Film Trailers

Thor: Ragnarok, Or What It’s Like to Watch the Whole World Cheer As Your Favorite Franchise Is Burned to the Ground

Well, I certainly underestimated things.

Like the millions of other people around the world, I watched the new Thor: Ragnarok trailer yesterday. However, I watched it just the one time in the morning and didn’t give it a second thought. As the day progressed, my social media feed was inundated with Ragnarok buzz, and by the end of the day just about every single pop culture site had published their mandatory deep dive into every second of the trailer. THR was left struggling to glean some lesson from the trailer’s record-breaking success, deducing that earning 136 million views in 24 hours (the best debut for any Disney movie trailer) probably means people….um….umm…..

Have missed Thor and Hulk since their two-year, post-Age of Ultron absence, minus Thor’s Doctor Strange cameo?

Have really missed Loki since 2013’s The Dark World?

Totally dig that someone finally thought to put Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and its “hammer of the gods” lyrics over a Thor trailer?

Love the jokes (e.g., “he’s a friend from work”)?

Can’t get over how the comical tone of Hulk vs. Thor seems to be throwing shade at Batman v Superman?

Love the candy-colored universe new-to-the-franchise director Taika Waiti has come up with?

Love pointing out the resemblance between Cate Blanchett’s goth villainess Hela and Elizabeth Banks’ Rita Repulsa from Power Rangers?

Can’t get enough of Tessa Thompson (as new love interest Valkyrie) or Jeff Goldblum (as semi-villain The Grandmaster)?

Or were just so surprised by how different this looks from the prior two Thor movies (no hammer? no Asgard? no long hair?) they had to re-watch several times to take it all in?

It’s all of those things, really. But way back before all of that fanfare and analysis came in what I saw in the trailer was a classic case of a sequel moving forward by doing away with all that came before. In one fell swoop, we see Hela destroy Thor’s hammer, set fire to his mystical homeland and banish him off into a buddy movie with Hulk. It’s the type of let’s-reboot-without-actually-starting-over-and-recasting course correction the Thor movies probably need, at least based on box office and tepid fan response. But it’s taking me a minute to adjust because, well, I am one of those weird people who actually likes the first two Thor movies.

At one point, I considered the Thor movies to be my favorite individual franchise in the Avengers kingdom (Captain America has since earned that honor). I recognize, however, that the people at Marvel Studios clearly feel as if they still haven’t made the perfect Thor movie yet. So, they keep shaking things up.

The first film was Shakespeare in far-too-shiny space mixed with fish-out-of-water comedy on Earth. Nice, but not perfect. Goodbye, Kenneth Brannagh; Hello, Alan Taylor.

The second film switched over to a Game of Thrones visual aesthetic and plunged more headlong into fantasy. Eh, somehow even worse this time. Everyone still pales in comparison to Loki, don’t they? Don’t let the door hit on you the ass, Taylor.

Now, Waiti is blowing it all up and throwing more colors at us than Guardians of the Galaxy. Thor is newly single (having broken up with Natalie Portman’s character in-between movies). The Warriors 3 and Sif are nowhere to be found. Dark World’s cliffhanging mystery with Loki and Odin isn’t all that important anymore. Instead, it’s a matter of how quickly can you get Thor out of Asgard and over to co-starring in a cloak-and-dagger Planet Hulk movie. Such a locale change is to be expected at this point in any franchise. Just look at a powerless Tony Stark wandering around small town Tennessee in Iron Man 3. The same goes for taking away Thor’s hammer. Again, look at Tony briefly losing his suit in Iron Man 3.

And it looks great. It’s just, well, you remember when the people who actually liked Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 felt a little rejected when Sony kicked Andrew Garfield to the curb and loaned the franchise out to Marvel for a complete re-do? The resulting new movies with Tom Holland will probably be better than what came before, but it’s only natural to want to pause for a moment to remember that, hey, I kind of liked what you were already doing.

I’ll get over it. The Thor movies have only ever flirted with greatness, never quite achieved it, and no one wanted a repeat of the bland villain of The Dark World or Natalie Portman being shoved into something she didn’t actually want to be in. Kat Dennings’ schtick as Darcy was bordering on annoying. Chris Hemsworth’s comedy chops have been sorely underutilized. So, let’s set fire to what came before, have a fun side adventure on a Gladiator planet with Hulk followed by a cosmic road trip before ending with Thor perhaps getting around to saving Asgard from Hela’s apocalypse.

Thor: Ragnarok is due out November 3, 2017.


  1. Yeah, despite that I blogged about it, I only watched the trailer one time, really. I’m cautiously enthused about the movie but then I hated the second movie, and middling liked the first, which was just okay. I’m okay with this semi-reboot. It looks like fun ( but I’m not a Hulk fan so I don’t know what to think about that part. )

    1. I am curious to see if this will be a Thor movie that happens to co-star Hulk or a Hulk movie set in the Thor universe or a Thor & Hulk double feature. It will be a difficult balance to maintain, especially since we know Marvel Studios can’t really do a solo Hulk movie and now here they are adapting one of his more famous comic book arcs in the body of a Thor movie.

