‘THOR: RAGNAROK’ (2017) Spoiler Review – “Oh My God… The Hammer Pulled You Off?”
Thor: Ragnarok has finally hit and it is packed with spoiler filled goodness from hysterical cameos to MCU easter eggs. Taika Waititi has hit it out of the park creating one of the best MCU films to date that feels like a Waititi film just as much as it is a part of the MCU. Of course the following post will be littered with story spoilers so unless you want the entire movie ruined for you I suggest you leave, otherwise stick around for the ride.
So firstly I want to touch on some of the specific plot elements mainly regarding Thor’s family, their future, and their previously hidden dark history. So early on in the film we see Thor and Loki teleport their way to Norway in order to find their father and bring him back to Asgard. But in the somewhat emotional scene it turns out that Odin has all of a sudden become too old and weak and he passes on into the spirit realm. The reasons behind his sudden moving on are not entirely clear but it’s almost like Anthony Hopkins wanted out and they let him go. Besides, they gotta cut out some dead meat to fit everyone in Infinity War, just as they cut out Jane Foster with one quick line about how they broke up. But anyway, before Odin dies allowing Hela to escape her imprisonment he informs Thor, Loki, and us that she is in fact Thor’s sister and Odin’s firstborn, but got too power hungry and was banished. This is a really cool revelation they managed to keep secret in the marketing all to have this reveal 15 minutes into the film. I really liked this revelation, it gives the villain a personal connection to our main hero and made this conflict a personal one for Thor. This reveal is the first of many scenes that focus on the retconning of the Thor lore from the first two films.
Through the reveal of a large hidden mural on the roof of Odin’s palace and an underground chamber beneath his vault we begin to piece together the true events of Asgard’s past and how Hela and even the Valkyrie played into all of that. The mythology behind Thor wasn’t really an interesting one within the MCU, they explained some brief moments in the past films but I wasn’t really invested in any of that. But what they do here is give Asgard a rich history I actually thought was pretty damn cool. So before Thor was even a thing it was Odin and Hela who were at the head of the nine realms in a time where the Valkyrie, an army fierce female warriors, were some of the strongest fighters alive. But Hela’s hunger for power and control led her down a dark path where she tried to conquer Asgard and killed almost all of the Valkyrie which forced Odin to banish her and keep her banished until the day he died. This gives us our first real look at the true state of Asgard pre-Thor and it looks really awesome. If Marvel wasn’t so focused of creating stories that take the entire MCU forward I would love for them to go back and do a film with the Valkyrie and Hela’s attempted takeover of Asgard. We would then se more Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett, two of the strongest links in this story.
Another element of the plot I want to touch on is Heimdall’s (Idris Elba) journey and how it is so smoothly integrated into the larger events taking place here. He goes on a quest to protect the people of Asgard in a side plot that is very biblical and reminiscent of something you would find in a biblical epic featuring Moses leading people to freedom. But his story is actually just about as interesting as everything else going on making it thoroughly enjoyable to follow. Oh and I need to talk about the state Thor is left in at the end of the film and how Marvel has actually made a permanent change to one of their characters. So during a fight with Hela she cuts out Thor’s eye in a very Marvel (non bloody) way and rather than seeing it rapidly heal and go back to normal he is left sporting an eyepatch reminiscent of Odin’s own affliction. I guess we can expect to see a one eyed god of thunder in the future of the MCU.
I also want to go into the action in this movie and some of the mind blowing incredible action sequences that give each character some time to be a total badass. Thor is the one who obviously has the most content as far as action goes so he is given a tonne of moments to shine. Yes the gladiator fight with Hulk is cool but it’s his other battles I had the most fun with. The opening fight against Surtur is awesome due to the moments of comedy injected into it, the use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, and some of the great camera work and cgi. Especially one shot where the camera follows Mjolnir around Thor as it rips through hundreds of enemies in what is the last time it will kill enemies before it is crushed by Hela. Thor’s lightning powered moments are also very powerful and it’s insane to see Thor at full power. Hela may even have the best standalone action sequence in here when we see her making very quick work of Asgard’s armies. This is where you see her true strength as she tears through hundreds of guards like scissors through paper. Valkyrie has her moments at regular intervals and her presence on the Bifrost Bridge during the climax is greatly felt as she continuously kicks ass and holds her own. Hulk is also heavily featured here and he is saved mainly for the large monster fights as we get to see him take on a giant wolf I’ll just call Sif (minus the giant sword) and also Surtur very briefly.
