With just three months to go until its release date, the feverishly anticipated Marvel Studios movie Thor: Love and Thunder has erupted with its first trailer.
Taika Waititi's first Marvel movie since the brilliant Thor: Ragnarok is sure to be loaded with his signature offbeat humour and eye-popping visuals. Here's the arrestingly retro new poster encapsulating the throwback Flash Gordon style that we loved in Thor: Ragnarok – any Chesney Hawkes fans out there revelling in the tagline?
The director's idiosyncratic style is evident right off the bat in the new trailer as Guns n Roses' 'Sweet Child of Mine' charges us through a quick-fire montage of jokes, planets and fan-pleasing Marvel references, plus exciting allusions to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Here's what we've spotted.
1. Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy may have differing ideas on the former's destiny
The end of Avengers: Endgame established Thor and the Guardians as bickering frenemies. The ex-Asgardian and Chris Pratt's Peter Quill/Star-Lord were arguing in a friendly/non-friendly way about who would become the captain of the ship, both literally and figuratively.
Well, in Thor: Love and Thunder, it looks as if the title character has reneged on his action-man lifestyle. At one point, clad in his usual armour and cloak, he appears to put down his battle axe Stormbreaker (forged during the events of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War) and walk away from a conflict in which the Guardians are involved. Are the Guardians attempting to get Thor to tap into his latent berserker rage of old?
There's also a moment before that where Thor appears on the battlefield in 'dress-down Friday' mode, sporting a jacket and t-shirt that causes Quill to eye roll. We're not sure exactly what's happening there but we'll find out in due course.
2. Korg looks set to become Thor's travel companion
Taika Waitii's Polynesian-accented rock monster Korg was a riotously funny scene-stealer in the director's Thor: Ragnarok. Despite sporting a motion-capture suit, Waitii formed great chemistry with Hemsworth, so we're delighted that he's back in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Korg may not get any lines but there are a couple of shots where he's standing by the side of Thor as the latter looks out towards various landscapes. We're curious about the giant frozen monster captured in the shot below – judging from Thor's expression, this is not a good thing.
3. Asgard has been turned into a bureaucratic nightmare
Asgard was devastated at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, and its staid substitute, 'New Asgard' (twinned with the town of Tomsberg, presumably a riff on the real-life town of Tonsberg in eastern Norway), has seemingly transformed into a bureaucratic nightmare.
Certainly, Asgard's new leader, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), doesn't look like she has any time for the council meeting she's seemingly been pulled into. This looks like Waititi by way of Terry Gilliam's satirical dystopian classic Brazil, and we're here for it.
4. Russell Crowe's Zeus looks like a beast
It was announced in 2021 that Gladiator Oscar-winner Crowe would be appearing in the movie as the mighty Zeus. We only get to see him from the back wielding a thunderbolt (which appears to be the visual signature of his planet/arena/wherever it is), but he communicates, appropriately, a sense of heft.
5. Natalie Portman is the Mighty Thor
We've known for some time now that Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, returning for the first time since 2013's Thor: The Dark World (barring her archive footage appearance in Avengers: Endgame), would be taking over the mantle of Thor.
This is demonstrated at the end of the trailer when she plucks the hammer Mjolnir out of thin air – one senses that this will be an equal opportunities Thor movie that will address gender parity and the 'boy's own' attitude that has been allowed to reign for so long.
That said, how will the practicalities of two Thors play out? Clearly, Hemsworth's iteration is tired of fighting and Portman's character has stepped up to the plate, the reasons for which are not clear at this stage. Will they end up complementing each other on the battlefield?
There's no sign yet of Christian Bale's villain Gorr the God Butcher (some tie-in Gorr-themed Thor merchandise has already given us an impression), but he's sure to turn up in a future trailer.
Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled for release on 8th July. What did you spot in the trailer that we missed? Let us know @Cineworld.