Thor: Ragnarok’s debut ruled the US box office, bringing in $122 million during its first weekend. Going up against newcomers Daddy's Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express, Thor: Ragnarok is also expected to make at least $50 million in its second weekend. To top it all off, Taika Waititi's first blockbuster is currently the second highest-rated Marvel movie ever, only trailing Spider-Man: Homecoming.
That means that nearly everyone enjoyed it, and it delivered what almost everyone expected. Right?
Satisfying comic book movie fans isn’t that easy, so even though Thor: Ragnarok is a blast, some moments really didn't connect with the audience.
Read on for best and the worst of the movie, but be warned that there are spoilers here!
Best: MCU Flashbacks
Thor: Ragnarok is one of the most Easter egg, cameo, and reference-dense Marvel movies to date. Everybody was surprised to see Matt Damon as Loki; Waititi’s nod to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; and Thorg’s appearance, which was so subtle that only eagle-eyed fans spied it.
But what really worked, without burdening the film or making it seem like a cheap knock-off, were the scenes that mirrored events from past MCU movies. Our three favorites? Well, since you asked…
- Thor reached toward Hulk, as if to calm him (see Black Widow in Age of Ultron). But he was grabbed by the hand and smashed like a ragdoll, as Loki was in the first Avengers. This made the God of Mischief jump from his chair in excitement.
- Bruce Banner jumped off the ship to battle Fenris (as he did in The Incredible Hulk to stop Abomination), but slammed to the ground (you could even hear his pain).
- Hela asked Thor and Loki to kneel, forcing Loki to realize how the Earthlings felt when he asked the same thing of them in the first Avengers movie.
Of course, those weren't the only flashbacks in the movie. What were your favorites?
Marvel often fails to get its big-screen villains right, and Thor once again drew the short straw in this regard. Besides the major changes made to Hela (she’s Thor’s sister, rather than Loki’s spawn), the villain wanted what every weak villain wants: to rule the universe (or, in this case, the Nine Realms).
We understood; the film’s rapid pace and huge cast of characters didn’t allow for much time to explore the character. Nonetheless, maybe some more time should have been set aside for her, especially since Hela changed Asgard's history as we knew it and had a set of skills and powers that appeared to dwarf Thor's.
We should also mention Skurge, who just provided comic relief. His major trait was incompetence, and that incompetence kick started the plot. Of course, he made the most of his chance at redemption, but his death might have been more meaningful had he not been written as a complete fool.
And speaking of villains: Was Hela actually dead? What will Surtur do?
Best: The Newcomers
It seemed like an impossible task, but Taika Waititi did it! In addition to making one of the best MCU movies to date, he introduced characters who quickly became favorites. Sure, he missed the mark with Skurge (but we knew from the start that he would die) and Miek (really, it was as if he never existed), but he did an awesome job with the others.
Right from their initial reactions, critics praised Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie as the movie’s standout newcomer. She may not be the same as the comic book character (in the MCU, Valkyrie is actually a rank, not an individual), but she definitely stole the spotlight! Plus, her introduction was one of the funniest and coolest ever!
Then there was Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), the MCU’s other Elder of the Universe. It was obvious in every scene that Goldblum knew how to have fun and how to ensure that those around him had fun, as well. We didn't know what happened to him in the end, but we’re sure to see him in another movie.
Lastly, there was Korg. He was our favorite character, which said a lot, since star Chris Hemsworth was phenomenal in Thor: Ragnarok. But Korg was great, no small thanks to Waititi's genius in pairing that rock-like body with a ridiculous voice and dumb lines.
We should note that the movie’s characters were adaptations of comic book characters. But they certainly worked well in the film!
Worst: Warriors Three and Heimdall
We already knew how it would all end for the Warriors Three. Even if they were comic book fan favorites, and were criminally underdeveloped in the previous Thor flicks, we knew they would die. And that’s what happened; they were the first to fall during Hela’s invasion of Asgard.
With the exception of Hogun - who was outclassed from any point of view – they didn't even put up a fight, as if they were just some nameless Asgardians. And that was a shame.
At least there’s still hope for Sif. Jaimie Alexander’s busy schedule didn’t leave room for a Thor: Ragnarok appearance. So who knows? Maybe that character survived!
Then we had Heimdall, who’s one of the coolest MCU characters. He was also sidelined as the the movie jumped from one location to another, focusing on the Sakaar events. Of course, he had more to do in this movie than in the previous ones (in which, as an all-seeing Asgardian, he didn't see what was right under his nose). But, in the end, he remained as underdeveloped as before.
Best: Ragnarok actually feels like a standalone movie
Again, Thor: Ragnarok was full of Easter eggs and references. Unlike other movies (for example, Avengers: Age of Ultron), it didn't crash under the weight of the shared universe it was a part of.
