the success of thor: ragnarok (2017) is a huge win for marvel, not just because it has added yet another mega hit to its roster, but because it finally figured their weakest franchise. while the previous thor entries have been successful, they struggled to hit the same levels of popularity as the other avengers flicks, especially the captain america and iron man franchises. in fact, the dark world (2013) is often called out as one of marvel’s worst entries. ragnarok not only turned around the franchise, it shows that marvel has mastered its roster. also, putting out a hit thor movie only a few weeks before dc’s justice league (2017), is a nice win for marvel. if the company’s weakest character can possibly beat dc’s most popular characters, that just cements marvel’s place at the top of the pile in terms of movies.
as great as ragnarok was, however, it’s not a perfect film. in fact, it has plenty of flaws. they’re just not being talked about because everyone is so excited about thor finally getting a big hit under his belt. and that is absolutely fine, but those flaws still exist and should be pointed out, especially if marvel doesn’t want to make the same mistakes again. that’s why we have decided to bring you the 17 biggest problems with thor: ragnarok, a movie we still absolutely love, the following warts and all!
17. no more mjolnir
the first trailer for ragnarok opened with one of the most shocking moments from the film: hela crushing mjolnir with her bare hand. showing that she was not only powerful enough to destroy the hammer, but also seemingly worthy of lifting it was the perfect way to demonstrate how big of a threat hela was. unfortunately, mjolnir’s destruction isn’t undone by the end of the film.
age of ultron (2015) had a scene where the other avengers tried to lift mjolnir. while none of them were worthy at the time, captain america was able to nudge it, and black widow refused to even attempt to lift the hammer, teasing future possibilities for both characters, which makes sense considering cap memorably lifted mjolnir in 2010’s siege storyline by brian bendis and olivier coipel. by destroying mjolnir, marvel studios has made scenes like this impossible to include in future
16. skurge is completely wasted
one of the biggest improvements that ragnarok had over the dark world (2013) was the villains. not only was hela and her motivations much more fleshed out than malekith’s, there was also the grandmaster, played by jeff goldblum. the villains had personality and were just as fun to watch as the heroes, which greatly improved the film. that’s what makes skurge so disappointing.
based on the character that first appeared in journey into mystery #103 (1964) by stan lee and jack kirby, skurge was a formidable warrior who fell in love with the enchantress and could hold his own in a fight against thor. the film version was hela’s executioner, but basically just stood around looking uncomfortable and sad. while he does go out in a blaze of glory, the character was played more for laughs instead of being a terrifying force of nature.
15. hela’s motivation
while hela was a huge improvement over malekith, she still suffered from many of the same problems that other marvel cinematic universe bad guys suffer from. in the film’s backstory, it’s revealed that hela was odin’s actual first born child, and she had helped him build up his kingdom and treasures. he eventually decided that she was too bloodthirsty and powerful, so he banished her.
while that at least gives her a reason to hate odin, her bloodlust is never really explained. she essentially wants to conquer just for the sake of conquering. odin is dead by the time she returns, and she doesn’t seem to have any animosity against thor until he stands in her way. hela will be remembered because of cate blanchett’s performance, not so much for her character arc.
14. loki as odin is resolved way too quickly
one of the more interesting cliffhangers from the mcu’s second phase was loki secretly replacing odin. the end of the dark world reveals that loki is using his magic to disguise himself as odin, whose actual whereabouts are left a mystery. considering loki’s past evil deeds, him sitting on the throne of asgard could only mean trouble, right?
well, this plot thread wasn’t brought up in thor’s next appearance age of ultron (2015), so ragnarok was the glimpse of loki’s rule of asgard. apparently, he really wasn’t up to anything at all, aside from putting on cheesy plays (starring matt damon). his ruse is quickly outed by thor, and a plot line with a lot of potential is ended before it ever really got started.
13. what exactly was odin up to all of that time
throughout the previous thor films, it’s made clear that odin is one of the most powerful characters in the universe. one of the biggest questions from ending of the dark world is how exactly loki overpowered him, and where was odin being held prisoner? ragnarok never answers the first question, and reveals that loki placed odin in an old folks home. when they discover that the building was torn down, they eventually find odin hanging out in norway.
literally, they find him standing in a field, staring at the sunset. what was he up the whole time? was he pulling a luke from the force awakens and just standing around for years? was odin cool with loki ruling asgard? was he unable to return? none of these questions are even considered, let alone answered.
