Two years after the Battle of Sokovia, Thor is imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur. He is hanging in chains from the ceiling of the demon’s cave, surrounded by dragon-like creatures and the giant blazing demon himself, who tells Thor that his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer in Asgard, and Ragnarok (the Twilight of the Gods) is coming soon. Thor, after a little light banter with the terrifying demon, escapes and defeats Surtur, walking off with his head. When he returns to Asgard, he finds the guardian Heimdall (Idris Elba) missing and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) disguised as Odin. Thor enlists the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who locates Odin in Norway. Odin predicts his imminent death, which will trigger Ragnarok. His firstborn child Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death herself, will then be freed from her long imprisonment.

Odin dies and Hela appears, destroying Thor’s hammer. Thor and Loki turn tail and run, pursued by Hela. She easily defeats the army of Asgard, kills the Warriors Three (Thor’s best friends), resurrects the giant Fenris wolf, and appoints the ambitious Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executioner. But Heimdall is secretly leading the people of Asgard into hiding.

Thor crash-lands on the garbage planet Sakaar. He is sold by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson) to the planet’s Grandmaster (a delightful Jeff Goldblum) to be a gladiator. Sent into the arena, he discovers that the Grandmaster’s champion is the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who has been missing on Earth for a long time, having crashed on the planet in a SHIELD Quinjet. Realizing that Scrapper 142 is a Valkyrie, Thor tries to convince her to return to Asgard with him to battle Hela, to no avail. He boards the Quinjet and a recording of the voice of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) triggers the Hulk into changing back into Bruce Banner.

The Grandmaster sends Loki and 142 after them. But Loki forces her to relive the mass death of Asgardians by Hela. They liberate the other Gladiators and start a revolution. Thor, Banner, and Valkyrie escape through a wormhole to Asgard to join in its defense. After Hulking out, Banner battles the enormous Fenris wolf as the others tackle Hela on the rainbow bridge itself. Loki arrives with the gladiator army to help. Thor loses his right eye, has a vision of Odin, and uses his lightning powers. But only the destruction of Asgard can defeat Hela.

The movie was largely based on the “Planet Hulk”, comic of 2006. It was directed by New Zealander Taika (Tiger) Waititi, who is Maori, Ashkenazi Jewish, Irish, Scottish, and English, with a touch of French Canadian. His style in the film was inspired by John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. It pivots quickly from terrifying giants and demonic warriors to Pythonesque humour and back again. He claimed that 80% of the dialog was improvised, which was perfect for Jeff Goldblum, and for Chris Hemsworth, who was constantly trying to bring humour to the tight-assed God of Thunder and did a masterful job. In a play performed in Asgard, based on the events of Thor: The Dark World, Sam Neill plays Odin, Luke Hemsworth plays Thor, and Matt Damon plays Loki. Tessa Thompson based her portrayal of the sardonic and kick-ass Valkyrie on Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in Terminator 2.