Everything We Noticed Watching Thor: Ragnarok the 100th Time

While fans had already become well acquainted with the Thor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the time Thor: Ragnarok was released, the third film in the trilogy introduced a new side of the Lord of Thunder. Visually, the movie provided a glimpse of a world that was deeply inspired by the artwork of Jack Kirby, and the cinematography showcases a commitment to symmetry that makes Ragnarok the most aesthetically unique movie yet to come out of the MCU. With a longstanding passion for comics and considerable experience making instant cult classic indie movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows, writer and director Taika Waititi's singular perspective brought fans a Thor movie that sheds new light on the character while laying bare the essential elements that define the Asgardian Avenger.x

Although fans were sure to catch the allusions Ragnarok made to previous MCU movies (such as Thor's attempt to utilize Black Widow's Avengers: Age of Ultron "low sun" trick to quell the rage of the Incredible Hulk), Thor’s third is crammed with more Marvel comics allusions, pop culture references, and New Zealand inside jokes than you can shake a hammer of the gods at! You’d have to watch the movie a hundred times to even begin to catch everything packed into Ragnarok. Fortunately, here at CBR we have just completed our centennial viewing, and we’ve been keeping scrupulous notes on everything from Skurge’s spoils to Scrapper 142! Here’s everything we spotted watching Thor: Ragnarok for the 100th time!

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At the opening of the movie, Thor has allowed himself to be captured by Surtur, an enormous fire demon. Based on the mythological fire giant, Surtur first faced off against Thor in the comics with Journey into Mystery #97 (1963) by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, and Artie Simek.

Surtur explains to an imprisoned Thor that a prophecy predicts he will destroy Asgard when his crown is put in the Eternal Flame. While Thor vows to stop him, he ultimately plays a key role in fulfilling the prophesied end of the geographical Asgard.


As Thor battles the hordes of Surtur, he calls for a quick evacuation from his loyal friend and long-time guard of the bifrost, Heimdall. Unfortunately for Thor, Loki has had Heimdall replaced by Skurge, who has been using the intergalactic portal to travel the Nine Realms and accumulate a pile of loot!

In addition to such Midgardian treasures as a Shake Weight, Skurge makes a point of (literally) introducing a pair of assault rifles that will play an essential role when he meets his destiny in the movie's third act.


Originally released on the album Led Zeppelin III, Immigrant Song plays a central role in Ragnarok. First appearing during the climax of the opening sequence, the song returns for the climax of the movie, as the Revengers turn the tide of the battle against Hela's forces.

Inspired by a concert in Reykjavik, Iceland that was very nearly canceled, Immigrant Song features lyrics that reference elements of Norse mythology, including Valhalla and the hammer of the gods. Further, the title alludes to Ragnarok's central theme of coping with Asgardian diaspora.


As Thor approaches the Throne Room of Asgard to meet Odin, he finds an enormous statue of his adopted brother, Loki. The statue depicts the god of mischief in his classic regalia with arms outstretched.

During the battle with Hela at the climax of the movie, Loki arrives at a key moment to rescue the people of Asgard with a ship stolen from the Grandmaster. As the airlock of the ship opens, Loki announced to the Asgardian that their savior is here, and he adopts precisely the same pose depicted by the statue Thor saw in the first act.


When Thor finds Loki, he is disguised as a luxuriating Odin, basking in the glow of a play that commemorates Loki's heroic "sacrifice."

But in addition to pleasing the god of mischief, the actors who Loki has hired to play the various roles in the performance will delight MCU fans, as well. Loki is portrayed by movie star Matt Damon, while the ersatz Thor is played by Luke Hemsworth, brother of Thor actor Chris Hemsworth. Meanwhile, Odin is played by Sam Neill, who also starred in Waititi's 2016 movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople.


In order to get Odin out of the way so that he could take control of Asgard, Loki sent his father to a nursing home in New York City. The second novel in Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently series, The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul, also involves Odin being enrolled at a nursing home.

While the building has been destroyed by the time Thor and Loki arrive in NYC, the name of the facility where Loki sent Odin remains visible amid the rubble. The nursing home shares the name of the nursing home on South Park.


After arriving on Midgard, Thor and Loki encounter Doctor Strange. In exchange for getting Loki off earth, Strange informs them that Odin is in Norway, and teleports them to the seaside cliff where the family is reunited.

