Every year, the slate of comic book and superhero movies hitting theaters gets bigger and better. This year is off to a very good start; thanks to the critically praised Logan. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 looks like it’s going to knock it out of the park once again, and Spider-Man: Homecoming looks like it will finally be the Spider-Man movie we all have been waiting for, thanks to the involvement of Marvel Studios. However, the one movie that will be the best isn’t any one of these films. It’s Thor: Ragnarok. Thor has arguably been the weakest franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe–both financially and critically. The first Thor movie introduced Loki, and that was its saving grace. It wasn’t nearly as strong as the other origin stories films in the MCU like Iron Man, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, and Captain America: The First Avenger. Things look like they are going to be different this time around. Thor: Ragnarok sees Thor teaming up with Hulk to do battle on a gladiator planet called Sakaar. It’s something comic book fans have been waiting for for a very long time, and it’s sure to turn the Thor franchise around completely. It might even be as good as Captain America: Civil War based on what we know about the film so far. Here’s a look at why Thor: Ragnarok will be the best comic book movie this year. Of course, fans are still hotly anticipating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man Homecoming, but the hype for Thor: Ragnarok is huge, even though we have seen or heard very little about the movie.
15. Hulk And Thor Teaming Up
The best part of the first Avengers film was the relationship between Thor and the Hulk. And the fans have wanted more of that uneasy alliance ever since. The characters have had such an interesting dynamic, but they haven’t shared much screen time on film yet. Why not make a buddy movie with two of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? That sounds like a match made in heaven. If two heroes were going to team up in an MCU film, it should be these two. Hulk and Thor go together better as a team than a majority of other Marvel Heroes, and if there was ever a film adaptation of the classic Marvel Team Up comics then Thor and Hulk would have to be at the forefront.
The moment in the first Avengers film where Hulk gave Thor a friendly punch in the shoulder after they finished taking out some Chitauri was the funniest part of the movie, and we’re likely to see more of that in Thor: Ragnarok. That has moviegoers very excited about seeing this pair on screen.
14. Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum makes every movie he’s in, better. He’s one of the most underrated actors working in Hollywood. He’s also a staple of the sci-fi genre, thanks to films like Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Independence Day, and The Fly. He is also extremely funny (have you seen him in Portlandia?), which makes him a perfect fit for Thor: Ragnarok. Jeff Goldblum will be playing the evil and eccentric Grandmaster in the film. The Grandmaster is the ruler of the gladiator planet Sakaar. He is both a hedonist and pleasure-seeker who enjoys manipulating and enslaving lesser life forms for his own entertainment.
The Grandmaster is obsessed with gambling and games of chance. He’s one of the most powerful beings in the universe along with the Collector, who was played by Benecio Del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy. Both the Collector and Grandmaster are Elders of the Universe. This role should be very interesting, and casting Jeff Goldblum as an eccentric character is just perfect. Goldblum apparently improvised a lot for the movie.
13. The Director
Taika Waititi is the perfect director for Thor: Ragnarok. This New Zealand-born director is fairly new to the scene and made quite a name for himself, thanks to an incredibly funny film called What We Do in the Shadows, a horror comedy about old vampires living in a modern-day Wellington. Waititi directed and starred in the movie alongside Flight of the Conchord’s Jemaine Clement.
Kenneth Branagh made a fairly good Thor film in 2011, but Thor: The Dark world, which was directed by Game of Thrones and Terminator: Genysis director Alan Taylor, left a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths. It was underwhelming to say the least. Waititi is bringing fresh life into this franchise and his unique voice will fit well with this cosmic level Marvel film.
12. Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett is one of the best actresses working today. She has multiple Academy Awards. With her starring as big baddie and underworld demigod Hela in Thor:Ragnarok looks to buck the trend of mediocre villains in the MCU. If there is one weakness in the MCU films, it’s the villains. Aside from Loki, none of them have had the same type of impact or gravitas as the heroes have. Casting someone as skilled and recognizable as Cate Blanchett is a very smart choice. A strong female villain in the MCU would be a welcome addition, and we hope her portrayal of Hela is iconic like that of Loki and not underwhelming like that of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
11. The Source Material
Thor: Ragnarok will be based heavily on the epic comic book story line Planet Hulk. This run in The Incredible Hulk comic book featured Hulk being stranded on a gladiator-style war world and becoming a champion of the people. Basically, it was the Marvel Comics version of Spartacus. Thor: Ragnarok will be heavily influenced by this book. However, it won’t be a direct adaptation. As we saw with Civil War, Kevin Feige and team did a great job of adapting the most famous comic book story lines and making them suitable for the big screen. Civil War was only slightly similar to the comic book version, but the film turned out to be the best superhero movie ever made. You should expect the same result with Thor: Ragnarok.
10. Cosmic Marvel
The Marvel cinematic universe is always expanding. It started in Malibu with Iron Man and then moved to New York with the Avengers. Age of Ultron took the action to Africa and Asia, and then Guardians of the Galaxy took things to a whole new solar system. The Thor films have mostly taken place in Asgard or one of the nine realms, but they have been lacking that cosmic and outer space feel that made Guardians of the Galaxy so amazing and innovative. In Thor: Ragnarok, very little of the film will take place in Midgard (a.k.a. Earth). It will take place on a whole new planet and explore other parts of the Nine Realms. Making this movie larger in scope and leaving Earth behind should breathe new life into the franchise.
9. Dr. Strange
Dr. Strange was another hit for Marvel and Disney, and fans are already wanting more of the Sorcerer Supreme. Luckily, we won’t have to wait until next year’s Infinity War movie to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the Master of the Mystic Arts. We don’t know how much screen time Dr. Stephen Strange will have in Thor: Ragnarok, but we do know that he is in the movie. The end credit scene of Dr. Strange teased his appearance in the third Thor movie. He will help Thor and Loki track down Odin, who is apparently missing on Earth. Dr. Strange will even be wearing his famous yellow gloves with black polka dots this time around. We hope it’s more than just a glorified cameo. Thor, Hulk, and Dr. Strange would be a triple threat.
8. Infinity War Set-up
Thor: Ragnarok will be the last MCU movie released before next year’s Avengers: Infinity War comes out, and that means we can expect some sort of final set-up towards Thanos getting all the infinity stones so he can reshape the universe to meet his standards. The Grandmaster likely has something to do with this. In the comics, the Grandmaster possessed one of the infinity stones, and it’s possible that that will be the case in Thor: Ragnarok as well. Only one infinity stone has yet to be introduced in the MCU, and we could see it show up in Thor: Ragnarok. You can bet that Thor: Ragnarok will have an end credits scene teasing Infinity War—maybe even a full trailer at the end of the film.
Humor has always been one of the strong points of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s what sets these movies apart from the boring and grim dark DCEU films. All Marvel movies have featured excellent jokes that would make even the finest stand up comedian proud. With comedy geniuses like Dan Harmon and Adam McKay working on some of the MCU scripts, would you expect anything less? Thor: Ragnarok is sure to feature plenty of quips and gags, and having a comedy director like Waititi on board should make this one of the funniest Marvel movies to date. However, it will still be an action movie and not a straight up comedic one. That assurance comes straight from the mouth of Waititi himself. The movie won’t sacrifice the action just for jokes.
6. No Jane Foster In The Film
The MCU is filled with strong female characters like Black Widow, Gamora, and Pepper Potts. All the female characters add depth to their films, but you can’t really say the same for Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster. She never really clicked with Thor and the chemistry was never really there. What’s worse is that she was literally just a damsel in distress in Thor: The Dark World. Jane Foster will be completely absent from Thor: Ragnarok as very little of the film takes place on Earth. Natalie Portman is a fine actress but her absence from the MCU will not be missed. Instead, Valkyrie will provide some sexual tension and romance for Thor.
