Thor: Ragnarok is a 2017 film in the Earth-11584 continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the third and to date final film in the Thor film franchise, the 9th film in Phase 3 and 24th film overall in the MCU. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprise their roles as Thor and Loki respectively from previous MCU films, however Natalie Portman declined to return as Jane Foster. Critics praised the film upon its release, and it was a large success, making well over $800 million dollars worldwide against a $180 million dollar budget.
The somewhat tepid response to Thor: The Dark World left Marvel wondering if there would be a continuation of the individual Thor series into Phase 3, with some talk being made towards a spinoff focusing on Loki. Eventually however Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed that there would be a third Thor film. Comments made by Natalie Portman concerning a possible return as Jane Foster were initially misconstrued to indicate that she would be returning, and that she might assume the powers of Thor as the character had in the comics. However Portman eventually confirmed that she would not be returning. Director Alan Taylor also declined to return. In 2015 it was announced that Marvel had made a peculiar choice as director, New Zealand indie film magnate Taika Watiti. Feige confirmed that the film would take on a more humorous bend at times, in particular with the casting of Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster.
Alan Tudyk also joined the cast as Beta Ray Bill, while veteran actor Clancy Brown voiced the fire demon Surtur. Filming began in August of 2016 and concluded in December of that year.
The film opens in Muspelheim, with Thor having a one-sided conversation with a nearby corpse over his actions of the last few years. After admitting to finding very little information about the Infinity Stones, as he set out to do, he learned of the Prophecy of Ragnarok potentially coming true, and he set out to combat Surtur and his minions (namely the Dire Wolf Fenrir and the Midgard Serpent) and avert Ragnarok. After that bit of exposition, Surtur summons him to his face and taunts him with the knowledge that Odin no longer sits on the throne of Asgard. And as soon as he has gathered his full strength, he will board the ship of the Dead and lay waste to Asgard, as it is foretold. Thor thanks Surtur for monologuing and allowing him to gain full knowledge of his plan, before summoning Mjolnir and fighting off several demon spawn from Surtur. He fights the fiery demon to a standstill before attempting to escape via the Bifrost, only for nothing to happen. After running away from more demon spawn, Thor is finally grabbed by the wayward Bifrost and summoned back to Asgard. Surtur swears he will stop Thor, and orders some of his troops to Midgard to wait for him when he inevitably arrives back at his "favored realm." When Thor arrives in Asgard, to his surprise he finds a hapless old man sitting where Heimdall should be sitting. After complaining about his lack of attention (to which the old man simply says he's not as young as he used to be), Thor goes off in search of his "father."
In Asgard, Thor finds Balder and "Odin" conversing over a report of peace in the 9 Realms. He is greeted by his brother, only for Thor to question Balder about the goings on in the Nine Realms. Balder tells him that everything is fine, to which Thor informs him of Surtur's plans. "Odin" tells Thor that he is just imagining things, but Thor continues to press Balder on everything that had happened since Thor's last departure for Midgard. Balder does admit it has been unusually quiet, and turns to his father for a reply. "Odin" tries to explain everything away, but is eventually forced by Thor to reveal himself as Loki. Balder is immediately angered by this deception, and attacks Loki in a rage. Thor tries to calm his brother and stop the fighting, but Balder's anger is palpable, as he is demanding to know what happened to their father. In the ruckus, and in self-defense, Loki grabs a nearby spear made from mistletoe wood, and stabs Balder in the side with it. Balder falls over, wounded, which triggers Thor's worries about the passage of the Kinslaying, the death of a son of the crown by one of his brothers that would signal the impending note of Ragnarok. Leaving his brother to be healed by the nurses of Asgard, Thor takes Loki and frees Heimdall from the dungeons, having the latter send them to Midgard to find the real Odin.
Upon landing on Earth (and not finding Odin at the rest home where Loki left him), the two are confronted by Doctor Strange. Loki is trapped in the Mirror Dimension for the moment, as Strange converses with Thor over his being there. Thor shares his concerns about Ragnarok with Strange, saying he needs to find his father as promptly as possible. Strange agrees on the condition they leave as soon as they can, because dark creatures are likely to follow them here. Strange frees Loki (much to Loki's chagrin, at the manner of his imprisonment) and sends them to another part of New York City, where Odin is living on the streets as a homeless man. At first he doesn't seem to recognize Thor or Loki, and Thor demands Loki remove whatever enchantment he placed on him. Odin chimes in that Loki's enchantments were broken ages ago, he merely remained on Earth by choice. Thor tries to convince him that they need to avert Ragnarok, but Odin says that Ragnarok is inevitable; it is the cycle of things, as it was for his grandfather before him, so shall it be for his generation. Their conversation is interrupted by Fire Demons of Surtur, having snuck onto Earth. Thor and Loki fight them, while trying to protect Odin (who is weakened from the lack of Odinsleep), but the numbers continue to grow insurmountably. Loki demands Heimdall send for the Bifrost, which calls the three of them back to Asgard along with two of the surviving fire demons. Odin makes it safely with Loki, but the fire demons get to Thor before he can make the journey and, in their battle, Thor is sent careening out of the Bifrost with one of the demons.
