There is a lot to like about Thor: Ragnarok, the third installment in the God of Thunder arm of the Marvel Universe, but two things stand out in particular: The genre-bending direction from Taiki Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), which gave the usual superhero fare a welcomed spring in its step, and, well, Cate Blanchett. There have been critiques of Hela as a villain, but for me she was campy, fun and fit into the rest of Waititi’s wacky vision for this Thor installment.
And as much as its worth exploring Waititi’s visual flair and injection of irreverent humor into the proceedings, let’s dedicate a list to how bada** Blanchett is in every scene she appears in. There aren’t many, but she packs a punch each time. And how fitting the acclaimed veteran actress best known for her Oscar-caliber performances portrays Marvel’s first-ever female villain.
So, in honor of perhaps one of the gayest Marvel movies ever released even not counting Blanchett’s casting (just take a look at those rainbow character posters and the Hemsworth glamour shots), we’ve taken the best moments of Blanchett’s Hela and ranked them (beware spoilers ahead).
8. The Eternal Flame
While through most of the movie she uses her Necroswords with reckless abandon impaling people like nobody’s business, there is a moment as she’s describing how she was written out of Asgard history when she summons the power to awaken an army of the undead. The fact that this is her worst scene is saying something.
7. The Final Battle
Hela’s final confrontation and ultimate demise doesn’t rank as high as you might think. It takes Surtur, a giant fire demon (pictured here facing off with Hulk) to take her down, and it’s actually quite anticlimactic. It would’ve been more thrilling to see Thor deliver the final blow and while he nearly does, it took what looks like the lava guy from Moana to take her down.
6. The Slow Motion
While this scene is meant to poke fun at the melodramatic climax of Thor: The Dark World, it contains that shot of Hela from the trailer that got everyone excited in the first place. In all of its slow-motion 300-esque glory, she gleefully tosses out her Necroswords murdering tons of Valkyries, all the while smizing away.
5. The Fenris Wolf
At the same time she summons her undead warriors, she also reanimates her giant wolf, Fenris. In a later scene, she stands with that wolf and it’s, for lack of a better word, iconic. More happens in that scene but who can even remember because she’s standing next to giant wolf?
4. The Queen
After her glorious introduction (we’ll get to that), the next scene is her entering Asgard, surveying the men around her, announcing herself as queen and slaying everyone in the room zipping more Necroswords about. It recalls the Darth Vader scene from Rogue One when he slays all the troopers with a few strokes of his light saber.
3. The Introduction
When Hela stands before a crowd of Asgardians, she launches into a long diatribe explaining exactly who she is. Then one of them asks, “who are you?” which makes her snap in one of the film’s funniest line deliveries, when she retorts asking why wasn’t he listening to everything she just said. Even as the self-proclaimed Goddess of Death, this villainess stays aligned with the movie’s strain of humor. But then she of course proceeds to obliterate all of Asgard.
2. The Thor Brawl
When Hela clashes one-on-one with Thor, it’s a thrilling third act climax. Seeing these two lock horns (quite literally in her case) not having faced each other since their initial meeting is rather show-stopping. From stealing his hammer, she then steals part of his vision, slashing out his eye. It’s a shocking moment considering she, of all the villains in the MCU, is the one to permanently maim Thor as he heads into Infinity War.
1. The First Scene
This is the one. The very first scene introducing Hela as a character into this world is the one that sets the stage perfectly. When she appears out of thin air from some portal, throws her hands over her head that first time to reveal her insane antlers and then smiles mischievously for the first time, it’s all so good. And even for Blanchett herself, it was this detail that was part of what convinced her to play the role. And no wonder. How iconic for her to emerge before Thor to only then shatter the very thing that identifies him. What a queen.
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