Reviewed by: Blake Wilson
Norse mythology, paganism and idolatry
People who are hungry for power over others
Thunder in the bible
Arrogance, pride and the importance of HUMILITY
Choose to run toward your problems, not away from them.
war in the Bible
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
Chris Hemsworth … Thor
Tom Hiddleston … Loki
Cate Blanchett … Hela
Idris Elba … Heimdall
Jeff Goldblum … Grandmaster
Tessa Thompson … Valkyrie
Karl Urban … Skurge
Mark Ruffalo … Bruce Banner / Hulk
Anthony Hopkins … Odin
Benedict Cumberbatch … Doctor Strange
Taika Waititi … Korg
Rachel House … Topaz
Clancy Brown … Surtur (voice)
Tadanobu Asano … Hogun
Ray Stevenson … Volstagg
Sam Neill … Actor Odin
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See all »
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
When we last left Thor (Chris Hemsworth), he was busy trying to continue to bring peace to the Nine Realms. But, little did he know at the time, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) had faked his death (from “Thor: The Dark World”) and had taken the Asgardian throne from King Odin (Anthony Hopkins), magically disguising himself as Odin.
After Thor finds out his brother’s plan and reveals him, he and Loki track down their father, who had been exiled to Earth, somewhere off the coast of Norway. Here, he reveals to his sons about their imprisoned older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death. Odin reveals that she will soon be wreaking vengeance on Asgard, once he passes away. Odin passes away on the island, and Hela quickly appears to battle Thor and Loki, shattering Thor’s hammer in the process.
Upon trying to escape to Asgard, Hela ousts Thor and Loki to a distant planet called Sakaar. Loki is hired to work alongside a mysterious figure called the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), and Thor is kidnapped to be a fighter in an intergalactic gladiator ring. His opponent, coincidentally, is none other than The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) (who had disappeared during the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” when we had last seen him).
Will Thor be able to find a way to bring The Hulk to his side and escape? Will he be able to stop Hela? Or will Hela possibly cause the prophesied “Ragnarök,” the end of everything in Asgard?
This installment is very entertaining. The jokes, for the most part, are good-natured and often very funny. The visual effects and action scenes are spectacular. The performances, for the most part, are fun. And Mark Mothersbaugh’s music score utilizes a very clever combination of dramatic setpieces with a tech/arcade video game style vibe.
I also thought the story had quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t expect. The ending, and how Hela is eventually brought down, is also done in a way that many might not expect. I also appreciated how there were a handful of “slow-down” moments to give the story time to breathe and develop its characters further (though the story itself doesn’t carry much emotional depth). I didn’t feel like I was running out of breath during the action scenes. Instead, I came to root for Thor and Loki’s reconciliation. The movie paces nicely through its 2 hour runtime.
Hemsworth and Hiddleston are both very game once again. I didn’t care much for Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, at first, but I did warm up to her as the movie went on, especially as her story arc took a more redemptive turn.
Karl Urban’s character is a memorable one, while director Taika Watitti gives a unique personality to a rock creature named Korg. There’s a cameo by a major actor that I thought was very clever (no spoilers). Mark Ruffalo is awesome once again as The Hulk, and there’s an appearance by Benedict Cumberbatch (as Dr. Strange).
As usual for the MCU, there’s an interesting mid-credits scene (there’s another additional scene after the credits, but it doesn’t offer anything besides one last joke), and a fun Stan Lee cameo.
On the downside, the only real bland actors here are Blanchett and Goldblum. In the trailers, Blanchett has an attitude and personality that seemed unrecognizable, as far as she was concerned. For some reason, it seemed like that attitude and personality changed somewhat in the final cut of the film. She tries, but ultimately, she’s not creative enough in her approach to really stand out among other Marvel villains (it also doesn’t help that she disappears for a lot of the second act). Goldblum looks like he’s having fun, but his character is very unappealing.
I also was a little taken aback by how the first half of the movie tries to destroy everything that was in place from the first two Thor movies. (Spoiler alert) Some characters are killed off. Some don’t appear at all due to reasons that would involve spoiling the movie. Now, I’m not saying that the overall movie suffers too much from this, but I’m just not sure if it was necessary.
Like the previous “Thor” movies, “Ragnarök” shows Thor’s struggle to be a good leader for his people. One quality of a good leader that is emphasized in this movie is to look out for the needs of the people. One quote that is mentioned a lot is, “Asgard isn’t a place. It’s a people.” Through this, Thor and his friends learn that it’s not about places or possessions, it’s about saving lives.
