WARNING!!! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Alright folks, if your reading this, you are either so stoked to watch the film you can’t wait to find out what you’re in store for or, you have already made up your mind to not see it based on the trailers and countless blogs, articles, reviews and television/internet commercials. If you are part of the later, know that you don’t know what you’re missing and hopefully, this article will convince you otherwise.
If you’ve read my spoiler free review already, then you know how I felt about the film. Particularly, in the areas of story-telling, plot and character development. The reason being was the number of wonderfully unexpected surprises that were seamlessly weaved into this film. I mean, in an age where studios feel compelled to give you the entire film in the trailers, Thor: Ragnarok’s trailer really gives NOTHING away in terms of how the film will play out.
For instance, I can tell you there are no less than seven major events in this film which you had no idea were coming and will have MAJOR repercussions on both the future of the franchise and the entire MCU slate to come. Some, open HUGE new doors in the narrative while others seek to close some old ones.
Realistically speaking though, you probably shouldn’t read this until AFTER you have seen the movie.
Here they go:
1. Doctor Strange is NOW “The Master of the Mystic Arts”
As was teased in the end credit scene from Dr. Strange last year, Odin’s absence from Asgard leads Thor, and Loki, to 177A Bleeker Street where Steven Strange provides the them (and the audience) with a demonstration of his power. Most importantly though is that he demonstrates a level of confidence which leads you to assume he is not at all intimidated by the Asgardians and has therefore become a force to be reckoned with in the greater MCU narrative.
2. The Death of the All-Father.
A staple of the franchise, Sir Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as Odin, King of Asgard yet again. And, as is expected, provides the most singularly emotional moment of the film early on; paving the way for the most dynamic entrance of the MCU… that of Hela, Asgardian Goddess of Death. You heard me right. And yes, better than Spidey’s classic “hey everyone!” which was very strong in early trailers for Captain America: Civil War but ultimately lost its edge by the time it was seen again in the film.
3. The Death of the Warriors Three
In perhaps one of the most shocking moments of the MCU, the Warriors Three meet their demise at the hands of Hela early on. In fact, it occurs as part of her fantastic introductory sequence in which she goes from destroying Mjolnir and kicking Thor’s ass to riding the Bifrost on her path toward the Asgardian throne. While never integral to the larger Infinity War narrative, these charismatic characters gained a significant amount of “fan cred” over the previous two Thor films and their loss gave the film the “stakes” it needed to establish the film’s contrasting tones of drama and comedy. But this is bitter sweet, as their internal bantering and strong camaraderie will be sorely missed in future Thor films. [Oh yeah, after this one, you can bet Kevin Feige is already planning to announce another under the helm of Taika Waititi].
4. The destruction of Mjolnir and Thor’s untapped potential
As was demonstrated in the trailers, Hela enters the MCU with a bang, literally. But what served in the trailer as an example of the type of power the God of Thunder would be facing, was actually a key to Thor’s growth as a character, as he later discovers that Mjolnir was simply a tool through which he could focus an unimaginable power he holds within himself. Which, once unbound, is a thrilling sight to behold. This moment is hinted to in the trailer when he can be seen standing with electricity pulsation through him and most noticeably, his eyes. This entire plot device begs the question, must the iconic hammer be rebuilt? If so, why?
5. A direct link to Guardians of the Galaxy
At one point in the film, Thor questions Valkyrie as to the quickest route to Asgard from Sakar. At which point, she informs him of an ominously massive wormhole on the threshold of Sakaar’s upper atmosphere, which leads directly to Zandar. Once there, they could use a nearby jump point to reach Asgard. It is quite possible that this may come into play in the upcoming Infinity War movie next year, as Zandar’s Nova Corps still has possession of the Orb (a.k.a. the power stone) from first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
6. Loki once again has the Tesseract
During the film’s climax, Thor realizes that Hela is just too powerful to defeat without help and he asks his trickster brother to retrieve a relic from Odin’s treasure vault. Once there, Loki peruses the main vault and momentarily pauses when he sees the Tesseract (a.k.a. the space stone). At which point, the scene quickly cuts to his retrieval of different relic which ultimately helps them to defeat Hela. This entire sequence is just perfect. From the realization of what must be done, to Loki’s characteristic urge to take advantage of a situation, and ultimately the discovery of the film’s most genius piece of writing, the unveiling of the monster sized McGuffin that had been staring at you throughout.
There you have it folks, the events you probably didn’t see coming. If that’s not enough to satisfy your quest for a ruined movie experience. Below is the ending:
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ENDING SPOILER WE’D PREFER YOU DIDN’T READ
NOTE: THIS NEXT PART WILL RUIN THE CLIMAX OF THE FILM.
[But let’s be honest, if your gotten this far, you probably don’t care.]
Ultimately, Thor realizes that the only way to destroy Hela is to destroy Asgard itself. You see, Hela draws her power from Asgard and the longer she’s there, the stronger she gets. So, in a moment of sudden clarity, Thor realizes that Asgard was never a place, but a people; a concept which is cleverly interjected by Odin just before his death. He also realizes that the only way to prevent the prophecy of Ragnarok was never to prevent Surtur’s arrival but to embrace it.
This was the gold star moment of the film. As each of these premises were established in the very beginning of the film. Yet, between the deaths of several key characters, the spectacle of the arena, the comedy injected into the events of Sakar, the character growth of Banner, Valkyrie and Skurge, and Thor’s discovery of his untapped potential, those initial lines of the film had long become an afterthought.
Finally, the movie ends with Thor (now a King), his team and a group of Asgardian refugees escaping on a starship, as they look back to witness the destruction of their home world. And with it, both Hela and Surtur himself. I mean, come on…simply amazing…and I didn’t even tell you what the end credits scenes were! But for that, you’ll have to check out the movie. Trust me, you won’t regret it.