Thor: Ragnarok slammed the book shut on the God of Thunder’s trilogy, resulting in major changes for the character, his allies, and his homebase too. There’s literally no going back to the way things were, for a variety of reasons that I’m going to spoil below. Whether these are good or bad changes is up for debate (they’re good, but go ahead and argue with me if you’d like).
By the conclusion of Thor: Ragnarok several things transpired: Odin had passed away, Asgard was obliterated, Loki became kind of a hero, the Warriors Three were slaughtered, and Thor lost an eye, his hammer, and much of his self-esteem, too. Oh, and now the Hulk can speak (and now he’s kind of Thor’s best friend too). Director Taika Waititi didn’t simply shuffle the deck, he 52-pick-upped the whole franchise.
Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, provided some insight into these choices during a recent interview with CraveOnline:
“It really was symbolic of two things. Of how dangerous and scary Hela is, because we love the notion of introducing a villain into a movie who, within the first five minutes, destroys Thor’s hammer and kills off most of everyone you’ve ever known surrounding him, therefore forcing Thor into entirely new circumstances with entirely new players.”
Sure, that was the setup, but the full punchline was punctuated with the final, epic battle between Hela (Cate Blanchett) and the giant fire demon Surtur (voiced by Clancy Brown). Feige seemed to realize how this has become something of a trend in Marvel trilogies:
“I had never even thought out of this until right now, but maybe that is a trope that we… I had never thought of this before, but what do we do in Iron Man Three? Blow up Tony’s house, blow up all of his suits. What did we do in Captain America 3? Shatter the Avengers, shatter his relationships with Tony Stark and half of the characters that have become his present day foundation.”
Marvel is hardly unique when it comes to concluding trilogies with a bunch of stuff blowing-up and characters getting killed-off. Recall similar events in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (hint: the Enterprise and a whole planet blow up… and Kirk’s ran into a knife). The Dark Knight Rises set off a nuke that killed Batman (it didn’t, but the ending is more than a little open-ended, as director Chris Nolan likes to do). For superhero filmmakers, they’ve inadvertantly created a kind of formula or cliche.
The dilemma Marvel faces now is how to move forward with Thor, Captain America, and Captain American — all of whom have concluded their individual trilogies. Marvel has set a precedent with audiences to expect trilogies for each major character…but then what? One presumes that after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 there will be a significant MCU reset, but again we have no idea what to expect.
Superhero films have an issue with formula, which apparently even applies to the storytelling across entire trilogies. Hopefully, Marvel recognizes that audiences are losing interest in the same-old, same-old — DC just played the formula card with Justice League, which was about as by-the-numbers as these films get, and it hurt them at the box office. Maybe Waititi was right to suggest that he doesn’t want to make Thor 4, he wants to continue with Ragnarok 2, and that’s a smart way to change expectations, at least a little bit.
How do you feel about the changes within Thor’s franchise and where should it go from here? Let us know in the comments down below!
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