Marvel fans are in for a good year. We're less than a month away from the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we've already seen two trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and now we've just gotten our first trailer for Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok. And what a trailer it is! A heady blend of retro humor and fantasy drama, the movie promises to pit our heroes against Cate Blanchett's incredible new villain Hela!
A Villain Like No Other
The trailer opens with Thor a prisoner, held above what appears to be Muspelheim — the Realm of Fire. Soon we're treated to a flashback narrative that reveals just how this came to be, and the first thing we see is Hela catching, and shattering, Mjolnir like brittle glass. It's a staggering scene, and immediately reveals that this is a being with physical power like none we've seen before. She catches Mjolnir as effortlessly as the Winter Soldier once caught Captain America's shield — but in Hela's case, it's far more impressive. Notice that she isn't knocked back even slightly. She's so powerful that all the sheer kinetic force of Mjolnir is effortlessly absorbed.
It's not clear what happens next. Over in the comics, Hela has sometimes demonstrated a sort of "death-touch," an ability to summon the forces of entropy upon anything she touches, aging her victims or corroding metal to dust. It's possible that's what she does to Mjolnir — but it's also possible that she's simply so strong that she can shatter even Dwarven Uru.
As the trailer continues, we see Hela stand — alone — against the forces of Asgard. Later, the Valkyrior sweep down upon her, and she casts them aside too. Until now, a lot of the most powerful villains of the #MCU have depended on minions to do their dirty work; not so Hela. She has no minions, and she doesn't need them.
A Tremendous Display Of Power
Hela doesn't just seem to be a physical powerhouse and a formidable warrior; the trailer shows her as a force of nature, summoning lateral clouds of superheated gas and ash that blast through Asgard and set it aflame. The effect is clearly inspired by the idea of pyroclastic flows, the most dangerous volcanic hazard — lateral blasts that can reach nearly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature, destroying all in their path. (To give you an idea of the threat, in 1902 a single pyroclastic flow destroyed the city of San Pierre on the island of Martinique, killing 28,000 in a matter of seconds.)
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We've never before seen this kind of personal power in the MCU. In the past, when villains have done something on this scale, it's been associated with an Infinity Stone. But there's no way this kind of power has anything to do with the Infinity Stones we've seen to date, and visually it looks nothing like the power we'd associate with the Soul Stone. No, this is Hela's own power.
Frankly, there's only one being who seems even reminiscent of Hela in terms of power and might: Odin, possessed of such mystical power that he could lay the enchantment upon Mjolnir. I think it's pretty clear why Thor and Loki decide they have to seek Odin; he's the only character we've seen in the MCU to date with power on this kind of scale.
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Hela is #Marvel's first main female villain, and she looks set to be our heroes' most powerful foe to date. She has the power to break Mjolnir, to cast aside the armies of Asgard, and to summon fire that burns Asgard to the ground. We don't yet know her full story, but in this first trailer we've caught a glimpse of her evil. And all of Asgard should tremble.
Do you think Hela is Marvel's most powerful villain?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Studios)