The God of Thunder has brought Ragnarok home on blu-ray, but is the Avenger's latest journey worthwhile more than once? Check out my full review to find out?
The third Thor film takes the franchise in a different direction, leaving Earth mostly behind and fully embracing the intergalactic nature of the hero. Thor has returned to Asgard from his adventures out in the realms as he seeks to prevent Ragnarok (among the visions he saw during the events of Age of Ultron). There he roots out Loki, who's been pretending to be Odin since the ending of The Dark World. From there, the pair return to Earth to retrieve the All Father, but something more sinister is about to be unleashed.
If you've seen any of the trailers, you'll know that Hela, Goddess of Death, has been released from her imprisonment and she promptly destroys Thor's hammer. From there, Loki and Thor find themselves lost on a new world controlled by the devious Grandmaster. Thor is forced to participate in the gladiatorial contests, wherein he finds his long-lost comrade, the Hulk!
All manner of things ensue, and if you (like me) haven't seen the film yet, I'm not about to spoil it for you here. Suffice it to say, this film is a lot of fun. While the easiest Marvel comparison to make is Guardians of the Galaxy, Ragnarok definitely does its own thing and manages to stand apart. There's plenty of humor, but the action is also among the best the Thor films have seen. There are plenty of "holy crap" moments spread throughout the film, making it a visual treat for action fans accustomed to a more "traditional" comic book movie.
On top of the humor and action, Ragnarok also manages to include some excellent character work. While we know Thor and Loki pretty well at this point, that doesn't mean they don't have room to grow. The film really showcases the journey Thor has been on and endured throughout his time in the MCU. He's far more mature, comfortable in his role as a hero, and smart enough to understand what needs to be done. We saw hints of this in The Dark World, but Ragnarok shows just how far he's come.
Loki is still Loki, but throughout the film, he's confronted with his own nature, what it means, and where he can actually go. It's a surprisingly touching journey and made for some of my favorite character moments throughout all of the Marvel films. Then there's Cate Blanchett's Hela, which makes for one amazing villain. Seriously, every scene she's in, she absolutely dominates the screen in the best way.
The only problem I had, is that the humor sometimes came on a little too strong. All of it had me laughing, but there were times where I felt it interfered with the character moments we were getting. Perhaps not to the point of ruining them, but certainly taking away some of their poignancy at the time.
Even so, Ragnarok remains a strong film, that's ridiculously fun. Even upon multiple viewings (oh yeah, had to watch it with the kiddos as well), it maintains the insane level of fun and intensity throughout. So even if you checked it out in theaters, you can buy the blu-ray content in the knowledge that it's still just as good as you remember.
Sight and Sound
Thor: Ragnarok has a very distinct visual style that sets it apart from a majority of the rest of the MCU. Some of its style is obviously inspired by Marvel's other major galactic based film(s), Guardians of the Galaxy, but it still feels distinct. If anything, Ragnarok feels like so much was pulled straight out of the old school comics, filled with wonky designs and a ton of bright colors.
It's a very gorgeous film, and the blu-ray makes it look even better. The image is sharp and the blacks are deep, allowing all of the details and colors to pop off the screen. If you're looking for a blu-ray to show off your TV's capabilities for friends, Ragnarok is an excellent pick. Everything looks so GOOD, it's kind of ridiculous.
The sound is equally impressive. The surround sound makes the various locales come to life, fully immersing you in the alien settings. Moreso, everything is given proper prioritization, meaning the dialog isn't drowned out by the action. You won't be grabbing the remote to adjust the TV every other scene. From a technical perspective, it's an excellent transfer that highlights all the things that makes Thor: Ragnarok stand out.
As is the norm, Disney/Marvel has loaded the Ragnarok blu-ray with copious amounts of special features for fans to pour through:
• Director’s Introduction
• Deleted/Extended Scenes - Deleted Scenes: The Sorcerer Supreme, Skurge Finds Heimdall & Hulk Chases Thor Through Sakaar and Extended Scenes: Thor Meets the Grandmaster, Stupid Avenger vs. Tiny Avenger & Grandmaster and Topaz
• Gag Reel - Watch a collection of goofs, gaffes and pratfalls starring the cast
• Exclusive Short/Team Darryl – Fresh off being unseated as the ruler of Sakaar, the Grandmaster makes his way to Earth to start a new life. It’s been over a year since Thor left Australia and Darryl has been struggling to pay his rent. Now Darryl needs a new roommate to help make the monthly payments. Unfortunately for Darryl, the Grandmaster was the only one who answered Darryl’s “Roommate Needed” ad and with no viable options, the Grandmaster moves in.
• Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years - The Evolution of Heroes – Marvel’s universe is vast and transcends both time and space. We’ll examine the Cinematic Universe as a whole and revisit each of our heroes’ current location and their place in the current MCU timeline, as it all leads up to the one culminating event: “Avengers: Infinity War.”
• Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor – “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi has brought his unique sensibility and sense of humor to the film in a great many ways but it is the evolution of Thor’s own sense of humor, which stands out the most in the new film. This piece explores the impact Chris Hemsworth has made on the development of his widely-loved character and celebrates the mighty cast and crew who reveal the fun and hard work that went into assembling Thor’s eccentric counterparts.
• Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie – This piece explores the strong female characters in “Thor: Ragnarok,” their importance in the MCU, their incredible casting and their epic comic origins.
• Finding Korg – A tongue-in-cheek interview with Taika on casting Korg. He describes the difficult search for just the right evolution of the character design, and the nuances of this instantly classic character in the MCU. This conversation will also delve into all the extraordinary visual effects that brought Korg, Sakaar and the worlds of “Thor: Ragnarok” to life.
• Sakaar: On the Edge of the Known and Unknown – Sakaar is the collection point for all lost and unloved things. This documentary will answer all known and unknown questions while also exploring the hard work and creativity that went into creating the look and feel of Sakaar. From design inspired by Jack Kirby’s classic artwork to the dedication of the visual development team to the awe-inspiring physical and digital production, you will see this distant world come alive.
• Journey into Mystery – A deep dive story piece with the writers, director and producer Kevin Feige about the inspirations for “Thor: Ragnarok” within the comics. Most notably, the contest of champions limited series where the Grandmaster pitted our favorite heroes against one another as he does in the film. This piece also further explores Thor’s comic book origins and classic arcs through interviews with some of the most important comic creators, such as Walt Simonson and Jack Kirby.
• 8bit Scenes - Final Bridge Battle + Sakaar Spaceship Battle. Dive into these climactic sequences presented in retro video-game format.
• Directors Commentary
It's crazy how much they've crammed onto this disc, and exploring all of it is a lot of fun. While there are your standard bonus features (gag reels, deleted scenes, etc), there are some fun things as well. The behind the scenes featurettes show off how the film achieved it's visual style, while keeping characters at the forefront. Not to mention they offer some insight into these characters' origins for fans who may not be as versed in the comics.
My favorite thing, however, is the Team Darryl short. It's a follow up to the other Team Darryl shorts that released online prior to Ragnarok, showing what Thor was up to (in a hilarious/self-parodying way) during the events of Civil War. Behind that, the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years featurette is neat to check out. It's fun to see how far this cinematic universe has come over the past decade, even as we look ahead to Avengers: Infinity War.
All in all, there's plenty of extras here to keep fans of the movie occupied for quite a bit of time, with a couple worth coming back to later on. Beyond the movie, that's already great, these add a lot of bang for your buck on the blu-ray release.