Without a doubt, Thor: Ragnarok is the best Thor film out of the trilogy. While the other two films tried to stress the fantasy elements of Thor and his comics, Ragnarok went another direction and incorporated a much heavier dose of sci-fi and comedy. This style made Thor: Ragnarok not only the most colorful and Jack Kirby/Walt Simonson-esque of the franchise, but also one of the funniest films in the Marvel Studios catalog. Overall, as critics and fans have shown, Ragnarok is not only a great Thor film, but just a really fun film in general.
But it wasn’t 100% successful. While most of the elements of the movie were wonderful, there are still some issues that can’t be forgotten. It’s just that some of the characters in the film ended up being much more successful than others. A few of the characters were underwritten and given very flimsy motivations. Other characters were completely written off without being given a proper ending. On the other hand, Ragnarok also gave us quite a few standout characters that stole the show and brought laughter to audiences. So, let’s take a moment to go through the list of seven characters that were ruined by Ragnarok, and eight characters that survived the destruction with their reputations unscathed.
15 BETTER: VALKRYIE
Honestly, take a moment and think about everything you knew about Valkyrie before Thor: Ragnarok. Probably, the only thing you can think about is she was a female Asgardian warrior that carried a big sword. While she definitely had some decent storylines in the comics, Valkyrie was far from a Marvel Universe icon. That’s what makes what Tessa Thompson, and the rest of the team behind Thor: Ragnarok, did that much more impressive.
After finishing the film, viewers know a lot about Valkyrie. She isn’t just a forgotten (and ultimately disposable) cast member like the Warriors Three. She’s every bit as vital to the story as Thor, Hulk and Loki. Tessa Thompson brings a strength and beauty to the role, making Valkyrie a truly three-dimensional character. Most audiences will leave Ragnarok wishing that Valkyrie was involved more and hoping she shows up again. What Thompson has created is perhaps Marvel’s answer to Wonder Woman.
14 RUINED: ODIN
When you have Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Odin in a Marvel film, you would imagine that filmmakers would want Odin in the story as much as humanly possible. However, in Thor: Ragnarok, he’s in the film for approximately 10 minutes. That’s all. Sure, Hopkins does his best in those 10 minutes, and delivers some crucial exposition, but overall his talents are wasted.
It’s very disappointing because the first act of the film revolves around Thor and Loki’s search for the All-Father. Then, when found, he basically just kills himself and unleashes Hela. It’s just a waste of what should be a great character. Hopkins has done great as Odin in the previous films, but in Ragnarok, he’s quickly killed off, without even time for Thor and Loki to mourn.
13 BETTER: HELA
You’ve probably heard this before, but apparently Marvel has a “villain problem.” The basis of this argument is that Marvel has focused less on its villains, and more on its heroes, which results in the villains feeling half-baked. That’s definitely not a problem in Thor: Ragnarok. Cate Blanchett’s Hela is one of the highlights in a film filled with great characters.
From the second she steps on screen, Hela steals the show. She’s charismatic, beautiful and incredibly scary. She can fight and kill anything in her way, and single-handedly wipes out the military forces of Asgard without breaking a sweat. This is incredible considering in the comics, she’s a fairly basic villain with a silly headdress. In Ragnarok, the filmmakers take this villain and give her tons of personality, while she rocks antlers that would be laughed at if anyone else attempted to wear them. Thankfully, rumors have Hela making her return as the object of Thanos’ desire in Infinity War.
12 RUINED: SURTUR
At the end of one of the amazing trailers for Thor: Ragnarok, we see the Hulk jumping into action against the massive fire demon, Surtur. It’s a moment that is supposed to be awe-inspiring and make audiences crave seeing the fight in the film. However, when we see the film, that fight doesn’t even really exist. The full context of the Hulk versus Surtur moment makes it seem silly. This is because, in the film, Surtur is reduced to being a joke.
The first scene of Ragnarok gives you everything you need to know about Surtur. He’s a fire demon hell-bent on destroying Asgard and causing the titular Ragnarok. However, he’s constantly the butt of jokes and used as a flimsy “boss battle” at the beginning of the film. His triumphant return, where he literally destroys Asgard, is undermined by the fact that the heroes let it happen. It’s a shame for what could have been one of the scarier villains.