12. thor is recognized on the streets of nyc, but loki isn’t
when thor and loki first go looking for odin, they travel to new york city (where loki initially left the all father). there’s an amusing scene where some people recognize thor and take pictures with him, showing how famous he’s become since joining the avengers. first of all, thor is technically still missing (according to the us government), so imagine how upset they must’ve gotten when pictures of him pop up on instagram.
more importantly, thor is standing next to loki, who is a known villain. loki infamously attacked new york city, but apparently isn’t recognizable in new york city? there’s no indication that loki is using magic to hide his identity, people are just seemingly oblivious him. at least dr strange noticed he was there, right? speaking of which…
11. dr. strange’s cameo was way oversold
thor made his first phase 3 appearance during the end credits of dr. strange (2016). the scene showed strange and thor discussing loki and the search for odin, and included a humorous moment where strange served thor a never ending beer. at the time, this was considered one of the better end credit stings, because it was completely unexpected and was clearly setting up dr. strange to play seemingly important role in ragnarok.
while his cameo was very entertaining and well done, it wasn’t nearly as important as this scene set up. his appearance is essentially a glorified cameo, and his only purpose in the story is to wrap up the odin search as quick as possible. worst of all, his scene was way too brief. captain america may have had more screen time in spider-man homecoming (2017) than dr. strange had in ragnarok.
10. planet hulk became apartment hulk
one of marvel’s most popular hulk storylines was planet hulk (2006) by greg pak. in the year long storyline, hulk is banished from earth by the other heroes who fear that he’s too big of a threat. he ends up on sakaar, where he’s forced to fight in gladiator battles. he quickly becomes one of the most popular fighters before leading a revolution and becoming the king.
with his queen by his side, hulk has seemingly found the peace earth could never provide, until it’s all tragically ripped away from him when his shuttle explodes. it’s a tragic story that portrays the hulk as a three dimensional character, capable of great emotion and sadness. ragnarok turns that epic into just one part of the movie, and puts the focus on thor. hulk never becomes king, but he does get a nice apartment for most of the film.
9. now, world war hulk is impossible
after the tragic ending to planet hulk, the green goliath and his warbound traveled back to earth to wage war against the heroes who banished him. world war hulk (2007) by greg pak and john romita jr. shows what happens when the hulk finally lets loose. fueled by his rage, hulk takes on earth’s mightiest heroes in an epic battle royale, which would have been perfect for a summer blockbuster movie.
of course, based on the ending of ragnarok, this storyline will never make it to the big screen. at least, not without doing some major rewrites. the issue with that is that “planet hulk” spent a year building up the hulk’s story to make him sympathetic, so when he wages war on earth, it’s hard to root for him. that’s what makes the story interesting, and marvel just used the setup to show how thor got a new haircut.
8. there’s only one real gladiator fight
the first trailer for ragnarok was excellent. it perfectly set up the tone and general story of the movie without revealing too much, and it left fans expecting some truly epic action. while the promised hulk vs thor fight was brutal, that was basically it for gladiator fights. and that is weird, considering that a significant chunk of the movie takes place on a gladiator obsessed planet.
also, fellow gladiator korg was one of the film’s best additions to the marvel cinematic universe, but he’s never really shown in the arena. the movie basically introduces the idea of epic, superhero/monster fights and then only kind of delivers on it. sure, the movie had a lot of story to tell, but it still would’ve benefitted from a little more sakaar action.
7. muspelheim is barely explored
the film opens with thor seemingly stuck in a pretty bad situation. he’s a prisoner in muspelheim, which isn’t technically hell, but it is a realm of fire lorded over by a giant horned demon named surtur, so it’s pretty close. surtur is prophesized to bring about ragnarok by coming to asgard. thor beheads the beast and takes his crown, seemingly preventing the prophecy from coming true.
also, all of this happens within the first few minutes of the film. once thor leaves muspelheim, it’s never shown again. while he’s there, it’s not like much is shown either. thor fights a dragon and then leaves. thor obviously spent a significant amount of time in the fire realm, considering that he’s gone slightly stir crazy and is talking to a skeleton at the start of the movie. the audience barely gets to see any of his experience there, however.
6. hela’s army of generic zombies
when hela first arrives in asgard, she literally takes on the asgardian army by herself (skurge is there, but he doesn’t really do anything). after defeating the soldiers, she heads to odin’s treasure room, where she discovers the remains of her army hidden away. this army includes a giant wolf named fenris. if hela can take on asgard all on her home, her entire army must be terrifying, right?
well, kind of. her soldiers are basically depicted as zombies. at one point, skurge even takes out a bunch of them using guns that he acquired from earth. that makes her army seem a little less threatening. as intimidating as hela is, it seems like her army was just thrown into the movie to give the heroes some cannon fodder.
5. everyone forgot that loki murdered a bunch of people
it’s not impossible for villains to redeem themselves, but everyone in the mcu seems way too quick to forgive loki. during the events of both thor (2011) and the avengers (2012), loki is directly responsible for the deaths of many people, including both asgardians and humans. he even leads thanos’ army during the attack on new york city. he stole the throne from odin in the dark world, and he even unsuccessfully tried to betray thor in ragnarok.
despite all of that, when loki shows up during the finale, everyone’s cool with him. thor is even willing to bring loki back to earth with the rest of the asgardians. it’s like everyone has forgotten that he’s a villain. it seemed like thor caught on earlier in the film, but the ending reveals that thor is just as gullible as ever.
4. the film was a little too focused on humor
this seems like a strange complaint, but hear it out. after the disappointing reaction to the dark world, marvel definitely decided to take thor back to the drawing board. the result was a much more comedic take on the character. while it was a smart choice, sometimes the movie seemed too concerned with making a joke, sometimes sacrificing story and character-building in the process.
a key plot point is bruce banner worrying that his next hulk transformation might be permanent. during the final battle, he purposely throws himself into danger so that the hulk can save the day. while the scene could’ve focused on banner’s sacrifice, it instead decided to go for a joke (banner jumps out of a flying ship, and hits the ground before turning green, greatly hurting himself). basically, the potentially last time bruce banner will ever be seen, in a huge self-sacrifice no less, and it was played as a prat fall.
3. the marketing ruined the surprises
obviously, hulk being in the movie was a big selling point, and it worked. out of all the main avengers, thor’s films seemed to be struggling to find their audience the most, so adding another popular avenger was a smart move. that being said, imagine how much more impact it would have had if the audience hadn’t known hulk was on sakaar? the scene was obviously filmed from the perspective that hulk appearing was meant to be a surprise.
the promotional material for the film also revealed dr. strange, the shattering of mjolnir and thor’s eventual lightning powers. it seems like every potential surprise in the film was ruined by the marketing. granted, it worked (the film had a huge opening weekend of $122 million). it just would’ve been nice to experience these moments within the film, and without knowing that they were coming.
2. so, who’s going to clean up mjolnir?
one thing that’s been made clear since the very first thor movie: only those that are worthy can lift mjolnir. in fact, this enchantment is shown to be so powerful that thor is able to trap a fire demon by placing his hammer in its mouth, sending the beast plummeting to the ground, unable to lift its jaw with the hammer inside of it.
so, when hela destroys mjolnir, she just leaves large chunks of enchanted stone laying around. hey thor, go clean up your mess! seriously, it’s not ok to leave magically enchanted garbage laying around in norway. who’s going to clean that up? is s.h.i.e.l.d. supposed to find some janitor that’s considered worthy just so they can remove your trash? real jerk move, thor.
1. thunder vs. lightning
while this isn’t a problem specific to this movie, the finale of the film is built on a lie. thor constantly refers to himself as the god of thunder, but this movie makes it clear that that’s not true. thunder is not lightning. come on, thor, take a second grade science class already.
at least before “ragnarok,” thor seemingly got his lightning powers from mjolnir (in thor, he can’t summon lightning without the hammer). but this movie makes it clear that mjolnir was just a channel for thor’s powers, and not the source. seriously, thor, stop calling yourself the thunder god. thunder is the sound of clouds banging together (or something like that), that’s not your power (also, don’t take this entry too seriously, it’s just a joke and don’t post whatever mean comment you were planning on).
what was your favorite part of thor: ragnarok, and which parts irked you? let us know in the comments!
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