2017 has been a terrific year for comic book movies, and “Thor: Ragnarok” continues the dominant trend of success. After a $121 million opening week domestic and a $428 million global box office, it is on pace to be one of the top grossing domestic films this year. Between its development of Thor as a leader in the Avengers and consistently comedic style throughout the movie, “Thor: Ragnarok” has etched itself as one of the best films in the Marvel Universe.
The hype for this film began before school was out for the 2016-17 academic year when the first trailer was released featuring Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). In a poll done by Fandango in September, “Thor: Ragnarok” had beat out “Justice League” for being the most anticipated film of the fall, and rightfully so. “Justice League” comes to theaters on Nov. 17, and will cap off what is hopefully going to be the greatest year for comic book movies since 2008, when “Iron Man” started the Marvel Universe and Heath Ledger completed his final film, “The Dark Knight,” which redefined storytelling in comic book movies.
Thor opens the film with a monologue of sorts, breaking the fourth wall while stuck in a cage, but very quickly engages in a multitude of one-liners and action with Surtur (Clancy Brown). He tells the prophecy of Ragnarok, which will consume Asgard, Thor’s home. In a miraculous turn of events, Thor returns home, only to find Odin (Anthony Hopkins), his father, missing and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), his mischievous brother, having assumed the throne. After a cameo from Dr. Strange and introduction of the main villain, Hela (Cate Blanchette), Odin’s firstborn and the Goddess of Death, Thor continues the comedic quality while telling a story bringing Thor to the forefront of the Avengers as a veteran and leader. The story of “Thor: Ragnarok” is unlike anything the Thor series has seen, and, as the final Marvel film before “Avengers: Infinity War,” it sets up the conflict of the future film while resolving its own conflict very well.
In this film, Thor, Loki, and Odin all receive a re-work of sorts. Taika Waititi, the director of “Thor: Ragnarok,” allowed the actors to develop more meaningful characters. Loki even joins Thor to battle Hela and his intentions become the biggest question moving into “Avengers: Infinity War.” Is Loki going to join the Avengers, or is he going to betray Thor as quickly as he came to Thor’s side? By allowing characters to explore themselves in ways they were not previously able to, Waititi has allowed for Thor, Loki, and Odin to all develop and grow alongside each other and the other Avengers involved. Considering Thor and Hulk have been isolated from the rest of the Avengers for some time, it will be interesting to see how they are welcomed back in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
“Thor: Ragnarok” is such an exceptional film on screen that its biggest failure lies in its marketing department. For months trailers have shown Thor and Hulk fighting in some gladiatorial battle and Thor throwing himself at Surtur, spoiling a potentially incredible surprise of the Hulk appearing out of seemingly nowhere. Instead, filmgoers have known Banner’s green alter-ego would be appearing, and it has been instead a question of when he would appear. Had Disney not shown Hulk in any promotional products, the anticipation of Thor seeing green everywhere around him in the gladiator arena, courtesy of The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), audiences would have been shocked to see a borderline bloodthirsty Hulk appear out of the gates ready to “smash” Thor.
The usual end credit scenes of Marvel films have a comedic property to them and are fun to see as the characters engage in a few seconds of mischief; however, “Thor: Ragnarok” provides a brief glimpse into what “Avengers: Infinity War” will provide this upcoming May, and it is sure to continue the success of Marvel’s Phase Three of the Marvel Universe very well. In the other scene, The Grandmaster returns one last time in wake of the events of “Thor: Ragnarok.” As per usual, the end credit scenes are always a reason to stick around an extra few minutes.
Between Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” as a backdrop for Thor and company to beat up bad guys, the comedic characters throughout the film, and decimation of an entire planet, “Thor: Ragnarok” is not only one of Marvel’s most action-packed films, but also by and far the most comedic film in the franchise. It would be shocking to see “Thor” not among the top five grossing films of the year, as it is sure to have another electric weekend even as “Justice League” and other films try to contend with it for viewership.
Jonathan is a junior double majoring in Economic and Finance and English Writing and minoring in Music. He enjoys music, traveling, hammocking, drinking tea, and listening to records. This is his second semester writing for the Concordian!