Thor: Ragnarok – Upon speaking to Odin, Thor and Loki discover that they have a sister, Hela, ‘The Goddess of Death’ who was banished by their father for her insatiable appetite for death and destruction. When Hela is released from her exile, she promptly appears before them and proves to be more than a match for the brothers who find themselves on a strange, dangerous alien planet. Realising that Ragnarok is upon them (a prophecy of Asgard’s destruction), Thor must find a way to escape his prison and recruit whatever allies will help him before Hela lays waste to his beloved homeworld. 

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Director: Taika Waititi

Is Thor:Ragnarok appropriate for kids?

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Rating: 12A

Running Length: 130 mins

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett

Genre: Comic Book, Fantasy

REVIEW: ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become so big that it has become difficult to keep track of where things currently are. Apparently, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is Thor’s third film and overall, the seventeenth movie in the franchise; it is quite a feat to have this many movies and still be as popular as they have ever been. Thor’s popularity has always been linked to his complicated relationship with his adoptive brother, Loki, and ‘Ragnarok’ is no different. Loki is once again a major character and the personality traits that make him so interesting – his mischief, insecurity, weaknesses and strengths play a central role, giving plenty of substance to the story.

While Chris Hemsworth is consistently great as Thor, he seems to lose something when he doesn’t have a team to bounce off of. Thankfully this is tempered by the addition of Loki who is a constant thorn in Thor’s side while also being his beloved brother who he would desperately love to have by his side. Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki effortlessly brings something so relatable to an extremely complex character which in the hands of someone less talented could come across as irritating and whiny. While The Incredible Hulk is a great addition to Thor’s team, it is a shame that his motivations are somewhat confusing and the reason for him turning up on a strange alien planet (which just coincidentally happens to be the same one Thor and Loki find themselves on) is never really explained satisfactorily. However, this is a minor complaint and can easily be excused in order to enjoy the movie.

What ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ does so well is introduce lots of characters who all have their own role to play with believable motivations and even those who could so easily fall into cliché territory are acted so well that they become fully rounded characters with their own crosses to bear.

Marvel has become a name that is synonymous with family friendly characters; it’s movies are full of humour despite having more serious storylines and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is no exception. In fact, possibly due to director, Waititi’s comedy background (‘Flight of the Concords’ and ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ to name but two of his writing credits), this movie is as much comedy as it is drama and this, coupled with the excellent acting, exciting storyline and believable characters, helps it to appeal to a wide audience without compromising its roots as one of Marvel’s stand alone films.

CONTENT: IS ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

In the opening scene, Thor lies chained up in a cage suspended high in the air. He seemingly talks to himself and then the camera shows that he shares his cage with a skeleton and this is who Thor is speaking to. The skeleton’s jaw breaks, grotesquely distorting it then breaks off altogether. This is done for comedy effect but children who are sensitive to this type of thing could be scared by it.

Thor comes face to face with a huge, terrifying demon-like creature. It is very menacing and threatens Thor with death. It intends to execute him and as it walks towards him, it drags a huge sword alongside it which causes fiery sparks to fly where it touches the ground. While this could be frightening for kids, Thor is in no way afraid of it, even mocking it and clearly has a plan to escape its clutches. His calm attitude towards it is likely to temper at least some of the concern kids may have during this scene.

Some established characters who were popular in previous movies are killed quickly and unceremoniously. The killer shows no remorse and when speaking to another character, the bodies of the fallen can be seen in the background with blades sticking out of their torsos. Another of these characters is killed by having a huge blade thrown through their body. They cry out in shock and pain and are thrown back but due to the size of the blade, they are suspended in mid-air, impaled.

A woman drinks heavily and appears drunk, however she is tough and shoots several incidental characters who were about to harm Thor, disintegrating them. This woman captures Thor and places an electronic device on his neck, whenever he steps out of line, she uses it to send jolts of electricity through him. She does this numerous times and each time he shudders and convulses from the shocks. This is mostly done humorously but some of the shocks are protracted and could be upsetting for some children.

Once Thor is taken prisoner, he is presented to the planet’s leader, the Grandmaster, who is light-hearted and friendly but clearly has a ruthless streak. Thor is placed next to the Grandmaster’s cousin (a humanoid alien being) who whimpers and shakes in fear, begging for mercy. His infraction is never explained but juxtaposed with witty dialogue and a smile, the Grandmaster executes the man by placing a staff against his chest causing the man to melt slowly, he cries out on agony, the execution taking around 20 seconds. The camera mainly focuses on Thor who is horrified by this, especially as he is forced to sit so close to the doomed man, saying ‘Oh my God, the smell!’

Hundreds of long-dead solders are resurrected, one is shown in close-up as a bright green light shines into its body, its eyes and mouth glowing; the soldiers then stand, shifting with jerky, unnatural movements that could be frightening for some kids.

When trying to explain how he used his hammer to ‘fly’, a character misunderstands what he means and says ‘Oh my God, the hammer pulled you off?’, as if Thor got sexual pleasure from the hammer.

In the trailers for the movie, Thor meets Hulk in a gladiatorial ring and it appears to be a relatively friendly reunion. However, the scene lasts for around 15 minutes and the fight becomes quite brutal with the Hulk often beating Thor into the ground or Thor smashing the Hulk into walls. There is some blood but it does not become gory.

When trying to find the whereabouts of a particular character, Hela has a civilian woman dragged out from a crowd to be executed unless someone gives her the information she needs. The woman is clearly terrified and when she is forced to her knees, the executioner appears uncomfortable with what he is about to do. When Hela gives the order, he raises the axe but is stopped by another character.

During a fight scene with swords, a character is slashed across the chest and then in the eye. Their wound is shown on-screen with some blood but is mostly a black hole where the eye used to be. The character does not seem to be overly affected by pain so kids should not be too distressed by it.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT: IS ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’ FOR KIDS?

From the opening few seconds of ‘Thor: Ragnorak’ a light-hearted tone is set and it is clear that if Thor can cope with the numerous bizarre, funny and sometimes frightening things that are thrown at him, so can anyone.

With this in mind, despite plenty of content being mentioned above we feel this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 7 and over although we recommend adult supervision for those in the younger age bracket in case any reassurance is needed.

  • Violence: 2/5 (some violence, especially from the insatiably violent Hela but very little blood or suffering is ever seen. In one scene she kills hundreds of soldiers, but none (apart from their leader) are established characters and their deaths are so quick that they are unlikely to cause distress. One incidental, helmeted soldier is killed when Hela grabs his helmet from the front and squeezes it, crushing him but again, this is very quick)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (the death of one major character is a bit sad. Other established characters are killed but their deaths are not lingered upon)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (Hela is a ruthless, powerful adversary and her determination to cause maximum destruction, including the suggestion of executing innocents could be disturbing for some)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (some mild innuendo which is likely to go over the heads of many children)
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent moderate cursing. A wormhole is repeatedly called ‘the Devil’s Anus’)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (when getting ready for a gladiator style fight, a character looks at a recently used weapon and comically complains ‘there’s still some hair and blood on this!’. Hela speaks of another established character, stating ‘(We) drowned civilisations in blood and tears’)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of brotherhood, family, death, humility, redemption, accepting loss, determination, accepting allies from different backgrounds and fate.

Words by Laura Record

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