11 BETTER: LOKI
One of the biggest problems of the Thor franchise previously was that Thor is always the least interesting person in the movies. He’s constantly being upstaged by his conniving brother, Loki. That’s a problem when the films are called Thor. So, when you watch how they treat Loki in Ragnarok, you know they got it right. He’s a fun character, but never better than his heroic older brother.
In fact, at almost every turn, Loki is shown as being the trickster we want him to be, but Thor is always one step ahead. Of course, Hiddleston is great as the character, but it’s nice to see him brought down a peg or two, so to speak. For once, we also get the moment that we have been waiting for – Loki being an actual good guy. In the battle on the bridge, Loki shows that he’s not just a bit of an a-hole, he’s a decent god who might be a bit of a hero after all.
10 RUINED: THE WARRIORS THREE
Let’s be honest, it would take a lot to make the Warriors Three worse than they have been in the previous films. In the first two, the Warriors are afterthoughts that get a couple of stand-out scenes. However, in Thor: Rangarok, each Warrior is defeated by Hela in short order, sometimes without even getting a full line out. It’s a shame for three characters that have been mainstays in the Marvel Universe for decades.
Hogun, Volstagg and Fandral are three characters that deserved better. Of the three, Hogun is at least given a fighting chance at survival. Volstagg and Fandral are killed within seconds by Hela. Hogun has one battle scene but is quickly killed. What was Thor’s reaction to the death of his best friends? Literally nothing. We don’t get a line or a scene where Thor mourns these deaths. It’s almost as if the filmmakers didn’t care.
9 BETTER: HULK
During his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Hulk (minus Banner) has never been fully fleshed out as a character. The only film where he is shown to be more than a rage monster is in the first Avengers film, where he actually says “Puny God.” That is completely changed in Thor: Ragnarok.
In the new film, we get a Hulk that is not only able to talk, but is actually a real character. He has a personality, even when he’s not smashing. He is downright hilarious. The Hulk actually wears jewelry! He’s a rockstar and did it all without Banner. This development of the character makes the future much more interesting. Will he become even more intelligent? How will this new Hulk interact with Black Widow and the rest of the Avengers? This exciting new status quo is all thanks to Thor: Ragnarok.
8 RUINED: BRUCE BANNER
While the Hulk might be one of the best parts of Thor: Ragnarok, you can’t say the same about Bruce Banner. In his previous MCU appearances, Banner has been a contributor to the Avengers, with his amazing IQ and little snarky quips. However, in Ragnarok, he loses a lot of what makes him interesting. Banner is no longer confident and in control. He’s also constantly befuddled by the characters and actions around him.
This is pretty out of character for a guy that has interacted with space aliens before, and has an incredibly high intelligence. In a different movie, you would see Banner quickly understand the situation and help Thor escape from Sakaar. Instead, we get a bumbling idiot Banner. This is epitomized in the action on the bridge, where Banner jumps out of the ship to save the day and turn into the Hulk. Instead, he goes splat on the bridge, and the crowd laughs.
7 BETTER: GRANDMASTER
Did you even know the character of The Grandmaster before Thor: Ragnarok? Probably not, and for good reason. In his previous comic book appearances, Grandmaster is hardly memorable. So, how do you take a pretty boring character and make him unforgettable? Cast Jeff Goldblum.
The success of the Grandmaster comes down to Goldblum’s acting, plain and simple. On paper, the Grandmaster could have been a cookie-cutter dictator-type character that holds gladiatorial matches. Instead, he’s one of the most interesting characters on the screen. He’s funny and quirky in all the right ways. Goldblum never ventures off into cartoony with the character, but the Grandmaster remains fun to watch and a joy to hear. The character has just the right amount of Goldblum-iness, and we wish we could see much more of him in the future.
6 RUINED: SKURGE
In the trailers, viewers don’t get a great deal of Skurge. He’s there, and looks really cool, but overall, the trailers don’t tell you much about what to expect with the villain in the film. After watching the movie, it’s clear why they don’t show much. That’s because he just doesn’t do much of anything in the actual film.
