Oftentimes, while watching a superhero movie with stars who’re otherwise known for their Good Acting in Serious Movies, you get the sense that they’re cringing their way through it, internally weighing the money pouring into their bank accounts against the sacrifice of knowing they’ll have to gush in press conferences about how “inspiring” they found the experience of delivering catchphrases while suspended by a chafing harness against a green screen.
But in the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, the stellar cast — Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, and Tom Hiddleston — look like they’re legitimately having fun. Perhaps that’s because the film seems to know that its sole purpose is to be fun — something Marvel movies have understood for a while, while D.C. notoriously tries again and again to achieve gravity by bestowing their superheroes with the sole power of brooding.
One of the reasons Thor: Ragnarok feels like a more exciting prospect than other superhero movies is because it’s directed by Taika Waititi, whose other films have toyed with genre with hilarity, playfulness, and sometimes (by not sacrificing the former two qualities) even poignancy. What We Do in the Shadows (which he made with Jemaine Clement) pairs the pop cultural banalizing of vampirism with the tired mockumentary form, to genius results. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a coming-of-age adventure story that expertly doles out sweetness and dry wit in just the right portions. The first trailer for Waititi’s Thor (the third in the franchise centering on the Norse deity/Marvel superhero) looks just as playful, down to the pairing of retro comic font with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”
The film sees Thor as he escapes from Sakaar (the planet on which we last left him, without his hammer, over which Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster character presides) in order to defend Asgard from Hela, the evil Goddess of Death played by Cate Blanchett, in a role that hardly needs more of an introduction than:
Thompson plays Valkyrie, the love interest who also happens to be the leader of women warriors; Hiddleston returns to the franchise as Loki, and Idris Elba is back as Heimdall.
Watch the trailer: