There simply isn’t a movie that Marvel has released over the course of a decade that can be compared to Thor: Ragnarok.
Earlier this evening, those who had waited for nearly four days in line at San Diego Comic-Con to secure a seat for Marvel’s annual panel were treated to a lengthy clip from the movie and a new trailer. While the trailer is online — and is absolutely hilarious — the clip proved that nothing has come close to the level of wit and childlike joy that Thor: Ragnarok brings. The closest would be Guardians of the Galaxy, of course, but even then, Ragnarok feels different.
Ragnarok is silly, but takes itself seriously. It’s witty, but doesn’t mind making the occasional stupid joke. It’s characters are both lovable and suspicious all in the same breath. Director Taika Waititi seems to have taken what he’s learned over the years, working on films like What We Do in the Shadows, and crafted his sense of self and personality into a tiny, precious bowl. The result of that is what we’ve seen so far from Ragnarok and, while it won’t be for everyone, for those who have always wanted Marvel’s cosmic universe to be a little more than what it has been, this is for you.
Below we’ve detailed what we saw from today’s Hall H footage, but just to be safe, we’re also going to throw in a spoiler alert tag.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok.]
In the first scene, Thor is handcuffed to a chair that’s quickly moving through space. Think of the scene from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when the architect is showing Martin Freeman all of the planets that he built. As Thor tries to break out of the chair, an annoying AI voice can be heard, guiding him to his destination. The voice keeps affirming different, positive aspects of Sakaar, the planet he’s being taken to. There are a number of different planets around him, blurry as he races toward Sakaar. As this is happening, it should be mentioned, the song from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that is played when Charlie is on the elevator can be heard in the background.
Once he’s on the planet, he’s still traveling by magical chair, but the scenery has changed. There are CGI animations of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), as the AI voice explains who the Grandmaster is. This is the first time, that we know of, that Thor hears about the Contest of Champions. For those who have seen the first trailer, this is the name of the gladiatorial match between Hulk and Thor.
Eventually, the ride stops and Thor realizes he’s been inside a simulation the entire time. He’s still imprisoned in his chair, but he’s in a hall, sitting before the Grandmaster himself, Valkyrie and another character. This is where Waititi’s humor comes into play. As the Grandmaster sits back and examines Thor, he also has to referee a verbal sparring match taking place between the unknown character and Valkyrie. For example, when he asks the unknown character for a word that describes Valkyrie that just so happens to begin with a ‘B,’ the unknown character replies, “trash.”
“Trash? No, she’s not trash,” the Grandmaster says, taken aback. “That doesn’t even begin with a ‘B.’ Did you have that waiting? Did you just want to call her trash?”
Eventually the Grandmaster deems Thor to be a worthy contender for their Champion and orders him to be taken to the waiting area. Thor, clearly unenthused by this idea, breaks out of his chains. As he attempts to get up, however, Valkyrie uses a taser-like device on him that immobilizes the mighty Thor, leaving him powerless to try and stop her.
Once he’s in the waiting pit, Thor meets Korg, an adorable alien made up entirely of rock, who has managed to find a way to survive in the gauntlet. He also happens to be voiced by Waititi, who said he based Korg’s gentle, kind voice on Polynesian bouncers. Korg takes Thor on a walk of the circular base, indulging the god with some information about how to survive. Essentially, Korg cautions, don’t be like Doug, the last poor victim who went up against the champion last time. When Thor says he’s going to do everything in his power to beat the Champion and get home, Korg sighs, saying, “That’s what Doug used to say too. Good luck with that, new Doug!”
Again, almost everything that we saw from Marvel tonight regarding Thor: Ragnarok was hilarious and silly. It seems to be the point that Waititi is trying to make with his movie — that Thor can be a fun superhero. He doesn’t always have to be the ultra serious one just because he’s a god.
In the last little bit of the clip, Thor is ushered outside to take on the mighty Hulk. Most of this scene we’ve seen in previous trailers, but there was a little bit of added dialogue on Thor’s part. Just before the, “I know him, he’s a friend from work” line that’s become so famous, Thor asks Hulk how he’s doing, informing him that everyone has been worried about him since he went off the grid two years ago. Thor adds that he’s doing his own thing now, adding that he hasn’t spent much time with the Avengers because “they’ve become too corporate.”
The scene ends with Hulk snarling and tossing Thor across the room into a cement wall. We didn’t get to see any of the match, so we don’t know if the Hulk actually fights Thor as he is or if they manage to get him down to Bruce Banner size again in that moment. As seen in the trailer, Bruce Banner does eventually return, but it takes some convincing on Thor’s part to get the Hulk to agree to do so.
Again, if you haven’t watched that trailer, do that this instant. It’s well worth your time.
Thor: Ragnarok will be released on Nov. 3.