On Asgard, Heimdall confronts Loki and the remaining fire demon that made it through, dispatching the latter quickly. He asks what happened, and Loki explains about Surtur's actions. Heimdall realizes that Surtur's forces must be gaining strength if they can escape his sight all the way to Midgard, as he orders the guards nearby to take Odin to rest himself in the Odinsleep before it's too late. Loki tells Heimdall he has no authority, but Heimdall replies that Balder has given him command for the time being, dispatching Loki to the dungeons. He glances out into the void of space, looking for Thor, but beyond the veil of Yggdrasil, he cannot see him except for a vague shadow. Elsewhere across the universe, Thor lands on a small, nameless planet. Barely conscious, he is captured by a young woman, and taken to a nearby tower.
Thor awakens to find himself locked in a chair attached to a conveyor belt, loading him into a creepy tunnel which explains his current location: He has been found on the so-called "Planet of Lost Things" and rescued by the benevolent Grandmaster. As repayment for the benevolence of his benefactor, he is to compete for the sport of the people of this faraway corner of the galaxy in the Contest of Champions. Thor fights his restraints, trying to spot his hammer Mjolnir, but quickly realizes that the hammer is nowhere to be seen and seemingly out of his physical range. He is led into a large throne room where the Grandmaster sits, taking him in. Thor tries to explain who he is, but Grandmaster refuses to listen to his pleas, instead remarking at his handsome looks and fiery spirit. He turns to the woman next to him, calling her "Hunter 147" and saying he'll pay the going rate for a challenger such as this. She accepts, and Thor glares at her, before noticing a certain tattoo on the underside of her wrist. He tries to fight out of his bonds again, summoning what power he can without his hammer, which intrigues the Grandmaster. He tells Thor if he can beat his Grand Champion, then he will grant him his freedom, to which Thor agrees. Thor is then taken into custody by the large man next to the Grandmaster, whom he refers to as Firelord, who turns Thor over to two familiar looking lieutenants.
Back in the dungeons of Asgard, Loki is pacing back and forth in the same cell he occupied at the beginning of The Dark World. He spots the Lady Sif tending to one of the other prisoners with bread and water, and asks her about his brother. Sif believes he doesn't have any brothers, but says that Balder's condition is stable, for now. No thanks to him. Loki smirks and says that he knew mistletoe was the only wood that Balder was vulnerable to, based on a spell their shared mother had cast on him years earlier. Sif says that only condemns him further. He then asks if they've heard from Thor, which Sif doesn't reply to. On the Grandmaster's Planet, Thor is submitted to a humiliating process of initiation all of the gladiators go through: delousing, marching in the nude through hot rocks (for spiritual cleansing, or so the Grandmaster says), and finally getting his long hair chopped off by one of the lieutenants from earlier. Thor is then tossed into a cell with several other gladiators, where he meets a Kree man named Att-Lass, who claims to be the leader of this group, outside of the grand champion. Thor asks about the Grand Champion, but Att-Lass says that he is a loner who fights for a reason beyond the fame and fortune the Grandmaster offers him. Thor just says he'll have to humiliate him, which causes Att-Lass to laugh, saying that all who have faced him have died thus far. As Att-Lass introduces Thor to the others in the pit, calling him "new Doug" (after a deceased gladiator who had said the same things Thor did before he died), Thor senses his hammer Mjolnir nearby, but is unable to summon it to his hands for unknown reasons.
A few days later, Thor finds himself preparing for his battle with the champion, when he sees the "Hunter" who had captured him on the other side of an energy barrier. He calls out to her, calling her a "Valkyrie", which gives her pause, but she quickly returns to drinking. Thor tries to explain the coming of Ragnarok, but the Hunter does not care for prophecies and End of an Era mumbo jumbo. Thor says the Valkyrie were legendary warriors, sworn to protect the crown, but the Hunter merely smirks at him and says that the crown is the exact problem with Asgard. The power. The arrogance. All of it. Before Thor can answer back, he is summoned for his match with the Grandmaster's Champion. He enters the stadium, equipped with twin swords as his weapons, though he tries to reach out and sense Mjolnir from afar, knowing it is somewhere on this planet. Grandmaster appears in holographic form, introducing Thor as the "Prince of Thunder" before introducing his reigning and defending champion...Beta Ray Bill.
