Depending on who you ask, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Asgardians are either actual gods who periodically descend from the heavens, or merely a race of super long-lived, technologically-advanced aliens. Either way, Thor: Ragnarok has a fair amount of proper magic thanks to a brief Doctor Strange cameo.
If you’ve seen all the Ragnarok trailers, then you know by now that the Odinson crosses paths with Doctor Strange during the film, and the two men discuss how Strange has sensed an important shift in the trajectory of Thor’s future. The scene plays a crucial role in pushing the film’s plot forward and shows off just how strong a sorcerer Strange has become since we last saw him in his own solo film. Strange performs quite a bit of impressive magic around the Sanctum Sanctorum that dwarfs most everything he managed to do in Doctor Strange.
For instance, he repeatedly teleports himself and Thor around the Sanctum in a way that continuously disorients Thor and leaves him utterly astonished at what Strange is capable of. Visually, the teleportation is as delightful as it is impressive, and in a recent interview with Empire, director Taika Waititi explained that most of the effects used to create the sequence were done entirely in-camera with jump cuts.
Speaking on the Empire podcast, Waititi said that while he appreciates the wonders that CGI can work in modern films, it was heartening to incorporate a bit of old-fashioned cleverness into Ragnarok.
“It’s classic old jump-cuts and cutting to Chris [Hemsworth] doing a little wobble as if he’s just arrived and just a little bit of a sound effect. For me, it was great because it’s like ‘Oh, we didn’t need to do some sort of sparkly kind of illusion VFX sort of stuff.’ That stuff is very satisfying as a filmmaker.”
Little touches like that are scattered all throughout Ragnarok, and while they may not seem like much individually in the moment, they definitely add up to be more than the sum of their parts—and go a long way toward making the movie as strong as it is.