Norway is the source of Norse mythology, and during the scene on the cliff, Odin speaks of the idea of "home." The scene is reminiscent of elements of the final pages of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, as well as a key scene in Waititi's previous movie, Hunt for the Wilderpeople.


Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun were three Asgardian warriors who fought alongside Thor in the original Thor movie, as well as the sequel, Thor: The Dark World. While the warriors appear in Ragnarok, Hela makes unceremonious work of all three characters.

The Warriors Three often fought alongside Lady Sif, another Asgardian warrior who appeared in both previous Thor movies. After The Dark World, Sif appeared in two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "Yes Men" and "Who You Really Are." According to MCU mastermind Kevin Feige, Loki banished her from Asgard, sparing her from Hela's wrath.


Shortly after Thor crash lands on the planet Sakaar, he encounters Scrapper 142, an extremely able and utterly intoxicated warrior who quickly defeats a cadre of Sakaarian scavengers to take Thor captive.

While it is later revealed that the warrior possesses the moniker "Valkyrie," the number in the name given to her by the Grandmaster has significance: the character's first appearance in the comics took place in The Incredible Hulk #142 (1971) by Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe, and John Severein.


The Grandmaster is a Celestial who governs Sakaar. Holding court in his giant tower at the center of Sakaar's capital city, Grandmaster serves as master of the planet of lost things and master of ceremonies for Sakaar's headlining attraction, the Contest of Champions!

Grandmaster's Tower is decorated with the visages of the greatest warriors to take part in previous Contest of Champions battles, including Beta Ray Bill, Ares, and Man-Thing. Also depicted are warriors currently appearing in the arena, like Bi-Beast and Hulk. In addition, the architecture at the top of Grandmaster's Tower resembles the profiles of Kirby's Celestials.


Music plays an important role in the court of Grandmaster. Before Thor is introduced to Grandmaster, he is subjected to an indoctrination experience that includes a version of a song from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, "Pure Imagination."

Once Thor meets Grandmaster, he learns that the Celestial is a musician himself, playing a keyboard with his band whilst he delivers important exposition concerning the Contest of Champions. In the Team Darryl short included with Ragnarok's DVD and streaming release, reveals that Grandmaster's passion for music leads him to establish a band on earth after the events of the movie.


Topaz is the loyal but outspoken right hand of Grandmaster, always close beside the Celestial and prepared to offer her unfiltered advice.

In the book The Art of Thor: Ragnarok by Eleni Roussas, Andy Park, Alex Scharf, Francisco Ruiz, and Adam Del Re, quotations from Jonay Bacallado, the concept artist for Ragnarok, reveal that the character was originally an unnamed soldier who evolved over during the movie's production. Topaz, who is portrayed by Waititi alum Rachel House, has a costume with a unique combination of colors in order to distinguish her from other soldiers in the service of Grandmaster.


In the original Thor movie, fans spotted an easter egg in a scene set in Odin's vault: one of the treasures locked in the Asgardian vault was the incredibly powerful Infinity Gauntlet!

Once she has gained control of Asgard, Hela enters the vault and gains access to the wealth and weapons within. But she doesn't pause as she knocks over the gauntlet kept in the Asgardian vault, denouncing it as a facsimile. This lays the groundwork for Thor's character arc in Avengers: Infinity War, as the hero must journey to the forge at Nidavellir, where Thanos forged the true Gauntlet.


Equipped with one of the legitimate artifacts stashed in Odin's vault, the Eternal Flame, Hela enters the subterranean tomb where the bodies of her armies are interred. Among the late soldiers is Fenris, a giant wolf!

Fenris first appeared in the Marvel comics in Journey into Mystery #114 (1965) by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Chic Stone. But the inspiration for the character is taken from Fenrir, the giant wolf described in Norse mythology, first appearing in Snorri Sturlson's 13th century written compilations of preexisting oral traditions.


In addition to her giant wolf Fenris, Hela also uses the Eternal Flame to resurrect the legions of soldiers who had served as her personal army during her tenure as Odin's personal executioner.

In an earlier scene, Hela single-handedly defeated the Einherjar, the elite Asgardian soldiers that previously appeared in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. Hela's replacement for the fallen "E-Guards" are the "D-Guards," an army of zombies with armor that resembles that of the defeated Asgardian warriors.


Forced to become a contender in the Contest of Champions in order to win his freedom, Thor soon meets his fellow captives, including Korg. Thor immediately recognizes Korg as a Kronan, a species of rock-like aliens previously appearing on-screen in Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Korg is portrayed by Ragnarok's director, and Watiti had some specific developmental notes for Korg's appearance. In The Art of Thor: Ragnarok, concept artist Tully Summers reveals that at one point Watiti requested a redesign of Kong's costume inspired by Stubbies, a popular style of New Zealand short shorts.


