Thor: Ragnarok

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Thor: Ragnarok
Thor Ragnarok poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Taika Waititi
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by
Based on
Starring
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography Javier Aguirresarobe
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • October 10, 2017 (2017-10-10) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • November 3, 2017 (2017-11-03) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $180 million[2][3]
Box office $663.2 million[2]

Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011's Thor and 2013's Thor: The Dark World, and is the seventeenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and the writing team of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor must escape the alien planet Sakaar in time to save Asgard from Hela and the impending Ragnarök.

A third Thor film was confirmed in January 2014, with Kyle and Yost beginning work on the screenplay. The involvement of Hemsworth and Hiddleston was announced that October. Waititi joined the film as director a year later, after The Dark World director Alan Taylor chose not to return. Ruffalo joined the cast reprising the role of Hulk from previous MCU films, which allowed elements of the 2006 comic storyline "Planet Hulk" to be adapted for Ragnarok. The rest of the cast, including Blanchett as Hela, was confirmed in May 2016, with Pearson's involvement revealed at the start of filming in July 2016. Principal photography took place in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, with the film also having exclusive use of Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, concluding in October 2016.

Thor: Ragnarok premiered in Los Angeles on October 10, 2017, and was released in the United States on November 3, 2017, in 3D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. The film received largely positive reviews, with many critics declaring it the best film of the Thor trilogy and praising Waititi's direction, the cast, action sequences, soundtrack, and humor. It has grossed more than $663 million, making it the 10th highest-grossing film of 2017.

Plot[edit]

Two years after the Battle of Sokovia,[N 1] Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur. Surtur reveals that Thor's father Odin is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns in Odin's vault. Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök.

Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki posing as Odin. Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange on Earth, they locate Odin in Norway. Odin explains that he is dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was sealed in long ago. Hela had been the leader of Asgard's armies, and had conquered the Nine Realms with Odin, but had been imprisoned and written out of history after Odin feared that she had become too ambitious. Odin subsequently dies, and Hela, released from her imprisonment, appears. She destroys Thor's hammer Mjolnir, and when Thor and Loki attempt to flee through the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard, destroying its army and the Warriors Three; resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, including her giant wolf Fenris; and appoints the Asgardian Skurge as her executioner. She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard's empire, but Heimdall covertly steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard's citizens.

Thor crash-lands on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes. He is captured by a bounty hunter named Scrapper 142, and taken to serve as a gladiator for the planet's ruler, the Grandmaster, with whom Loki has already become ingratiated. Thor recognizes 142 as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female warriors who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago. Thor is forced to compete in the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions, facing his old friend the Hulk. Summoning lightning, Thor almost defeats the Hulk but the Grandmaster sabotages the fight to ensure the Hulk's victory. Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and 142 to help him save Asgard, but neither is willing. He soon manages to escape the palace and finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar. Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Natasha Romanoff makes him transform back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.

The Grandmaster orders 142 and Loki to find Thor and Hulk, but the pair come to blows and Loki forces her to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrie at the hands of Hela. Deciding to help Thor, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill. Unwilling to be left behind, Loki provides the group with the means to steal one of the Grandmaster's ships. They then liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a rebellion. Loki attempts to betray his brother to gain a reward from the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him. Thor, Banner, and 142 escape through a wormhole to Asgard, where Hela's forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard's citizens. Banner becomes the Hulk again, fighting Fenris, while Thor and 142 battle Skurge and the resurrected warriors. Loki and the gladiators arrive to help, and the citizens board their large ship; a repentant Skurge sacrifices himself to allow their escape. Thor, facing Hela, loses an eye and then has a vision of Odin that helps him realize only Ragnarök can stop Hela. While Hela is distracted, Loki locates Surtur's crown and places it in the Eternal Flame. Surtur is reborn and destroys Asgard, seemingly killing Hela.

Thor and the others escape with Asgard's remaining citizens aboard the Grandmaster's vessel. Thor, crowned king, decides to take his people to Earth. In a mid-credits scene, they come across a large spacecraft.[N 2] In a post-credits scene, the Grandmaster encounters a group of his former subjects, who are still rebelling.

Cast[edit]