The positive themes of humility and self-sacrifice echo throughout the movie. Thor mentions, “I choose to run toward my problems, not away from them. It’s what heroes do.” Two semi-villainous characters come to realize this and take a turn for the better at different points in the movie.
We get hints that Odin made choices in his past that he regretted. And he also tells his sons that he loves them, regardless of what they’ve done in the past. This kind of unconditional love echoes the words of 1 Corinthians 13.
LANGUAGE: I counted the following: The s-word is used clearly twice (there may have been one more whispered use, but the loud sound effects make it indistinguishable). We also hear the following: “h*ll” (6 times), “a**” (3), “d*mn” (2), “son of a b**ch” (once at the beginning), “p*** off” (1), and “Oh my G**” (2), “My G*d” (1), s-words (3).
ADULT CONTENT: Women are shown wearing sometimes low-cut outfits. Hela’s outfit is skin-tight and form-fitting. The is female cleavage, and Thor is shown shirtless during one scene. In a moment that’s meant more to be humorous rather than sexual, The Hulk steps out of a bath, and we briefly glimpse his bare rear end. A couple of adult jokes pop up. One involves a brief exchange between Korg and Thor with mild innuendo involving Thor and his hammer (“The hammer pulled you off?”). The other involves when someone mentions a spaceship as a “pleasure vessel, used for orgies and stuff”.
VIOLENCE: There are several intense action sequences that could prove to be scary for younger viewers. At the beginning, Thor is thrown down near lava wrapped up in chains, and encounters a scary-looking lava monster. A scary-looking dragon chases him at high speeds. This dragon has its head chopped off by a closing portal, splashing several people with some of the creature’s gooey innards. Hela takes out many in several scenes by throwing knives and swords, often impaling them (bloodlessly).
An army of undead soldiers and a somewhat scary giant wolf also cause a lot of mayhem and lives are lost. Someone loses an eye (we see a red wound as a result). One CGI character is killed and loses part of his skull. A giant monster wreaks havoc. People are painfully electrocuted and tased by machines. Thor and Hulk get into a mash-up that involves destruction. Someone dies at the hands of one villainous character, causing him to melt into a pile of goo (a lot of the effects are covered by smoke). Spaceships crash into each other.
ALCOHOL: Thor drinks a mug of beer that refills itself magically. Valkyrie is clearly an alcoholic, as we see her drink a lot (sometimes quite heavily). We first meet her in a drunken stupor, as she falls off a spaceship ramp.
OTHER: As many know, Thor and Odin (Hela as well) are demigods and are directly from Norse mythology and idolatry. There are many mentions of the Norse prophecy of “Ragnarök” (which in their religion, is their version of the tribulation and end of the world). One scene also shows Thor briefly doing a Norse funeral service (in his imprisonment) for his father. Hela uses an “Eternal Flame” to magically bring to life dead soldiers (and a dead wolf) for her conquest (Loki also uses it once).
One running gag involves the only way of escape from Sakaar being a portal/blackhole nicknamed “The Devil’s Anus.”
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow, there also grows the need to continue to take creative risks with what has already come before. In many ways, “Ragnarök” really tries hard to be clever and creative, as well as take risks. And, a lot of those pay off, albeit sometimes a little too much.
Many think of the “Thor” movies as the weakest movies of the MCU. I personally think of them as the most underrated. The first two movies were entertaining and also carried an old-fashioned feel in their storytelling. I also found some of the characters (Darcy, Lady Sif, Dr. Selvig and the Warriors Three) to be very memorable. In that case, many fans of the previous “Thor” movies will be disappointed in either their limited or complete lack of screentime.
The overall feel of “Ragnarök” does seem closer to another galactic Marvel franchise, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” as there’s much more over-the-top humor and interesting characters this go round. On the positive side, there’s much less adult humor and less crude language in this movie in comparison to that franchise.
On the downside, however, the violence is still too intense for younger viewers, and Valkyrie’s drinking habits will require some parental conversation. And, of course, Thor and Odin’s decisively pagan-based origins bear the need for discussion by discerning parents also.
In the end, I found “Thor: Ragnarök” to be the best Marvel film since “Captain America: Civil War.” It’s entertaining, exciting, and also carries some neat surprises. It doesn’t surpass the previous two “Thor” movies, but it’s still an enjoyable addition to the character’s story. As a standalone movie, it does work well, but I definitely would recommend watching the first two “Thor” movies (and the two “Avengers” movies) before going to see this.
As far as Christians and families are concerned, with the content concerns in mind, you certainly could do far worse than “Thor: Ragnarök” (as it is cleaner than other recent Marvel and superhero films). But, make no mistake, there are certainly better options, too.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.