      1. Well, let’s see what happens with this movie and how they connect with the unfinished things from Thor 2; if they do connect with it at all!

      2. I imagine that based on the set-up from the Doctor Strange mid-credits scene, we will probably see Thor and Doctor Strange opening the film in pursuit of Loki or Hela, and the Loki-tricked-you-and-maybe-killed-your-dad twist will be dealt with as quickly as possible before getting Thor off to Planet Hulk. If not, I assume there will be some tie-in comic book (that hardly anyone will even know about) explaining away any plot hole.

      3. Agree! I totally forgot Doctor Strange appeared in the mid-credits scene. But seems he won’t really have to do a lot in Thor Ragnarok movie.

      4. I imagine Cumberbatch will be in Ragnarok for just about as long as Hemsworth was in Doctor Strange, maybe two or thee minutes longer. It will surely just be a glorified cameo (he says while suddenly fearing how stupid he will look in November if Doctor Strange turns out to have a much bigger role than anticipated).

  2. There’s a reason I usually ignore “teaser” trailers because all they do is throw visuals and a few catchy jokes at you. I kept wondering “hey, isn’t Loki supposed to be in this movie?” then saw the slo-mo walk while flipping his daggers around (had to have my two-seconds of “Hiddles” appreciation–part of my balanced breakfast). But teasers give so little or far too much in the long run. It had the look of fantasy mixed with 70s exploitation. I still haven’t seen all the Thor movies, not all the scenes, just because Thor bored the hell out of me and Loki was the most interesting thing. But yeah, I noticed it started to look like Iron Man 3 with him losing his best weapon and all–facepalm.

    As long as they don’t kill Loki (or at least make him an antihero before he dies), I’ll be okay. Otherwise I’ll have fun fanfiction to tie me over…i am so sick of superhero movies it’s gonna be a while before I see any more…even one with the Hiddleston. I’m gonna go watch him giggle during interviews and be all eloquent on YouTube now.

    1. “It had the look of fantasy mixed with 70s exploitation.”

      That, actually, is the perfect summation of the visual style on display in the teaser.

      “But yeah, I noticed it started to look like Iron Man 3 with him losing his best weapon and all–facepalm.”

      Again, very well put.

      “As long as they don’t kill Loki (or at least make him an antihero before he dies), I’ll be okay.”

      By this point, they’ve killed him at least two times now, but he keeps coming back. They know which side their bread is buttered on. The Thor movies just don’t work without Loki.

      “I’m gonna go watch him giggle during interviews and be all eloquent on YouTube now.”

      He does do that a lot.

      1. And he is such a gentleman, a wonderful human being I’d be happy just hanging out with for a day and chatting with…a date would be nice, but I’d be content with a hang-out day.

      2. I mean, now that the whole Taylor Swift thing is long behind him his schedule might be a tad more open. He does seem like a nice person. I know he got a lot of heat for seeming somewhat narcissistic and long-winded with his Golden Globes speech related to The Night Manager, but he’s just an actor. His work is supposed to enrich people’s lives, and the fact that he was humbled to be in a terrible part of the world and discover that his show had given some of the people there a means for escape indicates he cares. He’s not Bono. He’s not going to strive for World Peace and become some endless avenger for social justice (and cool sunglasses). But he’ll make some fun movies people can use for escapism, some challenging TV shows which try to say something about the human condition and do the occasional bit for charity. All the while, he’ll be there to giggle through interviews.

      3. Poor guy was nervous and rambled a bit at the awards–I remember him apologizing and wondered why he bothered…but they all do it even when they feel passionate about something. So he babbled because he was in the brightest spotlight (I’m a nervous babbler myself, so I get it). I thought the flak he caught over it was stupid and I felt bad for him. Yes, he was humbled and had to express it. I wanted to give him a hug and a cup of tea after that–settled for virtual.

        Anyhoo, have a good one. Hugs and keep rolling film!

  3. I hate to admit this, but I fell asleep during both Thor movies. Both times I tried watching them. I feel bad saying this because I love the casts, and I loved Thor in the Avengers movies.

    1. I can understand that. The first Thor takes so dang long to get to Earth, and the second one has that Lord of the Rings-esque prologue about the ether and Dark Elves. Both movies lay the fantasy elements on you pretty hard until relenting and glimpsing character or humor. I ultimately love them for their weirdness and jokes, but I do remember struggling to stick with that first movie (Thor’s a d-back jock, the special effects are a bit too bright and plastic-y, the enemies are called Frost Giants, Odin looks silly and is the worst father ever, etc.) Once it gets to Earth, though, it turns into a remarkably lovely and sneakily hilarious little movie.