Kevin Feige, Taika Waititi and the cast of Thor: Ragnarok at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor:
    The crown prince of Asgard based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name, who has become a "lone gunslinger" searching for the Infinity Stones.[4][6] Hemsworth had become "a bit bored" with the character after portraying Thor four times previously, and wanted to take some risks and experiment: the character has shorter hair in the film, wears a different outfit, his hammer Mjolnir is destroyed,[7] and he loses an eye. Director Taika Waititi added that "stripping" the character down like this allowed him to become a refugee at the end of the film.[8] Waititi also wanted to use more of Hemsworth's comedic talents showcased in films like Vacation (2015) and Ghostbusters (2016),[9] and cited Kurt Russell's portrayal of Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China as an influence on the character.[10]
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki:
    Thor's adoptive brother and nemesis based on the deity of the same name.[11][12] Hiddleston was interested in how Loki's attitude has changed, saying, "he is always a trickster. It is trying to find new ways for him to be mischievous".[13] As the ruler of Asgard since the end of Thor: The Dark World, Hiddleston notes that "Loki has devoted most of his efforts to narcissistic self-glorification. Not so much on good governance."[14] He also added that "the idea that Thor might be indifferent to Loki is troubling for him, because that's a defining feature of his character ... 'My brother doesn't love me; I hate my brother.' And the idea his brother's like, yeah, whatever, it's an interesting development."[15]
  • Cate Blanchett as Hela:
    Odin's first born child and the goddess of death, based on the deity Hel,[12][16][17] who is inadvertently released from her prison.[18] Blanchett noted the difficulty of playing the role in a motion capture suit rather than costume, feeling the character's headdress is "such a huge part of when she comes into the height of her powers in the film".[19] Hela's design was taken from Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron, while the character Gorr from that comic, who has the ability "to manifest an infinite number of weapons", inspired a similar ability for Hela.[20] Blanchett worked with stuntwoman Zoë Bell, Hemsworth's personal trainer Luke Zocchi, and studied capoeira for the role.[18][7]
  • Idris Elba as Heimdall:
    The all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry of the Bifröst Bridge, based on the deity of the same name, who has gone into self-imposed exile during Loki's reign.[12][21][22] After Hela invades Asgard, he helps to hide its vulnerable citizens. Describing Heimdall's character arc in the film, Winderbaum says, "he's gone from this elder statesmen, the gatekeeper to Asgard, to this badass warrior-wizard character who lives in the hills and kicks a lot of ass throughout the entire film."[22]
  • Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster:
    One of the Elders of the Universe,[14][23] who rules the planet Sakaar,[9] and enjoys manipulating lesser life-forms.[12][24] Goldblum described the character as "a hedonist, a pleasure-seeker, an enjoyer of life and tastes and smells". He also said that Waititi encouraged improvisation in order for Goldblum to "make [the character his] own".[25] Waititi explained that Grandmaster does not have blue skin in the film as the character does in the comics, because Goldblum had already played a blue-colored character in Earth Girls Are Easy, and because Waititi did not want to detract from Goldblum's personality by concealing his appearance.[26] Grandmaster is the brother of Benicio del Toro's Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy, and producer Kevin Feige expressed interest in seeing the two together in a future film.[27]
  • Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie:
    A tough, hard-drinking Asgardian bounty hunter,[9] based on the mythological being Brynhildr,[28] who was once a legendary warrior of the Valkyrior and now works for the Grandmaster under the designation "Scrapper 142".[22] Thompson said the various versions of the character from the comics "left us a lot of leeway" in creating the film version.[20] Waititi "wanted to make sure we weren't making a female character that was boring and pretty",[29] and Feige said Marvel wanted to pair Thor with a love interest more his equal than Jane Foster.[30] Thompson was inspired by pictures of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day while training for the role,[29] and worked with dialect coach Andrew Jack to create an Asgardian-sounding accent that was different enough to sound like she had been away from there for a long time.[31] Thompson will appear in future MCU films.[12][32]
  • Karl Urban as Skurge:
    An Asgardian warrior,[12][24] who guards the Bifröst Bridge in Heimdall's absence and chooses to join Hela to survive.[21][19] Urban shaved his head for the role, and worked out to "get into the zone and feel" the part even though his body is hidden under a costume.[33] Urban said Skurge "makes a deal with the devil" and becomes Hela's "henchman. He does the dirty jobs. And that sort of is something he has to—it plays on his conscience."[21]
  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk:
    A genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. He becomes a successful and popular gladiator on Sakaar.[34][9] He is in "perma-Hulk mode", having suppressed the Banner side for a few years, and forming the vocabulary "of a toddler",[14] with the level of Hulk's speech being "a big conversation" between Waititi and Marvel since it was taking into account future appearances for the character.[35] Ragnarok begins an arc for the character that continues in Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel, stemming from discussions Ruffalo had with Feige.[36] Ruffalo felt Hulk was "much more of a character than the green rage machine you've seen in the Avengers movies. He's got a swagger."[9] Waititi provided additional motion capture for the Hulk after Ruffalo had completed his scenes.[37]
  • Anthony Hopkins as Odin:
    The king of Asgard, father of Thor, and adoptive father of Loki, based on the deity of the same name.[12] The character is in exile on Earth, and was originally intended to be a "crazy-looking" hobo on the streets of New York City, but Waititi ultimately felt that this was tragic rather than funny given the character's death during the sequence. The sequence was changed to take place in Norway, to "honor" the character's past and be more authentic to his role as a king of Asgard.[38] Waititi was surprised by the improvisational ability of Hopkins after he was told "to be funny and to really destroy what's come before [with the role] and recreate it."[37]

Additionally, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, and Zachary Levi reprise their roles as Hogun, Volstagg, and Fandral, respectively, members of the Warriors Three.[39][22] They are all killed early in the film, which Feige called "noble ends" that served to establish the threat of Hela and the danger she poses to the main characters.[40] Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Stephen Strange from the film Doctor Strange.[41] Rachel House, who has appeared in several of Waititi's films, plays Topaz, the Grandmaster's bodyguard,[42][19] while Waititi portrays Korg, a gladiator who befriends Thor. Waititi provided a motion-capture performance for the character, who is made of rocks, and wanted to do something different by having the character be soft-spoken,[43][44] ultimately basing Korg's voice on that of Polynesian bouncers.[45] Waititi also provided the motion-capture performance for the fire demon Surtur, based on the mythological being Surtr, with Clancy Brown providing the voice for that character.[46] Thor co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as a man on Sakaar who cuts Thor's hair.[47] There are also several cameos in a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of The Dark World: Sam Neill, who Waititi previously worked with on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, plays the Odin actor;[48][49] Luke Hemsworth, brother of Chris, plays the Thor actor;[49] and Matt Damon plays the Loki actor.[49]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

