Avengers: Infinity War may follow on a short while after the events of Thor: Ragnarok, but the Russo brothers still seem to have rendered that film largely irrelevant. Although Ragnarok is generally viewed as the Thunder God's best solo film to date, the Russo brothers seem to have abandoned a number of major character arcs and plot points. Even Ragnarok's new secondary characters - Valkyrie, Korg and Miek - are mysteriously absent. The tone and style are jarringly different; while Hemsworth still plays the role of Thor with a lot of comedy, it isn't the screwball humor of Ragnarok.
Chris Hemsworth seems to have been aware of the issue. In one interview, he recounted giving the Russo brothers a call. "Look, don't write me the old Thor," he told them, "we've got a new Thor now." Hemsworth was very proud of what he'd accomplished with Taika Waititi, and more than a little protective of it. The Russo brothers, for their part, stuck to their guns. "Thor's never faced something like this," they told Hemsworth, "never been a part of this large an ensemble."
It's true that Ragnarok, essentially a superhero comedy, sits rather uncomfortably beside the cosmic horrors of Infinity War. Although Ragnarok saw the heroes triumph at a cost, the darkness was offset by Waititi's trademark humor. Improv humor blunted the dramatic impact of several key scenes, including the destruction of Asgard itself. The Russos take a very different approach, and as a result Infinity War doesn't have the same style as Waititi's film. But that's not the limit of their adaptation; in truth, dig a little deeper, and you see that Infinity War undid so much of Waititi's movie.
THIS PAGE: A VERY DIFFERENT VERSION OF THOR
A Very Different Version of Thor
By the end of Ragnarok, the core design for Thor had been changed completely. The film saw the God of Thunder lose his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, which was shattered by his sister, Hela. Over the course of the film, Thor gradually came to realize that he'd never truly needed Mjolnir at all; the enchanted hammer had only served to focus his powers. It all came to a head when Thor summoned "the biggest lightning bolt in the history of lightning bolts," blasting a startled Hela aside before tearing her army apart. That particular scene was made all the more effective by Waititi's inspired use of "Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." This was the end of what Ragnarok's co-writer Erik Pearson described as Thor's "hero's journey" - to find "the confidence in himself to rise up against all this crazy stuff that’s happening to him."
But this wasn't the only notable change to Thor. Visually, the Thor of Ragnarok ditched his flowing locks, and adopted a new costume design that was very different to his classic look. Hela even took one of Thor's eyes, with the Odinson forced to wear an eyepatch over one eye.
And all of this is undone in Infinity War. Defeated by Thanos, Thor launches a quest - to gain a new weapon, a new hammer that he can use against the Mad Titan. It's notable that he doesn't wield lightning at all until he's finally armed with Stormbreaker, as though the God of Thunder has forgotten every lesson he learned in Ragnarok. Armed with Stormbreaker, though, Thor cuts loose in dramatic fashion, sweeping through Thanos's Outriders with the same ease he destroyed Hela's armies. Meanwhile, Thor reverts to another costume, one more comic-book-accurate, in the film's third act. He even gains a cybernetic eye, and the pronounced scars seem to fade away after its insertion. Visually and thematically, everything Ragnarok did to the design of Thor undone. That's quite a remarkable decision for Marvel.
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