    1. From all the interviews over the past year or so, it seems as if the story itself will be Planet Hulk then some kind of cosmic road trip with Thor and Hulk and, one assumes, a final battle to save Asgard from Hela. The comedy element, which you accurately referenced has always having been there in the Thor movies, just might be a bit more front and center under the new director and writers. I don’t recall anything quite as broad as Thor’s overjoyed “Yes!” reaction to see Hulk as his opponent, or at least broad where Thor is the one kind of, sort of making the joke, not the one whose fish out of water quality makes him the butt of the joke.

      1. I should have been more specific: I meant in his own movie. The Thor of the Avengers is slightly different in that he had Joss Whedon giving him lines. So, there’s the Vision bit in AoU as well as the “he’s adopted” line in the first Avengers. He might occasionally crack a joke in Thor or Dark World, but it’s not always a good one (his “it’s nice” response to Darcy’s “So, how’s space?”) or more mundane (his slight jealousy over Jane’s date in Dark World). The best bit is probably his Indiana Jones moment with the rock monster at the start of Dark World. But him just joyously yelling out “YESSS!!!!!!” in response to something is bigger and broader than anything I’ve ever seen him do.

  4. I actually loved the first one. I think it, and the first Captain America, are criminally underrated. The second one, I didn’t think it was bad, but it was… forgettable. Literally. Two days after I watched it I couldn’t remember what it was about, or what happened, other than the “cliffhanger” ending with Loki. That’s never happened to me before. This one looks fun.

    1. Yeah, The Dark World is definitely a classic case of “already forgetting it while you’re walking out of the theater.” It’s certainly watchable, and there are certain parts I really like, such as the awkward elation/sadness Dr. Selvig shows upon hearing of Loki’s apparent death.

  5. I’m afraid Marvel is going to feel pressure to pull everything in a Guardians of the Galaxy style direction. I liked the first Thor movie, second one was… meh. But now I feel they’re inclined to take everything that goes beyond local heroics in a GotG direction because that film was so successful. Which would bum me out because Captain America 2 was my favorite movie and that strayed away from all the cosmic joking stuff.

    1. It’s a valid concern. Financially, the Avengers movies are on the decline, albeit partially because how do you really top $1.5 billion worldwide? Still, it’s not new anymore. The Guardians seem to be the real growth sector of the MCU as well as the one thing they can most easily point to as a dividing line between them and the DC movies. Both companies are making superhero movies, but only Marvel has a fun space opera like Guardians. And now Thor is being adapted into the neon-colored, rock-infused shape of a Guardians movie. Heck, Jeff Goldblum’s character from Ragnarok is even in the closing credits of Guardians 2, and he totally looks like he belongs their.

      That all being said, we might be suffering from tunnel vision at the moment. The two big Marvel movies this year look kind of similar – Guardians 2 and Ragnarok. Spider-Man has a different vibe, but it’s also not 100% pure Marvel Studios. Sony maintained creative control on that one. Homecoming is thus this weird little experiment, a partnership which Sony has indicated might not be renewed for the inevitable sequel. So, you put that one aside and look at Guardians and Ragnarok and think you see which direction Marvel is heading.

      However, by all early accounts both Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp look completely different from Guardians, the former more James Bond-like, the latter more gonzo sci-fi. And we have no idea what Infinity War will look like. In fact, I’d say you’ll know if your fear is well-founded once we see the first Infinity War trailer. If that Winter Soldier/Civil War grittiness is gone and we’re getting more of a Guardians vibe then the direction for the future is clear. However, since Winter Soldier/Civil War and Infinity War maintains the same screenwriters and directors I expect it to feel the same. It’s after all of that (assuming lots of people die in Infinity War) that the new face of the MCU might truly become Guardians and Guardians-influenced other titles like possibly Captain Marvel.

      1. Great response. I have a lot of faith in the Russo Bros and Infinity War is exactly the movie I’m looking at to better understand whether my concerns are valid or not. Big Hollywood companies, like all big companies, are pressured to increase short term value for stock holders. I don’t want that pressure to translate to imitating GotG because it was the last big thing. But thanks for reminding me about some of those other films. Black Panther, especially, is one film I’ve got my eye on.

      2. I think the general strategy at play is to group their like-minded properties together. So, Thor and Guardians are the cosmic side of the MCU. Captain Marvel may or may not join them. However, all of the Avengers are still rooted in Earth-based concerns. Thanks to the continuity behind the scenes from Winter Soldier to Infinity War, I expect the Guardians to be adjusted to fit to The Avengers, not the other way around in Infinity War. I mean, they’ll still be themselves, of course, but the film won’t be blasting old 70s hits all of a sudden just because the Guardians are around. What will be interesting in the long term is whether or not post-Infinity War the MCU will add more to its cosmic side and focus a little less on the Earth stuff. Actors contracts will dictate a change, but so will the “holy shit, we just fought outerspace Hitler! let’s explore space now” of it all.

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