Why Ragnarok is Exactly What Marvel’s Cinematic Universe Needed

As crazy as it may sound, the Thor franchise is my favorite so far from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Ever since we met Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the rest of the Asgardians in 2011’s Thor, I’ve been hooked.  2013’s Thor: The Dark World was a bit of a letdown for many with its muddled plot and underwhelming baddies, but I had hope that our favorite Norse God would make an epic comeback.  And what a comeback he made.  Thor: Ragnarok packs one hell of a punch – both literally and figuratively – and delivers huge laughs while also terrifying us with the MCU’s first female lead villain.  Here are the reasons why Ragnarok was the perfect next step for Marvel’s big-picture plan.

Loki-ng for Laughs? This Movie’s Got ‘Em!

Thor Ragnarok

When it was first announced that Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) would be directing the film, I already knew that the vibe of this film would be very different than the first two.  Though Thor and The Dark World had its humorous moments, Ragnarok is jam packed with puns, innuendos, and physical comedy.  Ragnarok may be Marvel’s funniest, most lighthearted movie yet, which was a much needed step in preparation for Infinity War.  The last time we saw the Avengers was in Captain America: Civil War in which the team imploded and turned against each other.  The movie was the most tense film of the franchise to date, and we watched as friends fought friends and allies betrayed each other.  It makes sense then, that the next three movies (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok) would have to shift gears and bring the fun back.

Ragnarok doesn’t shy away from making their characters the butt of a joke.  Many times we see the God of Thunder trip and fall, and I mean that literally as this film showcases a lot of slapstick comedy.  I personally clapped and laughed out loud multiple times throughout the film, and one particular scene with the Hulk had my husband stifling laughs long after the scene ended.  The comedy isn’t always refined (expect some penis jokes here and there), but it is guaranteed to at least make you giggle.

The Women are Hela Good

Thor Ragnarok Hela

As I previously mentioned, Ragnarok is the first Marvel film to have a solo female villain (Nebula and Scarlet Witch were more minions for Thanos/Ronan and Ultron, respectively), and she is one terrifying chick.  She has one of the best introductions out of all of the villains, and within seconds we are wondering how in the world our heroes are supposed to ever defeat her.  Hela (played by the impossibly amazing Cate Blanchett), or the Goddess of Death as she reminds us many times, is Marvel’s most ruthless villain yet, and she is stronger than any of the previous baddies we’ve seen so far.

In addition to the chilling Hela, Ragnarok also introduces Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a bounty hunter that is tough as nails.  Valkyrie drinks hard and fights even harder, constantly reminding our heroes that she is not to be messed with.  The combination of Hela and Valkyrie makes sure that the movie is always highlighting some sort of female badassery, and the fact that neither of them are (thus far) used as romantic interests for the male heroes makes their presence even better.  I’ve always loved Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as a top rate assassin, but her character seemed to dwindle down to being just a potential romantic interest for Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I’ve never quite forgiven Marvel for it.  So it’s nice to see that Marvel is making an effort to inject more of a female presence in their action scenes without the romantic entanglements.

The Action Scenes Ragna-ROCK!

Thor Hulk Ragnarok

Ragnarok absolutely does not disappoint in the action department, and possibly every combination of heroes fight each other at some point in the movie. The highly anticipated and advertised Thor vs. Hulk fight is just as epic as you’d hope, and during the climax of that fight people were clapping and cheering (myself probably included) as we watched our beloved God of Thunder level up.

But the fight between these two Avengers is only a fraction of the action that we’re given.  The film starts off with a fight scene that sets the pace, and the Goddess of Death is constantly battling (and defeating) those that dare to defy her.  The presence of the ever scheming Loki guarantees some inner team scuffles, and the threat of Asgard’s destruction allows Heimdall (Idris Elba) to finally show us what he’s really made of as he fights to protect his homeland and his people.  Ragnarok is absolutely chock full of explosive combat, lightspeed chases, and interesting new weapons, which all work to keep the viewer constantly sitting on the edge of their seat.

But Still, Be Prepared… this Movie is Dark

Thor Hela Ragnarok

The inevitable outcome of a movie that is both action-packed and showcases the most ruthless villain is that there are a lot of casualties.  Even with all of its witty lines, Ragnarok is visually gruesome.  Many injuries drew winces from the crowd, and the audience gasped as we watched some familiar characters perish at the hands of Hela.  As Odin explains early on in the film, the term “Ragnarok” refers to the destruction of Asgard, and any time a world is being destroyed you can bet there will be a lot of deaths.  Perhaps the reason why Ragnarok needed to be lighthearted in its delivery is because the underlying subject matter is quite dark.  Throughout the movie we learn a bit about Asgard’s history that taints the golden city, and Hela is savage in her quest for domination.

The movie’s darker tones also work to prepare the audience for Infinity War.  Though not much information has been released about the upcoming film, it’s safe to say that Infinity War will be a continuation of the tensions felt in Civil War, and as the climactic ending of the Avengers saga, it’s possible that not everyone will make it out alive.  The dark tone of Ragnarok is preparing the audience for more destruction as the MCU gears up for their final stretch, reminding us that saving the world from epic villains always involves some heartbreaking loss.

All in all I very much enjoyed Ragnarok and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to see a fun superhero movie.  Waititi does an amazing job of balancing out the humor with the dark imagery, and it is guaranteed that you will laugh throughout this film.  The Thor franchise has stepped it up since the disappointment from The Dark World, and though I miss seeing Natalie Portman (and it sucks that we just get a throwaway line about what happened to their relationship) this film is exactly what we needed from the God of Thunder to get us pumped up for Infinity War.

Did you love the film as much as I did?  Are you as excited for Infinity War as we are?  How many times have you listened to “Immigrant Song” since watching the movie?  We’d love to discuss this with you!  Comment below or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the conversation going!

Mindy Jang

Writer and Techie at 6NC. An avid computer gamer and devout Slytherin. Mindy can usually be found cooking veggie friendly meals, binging reality TV shows, or herding her clowder of cats.

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