One of the most highly anticipated Marvel films of the year was Thor: Ragnarok, and it has appeared to live up to its expectations. Many film critics have deemed it the best film in the Thor trilogy. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Ragnarok ranks number two on the list of most popular Marvel movies, second only to Iron Man, which is an incredible feat for a movie that has only been released for shortly over one month.
What makes Thor: Ragnarok stand out from other Marvel films? For starters, the Thor trilogy was taken over by a new director, the New Zealand based Taika Waititi. Each film in the series has been spearheaded by a different director, leaving fans nervous as to how Waititi would continue the franchise. Waititi’s creative decisions for this film proved to have a successful payoff, pleasing fans who saw that their beloved universe had not fallen under poor management.
As Marvel movies often do, Thor: Ragnarok crosses over between multiple films in the Marvel universe. Featuring characters from Doctor Strange and The Avengers, Marvel fans were excited to see how Ragnarok continues to follow the timeline of the rest of the Marvel universe. The introduction of new characters interspersed with familiar and cleverly inserted faces not only created new layers of character development and conflict in the film, but also provided many comical moments that a true Marvel fan who has seen these other movies will especially appreciate.
One of the great tasks that this film in particular had was to accomplish successful world building for three different locations: Earth, Thor’s home planet Asgard, and Sakaar, a new planet in which Thor has to fight to escape. Creating modern-day New York was not much of a challenge to take on, but depicting Asgard being ravaged by Ragnarok (a highly destructive battle meant to purge the gods from their places on the thrones), as well as creating an entirely new planet laden in garbage, was an immense task for the crew to take on. They successfully built the worlds in a way that allows the viewer to feel as if they are truly in the scene, witnessing the action all around them.
An interesting element that this movie had was the importance of female protagonists and antagonists throughout the plotline. Hela, the firstborn child of Odin, was forced into exile after she proved to be too powerful to control, but she has now returned and has her sights set on reclaiming her rightful place on the throne. She shocks her brothers with her fantastically terrifying powers, embodying the epithet “Goddess of Death.” On the reverse side, the female character Scrapper 142 is revealed to have been a soldier of the Valkyrior, a powerful army entirely comprised of female soldiers, and she puts her skills to the test fighting against Hela in an epic battle. As good and evil put up a strong fight for power over Asgard, it is refreshing to see women dominating the battleground.
Altogether, the creative decisions that were made to make Thor: Ragnarok a cinematic success paid off dramatically, allowing the film to quickly rise to the status of a modern favorite.