Thor is amazed at the appearance of Bill, having heard of the Korbinite race long ago and thinking they were all dead. Bill does not reply to him, merely demanding that he begin this noble fight so that he might be one step closer to his own freedom. Thor and Bill begin battling, an even match at first, though it is clear that Bill's Korbanite physiology aids him in this hotter climate. Thor still manages to hold his own, much to the surprise of the Grandmaster, who is watching the fight from his skybox with his lieutenants by his side, as well as Hunter-147. At one point it appears Bill is about ready to defeat Thor, when Thor finally holds out his hand and senses what he has been waiting for, Mjolnir being summoned to his side. With his weapon in toe, Thor is able to take the advantage over Bill, striking him with thunder on a couple of occasions. Bill, however, takes the beating in stride, and to Thor's shock when he throws Mjolnir at Bill, the champion is able to catch the hammer and hold it in his hands. Bill examines the weapon, deeming it a worthy sidearm, before attacking Thor with it, who tries to dodge it repeatedly. He tries to summon Mjolnir back to his side, but the hammer seems torn between the two worthy challengers.
In the intermediary on Asgard, Balder's condition has taken a turn for the worse, despite the best care of the healers in Asgard. Odin awakens from his Odinsleep and knows that, with Balder potentially dying, they have a short time before Surtur launches his fleet of ships from Muspelheim and attacks Asgard outright. He summons Heimdall to him, and asks where Thor is. After being told that he cannot sense Thor, Odin gets desperate and demands that the Tesseract be brought to him. He reaches forward with his own power and searches, not for Thor, but Mjolnir. He then incants that he summons the wielder of the hammer to him at this very moment, activating the Tesseract and opening a portal.
Back on the Grandmaster's Planet, Bill and Thor have reached a standstill, with Bill still possessing the hammer. They trade barbs back and forth, with Thor saying that if he is worthy to wield Mjolnir, than the two of them should join together to gain their freedom. Bill thinks of this for a moment, before a modified version of the Bifrost comes shooting through a portal in the sky, before disappearing with Beta Ray Bill and Mjolnir. The crowd is stunned at this sudden turn of events, and the Grandmaster, furiously, orders Thor to his dungeons and activates his obedience disk, shocking him into submission. On Asgard, the Asgardian court is stunned by the arrival of Bill, who passes out from the trip and is taken into the dungeons for questioning.
Thor awakens with the Hunter staring over him, asking what the hell he did to the Grandmaster's Champion. Thor can't explain what had happened, but he supposes it was Odin trying to summon him back to Asgard with the Tesseract, which tells him things may be desperate. The Hunter, whom Thor refers to as Valkyrie again, doesn't have a clue what the Tesseract is, leading Thor to briefly explain Infinity Stones to her. In the course of their conversation, Thor again asks for her help and, though she wants nothing to do with Asgard, she begins to question whether there might be something to this Ragnarok prophecy. They are interrupted by Firelord, who dismisses the Hunter without a second thought, wanting to interrogate Thor before presenting him to the Grandmaster for execution. Valkyrie glares at him, but leaves. Firelord tries to intimidate Thor, but doesn't get very far, as Thor insults him and bests him in a brief physical struggle before Firelord simply triggers the obedience disk again, taking him to the Grandmaster.
On Asgard, Odin sits across from Beta Ray Bill, Mjolnir sitting between the two of them. Odin tries to interrogate the Korbinite, but Bill isn't forthcoming with answers, simply demanding to be returned from whence he came so that he might regain his freedom and save what is left of his people. When Odin presses him on this point, Bill finally explains that the Korbinites were attacked by a warlord named Thanos, who systematically culled half the population as a tribute to his true love. The name Thanos causes Odin to raise an eyebrow, but he doesn't show any other emotion, though in the distance Loki can be seen leaning forward trying very hard to listen. Bill says he set out to find help for what remained of his people, but couldn't find anyone before being captured by the Grandmaster, who gave him his word that he would help his people eventually, if he remained his grand champion. Odin explains that he had heard of the Korbinite people, but had never met one until now. He says that it is likely their race has passed into legend, which Bill reluctantly accepts as a possibility. Odin asks him to stop it from happening to his people as well, by helping him find his son Thor. Bill agrees, saying Thor was a worthy adversary. But they will need a force to stop the Grandmaster's lieutenants and army of robotic soldiers, specifically Firelord who he says has the Power Cosmic. Loki chimes in, saying that he might be able to help, which Odin reluctantly agrees to. Bill grabs Mjolnir, but Odin says that is Thor's weapon. But if Bill is worthy to wield it, he might have something similar lying around.