As with each previous movie in the MCU, Marvel mastermind Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance in Ragnarok. Stan appears in the role of a Sakaarian barber, using a nightmarish razor device to trim the Lord of Thunder's flowing golden locks.

While the barber appears only momentarily, he plays an important role in the alteration of Thor's appearance over the course of the movie, a visual representation of the protagonist's transformative journey. The barber's costume recall's Kirby's Celestial characters, a fitting style for the late, great face of Marvel comics.


Forced to participate as a contender in the Contest of Champions, Thor enters the arena and finds himself face to face with his work friend, Hulk. After tumbling through a wormhole and ending up on Sakaar, Hulk has been living the high life off the spoils that accompany his success in the Contest of Champions.

Among the luxuries are the beaded necklaces Hulk is seen wearing during a conversation between himself and Thor. The necklaces reference the necklaces a luxuriating Hulk wore in the miniseries Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1 (2005) by Damon Lindelof, Leinil Francis Yu, and Dave McCaig.


One of the most eye-catching pieces of furniture this side of Bedrock, Hulk's bed is made from the skull of a giant dragon.

In The Art of Thor: Ragnarok, production designer Ra Vincent explains that Hulk's personal chambers were originally going to feature a throne as a centerpiece. As the set developed, the throne was replaced with a bed made from a giant animal's skull. While the size may suggest the skull originated from something like a dragon, Vincent reveals that the design of the bed is based on weasel's skull turned upside down.


The arena battle over which Grandmaster presides was inspired by the first Marvel comics limited series, Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions (1982) by Mark Gruenwald, Steven Grant, Bill Mantlo, John Romita Jr., Pablo Marcos, and Michele Wolfman.

In the story, Grandmaster whisks every superhero away from earth to use them as pawns in a game with incredible stakes: the resurrection of the Collector! Although the story ends in a cliffhanger, the West Coast Avengers were left to tie up the loose ends in West Coast Avengers Annual #2 (1987) by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom, and Gregory Wright.


When Hulk sees a video recording of Natasha Romanov, Bruce Banner is finally able to gain control of his body once again, but the only spare clothing on hand in the crashed Avengers' Quinjet is an outfit that belongs to Tony Stark.

The t-shirt Banner is forced to wear depicts the cover of Rio, the 1982 Duran Duran album that included the single "Hungry Like the Wolf." Tony's influence is also seen in the codename he forces Thor to use in order to access the Quinjet controls: "Point Break," a reference to the hairstyles showcased by the 1991 movie.


Confronted with the question of whether or not Loki should be considered trustworthy, Thor tells Valkyrie and Banner a story about a time when Loki disguised himself as a snake before surprising Thor by changing back and stabbing him.

This anecdote resembles a tactic used by Loki in Journey into Mystery #88 (1963) by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers. In that story, he disguises himself as a green snake in order to sneak past Heimdall by blending in with the green stripe of the bifrost.


In order to escape Sakaar, Thor steals Grandmaster's prize vessel, the Commodore. The ship manages several references, including its colors (which match the Māori flag) and its name, which pays homage to the Holden Commodore, a model of Australian car.

As the Revengers escape from Sakaar during an exciting chase sequence, Banner attempts to activate the ship's nonexistent weapons, but only succeeds in causing the ship to begin playing a birthday song set to the same tune Grandmaster performed with his band earlier in the movie.


At the climax of the movie, the battle between Thor and Hela leads to Hela gouging out Thor's right eye, which gives him an appearance that echoes Odin's, affording an additional layer of symmetry between father and son as Thor finally accepts the responsibilities of being the leader of Asgard.

Thor's lost eye also calls to mind a number of alternate incarnations of the Lord of Thunder, including Old King Thor, introduced in Thor: God of Thunder #1 (2013) by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, and Dean White.


While he may have spent the majority of the movie in the service of either Loki or Hela, Skurge ultimately chooses to sacrifice himself in order to allow the Asgardians a chance to escape from the wrath of Hela. Armed with Des and Troy, he attacks the D-Guards who threaten the escaping spaceship.

Skurge's sacrifice is almost identical to his comic counterpart's fate on the Gjoll river bridge in the panels of Thor #362 (1985) by Walter Simonson and Max Scheele.

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