Marvel definitely had some steep competition heading into Saturday night’s Comic-Con panel. Most were expecting a brand new Thor: Ragnarok trailer, but fans were also treated to the sneak looks at Black Panther and Captain Marvel, plus a repeat engagement with the D23 footage from Avengers: Infinity War. Black Panther gave us an early look at Klaw’s new arm to replace the one lost in Age of Ultron, but it was Captain Marvel that might’ve surprised the most with the inclusion of the Skrulls — originally thought to be property of the Fox deal — and the revelation that it will be a prequel set in the ’90s. Well ahead of all the other Marvel films we’ve seen.
But both of those are well off past the turn of the new year. While many people are still dying to see the Infinity War footage, the real star of the show was the Thor: Ragnarok panel and trailer. Not only does it combine two of the greatest Marvel Comics stories of all time into one film, it also looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Fun that was missing from previous Thor films, fun that helps bust up the tension of this world shaking superhero battles, and fun that is welcome before the grim events of Infinity War.
Not only is the scope massive — which is hard to comprehend considering what comes next — but we also got to see the Hulk do practically every Hulk thing we’d want to see except having his name in the title of the movie. And that’s only in the trailer. It might not be the footage that everybody wants, but it’s more than worthy of a breakdown.
The Norse Connection
This might seem like a bit of an obvious thing to point out, but the idea of Ragnarok and the events of this film actually drag the cinematic Thor closer to his comic and mythological counterpart than the previous two films. That’s a lot to say given he’s sent to a foreign alien planet and forced to fight a giant green rage beast, but there’s a lot of imagery, characters, and comic history that takes a direct cue from some very old tales. The giant wolf for example is Fenrir, the beast that’s meant to kill Odin in the tale of Ragnarok. Because of this, the gods bound Fenrir to keep the story from coming to pass, something that carries over to the comics.
In the trailer, we see Fenrir is loose but we also know Odin is already out of commission. So instead it gets The Hulk. It’s meant to be a wolf with the intelligence of a human, so we might hear the beast speak or something on the big screen. His appearance in the trailer was definitely one of the top surprises, though.
Elsewhere we get our Richard Wagner moment with Valkiyrie and a horde of her fellow warriors flying in to battle Cate Blanchett’s Hela, possibly to keep her from claiming the souls in Valhalla as her own. If you’ve seen Wonder Woman, this is similar to the painting that opened the film, brought to life in impressive fashion. Other aspects that might pop up include the Midgard Serpent, usually housed in Hela’s realm, and hopefully we’ll get some good Heimdall action.
This might seem like a small portion of the Thor story from Marvel, but Walt Simonson made a point to bring the character and his brethren back to their mythological origins with his run on the character in the ’80s. Since this film is borrowing a lot from that, it’s nice to see they’ve tried to keep it intact.
The other great story being blended into this film is the Planet Hulk storyline. It was rumored to happen as a solo Hulk film for a few years, but this might actually be a better way to make it work. The Warbound are present, the Hulk is clad in his gladiator armor, and he’s still taking on gigantic beasts he would normally have no business fighting.
Instead of the Red King, The Grandmaster will be playing the role of the leader forcing Hulk and his friends to battle. Also Thor will fill in for The Silver Surfer it seems, taking away the surprise cameo but supporting the overall story.
As for the Warbound, they’re all supposed to be present in the film. The only one we see in the trailer is Korg, which is fitting since he finds his origins in the early days of the Thor comic. While it’s not likely to be as faithful an adaptation as it could be, the fact that we’re getting it at all is great.
Cate Blanchett’s appearance as the Goddess of Death in the first Thor: Ragnarok trailer was already devious and threatening. The Comic-Con trailer takes that, expands it, and punches up every cool detail to make her seem like a true threat to all of Asgard. She’s got that dark and demonic presence in the trailer that might make her a proper rival to Loki as Thor’s most threatening villain. Her control over the dead from Hel and Niflheim still seems intact given the appearance of the undead soldiers attacking Valkyrie and Thor later in the trailer, also it seems like her Nightsword might take on a different existence to be some sort of magic instead of a singular sword.
Now along with Karl Urban’s Skurge — who we’ll get to in a moment — it seems that some parts of this portrayal will take inspiration from Enchantress, a sort of Asgardian anti-hero that fluctuates between evil and only slightly mischievous and usually tries to seduce Thor or anybody else that she wants to use. It’s doubtful those qualities will be at play with Hela, but her control over The Executioner/Skurge seems to be there.
The second bad guy of the film is Skurge The Executioner, played by Karl Urban. Given his track record, this should be enough to guarantee this film will be worth watching. For every Chronicles Of Riddick, there is a Dredd. This might not be a universal belief, but some of us miss Almost Human.
Skurge’s presence not only brings one of the cooler Thor villains to the big screen, but also gives him a chance to play his role from the comics and have a change of heart by sacrificing himself to stop the forces of Hel. He does this with those M-16’s you see him blasting away with in the first Ragnarok trailer, but he’s also got an axe that’s able to create portals. Not bad for someone who is an evil second fiddle for most of his appearances.
Possibly the coolest part of the entire trailer comes right at the end, with The Hulk flying full bore to attack a giant flaming demon. Things can’t end well but that doesn’t mean you can fault the guy for trying. He’s going up against the fire giant that is supposed to cover the entire world in flame at the end of existence.
Surtur is based on Surtr, one of the major figures in the Ragnarok myth and has been a recurring enemy of Thor and the Asgardians throughout their Marvel Comics history. During the Simonson run in the ’80s, Surtur and his flaming sword Twilight almost took out Thor and Odin before Loki actually came to the rescue with his trickery. Before that, things looked pretty rough, almost as rough as they look for The Hulk.
This is our first look and confirmation that Surtur will appear in the film, meaning Hela must take things pretty close to the brink if he’s showing up. Also the film is supposed to lead into Infinity War directly, meaning that whatever happens at the end leaves Thor flying through space and might leave Asgard in ruins.
The Incredible Hulk
The main attraction in Ragnarok has to be the Hulk. And for the first time, Bruce Banner has finally earned the right to be referred to the incredible moniker. His two appearances in Avengers treated the character with the respect he deserved, not to mention he was a force of nature as opposed to guy who turns angry, can lift a tank, but still gets taken down by the military. Avengers Hulk punches a damn space whale in the face and barely seems to get a scratch. In this trailer alone he’s fighting a giant wolf, beating the crap out of Thor, and diving to battle a giant demon. Not to mention he’s talking too.
Also, Hulk’s look in the film takes some inspiration from Damon Lindleof’s long-delayed Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk series. It might’ve taken three years for all six issues to come out, but it was worth it in the end and now it’s going to bring back memories thanks to Hulk’s appearance in Ragnarok.
But that’s the only reason The Hulk is truly incredible this time around. Bruce Banner is bringing his A-game. Just take note of the shirt he’s wearing from the trailer. If the retro feel of the film wasn’t enough, Banner is representing Duran Duran on an alien planet. Did he somehow just pick these clothes up one day and start wearing them? Did he stop the Quinjet after Age of Ultron to pack a bag and take off for space? Who cares. We don’t need a solo Hulk movie. Mark Ruffalo is doing enough Hulk in this one film to outperform them all.