5. Thor Losing His Powers
There are hints that Thor will be separated from Mjolnir once again in Thor: Ragnarok. The original Thor film saw Thor having to earn back his father’s respect to regain his powers. That made the movie interesting and posed a challenge for our hero. We may see something similar in Thor: Ragnarok. There is no way Thor will be allowed to used his hammer in a gladiatorial match. Set pictures show Thor sporting a brush cut and sword rather than his long locks and magical hammer. Thor is one of the most powerful marvel heroes, and being at a severe disadvantage without his weapon will make for an interesting struggle and add some much-needed tension to the film. If Thor can barely beat hulk with Mjolnir, how will he be able to do so without it?
4. Smart Hulk
As the MCU films have gone on, we have seen the Hulk transform from a raging beast to Bruce Banner being able to control the Hulk. Avengers: Age of Ultron saw the Hulk losing control only when he was mind-controlled by Scarlet Witch. Marvel is clearly moving towards a more intelligent version of the Hulk, and while we likely won’t see Hulk wearing fuzzy pink bunny slippers like smart Hulk does in the comics, we will still see a more cunning and crafty hulk.
The Planet Hulk comic showed a Hulk who was not merely a monster, but a hero who was willing to stand up for underdogs and overthrow corruption. Expect to see the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok have a similar personality and that should make the movie great.
3. Cool New Characters And Villains
Thor: Ragnarok is filled with cool new villains, and maybe one of these baddies will be a fan favorite like Loki. Obviously, both Hulk and Loki are returning in the “threequel,” but there are even more new villains aside from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and Cate Blanchett’s Hela. Hela is the main villain and the plot synopsis for the movie says that she’s the one trying to bring forth Ragnarok and destroy the nine realms.
Hela, the ruler of Niflheim, has been locked up for millennia, and after she’s accidentally released from her prison, she is out for revenge. There’s also Skurge, played by real life bad ass, Karl Urban. Skurge is an Asgardian who was a member of the Masters of Evil, the most powerful group of super villains in Marvel Comics. Skurge is a half-frost giant and incredibly powerful. He’s so powerful. In fact, he is nearly immortal.
Thor: Ragnarok will introduce yet another popular Thor character. Tessa Thompson will play Valkyrie. She’s also an Asgardian, but she is hiding out on Sakaar after making a deal with the Grandmaster. She shuns her Asgardian heritage, and although she is a superhero in the comics, her relationship with Thor in Thor: Ragnarok is sure to be a heated one.
2. Epic Fight Scenes
Thor vs. Hulk was the most epic battle in the Avengers. And the sheer might of these characters will result in some awesome brawls in Thor: Ragnarok whether they’re fighting together or against each other. It won’t just be a typical fist fight, though. There will be plenty of swordplay and bone-crunching action in the gladiator area. With so many powerful beings in this film, the battle scenes could be epic. Expect to see gladiator battles that will make Russell Crowe’s Gladiator look tame in comparison.
With Dr. Strange appearing in the film, we could even see some more mind-bending Inception style fights. This movie might be the most action packed Marvel movie yet, and the action will be unlike anything we have seen in a Marvel movie to date.
1. Road Trip Movie
Some of the best movies of all time are road trip movies. Tommy Boy; Thelma and Louise; Planes, Train and Automobiles—all these road trip movies have become staples of American cinema. Perhaps you’ll be adding Thor: Ragnarok to that list soon. Waititi described Thor: Ragnarok as a road trip movie due to the fact that the duo will be traversing the nine realms together. This is another example of how Marvel stays one step ahead of the competition.
With Ant-Man, the standard superhero film took a new direction. Ant-Man was a heist film, and Thor: Ragnarok looks to take on a similar path by placing superheroes in a different genre of film. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller and Spider-Man: Homecoming will be a John Hughes coming-of-age comedy drama. Marvel no longer just makes typical superhero movies. Instead, they make all sorts of films from a variety of genres. These films just happen to feature superheroes. This is a great approach, and that’s why we haven’t yet been bored of all the superhero movies. No two are alike.