In Thor: Ragnarok, Skurge is little more than Hela’s henchman. He has a couple of fun lines at the beginning, but once Hela comes into the story, he’s just around to stand next to her. Towards the end, he has one redeeming scene, but at that point, audiences just don’t care. There was so much that could have been done with the character, but it was never explored. Sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll see more of him in the future, which means this poor representation is all we’ll have of Skurge in the MCU.
5 BETTER: KORG
Leave it to director Taika Waititi to give himself one of the best characters in the film. His voice-acting as Korg is one of the more refreshing aspects of the film. In a lesser movie, this big, hulking rock monster would just be a random warrior character. In Thor: Ragnarok, he’s smart, funny and a joy to watch interact with the rest of the characters.
The best aspect of the character is how cleverly he’s used in the film. Too much of Korg and audiences might get tired of him and end up hating the character. Too little screen-time and you might forget who Korg is completely. He’ll just get lost in the shuffle. In Ragnarok, you get just enough of Korg and can’t wait to see him again. Maybe he’ll bring Miek’s corpse along with him!
4 RUINED: FENRIS WOLF
You know that big wolf that the Hulk fights at the end of Thor: Ragnarok? That’s actually a Marvel character called Fenris, who has a backstory that is deeply intertwined with Loki. You wouldn’t know this because in the film, he’s just Hela’s pet and a visually interesting opponent for the Hulk. Don’t get it twisted, he’s great to watch and scary, but he could have been much, much more.
Granted, to give all of Fenris’ backstory, you might need another hour in the film, but it would have been amazing to see. Basically, he’s the offspring of a giantess named Angrboda and Loki. That’s right, that wolf is Loki’s son! It’s weird, but awesome. However, we’ll never get to see this on screen because he’s only there to be cannon fodder for the Hulk to fight.
3 BETTER: HEIMDALL
When Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in the first Thor film, he was hardly a household name. Over the last six years since that film’s release, Elba has become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. So, it’s great to see that in Thor: Ragnarok, they’ve taken Elba’s Heimdall and made him a crucial role in the film. He’s not just a gatekeeper anymore.
In Ragnarok, Heimdall is a fierce fighter and savior of Asgard. He takes that massive sword that he uses to control the Bifrost and single-handedly fights Hela’s army of the dead. It’s awesome to watch. Usually, Heimdall is seen as a stoic figure, who is given one decent scene in a film. However, in the newest film, he’s a leader and warrior. We’re hoping this leads to a more prominent role for Heimdall in future films.
2 RUINED: LADY SIF
Did you notice how much screen-time Lady Sif was given in Thor: Ragnarok? Probably not. That’s because she’s not in the film. Not one scene. That’s pretty horrible considering how important Sif has been to the previous Thor films, and the MCU in general. Sif is one of the only characters in the MCU to crossover from the films to TV. On top of that, they’ve been building this will-they-won’t-they relationship between her and Thor since the first film.
However, she’s missing completely from Ragnarok. Honestly, that’s probably for the best because the filmmakers probably would have killed her off like the Warriors Three. Sif deserves better than the fates those three characters got. It’s just a shame that we don’t get see Sif fight alongside Thor and Valkyrie. Now, with Thor’s future uncertain in Phase 4 and beyond, we might not ever get to see Sif again.
1 BETTER: THOR
If Thor: Ragnarok accomplished anything, it made Thor awesome again. Let’s be honest, he had grown a bit stale. Of the 17 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the two previous Thor films probably ranked towards the bottom. He just doesn’t have the mass appeal that Iron Man and Captain America have. Well, that’s changed now.
Thor is now one of the most interesting characters in the MCU. He’s no longer the Asgardian party boy that can’t lead his people. He’s a warrior and true leader. He saved his people and discovered his true potential over the course of the film. Thor is now going to interact with the rest of the Avengers in a new way. He’s a completely different character than he was in his previous two solo films and Avengers appearances. Plus, the God of Thunder has a freaking eye-patch. How awesome is that!?
Which characters did you love (or hate) in Thor: Ragnarok? Let us know in the comments!