Thor: Ragnarok Parent Guide
Sibling rivalry turns into a universal problem in this script that uses humor to distract from how destructive the violence can be.
Parent Movie Review
Sibling quarrels can be difficult to manage in any family, but when the kids are gods, the bickering can be destructive on a universal level.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the God of Thunder, notices an increasing number of bad guys have been unleased and are creating serious chaos throughout the nine realms. One (voiced by Clancy Brown) is even quoting the prophesy of Ragnarok (the apocalypse of Thor’s home world). Wondering what’s happening, Thor returns to Asgard to question King Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who also happens to be his dad. Yet not everything is as it appears, and Thor immediately detects the person presumed to be the ruler is really his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the God of Mischief and a continual prankster who was presumed to be dead after a previous adventure.
After literally being pressed to reveal himself, Loki confesses that during Thor’s absence he sent Odin to live in a care home for the aging on Earth. Travelling to our world, the pair discover the building is torn down. However, with some help from Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) they are teleported to Norway to spend a final few minutes with Dad before he dies. The encounter also reveals a stunning development: They have a sister… a very difficult sister.
Hela (Cate Blanchett) arrives with solid determination to rid the universe of her meddling siblings. After crushing Thor’s “mighty hammer”, the brothers attempt to escape to Asgard through the “Bifrost” (think Star Trek’s transporter, but with a greater range). However, Hela follows and manages to derail both men from the journey, sending them flying into space.
Landing amid a garbage dump on a foreign planet, Thor must make his way back to his home and save the kingdom. Of course, there’s a few obstacles between him and his destination, including the strange world’s eccentric dictator. Called the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), the leader is always on the hunt for a new contender to fight his biggest muscular celebrity, The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
The ensuing gladiator-style showdown between the God of Thunder and the green giant is the reason many Marvel fans will show up for this third tale in the Thor franchise. The few minutes in the ring represent the bulk of what you can expect in this film… countless confrontations between very strong people who have a range of special powers to try and outdo their opponents. Yawn…
Fortunately, there is some interpersonal dialogue wedged between the throwing, tossing and tormenting and those brief moments of story do offer some positive outcomes. This is especially true as we watch Thor and Loki learn the importance of trusting each other as they work to overpower their sister. Okay, perhaps that’s not the example you want your kids to follow, but considering Hela’s unwillingness to discuss their father’s questionable decisions from long ago (yes, this trio of siblings have a major backstory revelation) it seems beating her to a pulp is the only option to save the lives of thousands. And there’s the very likely possibility she will never die anyway. (Loki’s own “death” being the prime example.)
Immortality is an enduring theme applied to many superhero characters and this overriding construct fuels the persistent violence. Watching Thor and Hulk hammer each other into the ground may be entertaining to some. Because I’ve seen way too many of these conflicts, all I can muster is a “who cares”? Besides the fact that nobody will be mortally wounded, the outcome will also have little effect on their character’s future actions.
Still, the gift of everlasting life doesn’t apply to everyone, especially the legions of “extras” who are killed in masses. This is particularly true in a couple scenes when the characters use swords, and the equivalent of space age machine guns to indiscriminately annihilate crowds of onlookers and oppressors. Being a Marvel movie, there is no blood—but this is serious carnage all the same.
Parents will be pleased to hear few profanities and see little sexual content. (The one exception being a brief view of the Hulk’s very large, green and naked buttocks.) Perhaps more concerning is Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a woman who becomes a major hero even while downing bottles of alcohol. In one scene, she staggers from her spaceship in an attempt to solicit laughs from the audience. Depicting a character, let alone a powerful one, with a comedic drinking problem may have been brushed over in comic books from past decades. It seems questionable today though, especially when considering the high attraction Marvel movies have with teens and even children.
The many other comedic moments in Thor: Ragnok are welcome diversions, especially for those of us who aren’t deep into the comic canons on which these films are based. The chuckles also help us forget that we’ve sat for two hours watching Odin’s three kids fight and argue over the fate of Asgard. Unless you’re a big fan, you may have a similar and, hopefully, shorter experience by simply loading your offspring in the back of the SUV for a drive.Directed by Taika Waititi. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett. Running time: 131 minutes. Theatrical release November 3, 2017. Updated November 2, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Thor: Ragnarok rated PG-13? Thor: Ragnarok is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.Violence: Characters are caged, bound, held in bondage and treated like slaves. Skeletons and corpses are depicted. Characters dropped from heights, beaten with fists, choked, smashed with hammers, shot with arrows, slashed and impaled by knives/swords, fired at with guns, threatened with flames and lightening -- – little blood is shown, but some detail is seen. Many characters are wounded (one loses an eye), killed and disintegrated. Several frightening creatures are depicted (skeleton warriors with glowing eyes, a massive dog, a fire creature, dragons, etc.). Characters are attacked by these creatures -- one is decapitated and spews great amounts of green blood and brains. Characters fight in a gladiator battle with crowds cheering for the death of one of the competitors. Innocent men, women and children are rounded up and an executioner threatens to decapitate one female. Spaceships engage in dogfights, are flown recklessly, and crash. Characters lie, betray and try to sabotage others. A device is used to shock people in order to control their behavior. A character uses magical powers to transport people from place to place.
Sexual Content: Female characters are seen in scanty costumes. Mild sexual innuendo is heard. The Hulk is seen bathing (from the shoulder’s up) and later his naked buttocks are shown. Other characters are seen shirtless.
Profanity: Mild and moderate profanity, scatological slang, names of deity, crude anatomical terms, and name-calling are heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink alcoholon several occasions: A female drinks excessively, sometimes to the point of drunkenness, and it is implied that she is using alcohol to escape past sorrows.
Page last updated November 2, 2017
More parents' guide for Thor: Ragnarok after the break...
Thor: Ragnarok Parents' Guide
Sibling rivalry is a huge problem for the characters in this story. How does competition and jealousy fuel their anger and distrust towards one another? How does keeping secrets cause further challenges? Although this example is extreme, what things can cause discord in your home? What can you do to bring peace and a feeling of cooperation to your family relationships?
Hela and the Grandmaster use force to get what they want. (Hela kills objectors, the Grandmaster enslaves them.) What kind of worlds are created when these tactics are used? How do they compare to the society Odin fosters with benevolent leadership? What can you learn about dealing with others from these examples?
This movie uses a lot of comedy in its script. Did you appreciate this lightheartedness? Did you think it was too silly for a superhero story? How does the humor contrast against the atrocities depicted? Do you think it mitigates the seriousness of the situation (after all, it is only a movie), or does it feel disrespectful to laugh over portrayals of slaughter and slavery?
News About "Thor: Ragnarok"
The Marvel superhero Thor borrows much from Norse mythology. In the ancient stories, Thor is a warrior god. He lives in the world of Asgard, which is connected by a rainbow bridge to the other eight kingdoms in their universe.
In past episodes of this franchise, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been entangled in sibling rivalry with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
In this latest adventure, Thor faces off against Hela (Cate Blanchette), also known as Hel or Angrboda, the goddess of death. The battle they engage in is based on Ragnarok, a war where all of the gods are destroyed. If the script follows the legend, that may be a spoiler. But knowing how freely Hollywood tinkers with history (even that which is based on true accounts), anything could happen.