While promoting the release of Thor: The Dark World in October 2013, Chris Hemsworth stated that he was contracted for another Thor film and two more Avengers films, and would be happy to continue portraying Thor beyond that if people wanted more.[50] Kevin Feige added that there was "a story we'd like to tell", building from certain elements at the end of The Dark World.[51] In January 2014, Marvel announced that Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost would write the screenplay for a third film, with Feige again producing;[52] the story was being outlined that July.[53] In October 2014, while talking about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hemsworth said that his next film "won't be Thor 3—that will be the following year".[54]

On October 28, 2014, Feige announced that the film would be titled Thor: Ragnarok, would be released on July 28, 2017, and would see Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprising their roles of Thor and Loki, respectively.[4][11] Feige called the film "a very important movie" in Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and stated that it would pick up after the events of Age of Ultron.[4] He also confirmed that, in the context of the film, the word Ragnarok means "the end of all things",[55] and felt that "people will [not] read into that title alone what the movie's going to be."[56] In February 2015, Marvel pushed back the release date to November 3, 2017.[57] In April, Feige was expecting a draft for the film soon,[58] and a month later he stated that a director, additional screenwriter, and further casting announcements would be revealed "towards the end of the summer",[59] with filming set for June 2016.[60] The Dark World director Alan Taylor explained that he would not be returning, as "the Marvel experience was particularly wrenching because I was sort of given absolute freedom while we were shooting, and then in [post-production] it turned into a different movie. So, that is something I hope never to repeat and don't wish upon anybody else."[61] During the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International, Jaimie Alexander said that she would reprise her role as Sif in "a very pivotal part" of the film.[62][63]

I think the overall sense that I'm trying to give to the audience and what I want the audience to leave the cinema carrying with them is a sense of joy really... Sometimes I would stop and think, I'm doing a movie that's got Thor and Doctor Strange and The Incredible Hulk and Loki and every character is so strange and different... Civil War it's just humans, humans with human problems. Ours is creatures and beings and all these sorts of really different characters.
—Taika Waititi, director of Thor: Ragnarok[64]

By October 2015, Taika Waititi entered negotiations to direct Thor: Ragnarok. Other directors under consideration included Ruben Fleischer, Rob Letterman, and Rawson Marshall Thurber.[65] Marvel presented the prospective directors with "the ten different ideas that we had for the movie", asking them all to come back with a clearer picture of what the film should be.[66] Waititi created "a sizzle reel for the tone, and some joke stuff" using clips from other films,[66][67] including Big Trouble in Little China,[68] and scoring it with Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song".[69] This is a practice that Marvel discourages because it "oftentimes can be really terrible", but they thought Waititi's reel was "amazing",[66] particularly its use of that song which Feige felt "defined what Taika was going to do with this"; it was later used in the film itself, and to market it.[69] On why he decided to pursue directing the film, after stating in 2012 that he had no interest in "big features, where the art of the project was sacrificed for profit", Waititi said he felt "like a guest in Marvel's universe but with the creative freedom to do what I want".[70] Waititi was confirmed as director of the film by multiple news outlets later in the month.[71][72][73]

Hemsworth had asked Marvel if the film could be made in Australia, where he lives, and was told that they would "look into it".[74] In October, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced that filming would take place in the country,[75] exclusively throughout the state of Queensland, including at Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, Gold Coast. According to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the production was to spend over $100 million in Queensland and employ 750 Queenslanders.[76]

Also in October, Mark Ruffalo was finalizing a deal to reprise his role as Bruce Banner / Hulk from previous MCU films,[34] and soon confirmed that he would appear.[77] Hulk was last seen at the end of Age of Ultron traveling in a Quinjet, which was originally planned to be shown near Saturn. Feige explained that this was changed to an Earth-based location to leave Hulk's fate ambiguous and dispel rumors that a film based on "Planet Hulk" was in development, since Marvel Studios had no plans to adapt the storyline at the time.[78] According to executive producer Brad Winderbaum, the idea to include Hulk in Ragnarok came early on in development on that film, when the production team looked at the "Planet Hulk" storyline and felt it was a "no brainer" to integrate Hulk into the Thor franchise and explore "the idea of a planet where there's gladiatorial games as a Thor predicament. [That storyline] was a really cool idea to us."[79] Feige further explained that initial discussions had focused on doing "something totally different with Thor", and that centered on continuing the relationship with Loki and ideas for Hela, Valkyrie, Balder, and Beta Ray Bill, "but we were like, 'We need something big.'" This turned to discussing Thor going to space, and jokingly calling it "Planet Thor", which led to including Hulk in the film and revealing that he ultimately went to space at the end of Age of Ultron.[78]

In November, Hemsworth indicated that he wanted a lighter tone compared to the previous Thor films, especially the second one, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy. Hemsworth said, "I feel we had less of the sort of the naivety or fun or humor that the first [Thor] might have had. I wish we had more of that in the second [movie] ... We've done regal. We've done Shakespeare, and we've shown that. I think now it's time to go, 'Ok, cool. Let's try something different.'"[80] At the end of that month, Stellan Skarsgård, who portrayed Erik Selvig in the previous Thor films, said that he was contracted to appear should Marvel want to include him, but he was uncertain at the time if they did.[81] He later confirmed that he would not appear in Thor: Ragnarok.[82] In December 2015, Stephany Folsom was hired to work on the script, and Cate Blanchett entered final negotiations to join the cast,[16][83] while Hemsworth said that in order to prevent the character or film from becoming "predictable", there was "definitely a goal to do something unexpected... and really mix it up... I think we want to get back to more of a sense of adventure and fun in the" film.[84] Feige revealed that Thor: Ragnarok would take "place within the cosmos primarily which is to say, frankly, very little Earth", a departure from the previous Thor films.[56][85] He expanded, saying there were only three scenes on Earth,[86] with "80 to 90 percent [taking] place in the cosmos. Tonally and geographically there are a lot of different planets outside of the nine realms that we visit" in the film.[87]