As Loki, Bill and Sif prepare to leave, they are joined by the wounded Balder. Odin is at first aghast at Balder going, but the younger son answers that if he is to die, he would rather do so in battle than lying on a hospital bed. Odin finally relents, and uses the Tesseract to send them back to the planet Bill came from, now able to focus the device better. The sky over Asgard darkens, however, and Odin turns to see a flaming ship in the distance, Surtur at the helm, and a large dire wolf chained up behind him. Odin turns to Heimdall, telling him to keep an eye on the Grandmaster's planet, but to be ready to fulfill a certain order on his command. On the Grandmaster's planet, he sentences Thor to death, but the God of Thunder coerces him into another competition, this time with Firelord. Grandmaster is amused, but agrees to his terms. Thor prepares for the battle, speaking with Att-Lass and his gladiators once more about starting a new revolution. On his way to the arena, Thor spots Valkyrie, now sporting her Dragonfang sword, who nods in his general direction. Thor and Firelord fight, with the latter displaying far more power than he had shown in their previous skirmish. Without his hammer, Thor seems to be outmatched, but the God of Thunder is able to summon his powers without Mjolnir and evens out the fight to something of a standstill. Despite the crowd's enthusiasm, the Grandmaster decides that he has had enough, and orders his lieutenants to go down and help Firelord execute him. Valkyrie storms into the box though, and quickly dispatches the two lieutenants, telling Grandmaster to call off Firelord and set Thor free in exchange for his own life. She is distracted by the arrival of the four Asgardian champions, which Grandmaster uses to escape. He presses an alarm and several sentry droids enter the arena along with Firelord. Valkyrie joins the quintet, Thor receiving Mjolnir from Bill, who now sports a similar hammer that he calls Stormbreaker.
The five of them fight it out, destroying the sentries and eventually defeating Firelord. However in the process, Balder dies heroically saving Thor from possible death. Loki calls up to Heimdall, who is watching with the Tesseract, to bring them back to Asgard immediately, which they do. Att-Lass and the other gladiators at that time rebel against the Grandmaster, leaving him in a bit of a bind. Back on Asgard, the group arrive to find the battle with Surtur's forces has already begun. Valkyrie, Loki and Sif are sent to fight the Dire Wolf Fenrir, who is leading the charge of the fire demons on Asgard, while Thor and Bill go after Odin, who is presumably fighting Surtur. Loki and his group quickly find the dire wolf, who is destroying much of the city surrounding the palace. After a lengthy battle, which costs Sif her life, Loki and Valkyrie are able to slay the beast, but are wounded doing so. In the palace, Surtur is approaching the Eternal Flame, the device he needs to grow to his full strength and destroy Asgard, with his Demigod Sword Twilight at his side, as Odin lies on the floor severely wounded. Thor and Bill enter the throne room, distracting Surtur from his goal, but Surtur summons from his realm the Midgard Serpent, which takes up much of the throne room. Thor and Bill struggle to defeat the giant beast, as Surtur bathes himself in the Eternal Flame and grows to the size of a mountain. As Bill focuses on slaying the Serpent, eventually joined by the wounded Loki and Valkyrie as well as Heimdall, Thor fights Surtur one on one, summoning all his power and eventually shattering the Twilight sword, which greatly weakens Surtur and sends him back to the depths of Muspelheim, his fire demons extinguished and the Midgard Serpent dead.
Though the Asgardians have narrowly averted Ragnarok, much of their realm is destroyed, and Odin lies near death. Thor thanks Bill for his aide, and finds some degree of understanding with Loki for finally fighting alongside with him. However, their victory is short lived, as another ship enters into the distance. Bill readies himself for battle once more, as he merely whispers the word, Thanos. Odin says that this is not the battle to be fought today, and he orders Heimdall to follow his commands. Heimdall activates the Tesseract, opening a portal to Earth, and Odin forces Thor, Bill and Loki through it. However the portal closes before Valkyrie can enter, as Odin orders her to take Heimdall and the Tesseract, as well as whatever Asgardians are left, on the nearest ship and flee as fast as they can. After some argument, Valkyrie and Heimdall do as they are told, as Odin watches while Thanos' ship approaches the palace, the Mad Titan standing on the edge of it with a golden gauntlet on his fist. On Earth, we get a repeat of the Post-Credits Scene from World War Hulk, as Thor warns Tony Stark that Thanos is on his way.
