Understanding media- Thor Ragnarok

Hey everyone. Today I want to talk about the aesthetic of the movie Thor Ragnarok, and how it greatly distanced itself from the previous movies of the Thor franchise and changed for the better. But in order to do that, I first have to define aesthetic and explain what that word actually means in the context of a blockbuster movie franchise.

Thor Ragnarok Promo

In my opinion the word aesthetic can be used to describe the way something, like a piece of media for example, looks and feels to its audience and how it can be universally seen as being beautiful in a way, Aesthetic can be used in ways by the creator of an art piece or a piece of media to evoke specific emotions and get the audience to feel a certain way about the subject they are viewing.

Philosophers defined the term aesthetic as referring to insight, beauty and expressiveness in creativity. The term can be used as a way to distinguish actual art from simple crafts, the phrase provided a way to describe many very different forms of media as still being a form of art and by extension, an expression of the artists feelings (HARTLEY, 2018).

Jack Kirby era Thor

Thor Ragnarok had a very different aesthetic when compared to the previous two entries in the franchise. Where the first two gave off the feel of generic superhero flicks, about a good guy with godlike powers dealing with the forces of evil in order to protect the earth and the ones they love from certain peril. Ragnarok ditched this premise entirely and was completely cosmic in scale, and was set on many different alien planets that were previously unseen by the audience. The aesthetics of these worlds and their inhabitants mirrored a lot of the early artwork that was done by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the creators of Marvel comics and the character of Thor himself. By doing this the film evoked a sense of wonder and fun from the audience, along with a hint of nostalgia for longtime marvel fans. This change in setting really improved the overall aesthetic of this film and made it into something very unique and filled with excitement, especially when compared to a lot of recent superhero movies that just seem to be falling into a rut and follow the same conventions. Thor Ragnarok also makes use of a lot of humour and improvisation to good effect in certain scenes, as the film director Taika Waititi is a huge fan of comedy, which can be seen in his previous works and his comedy/horror film What We Do in the Shadows. The added layer of humour really worked to increase the fun aesthetic of the movie, as well as make the characters seem more human and relate-able (even though most of the main characters are either aliens or gods).

Taika Waititi’s previous film, What We Do in the Shadows

So in conclusion, aesthetics can be described as the way a piece of media looks and feels to its audience. If a film can succeed in creating an aesthetic that is perceived as being appealing to its audience overall, then it can very well influence how an audience thinks and feels, it can also be a tool used in film to help convey a message. Having an understanding of aesthetics is important when trying to create entertainment, and Thor: Ragnarok succeeded in creating something stimulating that was able to reach a broader audience.




Jacobs, V. (2018). The Basics of Film AestheticsPlot and Theme. Retrieved 16 March 2018, from https://plotandtheme.com/2015/04/24/the-basics-of-film-aesthetics/

Thor: Ragnarok Is An ‘Unabashed Love Letter’ to Jack Kirby. (2018). CBR. Retrieved 16 March 2018, from https://www.cbr.com/taika-waititi-thor-ragnarok-jack-kirby/


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