Pre-production[edit]

Waititi at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con

In January 2016, with the film beginning pre-production,[76][88] Ruffalo described it as a "road movie" and indicated that additional filming would take place in Sydney.[89] Waititi stated that he was working on the script "a little bit", mainly adding humor to the screenplay,[90] with Eric Pearson joining the project. Pearson felt joining presented many challenges, as "there were so many puzzle pieces already there," such as having Blanchett as Hela (who was confirmed in the role a month later[91]) and including Hulk, Valkyrie, and Skurge, that "they dumped all the puzzle pieces out in front of me and said, 'Build a puzzle', basically." He was also told not to be restrained by anything from the previous films, and from Waitti, to make the film fun and Thor "be the coolest character."[92] Alexander said in early March that she was no longer sure if she would appear in the film, due to scheduling conflicts with her television series Blindspot.[93] Though she later indicated that this was not the case,[94][24] Alexander ultimately did not appear in the film,[95] and confirmed that this was due to scheduling conflicts with Blindspot.[96]

In April, Tessa Thompson joined the cast as Valkyrie,[32][12] as Natalie Portman was confirmed to not be returning from the previous films as love interest Jane Foster.[87][97] Marvel never asked any of the screenwriters to add the Earth-based characters from the previous films to the script,[98] and Feige later explained that Foster and Thor have broken up between films.[30] In May, Marvel confirmed Blanchett and Thompson's castings, while announcing the casting of Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster and Karl Urban as Skurge. The announcement also confirmed that Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins would reprise their respective roles of Heimdall and Odin from the previous films.[12] In early June, Palaszczuk and Marvel Studios executive David Grant announced that filming would begin on July 4, 2016,[99] with Weta Workshop creating props for the film.[33] Before the sets created for Marvel's Doctor Strange were demolished, Waititi wrote and filmed a scene for Ragnarok where Thor meets Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange. Marvel and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson felt the scene was "kind of perfect" to show Strange joining the wider MCU, so the scene also appears during the credits of Doctor Strange.[41][100][101]

Waititi consulted with theoretical physicist Clifford Johnson, who previously consulted on the second season of Agent Carter, on space travel and allowed Johnson to view early drafts of the script. Johnson gave Waititi physics ideas that could "wink at some of the classic old [Thor] stuff".[102] Comic artist and Thor co-creator Jack Kirby was one of Waititi's major visual inspirations for the film.[103] Producer Brad Winderbaum also called Walt Simonson's "Ragnarok" story arc an inspiration for "really fun elements ... both stylistically and narratively", as well as Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron, which was the inspiration for Hela's design and abilities.[20] Waititi said the planet Sakaar, which is featured in the "Planet Hulk" storyline, was "the biggest shift for the film and these characters",[103] with Winderbaum describing it as "the toilet of the universe", surrounded by "wormholes that have been spitting things out into this place for eons".[79] Also featured is Muspelheim, one of the Nine Realms ruled by Surtur. Production designer Dan Hennah described the realm as a Dyson sphere, with the realm drawing power out of a dying star to energize its inhabitants.[104] Hennah hoped to give Asgard "more of a humanity" than in previous films, by adding smaller building perspectives to help the realm seem more practical and utilitarian, given more of the general population is seen in the film. For Saakar's gladiator arena, Hennah looked at Roman gladiators, but feeling Roman gladiators had "been done so often" he "sort of went all alien with it. We toyed with a lot of different concepts, but we ended up with one where the arena itself is surrounded by bleachers which have standing up bleachers, not sitting down."[105]

Waititi said that the film would reinvent the franchise, saying, "A lot of what we're doing with the film is, in a way, kind of dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that's fresh. Everyone's got a slightly new take on their characters, so in that way, it feels like [this is] the first Thor."[9] He added that he had seen the other films and respected them, but wanted to focus on making a "standalone film because this could be the only time I do this. I just want to make it [my] version of a Marvel film in the best way possible."[10] The events of Ragnarok are set four years after the events of Thor: The Dark World, two years after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron,[4][106] and around the same time as the events of Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Winderbaum noting that "things happen on top of each other now in Phase Three."[6] The events of Ragnarok also set up Avengers: Infinity War,[9] and Hemsworth spoke to Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo before receiving the script for Ragnarok to see how it would link to Infinity War. He said Ragnarok "definitely bleeds nicely into those [films]",[6] and Winderbaum likened Ragnarok's impact on the larger MCU to that of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, saying it would break down ideas regarding Asgard that were previously established similar "to how Winter Soldier broke down S.H.I.E.L.D."[6]

Filming[edit]

Filming of Thor: Ragnarok in Brisbane's central business district, which doubled as New York City.

