Yesterday’s Thor: Ragnarok trailer roared in with the promise that it’s only goal will be the western shore…and to be the most entertaining Thor movie to date.
It is considered common wisdom that the Thor movies have lagged behind the other stand alone franchises that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was not helped by Phase I. Tony Stark’s first Iron Man was far and away the best of the stand alones prior to the first Avengers film. But the Avengers film when it brought together the main leads of the other movies managed to do rehabilitation jobs on both Steve Rogers, who had been too staid in his first outing, as well as Bruce Banner, whose stand alone Hulk did so badly, they recast the part altogether.
Nor was this sentiment helped by Phase II, where Captain America: The Winter Soldier came in and stole the narrative out from under all the other already established spokes on the wheel, while Guardians of the Galaxy introduced a completely irreverent tone that only made the blandly dull Thor movies seem even more hopeless. Only Tom Hiddleston’s Loki seemed to thrive from the franchise.
But with the release yesterday of the Thor: Ragnarok trailer, it seemed like those in charge of this corner of the franchise have learned their lessons from the first two phases of the MCU. And besides, as the last* multi-superhero layered installment that will directly build to Avengers: Infinity Wars (aka Avengers: Superheroes x Infinity), this outing of Avengers 33 ⅓ could not be just another Thor-and-Jane snoozefest.
*(Black Panther will be released between Thor and Infinity Wars, but that will be a true stand alone, and not a “lots of superheroes stuffed in a blanket” movie.)
So what is it about this trailer that has us so convinced this will be the Best Thor Movie Evar? Let us count the ways:
That opening gambit referencing the “Record Scratch/Freeze Frame” Meme. The knowing wink at an audience who are supposed to get the reference right away suggests a serious promise towards pop culture reference humor that worked very well for both Iron Man and Guardians.
Cate Blanchett in that on point eyeliner game, blowing up Thor’s Hammer. Superheroes are far more interesting when they don’t have their super weapon. Facts.
(Point of Order, also too, Cate Blanchett’s costume as Hela. That HEADDRESS. That is all.)
The casting upgrades! Gone is half disinterested Natalie Portman. In her place, one of the very few women of color in the entire Marvel franchise who aren’t painted a primary shade from the rainbow, Tessa Thompson. She’s playing Valkyrie, “an Asgardian warrior chosen by Thor’s father Odin to lead a mighty group known as the Valkyrior”. We’re curious how this lines up with Odin being Loki’s prisoner at the end of the last Thor movie….
Now, perhaps this is because I recently sat through the incredi-bad sequel to Independence Day, so the last time I saw Jeff Goldblum he was driving a school bus full of kids away from a cheap Alien Queen knock off. But when he showed up, all Jeff Goldblum-y accent and attitude, (but in this outfit), I cackled.
Well, we knew Hulk was in this movie. He had to be, since he wasn’t in Captain America: Civil War (aka Avengers 2 ½: The Smell of Civil Liberties.) But one of the things that made the original Avengers movie a delight was the Bromance of Stark and Banner. I am looking forward to seeing how that plays out when Banner is bromancing a god.
And finally: the color and the music. These are cues taken directly from Guardians of the galaxy, which was praised highly for its candy colored “comic book in space” palette, as well as the classic rock soundtrack. With the opening war-whoop of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” kicking in from the top of the trailer, through to the 1980s neon like graphics, it feels like the marketing department is promising from all sides that this movie, set in the deep reaches of space, will be taking its cues less from the Avengers Earth bound sides of the franchise, and more from their distant galaxy rocking out cousins. Let us pray.
Thor: Ragnarok opens November 3rd, 2017, a couple of weeks early enough to make sure it eats Justice League‘s lunch.