I am a massive Marvel Avengers fan (and I have a tattoo to prove it), so there’s never been an MCU movie I didn’t love. I hope that this retelling/review of Thor Ragnarok will be the first in a series, and I’ll get to cover all the MCU movies.
Obviously, this retelling/review contains ALL THE SPOILERS.
Remember the episode of FRIENDS when Ross suffered a nervous breakdown because someone at work ate his sandwich? Who freaks out about a sandwich, right? But that was a very special sandwich – a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. The secret is, you put a gravy-soaked piece of bread in the middle of the sandwich, making it juicy and delicious. This piece is called a moist-maker and a truly amazing sandwich is nothing without it.
Thor: Ragnarok is the emotional moist-maker in the middle of the intensity of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
It gives Thor a much-needed makeover, both in terms of style (bro, that long hair had to go) and personality. Thor’s pathos and mild stupidity worked well in the first solo movie because it was new. And he meshed well with the other Avengers because that set him apart from them. But the long and boring Thor: Dark World made it painfully clear that in order for Thor to work on his own, he needs to get over himself and let loose a little. And bring out the signature Chris Hemsworth charm which was kind of lost before.
Well, thanks to the unique comedic vision of Taika Waititi, Thor basically became Chris Hemsworth with super powers. Now he’s relatable, down-to-earth, not so dumb and very funny. He finally doesn’t take himself seriously, but he still cares a lot about his beloved Asgard.
And boy, does Asgard need Thor’s love and protection in this film. Because this time around Thor is not facing Thanos’s minions, or Loki’s mischief, or some angry space elves. This time Thor has to face… Jeff Goldblum. Bazinga! Indeed, Thor gets derailed by Jeff Goldblum and his Blade Runner meets Trash Island paradise, but the truly unstoppable evil queen that Thor has to go up against is Hela, the Goddess of Death. She’s played by death metal Cate Blanchette and I’m here for every minute of her performance! She truly is a force to be reckoned with, and all thanks to Odin’s particular brand of parenting that’s already messed up Loki and to an extent, Thor. Hela is Odin’s first-born (and I’m guessing maybe not Frigga’s daughter) and she used to be daddy’s favorite destroyer of worlds. However, when Odin suddenly had a change of heart and decided to build and not destroy, Hela was not necessary anymore, so Odin banished her to a dark realm where she was held captive by his power. Honestly, as much as I love Anthony Hopkins, Odin is the worst!
Anyway, last time we saw Odin he got hurt in the feels by Loki’s mischief and returned to the birthplace of Asgard – Norway. That’s where our brothers find him, after a hilarious run-in with Doctor Strange.
Loki’s line – I have been falling for half an hour!! – is my favorite line of the movie filled with outstanding lines.
Odin gives the boys some standard mambo-jumbo about Hela being evil and wanting revenge and promptly fades into oblivion in a cloud of golden dust. Meanwhile, Hela destroys Thor’s special hammer in a matter of minutes (if you don’t know where “special hammer” is from, watch the hilarious skit that the cast did, reenacting Ragnarok as a small budget comedy) and takes the Bifrost to Asgard, while the boys get knocked out of the rainbow-colored beam of light and land on Sakaar, the Planet of Trash.
That’s where Taika Waititi really gets to shine. The world of Sakaar is like a giant pile of 1980’s garbage. This is how you do 80’s nostalgia without running that notion into the ground! Waititi mixes neon colors with electro-techno-pop music and of course, adds the main ingredient – Jeff Goldblum, playing an evil version of himself, complete with Acid Jesus robes and epic make-up and frosted hair. Thor is captured by… dammit, why am I forgetting her name? Fine, I’ll call her Valkyrie Tessa Thompson. Valkyrie Tessa Thompson is a badass drunk who acts as kind of a bounty hunter for Sakaar, bringing Jeff Golblum the fighters who amuse people in arena battles. The most promising fighters get to go up against Jeff Goldblum’s champion – Thor’s friend from work, the Incredible Hulk himself.
That’s right, Hulk got lost in space at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron and ended up on Sakaar. The strangest part, though, is that Bruce Banner had kept the form of Hulk for two years. In that time, Hulk had learned to tame his anger just a bit, which allowed him to interact with humans and lead the life of a champion in Jeff Goldblum’s skyscraper of chic. Thor kind of almost defeats Hulk in their first arena battle, and then tries to convince Hulk to join him on his mission to save Asgard from Hela. But Hulk likes it on Sakaar, he doesn’t want to go back to avenging (or revenging, as Thor puts it), and Thor then tries to persuade Valkyrie Tessa Thompson to join his team of Revengers. Valkyrie Tessa Thompson also refuses the offer, which makes me wonder if the team name is really bad, or Thor sucks at persuasion? I’ll let you decide.