Principal photography began on July 4, 2016,[99][107] under the working title Creature Report,[108][3] at Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia,[76] exclusively using all nine of the studios' sound stages.[109] Additional filming was to occur throughout the state of Queensland,[76] including Tamborine National Park.[22] The Brisbane central business district, where filming took place from August 22 to 25,[25][108][110] was used to double as New York City.[111] Javier Aguirresarobe served as cinematographer on the film, with Dan Hennah as production designer.[107][112] Aguirresarobe described working on the film as "a rare combination of satisfaction and frustration", feeling that he was mostly there to service the director and visual effects supervisor, but felt "very happy to have been able to respond to such incredible technical requirements".[113]

Later in July, regarding the film's plot and "buddy-style comedy" nature, Waititi said that the script had changed from then and it was still unclear what the final film would look like, but there "are buddy elements to it between Thor and the Hulk".[70] He said it would be a "'70s/'80s sci-fi fantasy" and "the most 'out there' of all the Marvel movies",[114] with the tone closest to that of Big Trouble in Little China.[68] Inspiration for the road-trip aspect of the film that Thor and Hulk embark on included 48 Hrs., Withnail and I and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.[9] Waititi also asked the heads of each department to watch Flash Gordon before they began work on the film.[115] Concept art released at San Diego Comic Con 2016 revealed that the characters Surtur and Fenris Wolf would appear in the film.[116][117]

By August, over 100 set and construction workers were given termination notifications, with some complaining that they had been promised work until October or November 2016, and that members of the crew from New Zealand were receiving preferential treatment over the Australian locals. However, Premier Palaszczuk stated that the work for set builders simply "finished", and that other jobs would become available as the actors arrived for filming.[118] Many of the sets that were contructed for the film were for Sakaar, including the Grandmaster's palace and surrounding junkyard, as well as sets for Asgard based on the aesthetics of the previous Thor films.[22] Waititi, who is Māori, made hiring Indigenous and Aboriginal Australians, along with New Zealanders, a priority for the various departments, saying, "It's a responsibility you have to the Indigenous people. You're coming to a country and you're bringing money into the economy and creating jobs but I think you have an even bigger responsibility to look after the people that have less opportunities." He added that having these people on the crew "feel very much like family" and "helps calm me down and makes me feel relaxed". The Indigenous and Aboriginals were hired as part of an initiative by Screen Australia's Indigenous Department, whose mission is "to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a foot in the door of the film industry".[119]

In mid-September 2016, concept art seen during the media's set indicated Midgard Serpent would appear,[120] and that Sif and the Warriors Three, allies of Thor in the previous two films, would be addressed in Ragnarok.[31] Towards the end of the month, Sam Neill, who worked with Waititi in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, revealed he had a role in the film.[48] Shortly after, Waititi teased the inclusion of the character Korg in the film,[121] who Waititi portrays through motion-capture.[43] In mid-October, Waititi revealed that new camera technology had been used for a shot in the film, and that he had hoped to include John C. Reilly's Nova Corpsman Rhomann Dey in the film, but there was "no real way to pull it off".[114] He also revealed that the character Miek would appear in the film;[122] he is not portrayed by an actor in the film, as he does not speak, and is depicted as "a larva-like creature... [with] cybernetic legs and arms".[43] Principal photography wrapped on October 28, 2016.[123] Second unit filming took place on Dirk Hartog Island off the coast of Australia, and in the South Island of New Zealand.[22] The interior set of the Avenger Quinjet was one that had been built for The Avengers and was shipped to Australia for filming.[3] According to Waititi, 80 percent of the dialogue in Thor: Ragnarok was improvised, in order to create a "very loose and collaborate mood" among the cast and an attempt to replicate the tone and sensibility from his previous films. He stated, "My style of working is I'll often be behind the camera, or right next to the camera yelling words at people, like, 'Say this, say this! Say it this way!'"[124]

Post-production[edit]

In January 2017, it was revealed that Pearson would be receiving sole screenwriting credit on the film, with Marvel noting that the story for Ragnarok was conceived by Kyle, Yost and Folsom.[125] These credits were later updated the following September, with Pearson as the screenwriter and also given a story credit with Kyle and Yost, who were credited as a writing team. Folsom took issue with Marvel marketing the film with these credits, noting the Writers Guild of America (WGA) had yet to determine the final credits for the film.[126] She later noted that Marvel had given her a story credit on the film, but was denied by the WGA due to their regulation that a maximum of two individuals can receive story credit, with an allowance for a writing team to count as one individual; Pearson and the team of Kyle and Yost received the story credit on Ragnarok. Folsom added that she planned to appeal the decision, and that Marvel has been supportive of her throughout her attempt to receive credit.[127] By the end of the month, the writing credits were updated once again, this time removing the story credits and giving Pearson, Kyle, and Yost the screenwriting credit.[128][95]

In February 2017, Rachel House said she had a small role in the film, having worked with Waititi before.[42] Additional filming took place in Atlanta in July 2017, over three weeks,[129][130] including filming the film's post-credit scenes.[131] One scene, shown during the credits, introduces the spaceship Sanctuary II that belongs to Thanos, the villain of Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel.[5] Another scene shown at the end of the credits, features the Grandmaster. Goldblum and Waititi improvised multiple different versions of the scene, including one that was not used but involved the singing of the Sakaarian national anthem, which was "made up on the spot".[132] Also filmed in Atlanta was the completion of a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of The Dark World. It was revealed that Neill appears in the sequence as the Odin actor, and Hemsworth's brother Luke portrays the Thor actor.[133] Explaining the sequence, Waititi said, "if I was Loki and I was ruling Asgard, I would write a play about myself and force everyone to go and see it—change the details of the play and get a huge celebrity to play myself." For the Loki actor, they "really wanted someone good and someone who's funny", and Chris Hemsworth suggested that Matt Damon, who Hemsworth knows, take on the role, and his cameo was filmed "on a lark".[49] Damon was in New York City at the time, and flew to Atlanta just to shoot the cameo.[133] He previously played the character of Loki in the film Dogma.

