place, and even more astounding to get a look at what they've all been working on for these past six months.
Remember how dazzled we were when Joss Whedon managed to get six different superheroes in the same shot way back in 2012's The Avengers? We clearly ain't seen nothing yet.
Avengers: Infinity War is out on May 4, 2018 -- 10 long months from now.