For instance, Hela had no problem dismissing the artifacts from Odin's Vault. Specifically, we’re referring to the universe’s second Infinity Gauntlet, which has raised numerous questions. Hela simply shrugged it off and dismissed it as fake. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene, but it did clear up some confusion.
Another example is how Thor: Ragnarok set the Infinity War and how Asgard’s destruction opened the door for Thanos. Basically, we learned that Earth's heroes will stand alone. But again, Asgard's destruction came as naturally as possible, and it fit the movie's plot.
Of course, the mid-credits scene revealed Sanctuary II, but that’s why it’s a credits' scene. It might be a cliffhanger, but it might as well have been completely cut from the film.
Worst: No Drama
Taika Waititi made a name for himself with low-budget movies. More importantly, he’s known for his unique comedy style, and that led some to predict that Thor: Ragnarok would fall flat. But it worked!
However, given its pace and humor, Thor: Ragnarok lacked gravitas, and certain moments didn’t play out as they should have. For example, Odin's death apparently had no impact on either Thor or Loki. In addition, his death is comically compared to the loss of Mjolnir, among some other jokes.
So maybe this was the movie’s biggest fault: Everything was inserted among funny moments, even when it shouldn’t have been.
Best: Funny and Stylish
We mentioned that Thor: Ragnarok was funny, and that was the film’s biggest advantage. The previous solo movies tried too hard to be dramatic about instilling a sense of the end of the world, but Waititi completely changed the franchise’s course (a little too late, since Thor 4 will never happen).
Most of the jokes, many of which were references to other movies, did hit the right spot. The interactions among the main characters underlined the importance of having fun, even with Ragnarok on the horizon.
Thor: Ragnarok established that Chris Hemsworth has perfect comedic timing and proved that his Ghostbusters performance wasn't a fluke. Maybe he should switch from action movies and drama to comedy.
Also, Thor: Ragnarok was visually stunning, especially in the flashback scene in which Hela obliterated the Valkyrie and revealed how awesome the villain used to be.
Worst: Is it Really Ragnarok?
We may be reading too much into this, but was it really Ragnarok? We know, Ragnarok took place in the film’s final moments of the film, when Thor impulsively decided that unleashing Surtur and destroying Asgard was the only way to stop Hela. However, there isn’t a single moment in the film when we get the sense of urgency that the title should bring.
We’ve said that the previous Thor films tried too hard to be dark. But Thor: Ragnarok, which basically presented the extinction of almost an entire race, was just an action comedy. It didn't make sense from that point of view.
The haircutting scene with Stan Lee was a good example of a humorous scene that fell flat because of poor timing. It was already established that the God of Thunder is ridiculously powerful, and the fight proved that he can take a beating from a raging Hulk without even bruising. But he feared a pair of space scissors.
It doesn't really make sense, does it?
Best: Strange Cameo
We've left this cameo to stand on its own, although Matt Damon's turn as Loki might have been the most surprising guest shot. We already knew from on-set photos that Doctor Strange would have a cameo in the movie. His role was much smaller than we expected, but it was perfect.
For starters, the scene was important to the plot. It showed continuity within the MCU (Loki was still one of Earth's biggest enemies). And it proved that Doctor Strange had become the Sorcerer Supreme.
Strange literally mops the floor with Loki without breaking a sweat. Considering that Loki was the MCU’s most powerful user of magic, it said a lot about Strange's colossal power. Plus, the superhero appeared to be annoyed with both Thor and Loki, as if he had more important things to deal with.
We can't wait to find out what Strange had to do!
This could also be a hint at the wars to come. But Thor: Ragnarok set up future MCU movies without forgetting that it was a Thor flick.
Worst: Thor and Bruce Banner
You should have seen this coming. But were these the same characters we came to know in the previous films? Both Thor and Bruce Banner were markedly different from what we expected. Of course, a couple of years had passed, and they could have changed in the meantime. But this change seemed to be too drastic.
We could even say they were unrecognizable.
Of course, they made the movie a hit. But the Thor we used to know wasn't as awkward as the Thor in Ragnarok. As an example, just check out his interactions with Valkyrie. We understood that he was a fan, but after he crossed the Nine Realms in search of the Infinity Stones (and saved the Universe more than once), we believed that he'd act a bit more maturely when meeting a childhood heroine.
Bruce Banner was also different, but that could be explained by the fact that he remained the Hulk for those years. If he, the scientist, seemed torn by the knowledge that he could murder someone, that understandable fear was completely absent in Thor: Ragnarok, in which he was just another source for comedy. We preferred the previous Banner, whose existential crisis seemed palpable, as opposed to this new, neurotic one, who felt as clumsy and out of character as the God of Thunder.
That being said, the talking Hulk and Thor/Hulk scenes were awesome!
Which parts of the film did you like best? Worst? Do let us know!