[We fade in on the distinctive rubble of the stadium in the Contest of Champions on the Grandmaster's Planet. As the celebrations of the successful revolution of Att-Lass echo in the background, Firelord and Grandmaster slowly pull themselves from the rubble and survey the damage, surrounded by a few more of their aides.]
Grandmaster: Well. This has certainly been a successful twist in events don't you think? I mean who could have foreseen a revolution, a longshot like that, actually working. I think we both deserve a pat on the back, myself included because, let's face it, you can't have a revolution without a despot to revolt against.
[As the Grandmaster continues to ramble to no one in particular, Firelord grumbles to himself.]
Firelord: I never should have left my old master for him.
[Firelord brushes more dust off himself as we fade to black.]
Summary of Changes
- The tone of the film, while still light-hearted, is nowhere near as comedic as the mainline film. This film has far more serious undertones, particularly in the final battle sequence with Surtur.
- Surtur is the main villain in this film, as opposed to Hela. This is to avoid conflict with Infinity War, where the Personification of Death is set to make an appearance (hinted at in this film.)
- This film borrows a few elements from other Thor storylines, most notably the battle of the Midgard Serpent (who is a creature under Surtur's command in this film) as well as the Ballad of Beta Ray Bill.
- Balder's weakness is taken from Norse mythology, where his death is a forewarning of Ragnarok. In mythology, it is also Loki who causes Balder's death.
- Due to the existence of World War Hulk in this universe, none of that storyline makes it into this film. Korg and Miek are replaced by the character of Att-Lass, who has a much smaller role. Valkyrie's backstory is also not as well defined in this film.
- Firelord, in the comics, was a herald of Galactus, which this film makes vague references towards, particularly in the post-credits scene.
- Asgard is not destroyed at the end of this film, nor is Odin dead (though Balder and Sif do die). However, Thanos is set to face Odin at the start of Infinity War, potentially spelling the end for Asgard anyway.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor- The former crown prince of Asgard and former Avengers member based on the Norse diety of the same name.
- Tom Hiddleston as Loki- The adoptive brother of Thor and Balder who, as revealed at the end of the last film, has been impersonating Odin on the throne of Asgard, inadvertantly setting the plot into motion.
- Tessa Thompson as Hunter 147/Valkyrie- A former member of an elite fighting squad turned mercenary for hire by the Grandmaster in his Contest of Champions.
- Alan Tudyk as Beta Ray Bill- A Korbinite champion, possibly last of his kind, who reluctantly serves as the Grand Champion of the Grandmaster's Contest in a vain attempt to gain his freedom. Tudyk provides the voice of Bill, while both Tudyk and Watiti provide motion capture elements.
- Clancy Brown as Surtur- The lord of the fire realm Muspelheim, who seeks to end the dominance of Asgard over the 9 Realms by initiating the prophecy of Ragnarok and unleashing the two great monsters at his disposal. Brown provides the voice work for Surtur, while Taika Watiti provides the motion capture work.
- Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster- An ancient being who is ruler of a nameless world in which the Contest of Champions is administered for ratings and profit.
- Anthony Hopkins as Odin- The deposed king of Asgard, in exile on Earth due to Loki's actions.
- Kit Harrington as Balder the Brave- The brother of Thor and Crown Prince of Asgard, based on the Norse diety of the same name.
- Idris Elba as Heimdall- The keeper of the Bifrost Bridge and watchman of Asgard, who has been imprisoned for treason.
- Pablo Schreiber as Firelord- A former Xandarian Nova Corpsman who is The Grandmaster's Right Hand Man and Enforcer of His Will in the Gladiatorial Games.
- Taika Watiti as Att-Lass- A Kree Warrior who is conscripted to fight in the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions.
In addition, Benedict Cumberbatch provides a brief cameo as Doctor Strange near the beginning of the film. Jaimie Alexander also reprises her role as the Lady Sif, briefly. Robert Downey Jr. also appears as Tony Stark at the end of the film. Rachel House and Jermaine Clement, longtime collaborators with Watiti, also play two of the Grandmaster's lieutenants. Stan Lee cameos as the guard put in charge of the Bifrost in the absence of Heimdall, who has been imprisoned for treason.
The film drew wide praise from critics upon its release. The review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes scored the film at 92%, with an average rating of 7.5 based on 335 reviews. The site'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." Critics praised the changing tone of the film, as well as the strong supporting performances, while also acknowledging that to some it might signal a franchise fatigue.
The film opened #1 at the box office, grossing $122 million dollars in its opening weekend. The film grossed $315.1 million domestically and over $854 million worldwide, enough to make it the ninth highest grossing film of 2017 and far higher than either of its immediate predecessors.