Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok is the last Marvel film to be released in 2017, and the third standalone film for the God of Thunder. It was directed by Taika Waititi with its screenplay penned by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost. The film stars Chris Hemsworth again as the illustrious Thor and also features Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk/Bruce Banner. The rest of the cast is filled out by Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, and Jeff Goldblum. The film picks up two years after the Battle of Sokovia with Thor’s failed attempt to find more Infinity Stones.
The film hilariously begins with a captured Thor recounting his past events since Sokovia to a skeleton. He is shown to be imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur, who plans to destroy Asgard with Odin no longer on the throne. Surtur intends to bring about the prophesied Ragnarok, also known as the destruction of everything. Thor is able to escape and prevent this from happening, and with the belief that he has stopped the coming of Ragnarok, he returns to Asgard. When he reveals that Loki is posing as his father, they go to Earth to search for the real Odin. Whenever they find him, though, some difficult truths are revealed. These truths lead Thor and Loki to discover that Ragnarok is not stopped after all, and with Hela’s arrival, their fight to cease this destruction becomes quite the difficult journey.
First of all, this film is absolutely hilarious. I have always thought that James Gunn introduced a unique style of humor when he introduced us to the Guardians of the Galaxy, but Taika Waititi takes it to a whole new level. Not only do the characters find themselves in comical situations, but the one-liners and punchlines land pretty much the entire time. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson especially deliver on the humorous moments even in their physicality, and it makes this film one entertaining ride. Jeff Goldblum’s character of the Grandmaster only adds to the humor already established from the first five minutes, and the interactions between Hulk and Thor are some of the best moments of the film.
However, while the humor definitely defines the film, the brilliance of the humor is that it balances out the otherwise exceedingly dark storyline. Hela is a brutal villain in that she has no qualms about killing a whole hoard of soldiers. She kills without hesitation, and she is pretty close to being indestructible. Once her history is revealed, the danger she presents is alarming, and some of the lives she takes along the way is shocking. Her appearance also discloses some disturbing history of Asgard and Odin’s reign that was hidden for years. Plus, the whole idea of Ragnarok in general is not exactly an uplifting prospect.
It’s that balance of humor and darkness coupled with the characters that makes this story as compelling as it is, though. I like the growth we continue to see in Thor and the expanded understanding of his strength. Loki is also as compelling as always with his mischief and questionable loyalty. I really enjoyed the growth we see in Hulk and how they manage to bring Banner back into the fold in a natural way. They also introduce some interesting new characters in this film with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie topping the list. Her character has a fantastic introduction, and her dynamic with Thor is another interesting piece of the story. She is a legend, and it’s fun to see Thor a little in awe of someone else for a change. Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is exaggerated but fits the whole tone of the film perfectly, and while Hela might be a little over the top and maybe a little underutilized, she is posed as an incredibly dangerous villain that the story needs.
Overall, I would say that Thor: Ragnarok is definitely the best of the Thor films. I found it to be perfectly paced, and I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. The mix of intense and humorous moments is fantastic, and I already cannot wait to see how Thor figures into the storyline of Avengers: Infinity War. It is definitely worth a watch in the theater, and it’s actually a fun theater experience since there are so many laughs to share. I’m personally already looking forward to catching it again sometime this weekend.