Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Thor by Hasbro

Thor: Ragnorok debuted in US theaters last week and it was a hell of a great ride! I doubt it will please fans looking for a respectful treatment of the comic book versions of Ragnarok or Planet Hulk, but it does manage to synthesize the elements of both comic arcs and mash them into a ridiculously fun and action-packed flick. Ironically, it’s also the best characterization of Hulk we’ve seen on the big screen yet. I’d even rate it above Guardians Vol. 2, and if you know me, then you know that’s high praise indeed! And against all odds, I was actually able to stick to a schedule and start in on the Ragnarok-inspired assortment of Marvel Legends right on time! OK, I was originally hoping to start last Monday, but close enough. This assortment includes six figures, and it’s split right down the middle between MCU-based figures and comic-based figures. I thought I’d kick things off with Thor himself, so let’s take a look!

Since I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, this is the part where I want to keep gushing on and on about the movie, but it’s only been out for one weekend and I don’t want to spoil one second of it, so I’ll refrain from saying anything other than I’ll definitely be catching it at least a couple more times before it leaves the theaters. It’s a spectacle. It’s a delight. It ranks up there among my favorite MCU films. The Thor movies have always had a fun element to them, but I’d say this was easily the most enjoyable of the bunch. If Disney can do this with Thor, they can do anything.

Thor’s had his share of wardrobe changes throughout the MCU timeline, but this gladiatorial armor is probably the biggest departure from what we’ve seen. And yet, it still manages to remain 100% Thor. The armor is mostly sculpted as part of the buck, and features some fine detail work, like tiny rivets and panel lining, as well as stitching on the trousers, and wrappings around his lower arms and legs.

Thor has reinforced plate armor on his left shoulder and his right leg and knee. The leg armor is a clip on piece and comes off easily. Other separately sculpted pieces include the waist belt and “skirt,” the shoulder strap, and the cape, which pegs into his left shoulder and his right hip. The cape can be a little tough to keep in place, as the pegs are rather soft and I find that the shoulder one will pop out, especially if I try to articulate his waist or his ab crunch too much. It looks great, but it does get in the way of play.

While the figure has an overall dark palate, there are some nice flourishes of color that are in keeping with the film’s wild and often lavish visuals. The leg and shoulder armor, for example are painted in a stunning metallic teal, and he has what appears to be alien scripted painted in blood red on these plates, as well as running down the left side of his suit. He also features a little bit of subdued gold leaf paint detailing on his tunic.

The portrait is excellent and I think it’s safe to say that this is Hasbro’s best Chris Hemsworth likeness at this scale. Hasbro is continuing to use halftone printing techniques for some of the facial features, and I think it works very well.  The beard is neatly painted and he has more of the blood red war paint on the left side of his face. The helmet is very reminiscent of Thor’s traditional helmet and features elongated wing pieces on the sides and more of that lovely teal paint mixed with gray. The wings are made of pretty soft plastic, but they seem to hold their shape pretty well.

There really aren’t any surprises in the articulation here. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, along with swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The elbow hinges are a tiny bit soft, but not outright mushy. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, with double hinges in the knees, swivels in the biceps, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The range of motion in the hips is empeded a bit by the “skirt.” Lastly, Thor has a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. Again, to really get the most out of the torso articulation, you’re best off removing the cape.

In addition to the BAF parts, Hulk’s helmet and noggin, Thor comes with a matched pair of futuristic swords, which he carries in the film. The blades have cut panel lines, and they also give us even more of that teal paint. It’s probably not a spoiler to point out how weird it is to get Thor figure without Mjolnir. One could argue that Hasbro should have still included it, as it does appear in the film, but to be honest, I have plenty of them already.

For some reason I wasn’t expecting a lot from this figure. That may because it’s peg-warming in my area and a lot of online retailers were discounting him right out of the gate. Imagine my surprise to learn that I think he’s the best MCU Thor Legends has given us. Maybe that’s not such high praise, because a lot of the Hemsworth Thors have been fair but mediocre. It’s also worth mentioning that Hasbro has released a variant of this figure, sans helmet, packed in with MCU Valkyrie, and I’m still on the hunt for that two-pack. Oh yeah, and if you come back tonight I’ll have a look at Loki.

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