Now I want to get into some of the more sweaty MCU related easter eggs and references I spotted here and there. Firstly is that this movie takes the time to very quickly shut down what was quite possibly the MCU’s biggest plot hole. Way back in 2011 in the first Thor film a trip down to Odin’s vault revealed a fully completed infinity gauntlet with all of the infinity stones in place. But then in the Avengers: Age of Ultron mid-credits scene we see Thanos reaching for another infinity gauntlet this time with the infinity stones missing. This has led to many debates over the years as to why there are two infinity gauntlets and supposedly two sets of infinity stones. But now this third entry in the Thor franchise has revealed through Hela visiting Odin’s vault that many of the items that reside in there are fake and she knocks over the infinity gauntlet replica proving that point. This is an awesome way to finally close out that major plot hole that has had Marvel fans scratching their heads for the last 6 years. Another easter egg I don’t know a whole lot about but still recognised is the appearance of Beta Ray Bill on the side of the Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldblum) tower, a Marvel comics character who was introduced in Thor #337 way back in 1983. This is a neat way to recognise a popular character who will most likely never be seen on screen in the flesh.
Another very important moment for the future of the MCU occurs right at the end of the film when Loki goes alone into Odin’s vault and we see that the all important Tesseract is just sitting there. We don’t see anyone retrieve it right before Asgard is blown to smithereens….. including the foundations, so does that mean it’s gone???? Absolutely not. Loki sees the Tesseract and looks at it with a subtle evil gleam in his eye and from that moment it’s pretty obvious Loki pocketed the cube which will very soon find its way into Thanos’ hands. There are a few more MCU callbacks I want to touch on including Dr Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) quick cameo, part of which was seen in the Dr Strange (2016) mid-credits scene. This is a cool, very quick sequence that is filled with laughs and actually helps to drive the plot forward. There is another hilarious moment in which Hulk smashes Thor around just as he did to Loki in The Avengers (2012) and what makes this scene even better is Loki’s explosive reaction excited that Thor is copping what he copped all that time ago.
The comedic nature of this movie comes directly from the mind of Taika Waititi and there are many great, hilarious, very subtle moments in here that I loved. One of the more subtle moments is when Thor arrives on Sakaar and he is taken through a holographic tunnel displaying the history of the planet. It is a moment eerily reminiscent of the tunnel scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Waititi definitely acknowledges that by geniusly having “Pure Imagination” playing quietly in the background. Not everyone in the audience picked up on that detail but I did and I lost it. Another Waititi moment is the inclusion of Korg, a character who he voices and is the comedic star of the film. Every time he spoke I was crying of laughter both because of what he said and his strong New Zealand accent, his conversation with Thor about the flying hammer was pure comedic gold and gave us that hilarious quote in the heading above. I’m curious to see if the character is as funny for overseas audiences. But quite possibly the funniest and most Taika Waititi moment is the play scene right at the beginning that sees Loki enjoying a reenactment of his supposed death. But it isn’t the content of the play that is funny, it’s the fact that Matt Damon is playing Loki, Luke Hemsworth is playing Thor, and Sam Neill is playing Odin. This is such a ridiculous scene I couldn’t help but laugh my ass off at the surprise of seeing them cameo in such an awesome scene.
Then we get to the after credits scenes, one of which is cool in that it signifies the very imminent arrival of the MCU’s big bad (finally), and the other is an ok scene that has a bit of fun showing the Grandmaster survived the successful revolution. So in the first scene Thor and Loki are talking about returning to Earth with all of their people when suddenly a giant ass spaceship rises in front of them blocking their way. Now at this point in the game there really is only one person it could be….. Thanos. If this is Thanos (it most likely is) it means he is moments away from acquiring his first infinity stone and wreaking absolute havoc on Earth, as Loki is in possession of the tesseract.
So there we have it, all or most of the spoiler filled moments from Thor: Ragnarok that I managed to gather after my initial viewing. I will probably see this movie again due to how goddamn enjoyable, epic, and fun it is. If you are looking for my number rating of the film you can find that in my THOR: RAGNAROK MOVIE REVIEW right here.