Review: Ragnarok (2020)

A modern take on Norse Mythology and my sleeper hit from 2020. Don’t be put off by the subtitles, this is one series you don’t want to miss on Netflix.

PLOT AND STORY

We follow the journey of Magne and his brother Laurits as they move to a small Norwegian town and settle into a new school where all is not what it seems. You don’t need to know much about Norse Mythology to follow the story and the writers are clever by teaching the audience key moments through the classroom setting. Centuries ago Giants fought Gods and now they are back, that’s all you really need to know. 

Magne is our main character and as you would guess, he is Thor of the story. What I enjoyed so much about the show is how it shows the audience a lot of strange activities without feeling the need to explain every little detail. Ragnarok is your typical high school drama with comparisons to Buffy, Dawson’s Creek and Riverdale with the only difference that certain people have powers. If you are familiar with Thor or you have seen the Marvel movies then you will know names like Thor, Loki and Odin and I feel that enhanced my enjoyment as I was picking out in my head who was who as we go along. 

The modern angle to this story was not just for aesthetics as the story does delve into important cultural issues affecting us in 2020. The legend of Ragnarok is a tale about the end of the world and it starts with extreme changes in weather. This is used perfectly to tie into real life global warming concerns, especially focusing on melting ice caps. The story also addresses social issues surrounding race and sexuality, two subjects never far from the headlines.

Ragnarok is a Norwegian show so you can either watch with subtitles or with an english dubbing (if you don’t speak Norwegian obviously) but nothing is lost in the translation. This is a very clever, engaging, challenging and entertaining story dealing with issues of today blended creatively with ancient history. 

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

Filmed in Norway displays just how beautiful the country is. It feels like the whole show was filmed outside in the open air because of how bright and crisp everything looks. Even scenes in the schools there are huge, ceiling high windows framing the breathtaking taking backdrops. 

The show is created by Adam Price a Danish writer and producer, written by Simon Alsvik and Emilie Lebech Kaae, directed by Mogens Hagedorn and Jannik Johansen. All of these names I have never heard of but from their IMDB pages all have successful careers in making good TV and Movies, mainly in Scandinavia. What this does is make me want to look closer at the foreign shows on Netflix and find other hidden gems.

CAST

As with the production crew this is a cast of people I haven’t heard about. What the show has told me is Scandinavia has a rich talent of bright young stars just waiting to hit the international market. In particular Jonas Strand Gravli who plays Laurits and Theresa Frostad Eggesbo who plays Saxa both really stood out as shining stars. These two had the largest changing arcs in their stories and delivered great range.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Ragnarok has been my find of 2020 and something that could and will be easily missed by many. The popularity of Dark, another foreign hit on Netflix is what started me looking at the foreign shows and I’m very thankful for that. I think people will love Ragnarok because its clever, it’s original, it’s compelling and complex and while grounded in reality it has a superhero twist to give it an edge. I could not recommend this series more and will continue to until people watch it. 

Great news, it’s been renewed for season 2.

I watched this via Netflix and recieved no incentive to review this series.

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