Dammit, Hydra.Broken. That's how I'm feeling after watching the teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it's no surprise, since all the Avengers seem to be broken as well.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 22, 2014
The worrying thing is, this teaser trailer comes in at just over two minutes. How an earth will I cope with a two hour long film? Well, partially by analysing and filling in the gaps and coming up with theories for what I think is happening, which is exactly what I'm going to do with this teaser trailer. Warning: I'm not a Marvel expert, just a big MCU fan, and this post will be fandomish as all get out...
For an evil entity, Ultron sure is appealing. Based on this trailer I wouldn't mind listening to James Spader read out the phone book. It would just be a very creepy phone book.
We know that Ultron in the MCU is created by Tony Stark, and then the robot basically rebels and turns into a sentient being. Which clearly explains the narrative of this trailer, where Ultron crushes other robot suits and talks about having his puppet strings cut. It's frightening, but his words are also pretty poetic:
I'm going to show you something beautiful
Everyone screaming for mercy
You want to protect the world but you don't want it to change
You're all puppets tangled in strings
Now I am free
There are no strings on me.
The (old) Avengers
There is plenty to be worried about, based on the teaser, when it comes to Captain America, Black Widow, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Clint Barton, and even Thor, who as a god from another world should be relatively immune.
Tackling them one at a time is easiest, although there clearly seems to be a common thread running through their story lines in Age of Ultron - that of either being reminded of their dark pasts, or having dreams/nightmares about their pasts.
The Black Widow is probably the character we know the least about (aside from Barton), even though we've seen her a lot. Worry no more, or a lot more, because some of her past is clearly going to be revealed. That glimpse of a row of girls in severe black ballet costumes seems to be related to Natasha - I don't know how accurate or based on the comics it is, but Natasha as a ballerina or as being able to dance is a popular trope among the MCU fandom. Whether we get to see the Red Room, I couldn't tell, althought there is a glimpse of what I assume is a hospital trolley and some surgical equipment right after a shot of Natasha in an empty office block.
Banner is so, so broken in this film. There are two glimpses we get of Banner in the trailer which frighten me - in both he is slumped on the floor looking like he's just seen his nearest and dearest torn apart, and like he's about to lose his mind. On the plus side, there was a glimpse of the Hulk kicking butt, so perhaps it's not all bad.
Stark is clearly feeling some guilt here, and not making friends among the Avengers, if we're going by the scene in which Thor picks him up by the neck in a fit of anger. Although Thor and Stark have fought before, so there may be nothing to read into there (I doubt that though). And could Stark's words - "It's the end, the end of the path I started us on" - be hinting at the Civil War storyline at supposedly will make up the second phase of the Marvel movies?
I can't comment too much on Barton/Hawkeye, since he's such an unknown entity - we didn't get to know him in Avengers Assemble since he was brain washed for most of the film. What I can tell is that he's got a new costume, and I really like it.
Thor is another hard one to pin down. He's got some anger, which I've already addressed, but the two standout glimpses we get of him are distressing - the look of pain on his face as he is borne out of the water (no idea what's going on there), and the fact that he drops his hammer. What could cause Thor to drop his hammer? The guy is not afraid of much, so it would have to be something shocking.
But let me be honest here, it's Cap I want to speak about the most. Already a broken man from the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it looks like things aren't going to get much better for Steve. He's in the midst of all the fighting scenes we glimpse, and is he looking for Bucky in that shot we get of him kicking down the doors the massive building that looks like it's somewhere in Eastern Europe? But it's that dream/nightmare scene we see, where Cap is in a 1940s dance hall, that has me worried. It's not a memory, because we can safely assume Cap never went to a dance hall in his new Cap body, but he did talk about it with Peggy, and with Bucky, in Captain America: The First Avenger. What if this scene has Cap seeing Bucky, who he's been hunting for since The Winter Soldier (almost two years previous in the MCU timeline I think) and Peggy dancing together? My head canon is really making me miserable.
But not as miserable as that shot of a limp hand by Cap's broken shield. I'd like to stick my fingers in my ears and shut my eyes and pretend that broken shield isn't real, since it's supposedly made of an unbreakable metal, and I can kind of believe that if I believe my theories about some other people in this film...
The (new) Avengers
So, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch has the power to alter reality in unknown ways, which leads me to theorise that some of the scenes we see of the Avengers suffering could come from her. What if she's altering what the Avengers see and hear? Eventually, Scarlett Witch joins the Avengers, but the last time we saw her she was locked in a cell and under the command of Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker (presumably somewhere in Europe if we're going by his name).
As was her brother Quicksilver, who in this trailer is the least angsty of the characters we've seen. Sure, he's shouting angrily alongside Scarlet Witch in a scene which Ultron narrates but mostly we see him moving very fast and fighting robots (at one point with Cap seemingly by his side/nearby).
Perhaps the scenes in Europe are where the Avengers find the Maximoff siblings, who I'm sure are good at the core, but who maybe don't start out that way. I don't think they're bad, but perhaps a little cautious, which makes them not trust the Avengers at first.
SHIELD has still not recovered, by the looks of it, although that won't keep Fury down. And I definitely caught a glimpse of Rhodey in the scene we see of the Avengers on the bridge. There's also a third female there I can't make out (Black Widow and Scarlet Witch being the first two, I think), possibly Maria Hill? Please be Maria Hill. And I'm sure someone said they saw the Vision in there somewhere, but I can't make him out yet. And I'm not sure what the creepy silver robots were, but they're not good.
Around the world
We've got some massively creepy looking castles, definitely in Europe somewhere, and also some scenes in snowy landscapes (Russia? Fits with the whole Hydra thing), and also in what is possibly South Korea (Cap having cars chucked at him). It seems the Avengers are truly going global in Age of Ulton.
Basically, I've been broken since I saw the trailer, and there are a lot of reactions like mine out there. Here is one of my favourites though (and although this isn't a post about diversity, Bim Adewunmi has a point at number five...)
3. Not enough* Ruffalo mumbles (*never enough) 4. My poor, broken Cap! 5. Where all the brown people at? 6. *stares at Aaron T-J*
— Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) October 23, 2014
11. James Spader's voice - hella formative. *shivers* 12. Cap kicking doors! 13. Cap kicking 14. CAP! (I luff him so) 15. Hawkeye, I guess.
— Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) October 23, 2014
So what have we learnt from the first teaser trailer? Well, that Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be painful. So I'm hereby setting up a support group. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to join - there will be lots of flailing, use of exclamation marks and swear words, and some cracking of hearts.