Who needs the rest of the Avengers when you have Thor and Hulk? That's the strong case being made in Thor: Ragnarok. The movie teams up this pair of mismatched heroes for what can only be described as a cosmic road trip. Sure, that is a term we've heard thrown around quite a bit. But what does it actually mean? Today, we finally have some answers.
This week's print edition of Entertainment Weekly has a full synopsis for Thor 3. And it finally explains the new haircut on Thor, those swords and all that Goth eye shadow we've seen in recent Ragnarok photos. The magazine released several new images yesterday, giving us a first look at Valkyrie, Hela and the Grandmaster. We also got to see Thor's new do and Dr. Bruce Banner. Not to mention the background in several scenes looked pulled from an 80s day-glow Sears ad. So what gives?
At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor flew away from planet earth in search of answers. But to what, wasn't exactly clear. Once back in Asgard, he discovers that his brother Loki has been impersonating his father Odin. Loki hasn't necessarily been paying attention to the finer details of his job, and this results in Hela (Kate Blanchett) being freed from her prison. An early fight scene between Thor and Hela blasts Chris Hemsworth's title character to the planet of Sakaar, which was first introduced in the Planet Hulk comic books from Marvel, which part of this story is pulled from.
Sakaar is a barbaric planet ruled by the 'charming but nefarious' Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum. Valkyrie, here embodied by Creed star Tessa Thompson, soon befriends Thor. She is a 'tough, hard drinking warrior' who has been hiding out. She takes Thor to the Grandmaster, so that he can participate in a few gladiatorial games. Says Hemsworth.
"Thor is a bit of a fanboy for the Valkyrie, the elite women warriors."
Thor is soon forced into becoming a gladiator against his will. This new occupation is directly responsible for the very short haircut we've seen Hemsworth rocking in recent images. It is here that he is also stricken of his iconic hammer, given swords to fight with instead. He is soon reunited with an old frenemy in the form of Hulk, who has become Sakaar's most popular and successful gladiator. About Hulk's place in the story, actor Mark Ruffalo says this.
"He's much more of a character than the green rage machine you've seen in the Avengers movies. He's got a swagger. He's like a god."
After an epic fight which will serve as one of the film's central action set pieces, Thor and Hulk unite for their often heard about 'cosmic road trip'. This is where the movie turns into 48 HRS. in space. The rest of the movie is also compared to Withnail and I and Planes, Trains and Automobiles by director Taika Waititi. While the first half of the movie is heavy on action, the second half will utilize Chris Hemsworth's comedic chops, which were on full display in past films such as Vacation and Ghostbusters. Says the filmmaker about his leading man.
"He's so good and underutilized in that department. He's legitimately one of the funniest things in this film."
Later in the movie, fans will get to see the return of Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange, as the Marvel superhero arrives to help Thor locate his father Odin in New York City. But don't look for these characters to spend too much time on planet earth. Says Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige.
"There's not a whole lot that takes place on Earth in this film, and that's one of the things that does."
The events in Thor Ragnarok will be directly responsible for setting up the events in Avengers: Infinity War. Though, it hasn't been revealed how that will all play out, and probably won't until fans are in theaters. That said, Waititi insures that this particular Thor adventure completely stands on its own. Not only that, it completely reinvents the Thor franchise.
"A lot of what we're doing with the film is, in a way, kind of dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that's fresh. Everyone's got a slightly new take on their characters, so in that way, it feels like [this is] the first Thor."
As it stands, the first two Thor movies aren't as popular as a few other entries in the MCU. This latest installment should change that, and it is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. It won't be in theaters until this November. But Marvel fans fret not. We'll be getting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this May, and Spider-Man: Homecoming will arrive on it's heels later this summer. It's truly a great time to be a Marvel fan! DC fan? Not so much.