By now, most Marvel fans should have seen Thor: Ragnarok, which is an awesome film. So it’s now time to discuss what made this film awesome and the best Thor film and one of the funniest Marvel films to date. If you haven’t seen the film yet, please power down your device, get some fresh air for a bit and watch the movie.
We start off with Thor, being held prisoner somewhere while on his quest to find the infinity stones after hanging out with his friend Daryl and sitting out Civil War. The first big surprise is that we find out he’s already in the realm of Surtur, the fire demon. Already? The trailers, as well as the film’s premise suggest that he is to be the final villain who would appear after the heroes beat Hela. We also expected to hear a Dormammu-like voice, but instead, we hear a very human voice from actor Clancy Brown which was very funny in all its unlikelihood. His and Thor’s verbal exchange is legend and almost slapstick which prepares the audience for the tone of the movie. Now Thor is anything but stale as we get some action immediately. We quickly get some badass action in there that leads to Surtur’s downfall.
Loki. We then get to the part that everyone’s been waiting for. What happened after Thor: The Dark World? Thor returns to Asgard with Surtur’s skull to visit his father only to find a large statue of Loki and a play commemorating his death being watched by an out-of-character Odin. This fast-paced film has Thor quickly figure out what’s going on and exposes Loki’s trickery. Odin is alive, and the brothers go look for their father on Earth only to see a demolished retirement home where Loki supposedly stashed him. This is the part where Dr. Strange appears as seen in the Dr. Strange post-credits. Strange offers to help Thor find Odin. Fans have long speculated for Strange to play a larger role in this film but the trailers didn’t suggest it. Strange takes the brothers to Norway where Odin dramatically bring Thor and Loki closer before ultimately giving up on life to join his departed wife. Giving up that life, however, brings about the prophecy of Ragnarok one step closer and releases Hela, goddess of Death.
Hela goddess of death played by Cate Blanchett as it turns out was Odin’s first-born as opposed to being Loki’s daughter and the queen of Norse hell in the comics. Which means that she is actually Thor’s sister. She fought by Odin’s side to conquer the nine realms until Odin decided to quit. Her bloodthirsty nature wanted to move on so she was cast out by Odin. A fate that awaited the people that he didn’t agree with (a throwback from the first film). Asgard’s dark history was painted over by Odin. Something no one knew until Hela came back. We know that Hela is an amalgamation of several characters. Being Thor’s lost sister adds the mythos of the character Angela (formerly from Image Comics) to the amalgamation of Hela Norse goddess of death, Gorr the Godbutcher because of her weapons and Amora the Enchantress from the comics because of her association with Skurge the Executioner. So Hela comes back, defeats Thor and Loki and smashes Mjolnir. The three ride the Bifrost to Asgard, but Thor and Loki get knocked out through time and space. Hela comes to Asgard and kills the Warriors Three and the entire Asgardian army opposed to her but raises an army of the dead to serve her and makes an executioner out of the only Asgardian who professes his loyalty.
Skurge the Executioner is played by Karl Urban. He is a rather imposing figure in the comics and cartoons often associated with Amora the Enchantress. However, he is an Asgardian nobody in the MCU assigned to replace Heimdall who went missing after Thor: The Dark World. Skurge professes his loyalty to Hela to prevent himself from getting killed and is given his signature ax by Hela. He was more of a janitor in Asgard who dreams of being something more, an opportunity given by Hela.
Valkyrie in the comics is depicted as an imposing Caucasian female but is played in the MCU by Tessa Thompson to an interesting effect, as the disillusioned bounty hunter Scrapper 142. When Thor lands on the planet Sakaar after untimely exiting the Bifrost, he is surrounded by scavengers. He is ‘saved’ by Scrapper 142 but is given an obedience disk she uses to ironically electrocute the God of Thunder. 142 sold Thor to the Grandmaster played by Jeff Goldblum to fight as a gladiator in the arena. Thor meets fellow gladiators Korg and Miek who are quite different from their comic book counterparts who are part of Hulk’s Warbound. Korg, the rock monster voiced by director Taika Waititi immediately becomes a fan favorite much like Ant-Man’s Michael Peña. Thor also meets up with Loki who has been there for weeks and wormed his way to becoming an associate of the Grandmaster. Thor remains committed to return to Asgard, but Loki opts to stay as Hela has proven herself to be too much of an opponent. Thor later discovers 142 to be one of the legendary Valkyrie who were wiped out in their battle with Hela. That battle led to her becoming a disillusioned drunk bounty hunter, and Thor tries to convince her to help in the battle against Hela. The Grandmaster meanwhile wants Thor to fight his champion, The Hulk.
Hulk returns to this film from his long absence from the MCU. Somehow, his quinjet enters one of the many wormholes that lead to the planet Sakaar, and he becomes the Grandmaster’s champion. The time comes for Thor to meet the Hulk in the arena. Loki’s reaction was precious as he was initially reluctant to leave Sakaar but now wants to leave immediately. Thor, as seen in the trailers announces that he is acquainted with the Hulk, but Hulk fights him anyway. Even without a hammer, Thor manages to gain power enough to defeat the Hulk until the Grandmaster fixes the battle. Thor becomes a prisoner of sorts while Hulk is a willing prisoner on a planet who likes him. Thor manages to escape to the quinjet, and he is followed by the Hulk who wants him to stay. After accidentally turning on a message from Natasha, Hulk reverts back into Banner after two years. Banner expresses his unwillingness to become the Hulk again fearing he might never return. Thor, Banner and Hulk‘s many exchanges in this film are quite humorous.
