Real talk before we jump into this — Thor: Ragnarok could end up being an even weirder film than Doctor Strange. While it seems as though the EW article gives away a lot in terms of plot, our guess is that this film is so weird that half of what we’re hearing here will be completely re-contextualized by the film and take on an entirely new meaning than what we’re giving it here.
Alright, let’s jump into it.
As described by EW, this film picks up soon after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which saw Thor take off into the cosmos to figure out who has been manipulating them this entire time. That person, by the by, is Thanos, but Thor doesn’t know that just yet. Or maybe he does — this article doesn’t say. As Thor seeks answers, he soon hears that his brother, Loki, has been impersonating their father, Odin, and that his rather “lax” method of ruling has lead to the re-emergence of an ancient evil — Hela.
We should point out here that we don’t have the details of who she is or where she’s been. We can ascertain that the power of Odin had some role in keeping her out of Asgard; it may have even kept her a bit more under control or maybe even imprisoned — again, this film is so weird it could be any number of things — we just know she’s suddenly out and a threat all because of Loki.
When Thor hears this, he confronts Hela and is immediately blasted to the barbaric, gladiatorial planet, Sakaar. There, he runs into Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), described as a “tough, hard-drinking warrior” who is “hiding out on Sakaar.” It’s not clear who exactly she’s hiding from, but in the mythology, the Valkyrie’s were responsible for ushering the honorable dead to Valhalla and now, with Hela on the loose — the Goddess of Death herself — it’s entirely possible that Hela is on the hunt for the Valkyries. Perhaps at one point the Valkyries all worked for her?
Again, weird movie — we’ll most likely get those answers when we watch the film.
Grandmaster has his hair all chopped off. They take Mjolnir from Thor and replace the hammer with two swords — sending him off to battle in their gladiator fights. And who should Thor discover is the planet’s “most popular and successful gladiator?”
However, in the EW piece, actor Mark Ruffalo describes this Hulk as new, saying, “.. 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.” What we can expect here is that the Hulk persona, now in a place where he can really unleash his power and let loose, won’t let the puny Banner persona out. It’s also entirely possible that Banner recognizes this is not a safe place for him, so he is more or less in hiding. What’s exciting about this description, however, is that Hulk is now smarter and more in control.
After the two Avengers meet each other in the arena, they take off on a cosmic road trip of some sort that director Taika Waititi compares to 48 Hrs, Withnail and I and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In fact, much of this part of the film is what has been hinted to in terms of this being a “cosmic road trip” and involving a lot more comedy, which plays to Taika Waititi’s strengths as a comedy director. As he tells EW —
“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.”
So, Thor 4?
They eventually make it back to Earth where they enlist the help of Doctor Strange to help them find Odin. Kevin Feige says in the EW piece that “There’s not a whole lot that takes place on Earth in this film, and that’s one of the things that does.” It’s been hinted at more than a few times, but it seems as if most of what we see in this film will be in Asgard, on Sakaar or in space ships getting back to Earth.
So, at the end of all this, we’re still not 100% sure what to make of Cate Blanchett’s role as Hela or how any of this figures into Avengers: Infinity War, which this film is supposed to set up in major ways. However, at the very least, we know that Thor is a fanboy for the Valkyries and that Hulk has swagger.
He has two cats and knows all things about Doctor Strange but little else.