Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

The first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok opens not with a bang, but with a wink: the Norse god of thunder in chains, cracking wise. “I know what you’re thinking,” he deadpans in the voiceover. “How did this happen?” Thor might be smart, but in this case he’s wrong. What you’re actually thinking is: Is that a joke? In a Thor movie? Followed closely by Wait, is that Zeppelin?! The answer to these questions—because this is Marvel, and Marvel has deconstructed CinemaScore in its test kitchen so many times that it can turn Ant-Man into a half-a-billion-dollar juggernaut—is an emphatic “yes.”

Yes, Chris Hemsworth builds on his Ghostbusters comic turn to bring a little levity to Mr. Mjolnir Risin’. Yes, the Ragnarok trailer begins with the churning riff of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” While the classic rock anthem functions as a punchline of sorts, with its Thor-adjacent lyrics about battles royale and “the hammer of the gods,” though, it also calls back to something far bigger. You may recall that in 2014, Marvel’s first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy used Blue Suede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” and a strong dose of goofiness to accomplish the impossible: getting people excited to see a movie about Star-Lord and a bunch of other obscure characters. The tactic succeeded so handily, in fact, that many an ensuing film has tried to copy it—and now, Marvel has realized that it can apply it to all of its MCU heroes, even the ones who have been kicking around the multiplex for years.

Marvel has always succeeded in part because of story-first institutional oversight, similar to that of other Disney holdings like Lucasfilm and Pixar. Like them, Marvel is a well-oiled machine. And now, like any good machine, it has finally become self-aware. It knows what you want, and it’s no longer holding back on delivering it.

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