Thor: Ragnarok

Release Date: March 6, 2018
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchette, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum
Studio: Marvel Studios
Extra Feature Rating:  ★★★★★
Review Spoilers: Low
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Every time they announce a new Marvel Cinematic Universe film I wonder: Is this going to be it for me? Will I finally get tired of these movies? One of these days I’m sure that the answer will be yes but it’s not today because Thor: Ragnarok is freakin’ amazing. 

Thor: Ragnarok takes the core MCU films in a direction they’ve never gone before thanks to the incredible vision of director Taika Waititi and an wonderfully unique screenplay. The first Thor movie was fairly formulaic like a lot of the introductory films have been. It was an origin story leading up to the Avengers and the interconnected world that would follow. It was a good first film but let’s be honest. Compared to newer MCU movies it’s pretty boring and no one really found Thor: The Dark World all that compelling. (In my opinion it’s biggest claim to fame was the very brief connection the story had to the first season of Agents of SHIELD.)

Enter Thor: Ragnarok.

What could have been a boring, repetitive journey back to Asgard became something entirely different. Thor was stripped away from his usual companions and thrust into a strange new world. Something that a lot of people forgot is that Asgard was, essentially, another planet. Still, the idea to bring Thor into the wider, intergalactic part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was particularly inspired. After the success of the two Guardians of the Galaxy films (which were unlike anything else we had seen before) it’s clear people wanted to see more of the universe and we got to do that here in an albeit limited manner.

Sakaar isn’t exactly the most exciting planet in the universe but The Grandmaster angle was perfect. He was so crazy and eccentric that it brought the whole world to life and it made Thor’s journey in this film far more interesting that some basic rehash of a standard Marvel film. Thor’s a very different character, too. Sure he’s the fun, joke cracking Asgardian we all know and love. But he seems more grounded. He holds his own better and you can tell he’s starting to truly become the future successor Odin always hoped he would. 

Honestly, I could care less about the whole Hela storyline in this film which is a bit sad because Cate Blanchett is great. But I just really dig the Sakaar moments. The fact that Thor: Ragnarok effectively turns into a bromance story about Thor and the Hulk (and Banner) is just awesome. It’s not at all what I would have expected and yet it plays out so well. I never knew I needed this kind of story and yet here it is gift wrapped for me.

I also want to say that I love Valkyrie’s character and her development. We need more badass ladies on the screen – especially in the often overly masculine Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Loki’s development was pretty great, too. I’m not going to make excuses for the guy. He’s crazy and he’s a littler murderous. But the whole back and forth of will he help us or will he try to kill us gets old. Tom Hiddleston is a great actor but he’s often limited by this predictable nature they have imposed on the character. Seeing him step up to the plate in this film was a real breath of fresh air.

There’s so much more I could say about this film. I could talk about how much I love Taika Waitit’s character Korg. I could talk about how amazing the soundtrack is and how perfectly the classic rock songs were chosen. I could talk about how much I love that Heimdall got to be the hero on Asgard and how much I love Idris Elba. Seriously, I could talk about this film for days.

But what I assume most of our readers want to know is whether or not you should watch the film. And to that my answer is a resounding yes. You’ll want to at least have seen The Avengers first before you watch it but, honestly, that’s all the background you really need. If you know who Thor is and you have a vague idea of his relationship with the Hulk thus far then go for it. Obviously it helps if you’ve seen both of the Thor film and both of the Avengers movies but its a good enough film that you can get into it with even the most limited knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Special Features

Major fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are going to want to pick up the blu-ray release because there are some excellent special features included! I had a blast watching through them. The usual staples are included, of course. There’s a hilarious gag reel as well as a series of several deleted scenes to show viewers what could have been. There’s even a near little featurette that shows how the filmmakers used 8-bit modeling to plan out complicated action scenes.

But the real staple everyone has been waiting for involves Darryl. In Team Darryl, Thor’s old human flatmate on Earth has to get a new flatmate after moving for work which means the Grandmaster has the chance to move in. By the end you can bet he’s missing Thor’s antics. I mean, Thor never melted anyone!

There are five making-of featurettes that you can watch either one at at time or all together. They are all fairly short which means that the whole thing is about thirty-six minutes long. They do a great job of giving viewers a lot of insight into the making of the film without bogging folks down with too much. Plus they’re a lot of fun. Making Thor: Ragnarok seems like it was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. At the very least, it looks like it was a lot of fun. 

  • Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor
  • Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie
  • Finding Korg
  • Sakaar: On the Edge of the Known and Unknown
  • Journey into Mystery

Several of the special features take great care to explore the comic book origins of the various characters and situations featured in Thor: Ragnarok which is really cool. While I’ve read some of the comics featuring certain characters I’m not as well versed in certain characters’ origins including Valkyrie, Hela, and the Grandmaster. It was cool to hear them talk about how they adapted those characters but also the challenges in casting them – especially such great characters as Hela and Valkyrie.

There’s also a short, reflective featurette that seems timely considering the upcoming release of Avengers: Infinity Wars. In Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – The Evolution of Heroes the filmmakers and cast reflect on the way the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the respective Avengers have developed over the last decade. The primary focus in this five minute featurette is, obviously, the heavy hitters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor. But some of the other actors and filmmakers get to chime in and they do discuss how adding additional characters in the more recent film phases has changed things. Really, five minutes wasn’t enough – this should have been a much longer featurette! But it’s definitely worth watching.

But the best of the special features was probably Finding Korg. Taika Waititi is hilarious. This is also why the Thor: Ragnarok audio commentary is the only one I’ve ever watched or even wanted to directly review. I’m hearing impaired so they are hard for me since they don’t get close captioned. But I watched this one because it was hilarious. I want every Marvel from here on out to be commentated on by Taika Waititi. I’m here for it.

That’s it for the disc — but wait! There’s more. No, seriously. There are a couple of digital-only special features and they are great. There are two extra deleted scenes and a featurette that focuses entirely on Thor and Hulk’s bromance. The bromance featurette is short but it’s cute. And, hey, it’s free as long as you redeem your digital copy!

Final Thoughts

Thor: Ragnarok was something unlike we had ever seen before in the core Marvel Cinematic Universe films and in a lot of ways it shows the franchise’s true potential. When you allow filmmakers to make bold choices and tell incredibly different stories you’re going to get a film that people are going to love. Thor: Ragnarok effectively did what Ant-Man did for me years ago. It showed me that there was the potential for new heroes, new characters, new stories, and new team ups. 

I loved Thor: Ragnarok and I have watched the whole thing several times already. I highly recommend that after your first viewing or two you go back and watch the Taika Waititi commentary because it’s a lot of fun. I highly recommend the blu-ray release not just for the commentary but for all the great special features that are included. But, you know, I mostly recommend it for Team Darryl.

Thor: Ragnarok comes out on blu-ray combo pack March 6th! You can also pick it up digitally through Movies Anywhere with all the special features included. 

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