The Plan For Thor 3 Changed After Age of Ultron
All this is evidently a result of a bigger directional change. Age of Ultron was quite obliquely setting up Thor 3 in 2015, but between then and now the story approach shifted; the Stone teases are ignored and the Ragnarok vision that drives our hero isn't attributed to Avengers 2 at all. Obviously, with the hiring of Waititi, Ragnarok became a much more comedic film than its original pitch suggested (evidenced by the logo change and general presentation of the film by Feige), although the real reason is bigger than that.
By all accounts, the Thor subplot in Age of Ultron was forced on Joss Whedon by Marvel's Creative Committee; a think tank that provided sales and branding notes on all MCU projects, often at the expense of the movie's quality, this over-the-top sequel setup is their hallmark. The Creative Committee was eventually disbanded shortly after Avengers 2, much to the delight of the franchise's filmmakers, and it seems the MCU's obsessive focus on overt Infinity War setup went with it; Phase 3 has been marked out by a much calmer, standalone focus than was originally expected. Whether this means Ragnarok was initially going to be centered on the Stones or not isn't known, but they were likely to have least has a throughline. Well, until behind-the-scenes changes meant all that setup was worthless, hence it being tossed aside with a single line.
Sadly, while that all explains it, the given solution doesn't hold in terms of the story. It confuses Thor's character and, while Waititi takes some big liberties with the God of Thunder's established personality, nothing is quite as contradictory as this; he now appears flippant and ignoble. The problem isn't that the Stones weren't in the film, it's that they were so flippantly tossed aside at the expense of the main character. This burns especially as the Waititi-directed Civil War short Team Thor did present a comedy riff on the investigation.
While most of the Phase 3 plot holes come from stray lines of dialogue misrepresenting the past, this one undermines an entire arc from a previous film, something that will stand out when viewing the full MCU story. And yet, here's something curious: while it is really disappointing, this hasn't been jumped on by fans anywhere near as much as Homecoming's "Eight Years Later" card, which suggests that Marvel's got away with it. Big as it may be, Thor forgetting the Infinity Stones passes the "fridge test" (Alfred Hitchcock said if a problem with a movie didn't hit a viewer until they were getting a drink at home afterward, it wasn't actually a problem at all).
Now it's been noticed, though, let's hope the Russos make the time in Infinity War for Tony Stark to chastise his lazy Asgardian friend; he could have stopped Thanos years ago.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019