Thor: Ragnarok is a superhero action-adventure comedy film directed by Taika Waititi and written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher L. Yost. It is the third installment in Marvel’s Thor movie series, and the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, set after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The film became one of the highest grossing films of the year after its release in 2017, ranking first in viewership in many theaters around the world. It also saw outstanding critical and audience responses.
Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor, Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki, Tessa Thompson portrays Valkyrie, the film’s director Taika Waititi voices the character Korg, Cate Blanchett plays Hela, Mark Ruffalo reprises his role of Hulk, Karl Urban plays Skurge, and Jeff Goldblum portrays the Grandmaster. Benedict Cumberbatch also makes an appearance as Doctor Strange. Thor: Ragnarok received nominations in the categories of Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Tessa Thompson at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 2018.
From Asgard to Sakaar: Thor’s Journey in Ragnarok
The film opens with Thor dangling in chains before Surtur, a fiery giant who is prophesized to destroy Asgard once he reunites with his skull. The sequence is indicative of the film as a whole, and an excellent introduction to this movie’s departure from the serious tones of previous Thor films. It’s filled to the brim with silly comedy and over-the-top action sequences with breathtaking special effects. Thor escapes, taking Surtur’s skull with him, and is almost eaten by a dragon as he returns to Asgard. Once there, he finds that things have changed while he was away. Heimdall is nowhere to be seen, having been replaced by Skurge, who uses the powers of the Bifrost to collect “stuff”, as he puts it. Aside from the guardian of the Bifrost engaging in multiplanetary thievery, Odin is also acting strangely, as Thor finds him watching a play about Loki’s heroic deeds. Thor quickly realizes that Loki has disguised himself as Odin and forces him to reveal Odin’s actual whereabouts.
The brothers travel to Earth, where Loki is abruptly teleported away by an outside force. Thor goes looking for him and meets with Doctor Strange. After Thor is hilariously teleported around Strange’s sanctuary, the two come to an agreement, and Strange helps him find Odin. Thor absolutely wrecks Strange’s sanctuary (by accident) before leaving with Loki, and the pair finds a dying Odin overlooking a cliff in Norway. Odin reveals a secret to his sons, that they have a sister who has been kept hidden away by Odin. She is the goddess of death and having been completely consumed by her desire for power, she poses a grave danger to the world. As Odin’s power wanes, Hela is free to return. She destroys Thor’s legendary hammer Mjolnir in a stunning show of force, and the brothers try to escape by way of Bifrost. She follows them, knocking them out of the teleportation beam. Thor and Loki end up on the planet Sakaar, the galaxy’s garbage pile, and the place where most of the film takes place.
After a sequence of unfortunate events, Thor becomes an arena fighter, where he meets with his old friend Hulk. However, Hulk isn’t as moved by Thor’s unexpected appearance. As usual, Loki weasels his way out of danger and takes a prominent position next to the local leader, the Grandmaster. Jeff Goldblum’s brilliant performance makes the Grandmaster incredibly likable, despite him being the antagonist for this portion of the story. Afterwards, Thor tries to reason with Hulk (who is stuck in Hulk form and acting like an adolescent) to plan their escape. Eventually, Thor returns to Asgard and realizes that he can’t save his world, but also that it doesn’t actually matter. What matters is that the people of Asgard live, so he saves them, and facilitates the destruction of Asgard in order to defeat Hela. As you can probably tell by now, the film’s plot is jam-packed, but not a moment of it feels rushed!
The evolution of Thor: Ragnarok’s character development
Thor: Ragnarok marks a huge change of character for its titular character. Whereas Thor used to be a stoic heroic figure who was only funny because of his lack of understanding for Earthly culture, he now exhibits actual weakness and has a sense of humor. Taking Thor down a peg was a great move as it made him far more likable and relatable, and the action is made more intense by knowing that Thor isn’t unbreakable. The juxtaposition between him and more powerful entities is a running theme in this film: first, Doctor Strange throws him around his sanctuary, then Hela destroys his most powerful weapon with ease, then he gets obliterated by Hulk. In the end, it doesn’t matter that he’s weaker than all of them, because he saves the day by outwitting his foe.
Marvel is known to incorporate humor into great action films, but this film really feels like the opposite – like Taika Waititi incorporated great action into a comedy film. Not only is it really funny, but it’s also a great superhero film, with its many ups and downs making for a genuine rollercoaster of emotions. For these reasons, I can’t recommend this movie enough. I couldn’t help but keep grinning while watching this movie, it’s just that fun.
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