I won’t lie, I’m not a huge fan of the Thor franchise. Although I appreciate his character in The Avengers, Thor always felt like a bit of a side character to me. That’s not to say that Chris Hemsworth isn’t a compelling god, but rather that the two films before Thor: Ragnarok simply didn’t do it for me. Imagine my surprise when Marvel Studios released the new teaser trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, which highlights a decisive switch in tone for the franchise.
Guardians of Asgard
Marvel Studios seems to be taking a page out of the Guardians of the Galaxy book, going for a more lighthearted and colorful look. Far too often the Thor franchise would get too serious and dark, refusing to acknowledge the absurdity surrounding itself. It seems like those responsible for overall direction have finally let the creatives take some liberties, as Thor: Ragnarok seems to be the most silly and vibrant Marvel film since Doctor Strange. I’m especially excited after learning that Taika Waititi would be directing. Waititi is most well known for his outstanding direction of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, as well as the absolutely hilarious What We Do in the Shadows. These two films are some of the most unique and funny experiences I’ve had at the cinema in a while, so I’m hoping Waititi is able to bring his distinct charm to the superhero franchise.
While Marvel fans are notorious for analyzing every frame of trailers and every bit of information, I’m not like that at all. Although I have a certain knowledge of the lore and backstory due to comics, I prefer to go in a bit blind. I didn’t know a ton about Thor: Ragnarok before seeing the teaser, and I still feel like the surprise hasn’t been ruined. If anything, the teaser got me exceptionally excited.
Hemsworth’s Silver Hammer
The teaser starts with the introduction of Hela (Cate Blanchett), the fem-Loki looking villain who seems to play front and center. Hela is no joke, as she immediately displays by crushing Thor’s hammer with a single hand.
What follows is a quick onslaught of new characters, locations, and set pieces. The entire tone is very much retro in nature, as the 1970 classic “Immigrant Song” from Led Zeppelin steadily builds in the background. We’re treated to quick cuts showing the rising power of Hela, along with the return of fan favorite Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Now wielding dual knives instead of his notorious staff, Loki seems to have a renewed sense of bad-assery.
Along with the return of Loki, we see flashes of Hemidall (Idris Elba), as well as the beautiful Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) will be showing up as well, but we didn’t get to see him in action. The most surprising and enjoyable appearance for me was that of The Grandmaster, played by none other than Jeff Goldblum.
After Thor is captured on a mysterious planet that seems ripped out of Star Wars Episode VII, we get introduced to the Grandmaster and his gladiator style arena. The teaser is light on story and heavy on tone, so the true nature of the Grandmaster and his plans for Thor will be revealed with time. Generally speaking, the film seems absolutely packed with characters and subplots, so hopefully they’ll be able to keep everything from being overwhelming. With the introduction of so many new ideas and themes, I hope that the writers were able to deliver a decent script.
The teaser culminates with Thor walking into an arena, the crowd around him bursting with applause. As the Grandmaster reveals his opponent, a big green mass of muscle comes tearing through the opposing entrance. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Bruce Banner, better known as The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). I rather enjoyed his return, and hope that he plays a bigger role than just a mere cameo.
Additionally, this scene shows off Thor’s new look. Along with losing his hammer, Thor has lost his luscious locks of hair. I won’t sugar coat it, Chris Hemsworth’s sex appeal just drips off the screen at this point. It’s obvious that the “best looking Avenger award” will be going to Hemsworth over Robert Downey Jr, but my vote is always with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch (unf!).
Beyond looking super cool, it seems we’ll get to see a bit more of Thor throwing hands, as the teaser climaxes with Thor uppercutting The Hulk right in his big ‘ol noggin. I always liked that Thor was mainly brawn over super power, resorting to bone crushing blows rather than rocket propelled weapons. I worry that with such a packed cast, Thor might be pushed to the side. Then, I remember Captain America: Civil War, and recall that Marvel was able to produce a great character piece with a super huge cast before now. Hopefully, they’ll be able to recreate that magic with Thor: Ragnarok. Like I said at the top, I’ve never been a big fan of the Thor franchise. However, this might be the film to break that mold.
We’ll see just how explosive the action and intricate the script is when Thor: Ragnarok releases on November 3rd. Until then, you can catch my thoughts on current movies over at our YouTube Channel, where Mat Falvai and I talk shop on games, movies, and more. We’re currently reviewing every Harry Potter film, so check that out while you’re there! Drop a comment with your favorite Marvel film, and don’t forget to come back when the film releases for my full review!