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Thor: Ragnarok
by yo go re

Big monster!

Empowered by the Eternal Flame, the demon Surtur rises from the ashes to unleash his fury upon Asgaard.

Surtur, in the comics, was associated with Ragnarok (and an issue of Thor in which the single word "doom" was used as dialogue, narration, a sound effect and the title of the story all at once), so using him in the movies' Ragnarok was almost a given. His role may not have been as big, but he sure was!

Obviously, there's no way a toy could ever accurately portray Surtur's size - he was miles tall by the end, so not even making him a Build-A-Figure would have worked. But as part of the Infinity Saga line, Surtur was able to be sold as a solo figure that's still larger than average - in fact, if not for the HasLab Sentinel, he'd be the tallest non-BAF ML around! Still, even at 12⅞" tall (counting the eyebrow horns), he's not tall enough for the 18' tall Surtur seen in the opening scenes, so you're going to have to use your imagination no matter what.

In the comics, Surtur was basically just a big red devil man. Sometimes he'd have a fiery head, or just a fiery scarf/neck ruff and underwear, but that was it. The movie opted to turn him into living lava, molten muscles over a solid skeleton, with a crust of cooled magma forming the rough "skin" that makes him identifiably human(oid). The figure is molded in translucent orange, with dark brown paint for the rocky exterior. It gives a wonderful depth to the sculpt, making the toy look as much like the digital character as possible. His mouth is open wide to yell in the midst of battle, and a few little tongues of flame lift up off his arms and shoulders. He does look utterly demonic, even without a tail.

Despite his massive size, Surtur doesn't skimp in the articulation, being about as mobile as any other average Marvel Legend. There's a barbell head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, hinged abdomen, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. The shins are kind of a weird choice for a character with no boots, but the rough surface of the sculpt helps hide the joint. Everything is nice and stiff, so it should stand fine on display.

You get your choice of hands to hold his sword, or alternates that can be swapped in: an open clawing hand for the right, and a fist for the left. The blade is presumably the movies' take on the Twilight Sword, which 616 Surtur forged by burning down an entire galaxy for the raw materials, planning to use it to cut his way out of Muspelheim, where he'd been sealed by Odin. The MCU version seems to be a wide plume of fire around a thin interior blade, and capable of shooting the flame forward (as seen in that screenshot up at the top). This accessory is only the wide version, and it's not like you can take the flames off to see the inside bits. The sculpt is fine, but we've definitely seen better flaming swords before. It's not even translucent! Though it does have a nice fade from light to dark as you move away from the cutting edge.

What's really annoying is the accessory we don't get, though. Considering this Surtur is (almost) in scale with the opening scenes of Thor 3, why on Earth Midgaard do we not get a "skull" version of his head, like Thor carried back to Asgaard and Loki retrieved to dump into the Eternal Flame? Loop a chain through it, let us sling it over Thor's back... it'd be great! But no, just a sword and some hands.

The way Surtur was utilized in Thor: Ragnarok would be like if Doomsday showed up in a Superman movie, only to be dispatched in the prologue - he's supposed to be an unfathomable threat on his own, not a joke throwaway. But it's hard to be any madder at Ragnarok than it was to be mad at the Justice League cartoon when it treated its Doomsday exactly that way: the choice was made in service of a better story, and that's what really matters. Could Surtur have carried a movie as a villain all on his own? Sure, if it was written that way, but it would have been much less personal for the other characters, and much more generic overall. Plus, he got to come back and do his thing anyway, so everybody wins! A truly in-scale Surtur toy would be over 1,093 feet tall, making it the 49th tallest building in the world. Same height as the Rose Tower in Dubai! Even at 13", though, he looks big and imposing next to your other MCU toys.

-- 10/11/21

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