Original (top) and effects (bottom) shots of the Valkyrie flashback sequence in Thor: Ragnarok.

Also changed during reshoots was the location of the sequence where Thor and Loki find Odin on Earth, and Hela subsequently destroys Thor's hammer. Originally intended to take place in a New York City alley, Waititi decided that the environment was distracting from the emotions of the sequence, and so the scene was changed to take place in Norway. He felt this gave more weight to the scenes, made Odin's storyline more "authentic", and also allowed the characters and the audience to "chill out for a second, and have that moment, because the rest of the film basically just runs at a clip".[38] By the time the reshoots for the film were completed, the film had been cut down from Waititi's initial version of two-hours-and-forty-minutes to around ninety minutes, with that expected to increase slightly with the newly filmed scenes. However, after the film's 2017 Comic Con panel, it was decided to add back a lot of the jokes that had been removed, with the final runtime being two-hours-and-ten-minutes.[115] Joel Negron and Zene Baker served as editors on the film.[22][3] Waititi described the process of deciding exactly what jokes to keep as "very tricky ... sometimes it would be funny in the beginning of the film and then not funny at all [or] it was funny in the wrong places and in the end, we had to just keep testing jokes and testing parts of the film".[134] Ragnarok also clarifies that an Infinity Gauntlet seen in Thor was a fake. Feige expanded, saying that it had been included in Thor as an easter egg, since Marvel Studios was "working on The Avengers and trying to get just put that all together for the conclusion of Phase One." However, shortly after The Avengers released and the studio began to solidify plans for Avengers: Infinity War, they realized that the gauntlet seen in Thor could not be the actual one, creating an internal theory that it was fake; this resulted in the scene in Ragnarok, which was created "just [to have] the opportunity to call it a fake".[133]

Visual effects for the film were created by: Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) San Francisco and Vancouver studios,[135] with help from Base FX, Animatrik, and Virtuos; Framestore; Method Studios Vancouver; Digital Domain; Rising Sun Pictures; Luma Pictures; D Negative; Iloura; Image Engine; Trixter; The Secret Lab; WhiskeyTree Inc; Fin Designs + Effects; and Perception.[22] Previsualization work was provided by The Third Floor and Day for Nite.[22][136] To help create the Hulk, a person on set was covered in green body paint, and would replicate the intended motions of the character to aid the visual effect artists.[79] Rising Sun Pictures produced more than 170 visual effects shots for Thor: Ragnarok including the Valkyrie flashback sequence. The sequence's surreal ethereal appearance was achieved through a combination of motion capture, computer graphics, a 900 fps high-speed frame rate, and a special 360° lighting rig containing 200 strobe lights to bathe the scene in undulating patterns of light and shadow.[137]

Music[edit]

By August 2016, Mark Mothersbaugh was hired to score the film.[138][139] The synthesized score is influenced by the work of Jean-Michel Jarre.[19] Waititi would have asked the band Queen to work on the soundtrack for the film, if their lead singer Freddie Mercury was still alive, because the film is "a cool bold, colorful cosmic adventure" which would have suited the "feel" of the band.[140] Additional music featured in the film include "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin and "Pure Imagination" from the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Patrick Doyle's themes from Thor and Brian Tyler's themes from The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as Joe Harnell's "The Lonely Man" theme from The Incredible Hulk series, are also used in the film.[22] Hollywood Records released the film's soundtrack digitally on October 20, 2017, and physically on November 10, 2017.[141]

Release[edit]

Mark Ruffalo (center left) and Chris Hemsworth (center right) at the Sydney premiere of Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok had its world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on October 10, 2017,[142][143] and its Australian premiere took place on October 13, on the Gold Coast.[144] It was released in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2017,[145] with additional international releases on October 25,[106] and in Australia on October 26.[146] The film was released in the United States and Canada on November 3,[57] in 4,080 theaters, of which over 3,400 were 3D, 381 were IMAX and IMAX 3D, and 204 were D-Box.[147] The film opened in 1,187 IMAX theaters globally, which was a November opening weekend record.[148] It was originally scheduled for release on July 28, 2017.[4]

Marketing[edit]

At the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, a physical model of Hulk's gladiator armor was revealed,[149] concept art and rough animatics were shown,[116] and a "mockumentary" short titled Team Thor was screened. Directed by Waititi, it showed what Thor and Banner were doing during the events of Captain America: Civil War,[116][150] with Daley Pearson appearing as Thor's Australian flatmate Darryl Jacobson. The short released online in August 2016,[150] and with the digital download of Captain America: Civil War the following month.[151] Team Thor: Part 2 was released on the home media of Doctor Strange in February 2017, with Pearson reprising his role.[150][152] Footage and concept art for the film were shown at CinemaCon 2017.[153]

On April 10, 2017, the first teaser trailer was released. Sandy Schaefer of Screen Rant felt it was "a strong start" for the film, as it "quickly establishes the high stakes for the movie" while also having "a distinctly playful vibe" by setting it to "Immigrant Song".[154] The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg said, "between the extravagant costumes, wild makeup, and brilliantly colored '80s aesthetic, it's possible that this may be the weirdest Marvel movie to date."[155] Michael Arbeiter for Nerdist was pleased with the teaser, stating, "nothing in the MCU thus far can hold a candle to the imagination promised by this ... have any of [the previous MCU films] felt this beholden to what we've always known and loved as the adventure genre?"[156] The teaser was viewed 136 million times in 24 hours, the third-highest in that time frame behind The Fate of the Furious (139 million) and It (197 million). It also became Disney and Marvel's most viewed trailer within that time period, surpassing Beauty and the Beast (127 million) and Captain America: Civil War (94 million), Disney and Marvel's previous record holders, respectively.[157] The line from the trailer of Thor saying Hulk "is a friend from work" was suggested to Hemsworth by a Make-A-Wish child visiting the set on the day the scene was filmed.[158]

