The big reveal this week was the teaser trailer for the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.Â First hinted at in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, then again at the end of Doctor Strange, the increasingly juicy details that have been drip-fed to us about it over the last couple of years are finally coming together, and it’s just as beautiful a thing as Avengers was in 2012.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is home to a wonderfully diverse array of stories that has just as much room for bombastic fireworks displays (The Avengers) as it does for espionage thrillers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), monster movies (The Incredible Hulk), heist flicks (Ant-Man) and gritty beat-em-ups (Daredevil).Â And yes, there is also room for the mythical space Viking and his magic hammer.
The Thor series has always been on the sillier end of the MCU, but with Ragnarok, the studio has dialed it all the way up to eleven.Â Virtually any other franchise would have treated the destruction of the protagonist’s home world by Death itself as an event of profound significance.Â That’s how Man of Steel opened in 2013 and the entire DC Universe still hasn’t managed to recover from it.Â Even the first Thor treated the hero’s inability to lift Mjolnir has a bigger deal than the third movie does when the literal Goddess of Death shatters it with her bare hands.
From the neon title card to the wailing of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” to the implicit record scratch as a chained Thor tells us the “long story” about “how […] this happen[ed],” Thor: Ragnarok is damn near the most ridiculous thing Marvel has ever tried to put together.Â And if the movie is even half as good as the trailer, it might also be the single best thing they’ve ever done.
The entire trailer is basically a “greatest hits reel” of fan-service.Â It gives us Loki both in the midst of battle and at the side of Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster.Â It gives us Thor in the only context that’s ever made any sense for him — locked in mortal combat with the universe’s biggest monsters — and pits him up against a raging, armored Hulk.Â We see the glorious destruction of the most breathtaking setting in the MCU — Asgard — and already know that the most breathtaking character in the MCU — Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange — will show up at some point during the movie.Â It’s Thor 3, Planet Hulk and Civil War all rolled into one.
The best part is that with Marvel, what you see is what you get.Â Unlike its competition, the house that Stark built has shown in advance exactly what they plan to give us.Â And while there have been some surprises (Iron Man 3) and disappointments (Iron Fist) along the way, nobody has ever been given cause to say that they’ve been lied to.
2017 looks to be the year when Marvel goes all-in with the comic book weirdness of their source material: where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.Â Every movie this year is at least part-crossover and even all the Netflix series are coming to a head in The Defenders.Â Between the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ego the Living Planet, the Grandmaster and the Sorcerer Supreme himself, they’ve started embracing the most out-there cosmic stuff that even the comics tend to shy away from.
If this is the direction that Marvel’s taking its movies, then count me in.Â It’s everything I never knew I wanted.