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The first trailer for Taika Waititi's upcoming Thor: Ragnarok is the best Marvel Studios trailer, ever. Full stop. If this is any indication of how fantastic the third Thor movie can be, we should all just want to fast-forward the year 2017 to November, so we can bask in the glory of a full feature that's essentially THIS... but longer. Haven't seen the trailer yet? Rectify that now!
There's a lot going on in this first look at Thor: Ragnarok. More than we anticipated. And some of it might be confusing to people who don't follow every step of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and might have forgotten where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been since we last saw him on screen at the end of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. As Thor says in the trailer, "It's a long story." So lets start dissecting what is revealed in this trailer, starting with the force of pure evil who is going to make life difficult for our beloved God of Thunder.
Hela Destroys Mjolnir
The person who puts Thor in chains at the start of this trailer is Hela, a classic villain who will be portrayed by the brilliant Cate Blanchett in this movie. From what we learned earlier, Hela has been locked away for some time. While she will be released from her prison by accident, she has absolutely no intention of going back. Thor seems to confront Hela in what looks to be an alleyway in a major city on our planet. New York, perhaps? But this confrontation looks to take place early in the film, as Hela shows she has the power to destroy Thor's main weapon, the hammer Mjolnir, and then banish him to a faraway land. More on that in a moment.
Hela Has Several Cool Looks In Thor: Ragnarok
Lesson number one: If you get Cate Blanchett to play the villain in your Marvel movie, you do everything in your power to make her look cool as shit. We get a couple of glances of Hela in this trailer, from the time she shatters Mjolnir to when her army takes down Thor's home world as the warrior queen casually decrees, "Asgard is dead." But this shot of her in her full costume signifies the villain likely reaching the fullest extent of her power, maybe as the new ruler of a fallen Asgard. How will Thor defeat her, and win his land back?
Meanwhile, on Sakaar...
After his first encounter with Hela (Cate Blanchett), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will be banished to the outlying planet of Sakaar, which has previously been described to us as the landing spot for every criminal and degenerate who are banned from other existing worlds. Out first look at Taika Waititi's interpretation of Sakaar makes it look like something out of the Star Wars Universe, with countless creative creatures waiting around every turn. Our Asgardian hero isn't welcomed with open arms by the Sakaar natives. As it turns out, they hold gladiator battles on this strange world, and Thor is viewed as a top contender.
A Marvel-ous Haircut
Once Thor is subdued by his new captors, dragged into their clutches by a new character named Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), his glorious golden locks are shorn. This isn't a Sampson-esque stripping of his powers. And as you will see later in the trailer, Chris Hemsworth somehow looks better -- as if that's even possible -- with the shorter 'do. Maybe this is a way for the Sakaarians to undermine Thor, thinking that if they remove his signature locks, he'll be intimidated somehow? No clue, but he doesn't look happy in that chair. If only he still had his hammer...
As if the cast of Thor: Ragnarok wasn't cool enough, Marvel Studios went ahead and added Jeff Freaking Goldblum as The Grandmaster in Taika Waititi's upcoming sequel. Jeff Goldblum is part of the MCU! The Grandmaster, in the comics, is one of the Elders of the Universe (a group that includes Benicio Del Toros' The Collector from the first Guardians of the Galaxy film). On screen here, he is the ruler of Sakaar, and a celestial being interested in games of chance. He enjoys pitting people against each other, hence the gladiator battles that look to be all the rage on Sakaar. Goldblum's look in this movie is spectacular, and it fits in beautifully with the neon-cosmic motif that Waititi has brought to Ragnarok.
A Better Shot of Valkyrie
There are a lot of new characters being added to Thor: Ragnarok, a bold initiative to expand the already massive universe that swirls around the Asgard-based movies. We will touch on a few familiar faces in a few, but Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is an interesting case because we think they are making changes from the comics, and we can't wait to see how they play out. The trailer suggests that Valkyrie has been on Sakaar for some time, as she is able to hold counsel with The Grandmaster and even offer him the services of Thor, a newcomer. We think she will end up being a love interest, replacing the now departed Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), but Valkyrie also should fight alongside Thor when he returns to Asgard to dethrone Hela. Right?
A New Look For Heimdall
Heimdall (Idris Elba) appeared in a vision to Thor in the wading pools of Age of Ultron. He was telling the God of Thunder that there were problems back home in Asgard, which prompted Thor to return. This shot of Heimdall is intriguing because the keeper of the portal between worlds now appears to have abandoned his post -- likely due to the turmoil caused by Hela -- and is taking up a sword ... in Asgard's defense? Elba looks to be playing the character as a little lost and confused, so this quick snapshot has us curious to see what character developments are on the horizon for this side character.
The Battle of Asgard
All hell will break loose when Hela shows up in Asgard. The Thor movies, if nothing else, have shown the scope of battle between warriors of strange and distant worlds. Everything we have been hearing about Spider-Man: Homecoming is how it will be a smaller Marvel movie told from the ground-level of the MCU. Thor: Ragnarok? Totally different. There looks to be sweeping, epic battles that we have almost come to expect from this corner of the MCU, and seeing Hela take on the armies of Asgard will be (we hope) a staggering visual spectacle.
Look Who's Back... Loki!
You almost can't have a Thor movie without his step-brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the God of Mischief, right? Well, rest your concerns, Marvel fans, as we get a brief glimpse of Hiddleston in costume as his classic adversary. Our last interaction with Loki was in the closing minutes of Thor: The Dark World, when it was made clear that he was impersonating his dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), to sit on Asgard's throne. Does this mean that Loki will fight back against Hela (Cate Blanchett) in an effort to defend what he stole? Will he need his step-bro to bail him out? What other nefarious plans to Loki have? (Because you know he isn't going to stand idly by why Hela and Thor battle for the rights to a kingdom he thinks is rightfully his.)
Thor Gets His Wings!
Back on Sakaar, the "main event" begins. Thor, being told he must fight his way through a hellish gauntlet of competitors in the ring, dons a part of his new costume that will give Marvel fans butterflies in their geeky stomachs. Thor, in the comics, has wings on his helmet. It wasn't practical in the movies (to date), but they were part of his signature look. So yes, I cheered out loud when Chris Hemsworth put this helmet on and turned to face his first challenger, and when he flipped the levers down his wings -- or, a variation on them -- popped up. Excelsior!
Ladies and Gentlemen... Planet Hulk!
It has been a long-standing rumor that one day, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would attempt a Hulk movie based around the popular Planet Hulk storyline, which found the Incredible Hulk banished to a planet where he engaged in gladiator battles. That is basically coming to fruition in a backdoor sense as part of Thor: Ragnarok, and the reveal of The Hulk was a wonderfully comedic beat that worked even for all of us who KNEW that Bruce Banner's angry alter ego was going to come through that door. Chris Hemsworth's joy at encountering his "old friend from work" shows off the absurd humor that Taika Waititi will bring to Thor: Ragnarok. But before we can laugh too hard, Thor and Hulk are running at each other for what's sure to be a bone-crunching Marvel battle.
This is a fantastic first step for Marvel's third Thor movie. We're basically bummed that we have to wait until November to see how this all plays out. We will have Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming to keep us entertained between now and then. Thor: Ragnarok opens in theaters on November 3. For more information on all Upcoming Marvel Movies, click those words.