Props and costumes from the film were on display at D23 Expo 2017 along with set pieces for photo opportunities.[159] The costumes were also on display at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con,[160] where Waitti and cast members promoted the film. Exclusive clips were shown, along with a new trailer.[14][23] Ethan Anderton of /Film felt "the blend of comedy and bright, vibrant comic book action" in the trailer was "incredible". He also enjoyed the chemistry between Hemsworth and Ruffalo.[161] Collider's Haleigh Foutch was "in love with this trailer" and "all in" on the film. She noted, "Waititi is embracing the fantastical and goofy elements of Thor and translating them into thrilling cinema."[162] Germain Lussier for io9 called the trailer "a two-and-a-half-minute ball of action, awesomeness, humor, and insanity that may be the most purely fun Marvel movie trailer we've ever seen."[163] The poster also released was praised, being called "quite stunning", "insanely colorful", "perfectly symmetrical",[164] and "glorious", with Matt Goldberg of Collider feeling it "really [lets] you know that this Thor movie is going to be radically different than the first two".[165] Due to the Comic-Con presentation, Thor: Ragnarok generated over 264,000 new conversations on social media from July 17 to 23, the most out of any film during that time period, according to comScore and its PreAct service.[166] It retained this for two more weeks.[167][168]

In August 2017, Marvel partnered with car manufacturer Renault on a commercial supporting the release of the Kwid in Brazil. Directed by Jonathan Gurvit and shot in São Paulo, it features the Hulk destroying a satellite headed towards the city. Framestore worked on visual effects for the commercial, building on the foundation they had from working on the character in previous films.[169][170] Also in August, Marvel, in partnership with Dolby Laboratories, Synchrony Bank, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Broadcom Masters, and Society for Science & the Public, announced "Superpower of STEM Challenge", aimed at females aged 15 through 18 in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education) fields, to "create an original Do-It-Yourself project that can be replicated by others" and "help their family, community or the world be safer, healthier or happier". Five winners would attend the film's world premiere, receive a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and a $500 saving account from Synchrony Bank, with one grand prize winner attending "an immersive three-day mentorship in New York City with Disney Imagineering" to create a "professional-level video teaching other young people how to recreate" their winning project. They were also given the opportunity to demonstrate the project on Good Morning America.[171]

For the week of August 21, Ragnarok was once again had the most social media conversations according to comScore and its PreAct service. New clips of Thor and Hulk fighting, released on the same day as the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight, helped generate the 57,000 new conversations for the week.[172] From September 25 to October 15, Ragnarok had the second-most social media conversations according to comScore and its PreAct service.[173][174] For the week of October 16, the film was once again the first in social media conversations due to the release of extended clips and plot details. Ragnarok earned over 1.65 million conversations to date.[175] Beginning October 6, 2017, Disney California Adventure showed a sneak peek of the film at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land. The sneak peek was presented in 3D with "special in-theater effects", while props and costumes from the film were also be on display.[176] Ahead of the United States release of the film, Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Blanchett, Goldblum, Ruffalo, and Thompson appeared with James Corden on The Late Late Show with James Corden to present a 4D version of the film. The cast performed various scenes from the film live in low-budget costumes and with cardboard stage props.[177] Additional promotional partners included Red Robin, United Healthcare, and Screenvision Media.[148]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

As of November 15, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok has grossed $223.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $440 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $663.2 million.[2] In September 2017, a survey from Fandango indicated that Ragnarok was the most anticipated fall film.[178] For the weekend of November 3, 2017, the film earned $25.4 million from IMAX showings, which was the largest November opening weekend record, surpassing Doctor Strange (2016), and the third largest for an MCU film.[148] By the end of its third weekend globally, the film had earned $650.1 million, which surpassed the total grosses for Thor ($449.3 million) and Thor: The Dark World ($644.6 million),[179][180] and became the 10th highest-grossing film of 2017.[180]

Thor: Ragnarok earned $46.8 million on its opening day in the United States and Canada (including $14.5 million from Thursday night previews), and had a total weekend gross of $122.7 million, which was the top film for the weekend, the sixth best November opening, and the largest opening for all Thor films. IMAX contributed $12.2 million, which was the second-best IMAX opening of 2017 and the third-best November opening. The film's earnings on Sunday ($32.1 million), was the second-best Sunday in November after The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($34.5 million).[148] Box office projections for the film had it grossing $100–125 million in its opening weekend.[181][182] Ragnarok remained the number one film in its second weekend, having earned a total of $211.6 million, which surpassed the entire runs of Thor ($181 million) and The Dark World ($206.4 million).[183] The film is projected to earn $280 million for its total domestic gross.[184]

