Mark Ruffalo long ago characterized “Thor: Ragnarok” as “a universal road movie” that hinges on the relationship between his Hulk and Chris Hemsworth’s thunder god, so it’s perhaps not too surprising that director Taika Waititi drew inspiration from such buddy films as “48 HRS.,” “Withnail and I” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”
However, the filmmaker assures the Marvel Studios sequel isn’t a straight-up comedy, and compares its tone a John Carpenter cult classic: 1986’s “Big Trouble in Little China,” which stars Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, a truck driver who’s drawn into an underworld of sorcery and demons in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Waititi, who until now is best known for the horror comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” and the comedy-drama “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” used “Big Trouble in Little China” in his pitch to Marvel.
“’Big Trouble in Little China’ was one of those films where Jack Burton is a buffoon but he’s lovable and you’re with him the entire way,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I thought Thor has got to be the one you want to be with in every scene.”
The third “Thor” film, “Ragnarok” picks up after the events of 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” as the thunder god returns to Asgard, only to be expelled by Hela (Cate Blanchett) to the distant barbarian planet Sakaar without his enchanted hammer Mjolnir. In a race against time to get hope and prevent its destruction, Thor must first survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits up against his fellow Avenger the Incredible Hulk.
Opening Nov. 3, “Thor: Ragnarok” stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.