(Editor’s note, Gormánuður is November in the Viking Calender)
“Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.”
Everyone’s favorite Norse God is back with what is rumored to be the last entry in the Thor series. As it stands, director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderness People) and Thor Ragnarok seem to be leaving nothing on the table, except maybe the mullet. The bloated cast this time around features all the faces we love from Asgard plus newcomers Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Carl Urban, Mark Ruffalo (sort of) and a few surprises. It’s mainly based on the “Ragnarok” storyline from Thor comics but features elements from Marvel storylines “Contest of Champions” (the Grandmaster and Death host a tournament) and “Planet Hulk” (the Hulk becomes a gladiator on an alien world).
Ragnarok, which translates to “Twilight of the Gods” is a myth which tells of the eventual destruction of the universe as well as the deaths of several key figures in Norse Mythology. A new generation of gods, the children of Odin, Thor, and Sol specifically, will take the place of the old ones as the cycle of the world starts anew. Although this film is expected to be more of a set up to Avengers: Infinity War than a mythological rejuvenation.
Waititi whose focus has been character driven comedies with infinitely smaller budgets, has said that he wanted to showcase Chris Hemworths’s comedic side in this film: “He’s so good and underutilized in that department. He’s legitimately one of the funniest things in this film.” And this is certainly highlighted in the first trailer for Ragnarok which was viewed 136 million+ times in the first 24 hours (a new record), check it out:
As you can see, there’s an obvious shift in tone and composition compared to previous Thor films and it seems to have embraced more elements of Guardians of the Galaxy with playful characters and more camp (if that’s possible). Waititi’s flare for costume design and character disposition is painfully evident.
This is the third installment in the series after Thor (2011) and Thor: Dark World (2013), both of which have done modestly at the box office compared to other Marvel universe films. Neither one of those however boasted this beefed up cast and this is the first to feature one of the other members of the Avengers squad, I’m speaking of Bruce Banner/Hulk (Ruffalo). Estimates have this film finishing between $800 – $900 million worldwide which would be a significant improvement over Dark World which finished at $644 million. Domestically there’s major room for improvement and the popularity of the trailer and the Avenger’s films should help that number, additionally the production team were smart not to bite on the R rating trend and kept it PG-13 which is appropriate for this film and in line with their target audience, mainly everybody.
The writers Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Stephany Folsm and Eri Pearson are all mainstays in the Marvel Universe and know this character well so expect the treatment to be airtight and concise. Haititi said he was influenced by Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Midnight Run and Big Trouble in Little China when asked about the style of the film and his idea to give Thor a “road movie” theme. “Road movie” is Hollywood speak for a film that follows two protagonists as they go off on an adventure in search of something or someone. In this case, Thor and Hulk will search the vast cosmos and the Nine Realms for who we can presume to be the All-Father himself Odin (Hopkins), if the Dr. Strange credits scene is any indication. Odin of course, was replaced on the throne by the God of Mischief, Loki (Hiddleston), at the end of Dark World.
As far as antagonists go, expect many along the way including Loki and Surtur the Fire Demon, but most notable is Oscar winner Cate Blanchett playing the role of Queen Hela, or the slightly more intimidating, Asgardian Goddess of Death. What causes Hela to leave her kingdom of Hel and force a conflict with Thor and the rest of Asgard is uncertain, but she looks incredibly powerful in the trailer and should be fun as hell to watch. Goldblum as the Grandmaster looks fantastic and Thompson as Valkyrie looks to be a scene stealer but as far as familiar faces go, don’t expect to see Jane played by Natalie Portman show up at anytime. Portman and Marvel couldn’t agree on terms in what was rumored to be a contentious negotiation. But this should make fans happy who were never comfortable with that relationship in the previous films and were eager to voice their displeasure.
Some things worth noting is that Thor is the first Avenger to have on-screen dealings with Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange, aka Doctor Strange. That relationship should be vital in how this story connects to Infinity War and other MCU films going forward. Also, unlike Iron Man and Captain America, this series is the only trilogy in the MCU so far that has had each installment directed by a different filmmaker. Kenneth Branagh was the first, followed by Alan Taylor who were also both first time blockbuster directors. Whether that will end up a being a positive or negative approach time will tell, but it’s an unusual approach for Marvel who has typically favored returning directors.
So that’s it minus the spoilery and rumory stuff which we’ll save for another time. Look for a one month preview for Thor: Ragnarok in Haustmánuður (October) when we should know more details and we’ll have a closer look at the plot and characters themselves…
Inntil neste gang…
(Till next time…)