“So much has happened since I last saw you.” That’s probably the most on-the-nose observation regarding the Hulk (Mark Ruffallo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting off one whammy of a trailer! It’s been two years since we last saw Dr. Banner and Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and boy could the waters be any more troubled. Taking inspiration from both the Ragnarok and Planet Hulk comic book story arcs, Thor’s triennial outing will expand into the distant galaxy where the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos (Josh Brolin) operate.
From the get-go, the style of this movie is far distant from the Shakespearean first flick or modern day medieval tale a la Game of Thrones that was Thor: The Dark World. While, at first, many were quick to draw comparisons to Guardians of the Galaxy, Ragnarok appears to have more in common stylistically with the cult classic sequel Tron: Legacy.
Something about the music, lettering choice, and electric-blue in the color pallet remind me of that overlooked 2010 triumph. Also timeline-wise, we’re still trying to place this film in relation to Civil War, GotG Vol. 2, and Dr. Strange. Judging by how absent Thor was from the Avengers in-fighting, it’s a good guess that he’s marooned on the planet Sakaar before or during Civil War.
It’s interesting to note how junk planet’s technology can subdue and imprison the god of thunder; while we’ve seen how vulnerable he can be without Mjölnir in the first Thor flick, Marvel’s finally put into context how much of his power comes from the hammer (at least until later). Thor sports some armor—including a sword-and-shield combo that feels odd at this point—and some badass war paint, thus signifying, as the Hulk would put it, what a “puny god” he is on this world.
Whether or not the story will include the obedience disk gimmick from Planet Hulk has yet to be seen, but it should explain a little about why these titans are in a gladiator pit instead of just going off to bromance-smash things.
With that being said, after watching this trailer I asked myself a question that comic book fans have wondered since Planet Hulk first came out: Why does Hulk need a helmet and armor? Does it just make him feel fancy? It looks fantastic, so I’ll go ahead and let it slide…this time; even at half power the dude’s unkillable and unstoppable. That they’re finally giving us a Hulk that speaks in full sentences is also a treat, given that all the character development happened after the sole Incredible Hulk standalone.
Our big-bad Hela’s (Cate Blanchett) now relegated as the “Goddess of Death”, which, if you’re a Norse historian, is a little different than simply the Goddess of the Underworld or “Hidden” world. I’m willing to bet that Blanchett has signed on for more than a few of these Marvel films, given how many times she calls herself death or says death… death. If you know anything about Thanos, the main antagonist of Avengers: Infinity War, that’s important. In the comics, he’s obsessed with Death—the physical embodiment of all things macabre and not-living-ey.
An easy way to tie up such an abstract comic idea is to simply say, “Hey, she’s the Goddess of Death and also is death… so to speak.” I mean, I’d buy it. Blanckett is the sort of big deal actor to act as the glue holding the climax of this cinematic universe together.
Coming back to the Tron thing, this soundtrack is so awesomely New Wave I’m half-worried someone is going to pop up with a Tron-style Identity Disk in the background. That aside, here’s some food for thought: How, exactly, did Banner get a normal sports coat and t-shirt? I get pants—they’re universal—but to stroll around in a suit jacket on a junky-space planet is just unheard of! Unless it was Tony’s (Robert Downey Jr.) and happened to be lying around ont he Quinjet Hulk flew away in at the end of Ultron. One does have to wonder why they’d notice a sports coat in such a blindingly amazing trailer, though… never mind that! Onwards!
Anyone else notice the Nordic letter buzzed into the side of Thor’s new haircut as well? Not sure what it stands for, but it’s there! It is good to see the humor from the previous Thor films is still intact. The way Hemsworth portrays his proud but doofy lines has really added relatable depth to Thor in a way the other Avengers missed out on. That just works so well with his character because he’s always going to be credible; you can get away with Thor being a little more ridiculous knowing the intensity needs to be turned up by the end.
Karl Urban makes a much appreciated appearance as The Executioner, and hopefully he’ll get to do a bit in Ragnarock. Urban has a track-record for appreciaitng the subject matter of his roles and would be wasted on a “one-line” henchman; think fellow MCU actor Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx in the Bond flick Spectre.
Returning to the franchise, of course, is Tom Hiddleston, who’s been unanimously praised for his portrayal of Loki. While I highly doubt they’re going to carry over his Hel (or Hela in the movie) parentage, no Thor film would be complete without him. Strange in blue, Loki’s once again going to be trusted in some capacity for no reason, despite being the single-most untrustworthy person in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Brother’s Asguardian, in addition to the Hulk, are rounded out by the newly introduced Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Little has been detailed about the updated movie version of the character, but that armor!
Despite how much new visual plot delights the trailer bombarded us with, Heimdal’s (Idris Alba) overall screentime and important still isn’t clear. His hair grew out since the last time we saw him, rocking that post-Rainbow Bridge protection look. From my own experience with trailer breakdowns, it’s a safe guess that he’s been relegated to set piece, which could make since given the actor’s publicly vocal frustration with his Marvel contract.
Finally, at the end of the trailer we get what will probably be the coolest scene of any Thor film; I’m actually shocked (no pun intended) that they gave this moment away, but at some point Thor will gain control of his thunder abilities despite not having Mjölnir anymore. If we’re going by strict comic book lore, the final battle on Asgard should lead to its fall form the sky, landing somewhere in Oklahoma. Bit of a stretch, but one can hope, right?
And there we have it, the Marvel trailer that quite literally stole the show at San Diego Comic Con this year—a ton of info has been bestowed upon us with smaller bits to marinate with. Yet, despite this, Marvel hasn’t given away all the best goodies in one go. Where are the Warriors Three and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)? Has Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) been essentially nixed from the films? Any Infinity Stones lurking in the plotline? Stay tuned to nerdslant for all things Thor, MCU, and general nerdiness. Please leave a comment with your theories or predictions below and don’t forget to check back!