Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for the movie Thor: Ragnarok.
It’s hard to have missed the hype of Thor: Ragnarok in the last half-year with all of the buzz and trailers. Thor fighting Hulk? Who’s not stoked for that?
Marvel geeks will rejoice in the plethora of easter eggs. Action fans will get their adrenaline fix. Those looking for pure entertainment will get plenty of bang for their buck. It’s a good mix of funny, serious, and thrilling.
Going in I knew that Ragnarok was the Norse mythology version of an apocalypse – the end of times. So I knew that a major theme or plot point would be the destruction of Asgard, especially given that Hela is the goddess of death. Other than a great excuse for some cool effects and a plot device, the theme of Ragnarok turns out to be not merely destruction, but necessary destruction. An end that is in truth a new and necessary beginning.
An end brings a new beginning
This sort of theme is not only biblical, but common to all of us. There are relationships, projects, and seasons of life that must come to an end – sometimes an ugly one. They aren’t the final “end” perhaps, but they are endings no less. They often bring forth a new season or a fresh start.
Endings can feel chaotic. How do we stay stable and focused in the midst of them? Thor: Ragnarok reminds us that not only are endings often necessary, but some things do not end. Truths prevail even through the harshest fires. Some people stay with us even though we have to say goodbye to others. And we will always have the memories.
Near the end of the movie, we are told that Asgard is not a place, but a people. This helps us accept the endings in life, doesn’t it? If we know people will be coming with us to the new beginning, the end is not so bad.
A true Asgard
These are questions we all must face. What happens when we die? If there’s really nothing after this life, then what’s the point? Unfortunately, we don’t talk about this enough. Ask any random student on a University campus and, despite the imminence and gravity of the question, they probably haven’t thought much about the end of their life – or of the world.
Time to change that. Our time on this earth is short, and your friends need to be asked these sorts of questions. We need to ask ourselves these questions too. Maybe Thor: Ragnarok is a good opportunity to begin thinking about these questions and talking about them with your friends. Then again, maybe you just want to enjoy some popcorn and watch a great movie. Both options are valid! Either way, eventually we have to delve into the big questions of life. Take a deep breath and ask someone what they think about death, the afterlife, and Ragnarok. Start a conversation that digs beneath the surface. After all, while Heaven is truly a place, it’s going to be made great by both God and the people of God. Don’t you want to bring as many people as you possibly can with you to that place — to be the eternal people of a true Asgard?