Outside the United States and Canada, the film opened in 36 markets in its first weekend, ranking first in all, and earning $109.1 million, $6 million of which came from 189 IMAX screens. The United Kingdom opening ($16.2 million) was the best October opening for any non-James Bond film. South Korea ($15.7 million), Australia ($8.4 million), Brazil ($8.1 million), Indonesia ($5.5M), Taiwan ($5.4M), the Philippines ($3.8M), Malaysia ($3.5M), New Zealand, Vietnam, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, and South Africa had the best October opening weekend ever, while France ($7.7 million) had the second-best October opening weekend. Brazil also had the third best debut for an MCU film, while New Zealand's opening was the biggest of 2017 overall.[185] In its second weekend, Ragnarok opened in 19 more markets, opening number one in all, with the largest November openings ever in China ($56.3 million, including $6 million from 446 IMAX screens), Mexico ($10.8 million), Germany ($8.9 million), and India ($5.5 million). Ragnarok also remained at number one in many existing markets. The film earned an additional $13.2 million from 788 IMAX screens, which was the best November opening ever.[186] In its third weekend, the film remained at number one in over 30 countries, and became the highest-grossing superhero film in the Czech Republic.[180] As of November 12, 2017, the film's largest markets were China ($95.2 million), the United Kingdom ($34.1 million), and South Korea ($31 million).[180]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 92% approval rating based on 298 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise – and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe."[192] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 73 out of 100 based on 48 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[193] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, making it the best of the Thor series and the 12th MCU film to earn the score.[148]

Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter said, "With Taika Waititi at the helm, the clash-of-worlds CGI extravaganza blasts free of the previous installment's leaden Dark World. Giant fire monsters in stygian underworlds notwithstanding, even the story's central bad guys are silly fun, hammed to the hilt by Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum."[187] Alonso Duralde of TheWrap wrote, "Both the banter and the fighting, it should be noted, are excellent, so whether you go to superhero movies for the glossy escapism or the pulse-pounding action, you'll get your large soda's worth."[194] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone rated the film three stars out of four, described the film as "the most fun you'll ever have at a Marvel movie" while praising the film's changing tone and direction as well drawing a similarity on its tone and humor to the Guardians of the Galaxy.[195] The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle lauded the performances of Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Blanchett, Thompson, Goldblum and Ruffalo in which he described that "It has confidence in its characters and in its own invention, and so it avoids repetition and stays fresh" while calling the film "fun" and that it "sustains its energy, keeps its sense of humor and succeeds in coming up with yet another variation on the old evil-about-to-destroy-the-entire-universe plot".[196] Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times also similarly praised the film while calling the performances of the ensemble cast "outstanding" and Waititi's direction "goofy and campy and marvelously self-referential". He also noted the soundtrack that was used in the climactic battle sequence, particularly Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" as being "perfectly synced".[197]

Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film three out of four stars, praising Hemsworth's performance especially: "When he bumbles and stumbles, there's a touch of Cary Grant to his embarrassment. And when he's playing things more or less straight, there's an average guyness to his reactions.... Hemsworth's charisma holds [Thor: Ragnarok] together whenever it threatens to spin apart, which unfortunately is often."[198] Justin Chang of Los Angeles Times called the film "the shortest, tidiest, most beautifully maintained movie" while praising Blanchett's performance of Hela in which he drew a comparison of the portrayal of her character to other iconic villains such as Maleficent and Chernabog, and the similar themes and tone to Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.[190] The Daily Telegraph's Robbie Collin gave the film four out of five, hailed it as "one of [Marvel's] best films to date" while commending the performances and describing Mark Mothersbaugh's musical score as "turbo-charged".[191] Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune commended the performances of Hiddleston and Thompson as being "wonderfully matched". He also noted a similar directing style of Waititi to Edgar Wright's "parodic work" and at the same time, labelled the film as "an unusually lively and buoyant" and "qualified victory" while acknowledging the effect of a "Marvel Fatigue factor" towards the audiences.[199] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post wrote that "Waititi brings the right balance of meaty action and sauciness to 'Ragnarok', which, although big, avoids the bloated, cartoon-noir ponderousness that has, until Wonder Woman, plagued movies from the film arm of Marvel's rival, DC Comics." He also remarked that "'Everything always seems to work out,' Thor reminds us – blithely – not just once, but twice, in a screenplay (by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost) that elevates Ragnarok to the giddy heights of Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool in its refusal to take itself seriously."[200]

Conversely, Peter Debruge of Variety said, "Thor: Ragnarok is easily the best of the three Thor movies – or maybe I just think so because its screenwriters and I finally seem to agree on one thing: the Thor movies are preposterous", but praised Goldblum's performance as "the best part of the film".[201] Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine stated negatively that "Thor: Ragnarok is packed tight with zooming space vehicles and noisy thunder battles, but the movie's extravagant excess is more narcotizing than energizing." Zacharek further added that "Even poor Thor seems lost in all of it, and he's supposed to be its star" while criticizing the film's visual effects as being "an instance of fun overkill" and "a special-effects coma".[202] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called the film's story "an uninteresting thicket of brawls, machinations and useful coincidences", adding that Marvel "could have gone grimmer, broodier, and sterner, but that isn't its onscreen way", choosing instead to show the character as a "playfully sustained joke". Dargis noted that Hemsworth "looks happier and far more relaxed in Ragnarok than he did in the previous Thor vehicles, which is perhaps Mr. Waititi's truest achievement here."[203]

Future[edit]

There had been discussions between Waititi and Marvel to create a spin-off Marvel One-Shot short film following the characters Korg and Miek, but it was not feasible due to Marvel's commitments producing three feature films a year. Feige did say that Marvel has plans for those characters, but would not say when they would next be seen.[204]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As depicted in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.[4]
  2. ^ According to producer Kevin Feige, the spaceship seen in the mid-credits scene is the Sanctuary II, which belongs to Thanos.[5]

References[edit]

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