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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Trailer: ‘Gladiator’ Plus the Avengers Is Clearly a Winning Formula

The next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks like so much fun — which is exactly what it should be

Ever since being underwhelmed by Spider-Man 3 in 2007, I’ve become one of those people who struggles to drum up excitement for the latest installment of the Marvel industrial complex or any of the attempts to make Superman seem cool. Sure, I’ve seen most of The Avengers films, out of a desire to engage somewhat with mass culture, but I mostly appreciate them as delivery mechanisms for well-choreographed, impressive action sequences and ignore the lore that enhances the movies for hard-core fans.

It looks like Thor: Ragnarok is a movie tailor-made for people like me.

Obviously, Ragnarok isn’t entirely bereft of MCU or Valhallan mythology. Monday’s trailer, our first real look at the film set for release in November, highlights a bit of the movie’s connection to the broader arc of Thor. In it, Hela, an Asgardian goddess of death played by Cate Blanchett, destroys Mjölnir, appears to take Asgard, and captures Thor (Chris Hemsworth). She sends him to be imprisoned on the other side of the universe, where there is nothing he can do to stop Ragnarok, an apocalyptic series of events that would destroy Asgard.

That’s all fine and good, but it appears that stuff will be secondary to the movie’s main attraction: a massive gladiatorial contest for Thor’s freedom and the fate of his homeland.

Yes: Ragnarok is basically Gladiator.

You remember Gladiator? The film where Russell Crowe plays Maximus, an honest warrior, taken captive by the maniacal emperor Commodus and forced to battle for the entertainment of the masses, who ultimately defeats all of his challengers to save his kingdom from said emperor? Judging from the scenes in the trailer, it looks like that’s exactly what we’re going to get in Ragnarok. The Avengers plus Gladiator is a can’t-miss formula.

The film will feature at least a couple of massive battle scenes, pitting several great figures from Asgard, including Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba), against hordes from other worlds we’ve yet to experience. And on top of it all, we’ll get a fight sequence between Thor, sporting a much cleaner haircut and some tasteful war paint, and the Hulk, five seconds of which already looks better than all of Captain America: Civil War, mainly because it just looks like so much fun.

The Ragnarok trailer is the first I’ve seen from this universe that’s made me want to go back to watch previous installments. But weirdly enough, it’s also a movie that doesn’t seem to demand boning up on MCU history to be appreciated. It looks like a film made for those tired of sequels and cinematic universes that promises visual spectacle without the baggage of the 16 movies that have preceded it.

I, for one, am already entertained.