As Marvel fans, we’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment over the last decade with introducing our kids to these stories; first watching at home, then as they got older, seeing them in theatres and witnessing them flip out with giddy excitement at character reveals and plot twists. But recently we realized: we’ve never watched all of them as a family, and certainly not in release order. And that’s left some gaps in their understanding of the relationships between all these heroes.
Thus, as a family, we pledged to embark upon an epic MCU rewatch before we see Avengers: Endgame in the theatre, and answer the all-important question: should you watch these with your kids?
ICYMI: read our thoughts on Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Watching these back-to-back, you really realize what a great year 2017 was for Marvel superhero movies. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming are great, and Thor: Ragnarok caps off a stellar year. A part of me is still surprised that Marvel handed the reins of this movie to noted Kiwi director Taika Waititi, but I’m still so, so glad that they did. By infusing the movie with his offbeat comedic sensibility, and finally! letting Chris Hemsworth use his solid comic chops, he brought us a Thor that feels wholly new.
After the events in Sokovia seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) left Earth. Troubled by the visions he saw after Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) mental manipulations, he’s been travelling the nine realms seeking a way to prevent Ragnarok, the destruction and end of Asgard. He allows the demon Surtur to imprison him briefly, as a ruse to steal Surtur’s crown, which he believes will prevent the catastrophe.
With this mission accomplished Thor returns to Asgard and finds Heimdall (Idris Elba) gone and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the throne posing as Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Thor confronts Loki, exposes his ruse, and the two travel to Earth to find Odin. With a little help from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) they find him in Norway.
Odin tells the brothers that he’s nearing the end of his life, and before he dies, he reveals that his death will release his first-born, Hela (Cate Blanchett) from imprisonment. After helping Odin conquer the Nine Realms, her bloodlust became uncontrollable, so Odin banished her. As Thor and Loki look on, Odin passes away, and Hela comes forth. They try to escape using the Bifrost, but she follows, tossing them out on her way to Asgard.
Thor lands on a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes called Sakaar. A slave trader, Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), captures him with an obedience disk and sells him to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Sakaar’s ruler. Before Thor can muster a team and return to Asgard to prevent Hela from taking over, he’ll have to defeat the Grandmaster’s champion: the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
With plenty of humour, high stakes, and a vibe and sensibility that seems to borrow a little bit from The Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok is a fun romp that can by enjoyed by all. Also, it’s kind of essential viewing if you want to understand the opening events of Avengers; Infinity War, and does some important work to redeem Loki as a character that’s necessary if we’re to have sympathy for him in the next film.
So, should you watch it with your kids? Yes, absolutely. It’s a ton of fun, and the humour is welcome as otherwise the subject matter — the destruction of a land and its people — could be a bit heavy.
Bottom line: Don’t miss it. Fire up Netflix, sit back and enjoy.