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'Thor: Ragnarok' Retcons A Longstanding Error In The MCU In The Simplest Way Possible

Thor: Ragnarok deftly paves the way for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it even manages to clean up some discrepancies in Thor's cinematic past.

By Max FarrowPublished 5 years ago 5 min read
'Thor: Ragnarok' [Credit: Marvel Studios]

It's safe to say that Thor has a lot to contend with in Thor: Ragnarok. Not only is Thor mourning the loss of Mjölnir, he also has to survive the Grandmaster's arena, grapple with Loki's sliding scale of morality, and try to prevent the destruction of Asgard. But even with all of this going on, the film also deftly paves the way for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it even manages to clean up some discrepancies in Thor's cinematic past.

Note: This article contains major spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok.

'Thor: Ragnarok' Has Retconned A Longstanding Error In The MCU

'Thor: Ragnarok' [Credit: Marvel Studios]

Within minutes of her release, Hela destroys Mjölnir, casts Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) aside and seizes control of Asgard by swiftly slaughtering its army. But she doesn’t stop there. As she recalls Asgard’s brutal conquest of the Nine Realms, Hela leads Skurge (Karl Urban) to the realm's vaunted weapons vault, where the new ruler of Asgard openly mocks the trophies on display. There, in one small yet significant move, Hela spies a certain gold gauntlet among the assorted relics...and then dismisses it as a fake.

Some readers may shrug and ask why this is important, yet it will be a pretty shocking revelation for most #Marvel fans. After all, this singular line in Thor: Ragnarok has finally closed a discussion that began six years ago.

The Curious Case Of The Two Infinity Gauntlets

'Thor' [Credit: Marvel Studios]

In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, the Infinity Gauntlet — the glove which grants the wearer the power to control reality itself when it houses all six Infinity Stones — was teased way back in 2011's Thor. It was spotted in the background of Odin's treasure vault on Asgard.

At this point in time, Marvel was not hellbent on the overarching plot that they have now. Indeed, set designers merely included the gilded glove to reference the Infinity War comics, rather than as a teaser for the future of the #MCU, which was then still undecided. By the time that #TheAvengers rolled around, plans were beginning to coalesce. Furthermore, when the film’s post-credit scene was unveiled, that momentary glimpse of the gauntlet took on a greater significance. As we no doubt remember, Thanos — the glove's creator — appeared, grinning and on the hunt for Infinity Stones, which caused many fans to guess that the Mad Titan would come a-calling to Asgard, to not only claim the Tesseract but the gauntlet itself. However, Avengers: Age of Ultron’s mid-credits scene created a great deal of confusion upon its arrival.

After yet again failing to acquire any Infinity Stones, Thanos declares, “Fine, I’ll do it myself,” and retrieves a different gauntlet out of a storage space that appeared to be on his own ship. Kevin Feige later confirmed that this clip didn’t take place in the Asgardian weapons vault. So had Thanos already stolen the Gauntlet without Thor and Odin knowing? Or would the Marvel Cinematic Universe feature two Infinity Gauntlets instead of just the one? Many suspected the latter, especially when Feige hinted that there was a marked difference between the two gloves — apart from the fact that the two gauntlets were made for opposite hands (the one in Thor was right-handed whilst Age of Ultron’s was for the left).

Indeed, Thor’s cheeky little wink to the comics instigated many more misunderstandings than the filmmakers had initially intended. But now, the retcon of Thor: Ragnarok has sorted everything out. The first glove was never the Infinity Gauntlet in the first place, just a replica. After years of perplexity, Hela has cleared up the issue once and for all. Or has she?

Do Fans Need To Know Everything?

This realization about that initial Infinity Gauntlet raises a lot of other questions, such as who put the fake Gauntlet there? Did Odin or Loki know that it was a fake at any point during their reigns? And if they did, did the rulers of Asgard keep it to curry respect, or to deter anyone from searching for the real one? Or is this fake there for some other reason?

We fans can have fun theorizing all of these hows and whys for some time, because let’s face it, it’s doubtful that we’ll ever know, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, it’s very cool that Marvel has tied up this longstanding loose end. Nevertheless Hela’s somewhat blasé resolution of a years-long debate is very symptomatic of director Taika Waititi — and Marvel’s — attitude towards intricate continuity for the sake of it: not everything needs to be elaborated on in great detail.

That isn’t to say that Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t have problems, but its lack of a sophisticated approach towards continuity certainly isn’t one of them. Indeed, as Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson discussed with Lucasfilm exec Pablo Hidalgo, franchise films aren’t obliged to explain the minutiae of every development to satisfy fans. A logical and emotionally satisfying story must always come before an intricate one, otherwise the plot gets too bogged down in details.

Regardless, Ragnarok’s remedying of a long-established error in the MCU is something that satisfies me, even if it does paint a rather stark picture for the battleground of #AvengersInfinityWar. The fact that Thanos has the true Infinity Gauntlet already is a scary prospect, indeed. Things are set to get very messy when Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters next year.


About the Creator

Max Farrow

A fanatical film-watcher, hill-walker, aspiring author, freelance writer and biscuit connoisseur.

These articles first appeared on Movie Pilot between Jan 2016 and Dec 2017. Follow me on Twitter @Farrow91

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