Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel’s third Thor movie, directed by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do In The Shadows).
It’s a spacefaring epic with a more comedic tone than Thor: The Dark World, partly thanks to Waititi encouraging improvisation on set. His vision already seems to be a success, with the first trailer breaking Marvel and Disney records for online views.
Here’s what you need to know about Thor: Ragnarok.
Thor: Ragnarok plot
Like all Marvel movies, Ragnarok draws from a selection of Marvel comics ideas. Planet Hulk is a significant influence because in the movie, Thor is imprisoned on an alien planet and forced into gladiatorial combat. His main opponent is none other than the Hulk, meaning Mark Ruffalo joins the cast in a lead role.
The film has been described as a “road trip comedy,” with Thor and Bruce Banner as unlikely partners. Director Waititi isn’t shying away from the sillier side of the Thor franchise, and Ragnarok’s colorful aesthetic looks refreshingly different from most of the other Marvel movies.
Just in case Thor: Ragnarok wasn’t metal enough already, Marvel just revealed it will include a dragon.
A first look at Surtur's dragon from #ThorRagnarok, who is set to show up on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY- MISSION AFTER DARK at @Disneyland! pic.twitter.com/jwW4lEeTwg— MCU Direct (@MCU_Direct) September 14, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok cast
Like the previous two movies, Ragnarok takes inspiration from Norse mythology. Thor and Loki are joined by Tessa Thompson as the tough Asgardian warrior Valkyrie. Cate Blanchett plays the lead villain Hela, the queen of Hel and Niflheim—traditionally the Norse underworld and afterlife.
Natalie Portman did not want to reprise her role as Jane Foster, so she and Thor parted ways after Thor: The Dark World. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, producer Kevin Feige said that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is “much more [Thor’s] equal and in many ways his superior.” Apparently, a celebrated astrophysicist is not good enough for Thor. It sounds like Feige may still be a little sore about the breakup.
Thompson seemingly revealed that Thor: Ragnarok may include Marvel’s first LGBTQ main character. She described Valkyrie as bisexual in an Oct. 21 tweet. Somewhat predictably, Thompson walked back her comment two days later. In a follow-up tweet, she explained that while her depiction of the character is “faithful” to the comics, the film doesn’t explicitly address her sexuality. So you can certainly interpret Valkyrie as bisexual in Thor: Ragnarok, but you could say the same of any character in the franchise. Marvel Studios still hasn’t included a canonically queer character onscreen.
YES! Val is Bi in the comics & I was faithful to that in her depiction. But her sexuality isn’t explicitly addressed in Thor: Ragnarok. https://t.co/hmb5lYN5to— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) October 23, 2017
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Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins return as Heimdall and Odin (or possibly Loki disguised as Odin), and Benedict Cumberbatch has a supporting role as Doctor Strange. Karl Urban joins the cast as the monstrous warrior Skurge, but most importantly, this movie includes Jeff Goldblum.
Goldblum plays Grandmaster, the alien ruler of the planet Sakaar. His costume and makeup are deliciously ridiculous, and Goldblum describes the character as “a hedonist, a pleasure-seeker.” Waititi apparently encouraged him to improvise a lot during filming. We can’t wait.
It also appears actress Jaime Alexander will return as Lady Sif, who appeared in the last two Thor movies and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The cast is as funny and charming as you’d expect in this new behind-the-scenes video from Marvel, featuring a couple of new clips from the movie.
Watch this new behind-the-scenes look at #ThorRagnarok! ⚡ #Thorsday pic.twitter.com/v9fS1guZC6— Thor (@thorofficial) September 28, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok trailer
The first trailer arrived April 10, showcasing the film’s comedic tone and giving some clues about how Thor became a space-gladiator. As expected, it’s more Guardians of the Galaxy than Avengers, starring plenty of aliens and leaning heavily on the fantasy elements of the comics. We already foresee a lot of love for Cate Blanchett’s no-chill supervillain performance.
This November, #ThorRagnarok. Watch the teaser trailer now! pic.twitter.com/lKLNusXLUN— Thor (@thorofficial) April 10, 2017
Marvel unveiled a full-length trailer at Comic Con, and it looks rad as hell. Tessa Thompson rides a winged horse, Loki gets chained up, Thor banters with the Hulk, and the music is some kind of 1980s prog rock/video game situation that just begs for air guitar.
The latest international trailer introduces Doctor Strange to the film. With an exciting villain, colorful visuals, and a real sense of fun, it’s easy to get even more excited for Marvel’s next superhero movie.
Thor: Ragnarok critical reception
Reviews for Thor: Ragnarok indicate that Marvel has another hit on its hands. As of Nov. 3, the film had an impressive 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Director Taika Waititi is credited with bringing a great deal of personality and humor to the movie, though some critics weren’t as impressed with the film’s villain.
We found Thor: Ragnarok to be a colorful extravaganza of dumb jokes, smart jokes, charismatic performances, and 1980s arcade-game spaceships that make “pew pew” noises with their laser guns. Read our full review here.
According to Michael Rougeau at Gamespot, “Cate Blanchett does her best as the Wicked Witch of Asgard, but there’s nothing even remotely interesting about Hela…”
Brian Truitt, writing for USA Today, said, “Even tonal issues can’t upend the magic this movie taps into putting Thor and Hulk together as new best buddies, whether they’re throwing down in an arena or having a bromantic heart-to-heart.”
It seems right when Marvel was about to jump the shark with its palatable but increasingly boring formula, it pivoted into something fresh and funny.
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Thor: Ragnarok release date
Thor: Ragnarok was released in the U.S. on Nov. 3, 2017.