Sitting out of Civil War and hanging with Daryl has enabled the MCU’s Thor Odinson to refocus. After starring in some of the weaker installments in Marvel’s movies, Thor will take 2017 by Mjolnir-induced storm in his third film, Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows). Although there isn’t even a teaser trailer for Ragnarok yet, it’s already clear Waititi’s sharp, witty humor — carved in the New Zealand indie movie scene — will solidify Thor: Ragnarok as the best, most refreshing entry in the Thor series, even if the contest is won by default.
Forget Loki, forget the Infinity Stones, forget all the MCU Easter eggs we may or may not see in Thor: Ragnarok. Based on the film’s integrity alone, here are just some of the reasons why November 2017 can’t get here fast enough.
4. Finally, someone can let Chris Hemsworth be funny
An impossibly handsome Australian actor who grew up surfing in Melbourne, Hemsworth is underestimated in his comedic range, as he’s mostly been cast in action movies and dramatic biopics. He’s done some funny stuff, including Ghostbusters — and I guess Vacation was supposed to be funny? — but no director has actually tapped into Hemsworth’s full potential.
Taika Waititi, whose films like What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople won pretty much everyone over, is such an unlikely choice to lead a multi-million dollar superhero movie. Waititi doing Thor makes no sense on paper, but when you realize what he’s capable of, he’s exciting.
No one’s humor should be judged on a Twitter account (an outlet Waititi also has a knack for), but thankfully Waititi has cred. The Comic Con short he produced suggests a cleaner, funnier, sharper Thor comedy.
3. There’s not a very high bar for Thor
Labeling 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World as disappointments is a strong blanket statement, but both are comparatively underwhelming in many regards, even outside Marvel’s catalog. Thor was fun but formulaic, while Thor: The Dark World was a sound-and-fury attempt at a Tolkein-esque fantasy. Neither stuck, despite flashes of smart wit and decent action set pieces.
And both pale in comparison to the influence exerted by Thor’s fellow Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man. Captain America might have the best trilogy in the whole MCU, while 2008’s Iron Man is the most influential Marvel movie whether it deserves that recognition or not. And both Thor films are disappointingly safe compared to riskier movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man (which too many forget was a heist movie).
Thor has been in four movies (five, including a Doctor Strange cameo) and yet the God of Thunder hasn’t stolen the show once.
2. Taika Waititi doesn’t care about the MCU
While comic book fans relish the building of an interconnected story universe, shit can get boring. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice prioritized building the DC Universe so much that it forgot to tell a good story.
Although Waititi will probably throw in a bunch of nice Easter eggs, Infinity Stone references, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, Waititi’s expressed that he doesn’t care about making a movie inside a strict continuity. His priority is to tell a good story, and in this era of superhero movies, that’s all too rare.
1. It has a Hulk.
Primed to be a “buddy road movie” with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Thor: Ragnarok has the Hulk, another Marvel dude missing from Civil War.Photos via Getty Images / Andrew Toth, Marvel Studios