The first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok—Taika Waititi’s new and improved Thor—is here, and if you still need any convincing that Waititi is the right person to save Thor, let it be the moment that Thor sees the Hulk in a gladiator’s arena, pure delight spreading across his face. “Yes!” he bellows, “he’s a friend from work!” HE’S A FRIEND FROM WORK.
That one line does it, the trailer could end right there, but we still get hero shots of Thor and Hulk, of Loki—Tom Hiddleston is going to rebound strong on how cool Loki 3.0 is—and of Cate Blanchett as Hela. Hela with her crazy antler headpiece, Hela with her Goth makeup, Hela breaking Mjolnir and sending Thor’s ass to space prison. Hela is here to f*ck sh*t up, and Blanchett looks like she’s having a good time doing it. And there’s Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, a quick cut of a new look for Idris Elba as Heimdall—maybe he finally gets to do something useful!—and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. The art design is bonkers, with a lot of dramatic makeup, and a lot of dramatic space couture—it looks like David Bowie threw up on the Thor franchise.
I really want to talk about the cinematic look of this trailer. Marvel has a reputation for colorful comic book movies and Waititi has cranked the color dial to eleven—this is a vividly realized world, bursting with colors. Even the darker Hela shots are in high contrast, keeping white light in the frame. That shot of Valkyrie on a Pegasus confronting Hela is almost completely colorless (the blue cape and green sword are the only spots of color in the frame), but it looks better than anything Zack “Achromatic” Snyder has done in the DC movies because there is LIGHT in the frame.
When I wrote about the last Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer, I mentioned how the trailer didn’t look as sharp as we’re used to seeing from Marvel, and that there was some snippiness in regards to how much it costs to do things the Marvel Way. Well this trailer is POLISHED. The effects are smooth, the lighting is even, the color timing is complete—you can see in the final result, the resources Marvel threw at Ragnarok’s trailer to make it look as perfect as possible. (And sound—“The Immigrant Song” doesn’t come cheap and requires sign-off from the surviving members of Led Zeppelin.) As cute as Homecoming looks, there is no denying the Ragnarok trailer is WAY better, not least because it just plain looks better.
There are a lot of superhero movies this year, and while I am on tenterhooks to see if Wonder Woman delivers, Thor: Ragnarok is my #1 most anticipated for the year. I’ve been talking this movie up for months, stoked by Taika Waititi’s leadership and Chris Hemsworth’s renewed enthusiasm for the role (the movies haven’t been great but he is the PERFECT Thor, and I look forward to a filmmaker finally utilizing him properly). Now that you’re seeing it, too, are you getting excited? Could we actually be entering a world where THOR is our favorite Avenger?