Anyway, Thor decides to go it alone and he needs the Queen Jet to get him home. Just when he unlocks the controls with Tony Stark’s epic nickname for him – hello, Point Break! – Hulk gets on board and proceeds to HULK SMASH the shit out of the jet cause he doesn’t want his friend to go away. Aw… Hulk is so soft sometimes. In the process of HULK SMASHING the jet, Hulk activates Natasha’s last message to him, and finally Bruce Banner is released. As you might imagine, after two years of being trapped in the Hulk, Bruce is disoriented and panicked. However, Thor gets him to calm down and they try to find another way out of Sakaar when Valkyrie Tessa Thompson bumps into them, offering them help – and Loki! Our fave God of Mischief inadvertently convinced Valkyrie Tessa Thompson to join the Revengers, and now all she wants is to face Hela in a battle royale. Loki pretends to help the Revengers get to a bigger ship and launch it into the Devil’s Anus (the fastest passage out of Sakaar), but what he’s really after is trapping Thor and getting a reward for his capture. That plan backfires and Loki is left behind while Thor, Valkyrie Tessa Thompson and Firmly Not Hulk hightail it to the Devil’s Anus. Meanwhile, Hela is reigning havoc at Asgard, killing people by hundreds and forcing the lucky survivors into hiding. When Heimdall gets a psychic message from Thor that help is on the way, he begins the evacuation of survivors. When the Revengers get to Asgard, Thor tries to distract Hela from the refugees by inciting a fight with her, and Valkyrie Tessa Thompson and Not Hulk have to figure out a way to get all the Asgardians off the planet. Naturally, Hela gets wind of the ruse, and sends her minions to put a stop to the escape. She also sends her giant puppy from hell to (I’m assuming) eat as many survivors as possible – and that’s when Hulk finally decides to get Hulking again, through a hilarious suicide attempt by Bruce Banner. However, not even the Hulk can save the day, especially since Hela’s army of the undead is massive, and the stupid dog refuses to die. When all seems lost Loki makes his triumphant return to Asgard in a giant spaceship which he hijacked from Sakaar. His support team is made up of also survivors – survivors of Jeff Goldblum’s sadistic arena battles. Among the survivors in Korg who’s made of rocks, played (in motion-capture) by Taika Waititi himself. Meanwhile, Thor is losing the fight with Hela to the point where she smashes one of his eyes (not a HULK SMASH, but still pretty nasty). Thor gets one of his epic visions where he meets up with Odin and laments his uselessness without the hammer. Odin replies with the awesome line, “Are you the God of Hammers?” thus giving Thor the confidence to summon thunder all on his own. AND THEN FINALLY the epic battle to the soundtrack of the “Immigrant song” ensues. Thor summons a bajillion lightnings, Loki uses his horny helmet as a weapon and does awesome flips, both he and Valkyrie Tessa Thompson do gorgeous hair flips, HULK SMASHES the dog off the edge of Asgard… and yet Hela is unstoppable. Finally, Thor realizes that this entire movie, I mean adventure, was meant not to prevent Ragnarok, but make it happen. So Loki is sent into the palace vault to retrieve the helmet of the fire demon from the beginning of the movie – and Loki does just that while also grabbing the Tesseract, which will come back to bite him in the tushy. The battle ends with the Revengers disbanding, the survivors fleeing from Asgard while it crashes and burns along with Hela. Now Asgard is truly a people, not a place, so the survivors decide to get back to their roots and settle down in Norway.
While retelling the plot in so much detail I realized that on paper it sounds kind of silly, much like the rest of the MCU movies, maybe apart from Civil War cause that’s just a tragic love story of Steve, Bucky and Tony, and don’t you dare tell me otherwise! But that’s the thing with the MCU: you either buy into the absurdity and the awesomeness and become a die hard fan, or you just don’t get it, and all the power to you. You may have realized by now that I am a diehard MCU fan and I even have the tattoo to prove it. And even for me, there are better and worse Marvel movies. Thor: Ragnarok is one of the best MCU movies for me. It’s the perfect blend of action and comedy, which also gives us plenty of character development. I will be forever grateful to whomever gave the reigns to Taika Waititi because the man is not only a comedy genius, but also, as it turns out, a visionary action director. True, he has a long line of MCU movies to work off, but he brings his own style to the established canon. If you haven’t seen his movie, Jojo Rabbit, I highly recommend it. I don’t think there could be another director capable of making such a heartbreaking yet still hilarious World War II comedy while casting himself as imaginary friend Hitler. Speaking of awesome movie quotes, I try to use his line “WHAT ARE YOU BURNING?!?” whenever I can.
Alright, this review/retelling is already way too long for me to make an outro. To reiterate, even if you’re not a huge Marvel fan, give Thor: Ragnarok a try. If all else fails, there’s a Chris Hemsworth shirtless scene.
4 thoughts on “KnigaWorm Film Review: Thor Ragnarok”
Scandinavian mythology is very interesting. Odin the ruler of the Asgard, Thor the loyal defender of Asgard and many others gods & goddesses. Beautiful review Katya! 🙂
What a fun review, Katya! So nice to read something in your voice after so long 🙂
Neha, thank you so much! My students are now motivating me to write, when at first it was the other way round.
You’re welcome, Katya! So glad to see you up and running now ❤