Jeff Goldblum has really brought life to the Grandmaster character in a very Jeff Goldblum way. Much like Commodus in Gladiator, Grandmaster keeps his power by entertaining people with gladiatorial battles. Like Benicio del Toro’s Collector, the Grandmaster is over the top, unlike their comic book counterparts, which is quite okay, but a bit awkward. As with some fans who say this film isn’t as serious as it should be, my take on Grandmaster is that there’s just too much Goldblum. Now with his two champions gone, Grandmaster orders 142 to bring them back. Loki makes 142 relive the events of her battle with Hela, and she is convinced to become a Valkyrie once more to die in valor instead of hiding and drinking. With the help of Korg, they manage to destabilize Grandmaster’s regime and with Loki’s help, they manage to steal the Grandmaster’s ship and escape to Asgard.
Heimdall played by Idris Elba holds Hela’s plan of re-conquering the nine realms at bay by stealing the sword which operates the Bifrost. This is the more serious part of the film where Hela rounds up the Asgardian citizens and executes those who oppose her. Skurge, formerly a simple citizen is forced to execute the citizens so he won’t be killed himself. Hela manages to track down Heimdall and before she manages to kill him and the citizens, Thor and party arrive. Heimdall and the citizens go to the Bifrost while Thor, 142, and Loki keep her and her undead armies at bay. Banner decides to become the Hulk once more as the giant Fenris the wolf approaches. Korg and the gladiators arrive in a giant ship to help. The Asgardians board the ship along with a disguised Skurge. Faced with guilt, Skurge decides to help and fights the Undead with his two machineguns he got from Earth which was the character’s short but defining moment.
Thor loses an eye in the battle against Hela, but he experiences a vision with Odin. This helps him realize that Ragnarok is inevitable and Asgard’s destruction is the only way to stop Hela. Hulk, Thor, and Valkyrie fight Hela while Loki takes resurrects Surtur using the Eternal Flame. Surtur is reborn to his full potential, much larger than he is. Hulk goes off to fight Surtur with the potential to actually defeat him but is stopped by Thor. Surtur and Hela fight, apparently killing the latter and destroys Asgard while Thor and the surviving Asgardians escape in Korg’s ship.
In this film, and in comics, Ragnarok is the cycle of the destruction and rebirth of Asgard. But here, Asgard is more of a physical location rather than the realm itself, which can be rebuilt given that there are Asgardians left to rebuild it. In the comics, Asgard was rebuilt on Earth in Oklahoma. Whether or not the MCU follows this path is unclear, or the Asgardians might just get wiped out by Thanos as suggested by this film’s post-credit scene and the SDCC Avengers Infinity War trailer. That would be a bummer along the lines of the beginning of Alien 3. Hopefully for the MCU’s sake that does not happen.
This film is incredibly fast-paced. The visuals are great as expected and there are a ton of nods and Easter eggs for fans to hunt down. Director Waititi was given a license to thrill and to chill resulting in a great Thor film which some fans call the funniest Marvel film to date. The best way to describe this film is that it’s a roller coaster ride within a fun house.
Now for the negatives, which aren’t much. The most negative thing about this film that fans think is that it’s too funny. That it strays away from the supposedly more dramatic atmosphere of Norse mythology and the supposed tone for the end of all things (Asgardian). Which is quite true as I myself was expecting from all Thor films. Some fans even compare it to Guardians of the Galaxy just because being funny works so let’s make Thor 3 funny. They even call it Asgardians of the Galaxy. Maybe they’d call it that in China. But I’ve come to expect Thor to become less serious with his scenes in Avengers: Age of Ultron, with his short videos with Daryl and ultimately this film’s trailers. If you know what you’re in for, the less of an impact something will have of course. Its lack of seriousness bothers me a bit but it has entertained me a lot.
About Hela, some fans complain that she fell flat in the acting and script department. I really didn’t think much about it as I found that the twists to her character pretty engaging. In a way, she transcends the MCU’s villain problem by giving Thor someone he can’t handle. We can’t argue that Cate Blanchett is a force to be reckoned with in cinema. She looked stunning as Hela, but I liked her better without the headdress. She puts it on when she gets serious. So if there’s anything that could have given Hela more oomph, it would be the script.
The Warriors Three. This is goodbye to Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun. We knew ye not hardly. They were major players in the past two Thor films. They were killed off just like That! Except for Hogun who managed to lead the Asgardian army against Hela. They were merely used as tools to point out that Hela is very powerful and maybe send the overarching message that Asgard’s demise is very near. It’s just too bad Fandral, and Volstagg didn’t manage to put up more of a fight. And where was Sif in all this? The short of it is scheduling conflict as Jamie Alexander was busy with other projects. If she were killed off-screen which the film, fortunately, didn’t imply, a lot of fans would be pissed. Maybe she’ll make an appearance in the Infinity films.
A fourth Thor film? After Infinity Gauntlet, who knows. Perhaps after the overall revenue comes in, Marvel Studios might consider making a fourth, depending on whether or not they kill Thor in Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet. Should Chris Hemsworth decide to move on, maybe Liam could take over as Eric Masterson otherwise known as Thunderstrike or maybe Natalie Portman could return and become Jane Foster Thor. Besides, Asgard needs some rebuilding, since legend demands it.
Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is a must watch. It may be too funny, but funny is just what we need in a world that may be on its way to its own Ragnarok.
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