The clip started with an extended sequence set in the newly remodeled Avengers Tower in New York. The gang is all there: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and SHIELD agent Marina Hill (Cobie Smulders) and War Machine (Don Cheadle). The Avengers are just kicking back and having fun, and when Thor drops his hammer on the coffee table, the rest of the gang sees this as a challenge -- they all try to pick up the hammer, and like the sword from Excalibur, they just can't lift it. (There's a great moment when Captain America lifts the hammer a fraction of an inch and the camera lingers on Thor's flummoxed expression.)
As the party continues, the atmosphere gets looser and the characters become more relaxed. That's when Ultron (James Spader), the evil genius robot enters the room. It's clear that he's been destroyed (or at least that was the intent), so he's limping and looks undone, both physically and mentally. It's sort of like when the Terminator is all messed up at the end of the first movie: a shiny robotic form with his joints hanging loose and wires frayed and sparks coming off of odd angles. After Ultron makes his appearance, several members of his army (which look like solid, less battle-damaged versions of himself, with silvery armor), crash through the wall of Avengers Tower. Those who have been following "Avengers: Age of Ultron" at all know that in this version of the story, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, the alter-egos of superheroes Iron Man and the Hulk (or is it the other way around?) are responsible for building the eventual killing machine.
After that, we get a moment of blackness, followed by an extended montage. "I have a vision," Ultron says. Somber images are played slowly. Tension is mounting. "The whole world screaming in mercy. Everyone tangled up in strings." That's when we get an even more intense montage of really, really ridiculously cool footage. Amongst the more memorable moments: the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) displaying her uncanny magic abilities on a subway train (or something like it), another shot of her brother, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in hyper-extended slow motion as he races through a battle, and an even-quicker glimpse of Andy Serkis, with a goatee, playing an as-yet-unidentified character. All of this stuff is beautifully, grittily shot and as accompaniment, there's a moody cover of "I've Got No Strings On Me" from Disney's "Pinocchio." Pretty weird synergistic strategy, but hey, it worked with the Lana del Rey song from "Maleficent."
When the montage, which also included Tony outfitting himself in "Hulkbuster" armor and going toe-to-toe with the not-so-jolly green giant, came to its conclusion, there was a shot of Ultron, in brand new chrome, looking into the camera and, with realism that crosses the uncanny valley and lands on the other side unquestionably, "I've got no strings on me."
That's when, of course, Marvel and Disney save the best for last: as the finite threat of blackness looms, an additional sequence was thrown in: it's of Tony, sifting through the galactic wasteland of some destroyed planet, surrounded by the fallen bodies of his best friends. Cap's shield is snapped in half, and the others look like they've just arrived in the underworld (but are still very, very dead). What's interesting is that the sequence at the end of the montage seems to have been clearly part of the Scarlet Witch's powers, since she can enter someone's mind and control them telepathically. But his fallen comrades seem to have been working in some forbidden galactic space, meaning that they could very much tie into the newly confirmed "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" (if that's really what Marvel wants to do).
Was the less than 8 minutes of footage worth standing in a line for more than 24 hours? Yes, the answer is yes. But dedication is hard work and it's rewarded with some of the coolest Marvel stuff around.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney