WARNING!!! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Most critics and fans agree, Thor: Ragnarok is a fantastic ride through the cosmos. Even I continue to sing its praises here at Pop-Culture Uncovered. However, considering the unique nature of the grand multi-film narrative that Marvel Studios has crafted it is to be expected that some plot holes might arise. This is due to the inherent difficulty of predicting the direction of an ever-evolving narrative as the studio’s ambitions gradually grow and fans clamor for increasing improvements in subsequent films. And while IT IS the most well written comic book movie to date, it is not without its own shortfalls.
Here are the three most glaring problems with Thor: Ragnarok.
1. HOW DOES NO ONE KNOW ABOUT HELA?!!!
Hela’s backstory is expertly weaved into the film’s narrative in a natural and well thought out manner. However, what was not well thought out was the setup to her introduction, as there is absolutely no mention of the character’s existence in ANY of the previous Marvel productions. To include, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and/or countless mid-credits scenes leading up to its development.
While some argument can be made regarding the unpredictable nature of film production,I would counter that there are three scenes prior to Hela’s introduction. Any one of which, could have served as a conduit through which to have mentioned a potential greater threat to Asgard than the coming of Ragnarok. The best of which would have been during Thor’s opening scene with Surtur. The injection of just an ominous comment by the fire demon would have at least planted the notion that Odin may not have been as honorable as everyone believe. For example, something to the effect of: “You are a fool Odinson, Ragnarok is destiny, to interfere with destiny would usher the end of existence. The All-Father knows this all too well”.
2. WHERE IN THE HELL IS LADY SIF?!!!
The absence of one of Thor’s most trusted allies is not easily dismissed. Especially, when she would have either died alongside her fellow brothers-in-arms when Hela unleashed her power upon Asgard. Or, in the ensuing obliteration of the realm at the hands of Surtur during the film’s climax. So, it begs the question, where the hell is she during the events of Ragnarok? And how did she not know what was happening, when Heimdall can communicate telepathically with ANYONE in the cosmos? You would think he would try to call back one of Asgard’s greatest warriors to help.
Now, to be fair, we do know that the principle reason for the character’s absence was the result of scheduling conflicts between actress Katie Alexander and the film studio. However, to simply avoid any mention of her whereabouts was a massive break from the MCU’s canon. Particularly, when you consider the close relationship both she and Thor have continually demonstrated over the course of the first two films. Additionally, this is made all the more pronounced by the fact that she is only one of very few MCU characters to make an appearance on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, making her a key supporting character within the greater narrative.
Bringing us to my final complaint of the film, which gets to the heart of Lady Sif’s absence…
3. DOES THOR NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT HIS FRIENDS ANYMORE?!!!
As stated, in our main spoiler article “Thor: Ragnarok — Six Things You Won’t See Coming”, The Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg) meet their demise early on in the film as Hela encounters both Fandral and Volstagg immediately after she crosses the bifrost and unceremoniously dispatches both without breaking a sweat. Then, in her very next scene, she finishes of the trio completely, by swiftly putting Hogun to rest as he leads a contingent of Asgardian elite guards against her. Don’t get me wrong, from a writing perspective, it was a brilliant move for the film because it demonstrated how insignificant even the most skilled Asgardian warrior was to her. Thus, making her presence feel truly ominous and setting the tonal contrast to the events occurring on Sakar.
Where it fell flat was in Thor’s failure to seek out or inquire as to the status of his most loyal and trusted friends, with several opportunities to simply ask the question. This misstep is terribly uncharacteristic of Thor considering the growth he has undergone throughout the MCU narrative thus far. And made exponentially worse by how chummy he is with Bruce Banner, someone whom he has only known for a few years. As opposed to these life-long battle buddies with whom he has shed blood, sweat and tears since childhood.
In my opinion, this IS the biggest plot hole in the film. And while it may go unnoticed by the average movie goer, it will immediately stand out to MCU aficionados and Marvel Comics fans with knowledge of the adventures of Thor and the Warriors Three. It was heartbreaking to see this band depart the MCU so suddenly, but to not mourn them was an insult.
Once again, there you have it. The three principle reasons why I rated the film at a 4.8 rather than the coveted 5.0. Many may read this review out of context and question how a film with such glaring plot holes could garner such praise for its writing and storytelling.
Well, honestly, while these issues drove me bonkers as I reflected upon the film at home, the rest of the film does a wonderful job of making up for them through the use of pacing, tonal contrast, secondary character development and overall story. And the reality is that Hela’s introduction did not really NEED prior set-up, as her introductory sequence totally rocked! But it would have been nice added touch. Also, despite their popularity the Warriors Three and The Lady Sif have always only been support characters.
Perhaps there are a couple of scenes on the cutting room floor that were nixed to control run-time. I for one cannot wait to see the special features when this comes to Blu-Ray in 4-5 months.