Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful film, especially in the segments set on the technicolor trash planet of Sakaar, and it's filled with colorful new characters. Surprisingly, a film featuring the acting caliber of Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum, and Cate Blanchett is stolen by someone more unassuming. The best character in the film is played by the man who directed it, Taika Waititi.
As much as I love Thompson's drunken Valkyrie swagger and Goldblum's garish, synth-loving, dictatorial Grandmaster, neither they nor Blanchett's campy villainess holds top honors as a fun movie's most fun person. Waititi is simply too different a presence in a Marvel (or any superhero) movie.
Waititi's movies have been known to focus on "weirdos in weird places, stuck far from home," like Hunt for the Wilderpeople's Maori rapper kid and the vampires of What We Do in the Shadows. Continuing that tradition with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), he takes it even further with his own role. Waititi plays the motion-captured rock monster Korg, who befriends Thor while they are both forced to compete in a gladiatorial arena for the Grandmaster's amusement.
Korg, appearing alongside the blade-bug Miek, steals his every scene in Thor: Ragnarok. In fact, the response internally was already so positive to the duo that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said that "We have plans for Korg and Miek. When and where we'll have to wait and see, but we, like the audience now that they've seen them, can't get enough." We know why Miek rules (a silent bug with blades for arms ... what's not to like?), but what makes Korg so great?
Waititi's soft-spoken delivery and comic timing when playing the Kronan alien bridge the gap between Guardians of the Galaxy's tone and the unstable balance of serious/silly present in the Thor series. Waititi based the tough, quiet, jovial role on that of Polynesian bouncers, whose imposing forms often mask mellow personalities. He's such a fresh, funny character in a franchise — and a superhero series in particular — that usually angles its comic relief characters toward whip-quick acerbic one-liners or complete slapstick. This is a different breed of humor and one that fits in more beneficially with the space action of Ragnarok.
Korg cracks jokes with Waititi's signature deadpan — which he honed while acting in his other films Boy and What We Do in the Shadows — to defuse situations calmly and non-confrontationally. He's ineffectual and cowardly, but in a childlike way rather than in a way that still presses sassiness and badassery into every corner of this spandexed cinescape. Korg is a series of lovable failures, which the Marvel movies don't really see. Nothing needs deflating like the egos of Tony Stark, Thor, and ... well, everyone in these movies. Korg messes up, talks a big (yet caring) game, and comes through when he needs to, all while advocating for a slave-led revolution.
This comes directly from his plotline in the comics, where Korg was a friend of the Hulk rather than Thor and came back to Earth after their escape from Sakaar to fight alongside the green goliath. His impact in the film, however, helps bring closure to a superhero franchise that's seemed like it was floating as aimlessly in space as Thanos. That leads us to Korg's impact on the plot and the credits scenes, which are hard to talk about without some spoilers, so be prepared if you haven't seen the film.
At the ending of the film, when all hope for Thor, Hulk, and Valkyrie is lost on the rainbow bridge Bifröst as Hela and her undead army close in, who appears but Korg's crew in a stolen spaceship. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is around too, but he's lost most of his comic real estate to this pile of CGI pebbles, which is sort of beautiful. Korg's displaced slave rebellion saves the day, allowing Loki to start Ragnarok and all the Asgardians to escape.
But things don't stop there. That ship, stolen by Korg and company, is approached by what The Wrap discovered is Sanctuary II. For more clarity, The Sanctuary is the desolate rock where we first saw Thanos. Undercutting this, one of the most necessary pieces of setup for Infinity War, is no small task. Leave it to Korg to wring pathos and laughs from his final scene, trumping even the reveal of the Big Bad's ship right next door.
As Feige said, this mid-credit stinger isn't the last we'll see of the charming rock man. Waititi, when asked about Korg's future, said that "We were talking about doing a little spin-off. Like one of these One-Shot short films with Korg and Miek … like [them] just going shopping and things."
It sounds almost like Feige and Waititi want the pair to become the Pirates of the Caribbean's Pintel and Ragetti (the wooden eyeball guy and his friend) of the Marvel universe. I'll admit, watching Korg buying little Ginsu knives for his friend sounds completely charming, but audiences will be even more excited if Korg's later comic plot finds its way into the film franchise in some capacity.